Wednesday 27 February 2008

The Gorgeous Saturn Joypad Keychain

I recently bought this gorgeous Sega Saturn Joypad keychain. It's completely made out of some kind of shiny metal and probably unlicensed, since there are no hints of a copyright and / or manufacturer on the back of it. But who cares, I certainly don't and I think it looks quite nice. And with 3,99 GBP it's quite cheap, too! Go grab one, too.

The sellers ebay Shop is located here. And the direct link to the keychain is this one.

Now I am thinking about buying another one, to actually put it on my bunch of keys. Hm...

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Apparently it is really shit...

Look just below this and you'll see yet another stunning post from star SJY correspondent elend... Apart from the excellent observation that us Saturn addicts, see all things Saturn related, with a certain rosy glow, it also tells us Death Crimson is... well, shit. As a true devotee of the Saturn, I had to check it out! Could it really be that bad?

Well, I just found the following funny (and frankly damning) review of Death Crimson over at the excellent Segagaga Domain website. The photos are nicked from there too, so be sure you visit it to make up for the blatant theft... As ususal the words are in the usual quotation red, to distinguish them from our own musings...

"Title - Death Crimson (デスクリムゾン)
Maker - Ecole Catalogue No. - T-23202G
Type - Gun Shooting Action

You may have seen Death Crimson 2 on the Dreamcast and maybe even Death Crimson OX which is actually not too bad, but have you ever seen Death Crimson 1 on the Saturn? If not then think yourself lucky because this is THE WORST looking Saturn game ever. Not only is it the worst looking game but also sounds and plays like shit. So much in fact that in Japan this game received the title of Kusosoft which basically means Shit Game ! But here is the odd thing. Death Crimson became so famous for being so shit that every copy of the original print sold out !! Ecole actually had to make a second print !

These days Death Crimson is a highly regarded cult game for the Saturn with copies selling for over 10’000 yen. Mine only cost 3800 yen though which I can tell you is very lucky. Anyway, bottom line is that this game is pure shit. It’s way too hard for a start. This is mainly due to poor collision detection, indistinguishable sprites and polygons and shear impossible targets. Now I don’t normally do this for games here at Segagaga Domain but just check out a few of the screen shots. I thought this was a joke release first time I saw it.

As you can tell from the title screen, this game is just poor and that CG monster has bugger all to do with the actual game!"

Oh and BTW if you want to buy a copy of this 'cult' game, it'll set you back £30. You can buy it from Play Asia here...

Monday 25 February 2008

The Hideous Death Crimson... Thing!

When you are in love with a console, like we are with the Saturn, you tend to see some things trough rose-coloured glasses. It's inevitable and makes out of the big graphical glitch, that is the Burning Rangers engine, something like "great graphics!". Yet everyone agrees, that the infamous Death Crimson lightgun shooter is one of the most horrible games produced for our beloved system.

Maybe it's some sick fetish, some kind of self experiment or he really really loved that game. Whatever it was, artist Takamasa Sumi created this monstrosity of an art installation. It's a giant "controller" sort of thing, with which you can play Death Crimson on a tiny TV. It was already shown in museums and art shows around Japan and even made it to the UK (Darwen, Lancashire). Have a look at some great pictures of it right here.

(Check this very colourful, custom painted Saturn in all its glory!)

The most cruel thing of it isn't the look of it or the frightening injuries you could receive whilst trying to play with it, but maybe the fact, that the Saturn's CD lid was glued shut. So you can only play Death Crimson with it. Death Crimson or nothing. Pestilence or Cholera.

See the official homepage of it here.

Sunday 24 February 2008

Sega Rally Revo Weekend...

As well as enjoying the delights of Area 51 this weekend, the main thrust of my gameplay has been the excellent Sega Rally Revo on Xbox 360. Typical of me, I have had the game sitting under the TV since Christmas Day, and only this weekend did I decide to give it a play.

I'm absolutely hooked! As the guy in the video explains, it has many a references to the original game and indeed the developers at the British based Sega Racing Studio, had an original Sega Rally Arcade cab (like the one I'm pictured in below) in their building so that they never lost sight of the glory of the first incarnation.

The game also provided me with my first ever online play, as I raced total strangers over the magic of the internet. That's it, I'll be obsessing over this title for a long time to come, trying to shave seconds off lap times and unlocking all the unlockable content!

It could very well knock the original Sega Rally off the top spot for my favourite driving game of all time!

