Thursday 15 December 2011

Christmas NiGHTS Retro Review

'Tis the season for revisiting Christmas NiGHTS! This year I wrote up a review of the game over at SEGAbits. Christmas NiGHTS was and is one of Sonic Team's best gifts to the fans (next to the free Sonic Adventure 2 birthday pack). It's so full of legit Christmas magic! None of that "holiday" bullshit, Sonic Team knows which holiday people are referring to and they straight up say it in the title of the sampler disc.

Check out the full review here, and have a merry Christmas or happy Hanukkah!

Thursday 8 December 2011

Interview: Mark Cochrane, former producer and worldwide acquisitions manager at Psygnosis

From PC World comes an interesting interview with former Psygnosis producer Mark Cochrane. Saturn fans should recognize Psygnosis, they developed Destruction Derby and Wipeout 2097.  Mark sheds a bit of light on porting the games to the Saturn:

Games such as Wipeout and Destruction Derby were initially released and found success on the PlayStation before they were later ported to the Sega Saturn and PC. What challenges did Pysgnosis face in porting the games to the other two platforms?
MC: The PlayStation and Saturn platform hardware was very different, and the way code needed to be written for each made porting challenging. For example, when making PC ports we needed to have a decent minimum spec and graphics card support for the games to be enjoyed.
Games such as Destruction Derby and Wipeout 2097 were ported to the Sega Saturn, but games such as Formula 1 and Destruction Derby 2 were notably absent. How and why were certain titles selected for porting to the Saturn and some weren't?
MC: From memory, I believe most would make it over eventually, but the porting challenges remained and finding teams capable of doing the work in a timely manner contributed in largish delays between releases on the formats.

Check out the full interview here!

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Daytona USA returns to XBLA and PSN!

There's been a lot of love for the Saturn from Sega as of late, what with the release of Guardian Heroes on XBLA just recently complete with that brilliant Saturn avatar shirt (now can we have this game on PSN too please?) and in just a couple of weeks we also have the racing classic that is Daytona USA on the way!

As you can see from the trailer, it's a straight up port of the original arcade machine, now in wide-screen, HD and with no pop up! As Saturn gamers, we all know about pop up for this game hahaha. Saying that the first Saturn port was probably the closet to the arcade we ever got until now; this was the only version that got the handling and atmosphere down to a tee! Even with the wonky graphics it was still highly playable, I know I put a tons of hours into it! Also it is unknown as of yet if this version will have the unlockable playable horse!

Read my previous gush about this re-release over at Sega Memories! What's next from Sega, can we expect some more Saturn goodness?

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Guardian Heroes Avatar Items Hit XBOX Live!

Sure, sure. People moan about pay-to-"wear" XBOX avatar items, but secretly they love them and occasionally buy one but claim they got it through a promo code or pre-order incentive. Well here is one set of avatar gear that you don't have to be embarrassed about buying: Guardian Heroes avatar items! Dress as any of the main characters, keep Nando as a pet, dress as the undead OR sport an AWESOME SEGA Saturn logo t-shirt.

I picked up the shirt, using points from the XBOX reward program. It's pretty sweet, you take a survey each month and fulfill other tasks and in exchange you get free points. It's pocket change, but great for avatar items.

Monday 15 August 2011

Super Tempo Review

You may have noticed in the comment box after the last post, that SJY reader 'gameofyou' alerted us to the fact that he had written a review of this lovely title for the esteemed gamefaqs website. I've taken the liberty of posting this fine review here at the SJY, but you can see it in it's original glory here... I experienced a moment of sadness as I read the line: "This game has the honor of being my final Sega Saturn game purchase..." Although the article was written in 2004, I wonder whether the author had persevered with the Saturn until this time, or simply written the review in retrospect during this year... Perhaps the man himself will enlighten us?
As is customary, to ensure that no one mistakes gameofyou's words for our own output, I'll post the article in our customary scarlet "quote colour". Enjoy!

