|[ Writer ] = CMoon
|[ 12/09/01 ] = The Saturn: It's Big, It's Black, It's Better Than The Xbox
A couple years ago a friend game me his Saturn. He didn't know what to do with it, and I had heard rumors about the 'underground' interest in Sega's latest dead system, so why not take it, its free, right? And it was probably a year before I realized that it may be one of if the best consoles ever made. It stands on pretty equal ground with the Dreamcast, and in some ways even surpasses it. This might seem like a surprising statement when you consider that the Saturn is pretty much hated in the US. Sega actually took pains to ensure that the DC was perceived as being unrelated to the Saturn.
However, I'm saying all this as a one-time non-believer
who's been converted, so I'm ready to give you a sales pitch that's going
to leave you with only a few options when I'm done. I know some people
will whine about unavailability (that's why there's ebay) and for others,
playing perfect arcade ports of some amazing and legendary games simply
isn't worth going to the trouble (trouble that is minimal incidentally).
A few will complain about the expenses, but this too is small - especially
when you recognize that many games can be 'acquired' through trade or
even downloaded (more on this later.) But most level headed folks - especially
fans of Capcom, SNK, Treasure; fans of fighters, shooters, side-scrollers;
fans of the classic game genres that peaked in the early 90's; you will
have no choice but to pick up a Saturn ASAP. Here's why:
[ 1 ]
In Vampire Savior or Night Warriors, the backgrounds look richer and cleaner than in any other version - it's like having the arcade in your home. Characters are also bigger, brighter with more distinct edges and no pixilation. The same is true of the Street Fighter Alpha games. I tried to go back to playing Alpha 3 for the Dreamcast and couldn't after playing the Saturn version--it simply looked too ugly. Capcom fans! You need to purchase a Saturn, you will never regret it!
Likewise, the Saturn does wonders with many other 2D games
(compare Radiant Silvergun or even Layer Section to Mars Matrix or Giga
Wing!) Treasure's Silhouette Mirage, for instance, looks like a dream
come true on the Saturn. On the PSX it is not only a lousy port, but looks
[ 2 ]
What's more, available for the system is one of the best
domestic joysticks made, the virtua stick. This big black wonder has a
true round base (no more messing up supers because the stick gets caught
in the corner) with six large buttons. Even if you never get a Saturn,
this stick is excellent for use on the DC--all you need is a converter.
But who needs 6 button controllers and joysticks if you don't have the
games that need them, right?...
[ 3 ]
= Games Available
] = Capcom
] = SNK
] = Treasure
] = Sega
Also, there are plenty of other shooters for the system including the Donpachi games, new and improved ports of the Parodious games along with 'Sexy Parodius'. Also, you'll find a Thunderforce collection and Thunderforce V that is reported to be an awesome game and vastly superior to the PSX version. In fact, there are TONS of shooters for the Saturn, but as most were released in Japan only, I am still discovering them as I write this article. Did I forget to mention Layer Section and Darius Gaiden? Well, they're not my favorite shooters, but they're here too.
Working Designs also used the Saturn as a testing ground for many import RPGs, including Shining Wisdom, Magic Knight Rayearth, the Lunar games, etc. If this be your thing, there is plenty of it. Not being an RPG fan seriously limits me in this area, but the system certainly isn't lacking. Legend of Oasis, a Zelda-type game features some of the best 2-D overhead animation your likely to see in a game of this kind.
In case you're eyes are starting to bug-out in disbelief,
its fair to say that many of these games never made it out of Japan. Half
the Capcom games, everything by SNK, 2/3ds of the Treasure games and most
of the shooters were never released here. Are you surprised the Saturn
tanked in the US? Rummaging through a used game store (if they even stock
Saturn games) will reveal only the sub-standard US releases. The situation
seems hopeless - who wants to spend the big bucks on a system that needs
to be modded only to play expensive import games. Not to mention the cost
of purchasing an additional Ram card which you'll need to play games like
Vampire Savior and Street Fighter Zero 3. Fortunately, things are not
as grim as they seem...
[ 4 ]
= Cost Breakdown
[ Getting The Console Modded
I personally do not condone bootlegging - being a game fan means I am a fan of the companies and individuals who put their labor and creativity into these games. However, Saturn games can no longer be purchased except through used vendors, hence, no money can be lost by video game companies through the duplication of Saturn discs. I still favor purchasing the actual game where possible, but so many titles are unavailable or have reached collector prices (over $100!) that duplicating seems a reasonable answer for this console.
You may also want a program that changes the 'region' of the game ISO that can be downloaded for free off of several sites. I'd like to note though that purchase of a Action Replay 4M Plus card (EMS-ARP) (http://hh141.hiphip.com/default.asp) resolves this problem.
[ Playing Import Games ]
- [ Increasing system RAM ]
[ Extra Controls, Etc. ]
[ Breakdown ]
= For Those Who Haven't Been Keeping Track
[ Total ]