Ahhhh, the Sega Saturn, the runt of the big 3 (Sega, Nintendo, Sony) consoles in the 90s.
Every single one of us can name off the great consoles we consistently played from that decade. NES, SNES, Genesis, Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation. For some of us maybe the Turbo Graphx 16? The one console that is left off the list is always the Sega Saturn, but why?? This system was actually pretty awesome and had some GREAT games, I am sure those that owned one would agree.
I get it, there was some hoopla behind the scenes happening that led to its demise (tough for developers to program games, SEGA supporting 3 systems at one time, etc…) But at the time, I had no clue any of that stuff was going on. I stayed true to the Saturn and always stood up to those that would dare demean it in front of me. All of my friends had PlayStations and whenever I would try to get a positive word in for the Saturn, it was taken with a grain of salt. “No way Saturn has as good of graphics”, “games aren’t even close to being as good”, “Virtua Fighter? Tekken kicks its ass”. I heard it all, and quite frankly after a while I gave up trying. Here I had a system I knew was great, had great games and I would just enjoy it on my own. Now sure, I played the PlayStation all the time and had a blast doing it at friends’ houses. But in the back of my head, I knew the Saturn was just as good, and that’s all that mattered.
The Sega Saturn had some of the best games of their individual genres at the time. Plus had some great cross system games that you could also get for the PlayStation anyway, I was set!World Series Baseball 98:
How many of you have ever played this game? If not, you are MISSING OUT on one of the best baseball games ever made. The gameplay was smooth, the physics were right on, interleague play, REAL batting stances! Man, this game had it all. My friend up the street had MLB 98 and eventually MLB 99 for the PlayStation, but those didn’t even come close to WSB 98. After a while we started to play WSB 98 exclusively over the PlayStation titles for our baseball fix, so at least I successfully converted one person!Virtua Fighter 2:
One of my favorites when it comes to 3D fighting games. I got this for free in a CD sleeve that came with a game I bought used (can’t for the life of me remember which one). While all my friends were drooling over the Tekken series, I was playing this. An honestly amazing fighting game that garnered some excellent reviews from various critics. It not only played faster than the original, but was graphically (by a long shot) superior as well. Sega spent a ton of time developing this game and it truly showed in the end product.Virtua Cop 1 and 2:
I got both of these games for Christmas of 96 (or it could have been 97, way too long ago). But at the time I didn’t have a light gun! (Santa can’t know everything) So I was forced to use the normal controller for a while (awful), until I finally got the Saturn mouse (which wasn’t too bad), then moved up to the Saturn Blue colored light gun. I have used many blasters through the years, but the Saturn one just felt the best and most comfortable overall. Either way, saying these games were a blast to play is an understatement. SO many late nights spent playing and replaying this game, along with the suffering school grades to prove it. Although Zelda: Ocarina of Time did have something to do with that as well later down the line, can’t put the blame on just one thing. I will take Virtua Cop 1 & 2 over any other shooting game, mostly because of those late night memories. But seriously if you haven’t played these yet, somehow find a way.
To this day I still sometimes find myself humming the music and vocals from Daytona USA. If you don’t know what I am talking about, YouTube it right now! I first played the arcade version at a place called Sega City, so when I heard this came out on the Sega Saturn, I bought it right away. By today’s standards of course it’s not much to look at. Only one car and 3 tracks to choose from, but when you crashed, the physical damage affected the way your car drove! That was amazing at the time, at least to me. But overall a very simple, yet very fun racing game.
On top of some console exclusives (for the most part), there were the cross over titles which in my opinion made owning a Saturn no different than owning a PlayStation.Resident Evil:
By the time I bought this game it was $19.99. My friend and I found this place online where when you signed someone up for some greeting cards they give you a $1. Yeah, we were shady and made up fake names, but frankly I didn’t care when 2 weeks later a check for $20 came in the mail. We hopped on our bikes and on down to Buy Back Games we went. It was a choice between Resident Evil or Jurassic Park: The Lost World. I read about Resident Evil before in gaming magazines so decided to pick it up really not knowing much about the survival horror genre. I remember very vividly my first experience of the zombie dogs unexpectedly smashing through the windows and completely pissing myself in the process.Jurassic Park: The Lost World
Speaking of Jurassic Park, I eventually picked this title up after playing it at a friend’s house on the PlayStation. So why not pick it up on the Saturn right? I always adored the T-Rex growing up (like countless others) so the fact you could play as the greatest dinosaur ever really sold it for me. It does get a bit repetitive, so I actually never ended up beating the game and got bored with it rather quickly. I think it was more of the principle of being able to play the exact same game on the Saturn as the PlayStation.Mortal Kombat II & Ultimate Mortal Kombat:
As close to the arcade as you are going to get for these ports. I never played the PlayStation version of MKII so I am not exactly sure how they stack up to each other. I know they never made UMK3 for the PlayStation, so that’s a win for me! But these titles still bring back to mind the good times had with the Saturn….and blowing people up with Kitana.
Yes, there were many more famous games for the Saturn which I never played. Radiant Silvergun, Panzer Dragoon Series, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter, and the list goes on.
I am sure they are all amazing, but really, I just wanted to bring up some great games from a fun system not too many people liked. I hope this brought back some memories for you. Did anyone here have a Saturn??