Review by gameofyou

"It is indeed SUPER..."

Welcome to my first game review. This fantastic game desperately needs a review, so here I am to give it a shot. Super Tempo is a 2D platforming game, with musical themes. Featuring excellent graphics and a nice variety of game-play, Super Tempo is definitely worth checking out. Let's break it down.

When the game begins, the player is treated to an intro sequence in which a (quite humorous) song is played, in full English. Waiting at the Start Screen will lead to a second sequence playing out, which provides the premise for the game. Although all text is in Japanese, this game is quite playable by a non-Japanese speaker. Upon starting the game, you will notice that the colors in the game are very bright and vibrant. Some may not care for the "cartoonish" look of the game, but there's no denying that the 2D graphics are gorgeous. The sound effects for the game are very well done. Tapping the d-pad slightly to move the character results in a funny sliding sound. You can tell the developers had fun making this game. The background music is also very catchy and goes perfectly with the action on screen.

There are two characters that you alternately control on screen, a male character and a female character. Both characters can jump, and both characters have an attack move. The male character's attack consists of playing a violin which releases (shoots) bubbles at enemies. Once an enemy has been trapped by a bubble, you merely need to jump into the enemy to destroy it. The female character's attack consists of shooting fire. When enemies are destroyed, they leave behind musical notes, which your character collects. When the male character performs a jump, you can slow his descent by holding down the attack button. When the female character performs a jump, holding the attack button will actually allow you to GAIN in altitude. So there may be places which are unreachable by the male character, and you will have to wait until you switch. Switching character's may be done by finding a "phone booth looking" object within any given level. Although the game-play is 2D in nature, there are instances where you travel into the screen. Very similar to the system in Princess Crown, you may enter doors in the background by pressing UP on the d-pad. This is a nice addition to the basic 2D game-play. There is also a nice variety of levels, some of which have you swimming underwater or flying across the screen like a horizontal shooter. Of course there are also end-of-level boss fights, which are very entertaining. Skilled game players may find the game too easy. Since I can't read Japanese, I'm not sure if there is an option to change the difficulty level. It's also a fairly short game. I completed the game in just under 3 hours, but that was taking my time and exploring every area well.

Well, this can be a pretty difficult game to find. This game has the honor of being my final Sega Saturn game purchase. If you enjoy 2D platformers, and find this game for $50 or less, I would recommend that you pick it up. It is certainly one of the best 2D platformers on the Saturn. Even though there is no save feature (that I know of), no difficulty select (that I know of), and is fairly short in length, I am still giving this game a 10/10 because the good parts more than make up for it.

Reviewer's Score: 10/10, Originally Posted: 11/30/04

Saturday 23 July 2011

It's a new one on me... Super Tempo!

It's not too often these days, that I find something for the Saturn that I've not heard of before. But that is exactly what happened today when I was perusing my 'oft visited' and old favourite gaming discussion website, the Planet Dreamcast Forum. There is regular love for the Saturn shown by various forum members (it's hard to love the Saturn without having a soft spot for it's console 'son and heir' the Dreamcast- most of the SJY team are part of the DCJY as well!)

So! Back to the matter in hand, the wonderful looking, Japanese only, 2D platformer... "Super Tempo!" The Saturn really comes into it's own when showcasing 2D titles and I'm sure you'll agree that as well as fluid looking handling, the graphics are amongst the best looking by today's exacting standards.

Despite holding a special place in the hearts of retro-gamers everywhere, it's an undeniable fact that many Saturn games now look terribly dated and pixellated (House Of The Dead being a fine example of this phenomena...) However, I'm sure you'll agree that the footage you can see in the above video looks as good as any of the modern day 2D platformers on offer on XBLA/PSN or the Wii's Virtual Console...(Sonic The Hedgehog 4 anyone?)

So enjoy the visual feast provided below and may I also say a big thanks to PDC Forum member Twicesliced for revealing this previously unknown gem to all of us here at the SJY!

