Newest Review: ... the Sega Master System and the Sega Mega Drive consoles. The game gear has a similar key layout to that of a Nintendo Game Boy, having t... more
Anyone want a Sega Saturn?
The Retro Years
Member Name: D1A1
The Retro Years
Date: 17/04/01, updated on 17/04/01 (395 review reads)
Advantages: Classic gaming!
Disadvantages: You won't get one new...
Back in the mid 1990's Sega brought out it's latest revolutionary games console, the first CD based around, and everyone thought it'd be a sure fire hit. However, due to many reasons, including the failure of previous pieces of Sega hardware - notably the 32X and Mega CD add-ons to the Mega Drive machine, coupled with a supposedly awful basic development kit - compared to Sony's PlayStation at least, meaning the games just didn't look as great on the Saturn! The Saturn really started to tumble when the N64 arrived in March 1997, and so the life of the big black box, commercially at least, wasn't too great. Needless to say, the PlayStation is the definite 32bit winner.
OK, so you've got your PlayStation, perhaps you've got a Dreamcast and/or a PlayStation 2, but I strongly advise you all to consider the ill-fated, short lived, Sega Saturn. Why? It's great really! I have a Sega Saturn, and I won't part with it for many reasons. I don't have any imported games, but there are plenty available, so if you don't want to miss out on the Japanese wonders, then head on off to the auction sites! Be warned though, import games fetch a lot - and I'm talking up to £100!!
So, why should you get a Sega Saturn? Well, it's not going to make an awful lot of difference
to Sega, seeing that you can no longer purchase them new. However, your money will come in useful to someone trying to sell one! Don't get ripped off! Back in it's days of release, it's only real 'prime' if it ever had one, the Saturn cost an extortionate £400, which quickly dropped to around £200 - the last retail price I saw was £99 back in 1999! Naturally you won't pay anywhere near that amount, even though the consoles are rare, they aren't exactly hot property. You should be able to pick up a very good condition, boxed complete and set up machine for around £25 - possibly less, with games costing around £5 on average! The best place to find Saturn games is ebay.co.uk, and other auction sites, but do try the car boot sales.
What can it do then? Well the Sega Saturn is actually very clever, and in fact with a special Video card you could watch Video CDs via your Sega Saturn! However, finding Video CDs may be a slight problem at the moment! Ok, so other then this it can obviously play games - the Saturn has a catalogue of at least 250 games, in Japan this figure is probably around 400. Finding the game you want can be tricky, as some games are very rare, and ultimately very high in price. The Saturn can also play your everyday music CDs, and has an excellent voice changing tuner device - making some songs sound very strange indeed.
Graphically? Varying. There are some absolutely amazing games for the Saturn, that put most PlayStation games to shame, but then there are some pretty dire titles with graphics that could make you throw up - possibly. Either that or you'll laugh, be terrified and have nightmares, or make you go back to your PSX. Don't get: Virtua Fighter 1. Do get: Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighters Megamix. If you love your fighting games then get a Saturn just for VF2 - it's a classic, that plays well even today, and shows the biggest jump in graphical technology from Virtua Fighter 1, despite bein
g on the same console, than most other sequels! 'Nights into dreams' is one of my all time favourite games, with a completely original, baffling and unique style of gameplay and offering wonderfully rendered 3D graphics. Nights is a visual feast and must be played using the official 3D Nights pad!
The genres? Well, you can get racing games, fighting games, Adventures, flight simulations, sports games, puzzle games and all sorts really. I can only recommend the games that I have played, and so here's a list of the cream Sega Saturn games (the ones that I'm aware of!):
Daytona USA/CCE: both great playable racing games, incredibly fast although not as graphically impressive as Sega Rally. Worth it at £5 though! 2player mode is excellent, although the 1player, racing against 39 other cars, is also great fun.
Sega Rally: unfortunately the sequel on the Dreamcast hasn't been the best of racing games, and despite all the extra tracks and cars, I still prefer the original. Yep, Sega Rally 1 for the Saturn may only have 3 cars (maximum) after you've unlocked the Lancia Stratos, and there are only 4 tracks, but it's such a great game to play, with superb handling and a dazzling frame rate - 30fps is the same as on MSR, Sega Rally is brilliant fun. It's an arcade classic, but the Saturn version is worth the £2 or so that you'll be able to get it for!
Nights and 3D pad: I remember getting this one as a present, and it's definitely one of the most exciting and refreshing games I've ever played! Nights is made by the world famous Sonic Team, and is a truly superb game - the 3D controller is boxed with it (if you can find a box set version), and is similar to the Dreamcast pad! Nights will set you back around £15 - £30 depending on how many people are bidding, and what the condition is! If anyone has a mint box set with 3D pad, please let me know!
The fighting games! Well, the Saturn has many
2D 'em ups, mostly from Capcom, but I prefer the 3D games like Fighting Vipers, Last Bronx, Dead or Alive, Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighter's Megamix. The best of the lot has to be Fighter's Megamix, but you can get each of these titles for under a fiver, and you have to get hold of VF1 just to see how the graphics were like! Compare that to your Tekken Tag's and Soul Calibur's!
The RPGs etc: I'm not a great RPG fan, and the closest I've been to playing one is through Shenmue, but there are a lot of RPGs on the Saturn. Grandia is a classic (supposedly), and the Panzer Dragoon Series are in very high demand. Panzer Dragoon Saga in fact has been up to £100 at auction! Dark Saviour is great, but I would recommend the movie style Enemy Zero - possibly the best looking Saturn title, offering intense gameplay and really quite extraordinary effects.
The rest: Well you can get the first Tomb Raider on the Sega Saturn, and there's the brilliant Virtua Cop games - for which you can get a Virtua Gun. I think games like Quake, Doom and Duke Nukem - loads of titles like this are available here. The best sports game is probably Winter Heat, although Athlete Kings is possibly just as good. Both are by Sega sports, and are the best athletics games I've played!
Sega Saturn: aesthetically and musically. It looks pretty plain, and weighs in a little heavier than the original PlayStation. It's black, and does collect the dust well, but isn't the most interesting thing to look at! The front houses two controller ports, with the CD opening bay on the top. There have been two Sega Saturn’s - the mk1 and mk2 obviously - the mach 2 is slightly smaller, arrives in a smaller box and has a cheaper, horrible control pad - I recommend the mach 1! The controller is great (the mach 1), but the 3D pad outshines the rest. Sound wise, the Sega Saturn is as good as a CD player, and can be used as a CD player in fact! The game so
und will vary from title to title, but in general the sound is very good.
Should I or Shouldn't I? Well, you haven't got much to lose really. You can pick up a Saturn and 5 or 6 games for less than £50, and buying in a bundle is definitely worth it ;). If you like playing games, or just want something inexpensive, of a good quality to entertain the kids, or parents perhaps, then you can't go wrong. It's an alternative to a PlayStation, but why not have both!
At such great value, I recommend it. Sega deserve a round of applause, because the Saturn has some true classics - nearly all made by Sega themselves! 5 stars!
Thanks for reading my retro gaming opinion