Saturday 23 February 2008

Area 51

At last! The familiar sound of a parcel dropping onto the porch floor, and lo and behold, this time it's contents were intact and in perfect condition. Ah! Area 51, all the way from the good ol' US of A. The first thing I noticed was the box. It was unlike any Saturn box I'd seen before! The same size as the PAL European boxes, but see through clear hard plastic, like a giant audio cassette case! Inside, the manual was present and pristeen. I checked the disc and there was barely a mark on it! Happy Days!!!
I popped it into the Saturn and plugged in the Light Gun... Excellent! The game can be played in two modes, arcade and practise, as a one or two player mission. It also features a special "cowboy mode" allowing one player to play holding two guns, one in each hand!

The back story to the game is rather nice! The manual starts with a memo to S.T.A.A.R.s (Special Tactical Advanced Alien Response) team members from 'Lieutenant Leneral G. Ilovewar'. (Jeez! D'you think it's a real person?!!!)

Unsurprisingly, the story centres around Area 51, the 'top secret' air base in Nevada, supposedly the place where the US government stores it's crashed UFOs and alien bodies...
A virus has spread from down there in the basement and has infected the staff, turning them into zombies... All under control of evil alien race the Kronomorphs...

The rest is your standard on-rails shooter. But in terms of the phrase 'on rails', the game has an imaginative track for you to follow. At points you're walking through the base, at points you're on the back of a truck, on a rope ladder hanging from a chopper and so on...

The aliens pop up from everywhere! Conveniently, they often hide behind very explosive barrels. They also rather conveniently dress in colours that denote their kill potential! Purple means they take a lot of shooting!

Weapon upgrades and extra ammo are conveniently (that word again...) littered around the place, as are hidden rooms and pathways that can be accessed by shooting windows. In short, the game is a CLASSIC! I'll shout it from the roof tops! How has this game not entered the hall of fame of Saturn light gun shooters?

I knew about (and loved) Virtua Cop 1 & 2 as a current gen Saturn owner way bak in the mid nineties... I discovered HOTD for the Saturn, after I'd bought and played HOTD2 on the Dreamcast... But I knew nothing of Area 51 till I played the ancient arcade game last year (at my caravan site in Wales) and 'till 2008 I didn't know it was a Saturn port...

I've spent damn near £40 to obtain this game and it's luscious!! I consider it an essential part of my collection! For a start, it's one of the best looking Saturn games, due to the video-rendered graphics. The sound bites of the S.T.A.A.R's voices shouting commands, the background music and every other feature is fantastic!

This is a keeper, a Saturn game that I know I will replay again and again! I'll try and improve my scores and get better and better! There is also a feature of the game that allows you to replay the game, if you are skilled enough to complete it, and allows you to replay the entire game with your accumulated score... Yet another brilliant feature!

Finally, it's relevent that this Light Gun shooter is the only Saturn game that is currently part of a current franchise... Area 51 on the Saturn is the grandaddy of Black Site on the 360! As mentioned in Guru Larry's last epistle on X League TV last time I watched...

To sum up (finally) I'm thrilled with my latest Saturn purchase and it's got pure replay value... I'll update you on how it's going down! This is Father K, a little bit tipsy, signing off!

The Saturn Software Sampler!

Forget the Whitman's... now here's a tasty treat with absolutely no calories or trans fats! A guy named GameOfYou has created a utility which offers footage and box artwork from one hundred and sixty Sega Saturn games. That's not the entire Saturn library, but all the classics are covered, including Radiant Silvergun, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, and that role-playing masterpiece Panzer Dragoon Saga.

This is an excellent resource for gamers who love the Sega Saturn but can't afford to spend money on every import they find on eBay. Just use the guide to sort the titles by genre, then watch the brief film clips to decide which ones are worthy of your collection. Now that's convenience!

Best of all, the Saturn sampler is free if you're willing to sit through a 600MB download. Just click the image above to visit GameOfYou's web site and click "Get One!" to, well, get one. Be sure to throw a few dollars in the man's PayPal tip jar if you find the sampler useful. Hey, he just kept you from spending three hundred dollars on the incredibly overrated Psychic Assassin Toramaru... you could spare him a few bills!

Friday 22 February 2008

Guru Larry's Retro Corner - Burning Rangers

Sorry for the lack of new posts on my part, but the fact is that it's been sometime since I last played on my Saturn. Shameful, I know, but to make up for that I present you the latest episode of Guru Larry's Retro Corner, this time with a lovely review of this hidden gem called Burning Rangers. Now, I've never played it myself, but judging from both Guru Larry's and J's reviews, it's a pretty awesome game.

Wednesday 20 February 2008

Ladies And Gentlemen Start your Engines! The Saturn Car!