Thursday 7 July 2011

OverClocked ReMix presents NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming

The latest OverClocked ReMix album celebrates NiGHTS 15th anniversary with twenty-seven remixes of classic NiGHTS music. It really it a great listen, I especially enjoy the moody guitar riffs of the NiGHTS theme as well as the remixed boss tunes. The album is free to download at the official OverClocked ReMix site and comes in two flavors: an audiophile package containing lossless tracks and a more casual mp3 package. Give it a listen and share your thoughts!

Tuesday 5 July 2011

NiGHTS Turns 15!

Fifteen years ago, our favorite purple flying dream jester hit the SEGA Saturn. I could go on and on about how great a game NiGHTS was and is, but chances are that if you follow The Saturn Junkyard you already know this. It was the defining game of the console and perhaps is the first game that comes to mind when somebody says "SEGA Saturn". I still associate the 3D Controller with NiGHTS. I still wonder what the Saturn sequel Air NiGHTS would have been like. And I still am dissapointed that Journey into Dreams did not live up to the original.

Love NiGHTS? Why not boot up the ol' Saturn and give it a playthrough today. Want SEGA to rerelease NiGHTS? Visit NiD15 and show your support!

Again, happy anniversary NiGHTS!

Monday 30 May 2011

Sega Rally Online Arcade

So with the Saturn celebrating 16 glorious years since it first lightened up the lives of videogamers and Sega-heads everywhere, what better time than now to bring us back a piece of unparalleled Saturn driving glory?

Now, for a mere pittance of 800 microsoft points, you can re-live the magic of the original '95 Saturn Sega Rally Desert stage, only with the beautiful graphic quality of 2007's Sega Rally Revo and the sublime bouncy arcade car physics of Sega Rally 3!

This really is a Saturn fan's wet dream. At the moment the only cars you can race the Desert stage with are the Toyota Celica ST205 or the Lancia Super Delta HF Integrale, with no sign of Sandro Munari's Lancia Stratos HF so far. Whether this, as well as the Forest and Mountain stages from the original will eventually be downloadable or unlockable remains to be seen.

As for now, the joy of this blast of admittedly limited nostalgia is satisfying enough; with the addition of online leaderboards showing the best times worldwide, as well as the ability to race on the famed '95 Desert Stage against online opponents through xbox live - there is some longevity to be had here.

I've played it to death! My best time on the track so far is 2:31.79 with the Toyota Celica (automatic gears.) The handling is superb, plus the right noises and commentary on the soundtrack to really get those Saturn juices flowing!

If you haven't got a 360, it'll be out soon on PS3. Failing that, get your Saturn out and play the original! Despite the pixelllated visuals, the gameplay and handling are as good as ever!

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Happy 16th Birthday SEGA Saturn!

16 years ago today the beloved SEGA Saturn hit US stores following the announcement by SEGA of America President Tom Kalinske at E3 that the Saturn was now available in select retailers. While this move was one of SEGA's biggest mistakes ever, we'll not get into that. Instead, we'll celebrate the day as being the day the Saturn entered American homes!

To celebrate this event, SEGA Network partner SEGAbits is spending the entire month (and the week of June leading up to E3) to talk about all things Saturn! Expect to see Saturn-centric weekly features, reviews, videos, podcasts and more. I even plan on featuring some classic Saturn Junkyard articles. Sounds like fun, eh? Check out the Saturn theme I helped apply to SEGAbits:

Expect to see some exciting articles here at the Saturn Junkyard as well! It's a month you won't want to miss.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Guardian Heroes HD Heading to XBLA!

