Why Sega Saturn Is the Greatest of All Failed Sega Consoles
In 1995, console gaming was on the cusp of a new era. 16-bit systems went the way of the buffalo as 32-bit became the new standard. Suddenly, home gaming could become so much more than side-scrolling platformers.
Naturally, the console wars of this era were as brutal as a cannon fight between rival pirate ships. Each new console that came out was either a huge success or a complete failure.
At this time, Sega released the Sega Saturn console—their 32-bit successor to the Sega Genesis. Sadly, due to some horrible marketing decisions by Sega, the Saturn crashed and burned right out of the gate
The real tragedy is that Sega had an incredible selection of Saturn games already in development. Some of these are the best 90s games ever, and they’re not available anywhere else.
To prove that Sega Saturn is the best failed console, we’ve listed the best Sega Saturn games below. Read on to learn more.
Panzer Dragoon Saga
Even after a game console fades into obscurity, the system’s best titles are usually ported to other systems. In that respect, Panzer Dragoon Saga is like Sega Saturn equivalent to the Lost Ark of the Covenant.
This incredibly imaginative RPG adventure was never re-released anywhere. Even worse, the game was released towards the end of the Saturn’s lifespan, so few copies were ever made. Also, it’s generally considered to be the best Sega Saturn game ever released.
Panzer Dragoon Saga is the role-playing sequel of the successful Panzer Dragoon rail shooter series. In the game, you explore awesome new worlds upon the back of your trusty dragon sidekick.
The world-building and 3D modeling are nothing short of breathtaking. And its epic storyline pushed the boundaries of the genre, being one of the first to require not one but four game discs.
If you ever set foot in any convenience store in the mid-1990s, you were likely greeted by an arcade machine emblazoned with Metal Slug across the top. (You can still find these enjoyable relics in many Laundromats.)
This coin-op hit by SNK was released for the Saturn after its first console release on the Neo-Geo. Of the two, the Saturn port contained bug fixes and better animation.
Plus, it delivered all the gory, cartoonish violence of its arcade predecessor. Metal Slug proved that, if done right, side-scrolling shooters never really die. All that’s required for a good time is a well-coiffed hero, unlimited bullets, and a never-ending stream of bad guys.
Sadly, this title was only released in Japan for the Sega Saturn. Luckily, it has since become available on many other systems.
Virtua Cop is another game that we all loved to play at 7-11 with a Slurpee and a microwave burrito. With the Sega Saturn port, you can relive this experience at home (if you stock up on convenience snacks first).
Even the Light Gun you plugged into the console looked remarkably like the arcade gear. And it functioned just as well, too.
In the game, you play as a muscle-bound cop taking out members of a crime syndicate. Much of the frustration/fun derives from trying not to shoot the civilians, who seem compelled to dive into your line of fire every chance they get.
Some other great rail shooters on the Sega Saturn would include: The House of the Dead, Scud, Revolution X, and Radiant Silvergun "which is a phenomenal import game" which we have in stock in our store.
Die Hard Arcade
There’s something about shooting a villain in close quarters with a grenade launcher that never gets old. While there are many current games in which to enjoy this pastime, Die Hard Arcade was one of the first to turn close-quarters combat into an art form. The massively fun combat of Die Hard Arcade was interspersed with slow-motion cut-scenes, adding delicious impact to your violent victories.
Yet another fantastic arcade port, Virtua Fighter was one of the best arcade 3D fighters of its day. And, having stood the test of time, it’s still a favorite among fighting game enthusiasts today. Also, aside from buying a Virtua Fighter arcade cabinet, the only way to play this game at home is on the Sega Saturn or the 32X (Sega’s other 32-bit console failure). Other notable games Street Fighter, Fighting Vipers, X-Men vs Street Fighter
Sega Rally Championship
Rally-racing games are like Jell-O: there’s always room for them in any console lineup. The top example on the Saturn was definitely Sega Racing Championship.
It was one of the first racing titles to feature vehicles that reacted to specific types of terrain. This, plus the solid game controls, give Sega Racing Championship a high replay value to this day.
Nights into Dreams
While Panzer Dragoon Saga was imaginative, Nights into Dreams was downright psychedelic. Granted, the premise for this 3D platformer wasn’t too complex—you help a couple of kids find colored spheres across different worlds.
But what really makes this title stand out is the visually stunning experience of soaring through vivid, wonderous dreamscapes & the spectacular graphics. This is why Nights into Dreams still ranks at the top of many “best of” lists.
In fact, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that it’s the one game he regrets never having created. That’s high praise coming from the genius who gave us Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda. We have the not for resale version for sale in our store.
Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean
While polygon-based adventures like Final Fantasy VII were taking the world by storm, Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean showed us that sprite-based RPGs are far from dead. In fact, it made sprite-based gaming more beautiful than ever before, thanks to the Saturn’s 32-bit graphics.
Aside from awesome visuals, AOLoE has magic swords, classic Final Fantasy-style gameplay, and an engaging story. What more could you ask for in an RPG?
Legend of Oasis
Legend of Oasis is what you’d get if you tuned Link’s Awakening into an awesome-looking, 32-bit RPG. Only, the combat system in this game is more action-packed, and it includes summon magic!
Shining the Holy Ark
Apart from Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shining the Holy Ark is the best Sega Saturn RPG there is,period. Or, at least, it's the best one available in the U.S.
First, the 3D graphics are better than most if not all PS1 titles. Comparably, they’re certainly more attractive than the LEGO characters featured in Final Fantasy VII.
Not to mention, fully 3D RPGs were unheard of in 1996. Add to that some incredible game design/storytelling and the result is Shining the Holy Ark: the perfect Sega Saturn RPG. Some other top saturn games in the RPG genre would have to include: Dragon Force, Burning Rangers, Shining Force.
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