The Forza 2 Motorsport game for the Xbox 360 is something really great. Not because it has some gorgeous graphics, great gameplay and fast cars. No, it is great, because it enables players to customize their cars with their very own decals. The colors they want, the shape they want, the place where they want it to be. It is not THAT easy though, since you can't load ordinary .JPG files into the game. You also don't have a brush tool or bezier curves to work with. Instead you have to alter standard shapes by resizing, skewing, rotating and altering the transparency to try and achieve the look you want. But that only makes it even more amazing...

The Sega Saturn Racing Car!

An incredible amount of work must have been put into this one. Everything, from the Virtua Fighter Logo up to the Akira character artwork was build from scratch. After the usual flood of penis shapes and pikachu cars, we finally get something like this. Now I feel the urge to buy my first car and actually get some real car decals, just like this one. The chicks will literally fly into your car and when every 4 seats are occupied, you have to put some into the boot! What a great vision.

More pictures of it here:

Monday 18 February 2008

Yet Another Saturn Flyer Resource

I'll never get tired of Sega Saturn releated merchandise / promo stuff. I came across the great Gamengai Site recently and noticed that they hoard quite a vast amount (over 200) of Sega Saturn related flyer scans. You may browse them all and bask in the perfection of great Saturn related artworks. I guess you won't be able to understand a thing, since they are all japanese, but who cares. Many of them look really gorgeous and often show cover artworks in all their glory.

Go, check them out! Gamengai has a lot more to offer, too. Their content ranges from translated interviews, scans of random Omake (bonus) stuff and informations to many Saturn games as well. So everyone should visit that page at least once a month.

Saturday 16 February 2008

Ripped Off... Again...

I keep buying stuff off eBay, but I've recently experienced my second Saturn disappointment in the space of a year... First was a Saturn steering wheel that didn't work... (Categorize that as disappointment #No.1)

Next I purchased a bundle off eBay... Virtua Cop, a red Light Gun and a holy grail, Area 51!!!

It cost me about £20 (or more!) for a game I already had (VC) , my 5th Light Gun and a really desired Light Gun title... Area 51! (Imagine my disappointment when said game came back with a huge crack on the disc...Categorize that as disappointment #No.2...)

So instead of trying to recoup my losses, I just went out and spent a further £20 on Area 51 again!

What depresses me is that I could've bought the Wii version of NiGHTS for the same amount of money....

But I didn't! If this disc comes back playable, I'll be happy...

Let's hope I get to shoot alien ass soon...

There's only so much a man can take...

Thursday 14 February 2008

Gaming Icons

Whilst my weekly Google browsing for Sega Saturn related stuff, I once again found something neat. Deleket (Jo), a Deviant Art user, has created a wonderful set of gaming icons, all in Macintosh style. From the Playstation up to the Famicom you can - of course - also find a Sega Saturn joypad amongst them. I really love the detail and 3D look of the icons. Check out the other pads and download them right here.

For some odd reason there is no Sega Dreamcast joypad, though?!

Wednesday 13 February 2008

Video Game Vault - NiGHTS!

Yup, it's time for a NiGHTs VGV. Well, what can I say? Apparently this video is somewhat old since they say NiGHTS 2 is still a rumour... Anyway, it's another chance to see this awesome game in action, and that's always good.

Monday 11 February 2008

Inspiration For Shun Di (VF2)

In a recently somewhat overlooked post, I expressed my disappointment with not finding the character Shun in Virtua Fighter Remix. Of course I didn't! As I came to (re)discover, Shun wasn't a playable charater till VF2, and VF Remix was a direct remake of the first incarnation, VF1.

Having done a little research on Shun's character, it seems he was a tribute to the character "Su Hai" played by martial artist Yuen Siu Tien. The videos below show perfectly the fighting style of Shun, (as demonstrated by a very young Jackie Chan) and also the "The Drunken Master" himself, in a most excellent comedic fight scene, which so brilliantly exemplifies my favourite genre of films.

So something of a tenuous Saturn Link, but I'm more than prepared to make it. Enjoy!

Plus, as a supplement, I'll throw in two clips of the legendary TV show "GamesMaster" featuring jovial Scottish host, Dominik Diamond. (I met him once when he opened a Virgin Gamestore in Stockport. As part of the opening me and Mrs.K (dressed as a frog and giant teddy bear were employed to hand out fliers...) We ended up getting pimmeled and poked by annoying white trash scallywags, but that's another story... Mr. Diamond now has a weekly page in the Daily Star newspaper. The oddly shaped headed guy with the monacle, (Gamesmaster) is actually respected astronomer Patrick Moore who has presented (and continues to present) the same TV show "The Sky At Night" for over 50 years on the BBC.