Looks like the Saturn is finally getting some rerelease love! The Saturn classic Guardian Heroes is heading to XBOX Live Arcade courtesy of SEGA (and perhaps Treasure?). Check out the press release:
SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA® Europe Ltd. today announced the upcoming re-release of Guardian Heroes™, a classic Action-RPG Brawler by celebrated developers Treasure. Originally released for the SEGA Saturn™ in 1996, Guardian Heroes has been re-mastered with enhanced graphics, online co-op and battle modes, all-new modes of play, and more. The game will be available via Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft this fall.

“Ever since we began to make SEGA’s classic Dreamcast and the Mega Drive titles available for modern systems, the fan response has been overwhelming – and the demand for their favorite games has been pouring in,” said Haruki Satomi, VP of Digital Business at SEGA. “Players have been clamoring for this treasured favorite from the Saturn days, and we cannot wait to show them what we have got for them.”

Guardian Heroes brings the Saturn favorite to life with new HD graphics, presenting Treasure’s iconic fast-paced gameplay on a new generation of hardware, with all of the convenience of purchase via instant download. The game also features:

  • Action-RPG Brawling: Choose one of five heroes to level up and guide along a branching storyline with five different endings 

  • Friends, Foes, and Fighters: Play the game’s Story Mode alone or with a second player, or challenge Versus Mode with up to 12 players at once

  • Extended Gameplay: Time Attack Mode, Arcade Mode, Arrange Mode and more allow players to explore every nuance of 45 different fighters 

  • Fully Re-Mastered: All-new graphics and visual effects bring the classic to life in a completely high-definition, widescreen presentation
Sounds fantastic! And it certainly will be less expensive than what the Saturn version goes for on ebay.

UPDATE: Head on over to SEGAbits to see Gamespot's preview and interview. Gameplay footage awaits, in both Saturn graphics and HD graphics!

[Source: NeoGAF and SEGAbits]

Friday 22 April 2011

Nobody should have this many copies of Panzer Dragoon Saga. NOBODY!

In my monthly ebay browsing for SEGA Saturn goodies, I came across this ebay  seller who has WAY too many copies of Panzer Dragoon Saga on his hands. I was actually quite pissed off to see how many he had. Of course, he's selling them now, but imagine how many years these sat unplayed. No great game deserves to sit on a shelf with seven identical copies of itself. Game hoarding at its worst.

Still, if you have $200+ to spare, here are multiple chances to buy a copy of the game.

Saturday 22 January 2011

Puyo Puyo Sun - It's Always Sunny on the SEGA Saturn!

I hit the local retro video game store today, and boy did I get some good stuff! I picked up the Limited Edition Shenmue (complete with the Jukebox CD) for $17, Alien Front Online in box with mic for $15 and a Shenmue strategy guide. But I'm not going to focus on those goodies, this is the Saturn Junkyard! While I only picked up one Saturn game, I cannot wait to play it. It's Puyo Puyo Sun!

The Saturn import selection was surprisingly large, despite many of the games not being priced and sitting in boxes on the floor. Still, I dug about, chose a few games and requested their prices. Puyo Puyo Sun was a very reasonable $8, so into my invisible cart it went!

Japanese manuals, particularly for Saturn and Dreamcast games, are stunning. Full color, tons of artwork, mini comics, developer profiles! It's a shame western releases are so bland by comparison.

The booklet was crammed with tons of little bits of paper. Registration cards, some flyer promoting... something and best of all: glow in the dark stickers!

I couldn't capture them in a photo, but trust me, they glow a brilliant green hue. So far the game has been great, and I haven't even played it yet! I've just been paging through the manual and holding the stickers under the lamp. Good times.

Saturday 1 January 2011

Happy New Year 2011, Go Play Christmas NiGHTS!

Happy New Year, SJY readers! Hoping you have a safe, happy and Saturn-filled 2011. May Segata Sanshiro bless you.

While you're getting over your champagne headache, why not play Christmas NiGHTS? Today you'll be treated to a special intro screen, character costumes and stage music in celebration of the new year! Just make sure that your Saturn clock is correct (mine was thanks to my replacing of the internal battery).
image courtesy of the forums