GamesMaster magazine is still sold in newsagents all over the UK.

GamesMaster VF2 Special Part 1

GamesMaster VF2 Special Part2

Tuesday 5 February 2008

Sega History Collection Gashapon

We all know those little vending machines for chewing gums from our childhood. They were available at every second corner (at least in germany) and sometimes even featured tiny little toys inbetween the chewing gum balls. Of course it was cheap crap only like rings made out of plastic or little cars. But when the japanese do something like that, they do it right. They have a similiar concept (called Gashapon) with some important differences: The chewing gum is gone for good, the prices range from 100 to 300 yen (1 - 3 USD) and inside you'll find toys only. What makes them really great is the fact, that you'll often find videogame related stuff in them. Little Nintendogs cell phone screen wipers, Capcom Vs. SNK 2 fighter figures and even the Sega History Collection, which is particulary interesting for us since it features a Sega Saturn as well!

Well yes, it basically is still cheap plastic crap, but of much higher quality, than anything that comes out of vending machines across Europe. Take a look at the pictures of the Sega Saturn. It's incredibly detailed and well painted. It has all ports modelled out, even the video and power ones. You can attach and detach the Joypad in its port and even open the lid. It's roughly about 3 cm in size and features lovely stickers with text on it as well. It comes with a Virtua Fighter 2 CD and jewel case, too! Isn't that great? You can often buy complete Sets of them from import shops like Play-Asia or browse ebay for them.

(click the pictures for a bigger view)

Saturday 2 February 2008

Virtua Fighter Mobile

Virtua Fighter is back! No, I am not talking about Virtua Fighter 5 or some Sega Ages PS2 Port, this time it's out for cell phones. It seems to be some Virtua Fighter 1 and 2 thrown together with the graphics similiar to Virtua Fighter 2 on the Saturn. To be honest it comes incredibly close to the visual brilliance that was Virtua Fighter 2. Only the backgrounds can't compare with our beloved Saturn version of the game, yet everything else seems to be intact. The resolution is quite amazing, the textures are even interpolated and the fighter detail seems to be up par with the Saturn game. The character portraits in the character select screen are some more recent ones. Probably from Virtua Fighter 4 or 5, which I've never played.

At first I thought that it has great graphics, especially for a mobile game. But then... how am I supposed to play that with the wonky keys of my cell phone? I think it's unplayable and a mere tech demo of what modern cell phones can do these days. But everything from the Saturn's past is welcome and so I'd file that under obscurity.

Check out some more and bigger screenshots right here.

Under the Influence

Man, what a find! Here's a Saturn-centric clip from a British television series called Bad Influence. It features three of the best games in the system's library, including Virtua Cop, Sega Rally Championship, and that most killer of apps, Virtua Fighter 2.

What's most peculiar about this clip are the celebrities used to test drive these games. They're Gladiators, yet quite clearly NOT the American variety I remember watching as a teenager (or now, for that matter). It's surreal to watch one of these muscle-bound, spandex-clad brutes sit down to a game of Sega Rally, then politely observe, "I say, these graphics are cracking good! Jolly good show, I say! Blimey, I would certainly enjoy a spot of tea right now..."

Friday 1 February 2008

Those Were The Days

Skip back to October 1994. The Saturn has already been anounced in Japan, but Informations are scarce. To what graphical prowess will the Saturn be up to? Hardly anyone knows yet and we can only dream about worlds, which we've never seen before. Then, new Daytona USA Screenshots appear in the german "Sega Magazin" Issue number 11. That must have been so exciting! And yes, it definitely was.

I recently bought a shitload of Sega Magazines from a mate and am now browsing them for Saturn informations. I wasn't there back then, when the Saturn arrived, so they are my only chance to get a glimpse of what was going on back then. And boy it must have been so exciting. When browsing Issue 11 I found those Daytona USA screens, which are obviously from a beta build. And I really do like the way, the Sega Magazin is writing about it. See for yourself:

I sadly never experienced that kind of thrill for a Saturn game, so it was quite a nice read for me. I especially like, how they rave about the mountain in the background, which "shows what the Saturn is graphically capable of". I mean, it is just a low-res picture, they must have thought it's completely in 3D? It's somewhat funny and somewhat sad at the same time. Back in 1994 I was playing with my Amiga and ignored consoles almost completely and when I played Daytona USA in around 2001 for the first time I thought (to be honest): "Wow, that looks crappy!". I think I would have thought different back then. But who knows. I'll never know. For everyone else: Check out the beta screens, read how amazing they were back then, close your eyes and savour it.

Here's the original german version, which shows that I didn't make that up. Hehe.

As always, click the pictures for a much bigger view.