Friday 30 March 2018

Sengoku Blade video review

I first reviewed this game 10 years ago. You can still read that here:

and it's an interesting time capsule of the period.

I never addressed the gameplay mechanics that make this game unique, probably because I didn't even notice them. That's a testament to the game, that it can still be accessible and engaging even if you barely know how to play it, as I apparently did (familiars have a special attack? What???).

The Saturn Junkyard was a lot smaller and more intimate, as you can see from my last message to our old friend elend. Father K had a bad habit. Underground Gamer was still around (god, I miss that site).

I mentioned how "The web obviously can't make it justice, with small images and blurry videos", which might seem weird nowadays but that was the reality of the time. Youtube was only 2 years old, and only supported videos in 240p. Even images weren't usually up to the resolutions that we're accustomed to nowadays. Back then I still had a 4:3 monitor with a maximum resolution of 1280x1024. And depending on where you lived broadband speeds could be...lethargic...

You can see why we've since taken to video production so strongly. For 10 years I wanted to do that, but I had neither the equipment, the internet speed or even, in the early days, the adequate streaming platforms to do it. The result of all that pent up passion is the video at the start of this article. Compare that to my first written review and tell me what you think.

Monday 26 March 2018

The Fine Art Of The Shoot 'Em Up by SEGA LORD X

This month on the Junkyard we have the extreme honour of featuring the musings and opinions of YouTube legend and Saturn devotee, SEGA Lord X!!! Not only does Sega Lord X produce the finest no-nonsense
video-based insights into the Saturn's hidden gems, he is also a generous supporter of our growing Saturn community. That being so, he has allowed us to reproduce his recent Facebook post here on the Junkyard. On our last Titancast
we discussed Shmups... Here SEGA Lord X shares his thoughts on the subject...

"The shoot'em up has been a staple of gaming for over 30 years. I can remember vividly playing Eugene Jarvis's Defender in the arcade at just 7 years old, in fact. The horizontally scrolling screen, flashing graphics, and iconic sounds, stick out as a pivotal moment in my gaming memories. It berthed my love of what would become one of the hobbies most prominent genres for years to come. 

Sunday 25 March 2018

Pure and Perfect Pandemonium!

  1. wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar...

Pandemonium - One of my favourite games from the 32 bit generation. The reason I open this article with that statement, as opposed to "one of my favourite Saturn games..." is that I originally experienced this game and indeed, played it to it's conclusion - on the PlayStation. Yes it's time for one of those Father Krishna confessions again... but hold on! Before you light up your Tiki torches and prepare to storm Krishna Towers, I tell you this only to put my experience of the game into context. It remains, along with Casper, the only game I own on both systems. "But Father K..." I hear you cry... "This is the Saturn Junkyard, not the PlayStation Junkyard!" Calm down dear reader... to all intents and purposes, the games are exactly the same... You're not going to hear that familiar cry: "The Saturn port is inferior!" So lets delve into this classic and see what all the pandemonium is about...

Saturday 10 March 2018

Pseudo Saturn And How It Changed My Life

When I decided to crowbar open the rusty gates of the Saturn Junkyard, back in September 2017, my intention was to simply and carefully explore, my collection of approximately sixty PAL games and about twenty Japanese imports. The lion's share of my personal collection, had been procured about twelve years ago in the mid-noughties, from the wonderful 'Gamestation' (nestled within the confines of entertainment behemoth Blockbuster - remember that?) The majority of those games were bought for approximately £2.50 to 10.00, many within the infamous BOGOF deal (buy two and only pay for the more expensive title.) They were also bought at a time when I was realistically more interested in the Dreamcast, and so only the finest Saturn games purchased at that time - House OF The Dead for example - got any kind of playtime...

Monday 5 March 2018

Saturn Emulation Reaches New Heights with YabaSanshiro!

Hi, it's your friendly neighborhood Saturn addict, ArugulaZ. I've got some important news to report, but first... uh, we need to talk. Whenever I go to Blogger to update my own blog, I get redirected to the Saturn Junkyard instead, because it's more frequently updated. See though, I'm just a contributor here. I'm the editor of Kiblitzing, and I'd really rather my blog come up first... it would make it easier to post new entries and check my stats. If there's any way to force it to become my default (aside from the obvious solution of being dropped from the Saturn Junkyard staff), please let me know... I'd appreciate it.

Okay, now onto the good stuff. Console hacking and emulation site recently reported that the Saturn emulator uoYabause has been rechristened YabaSanshiro. It's also been updated several times since the name swap, drastically improving its speed and performance. Reddit user OldManKain tested over thirty of his own games with the emulator, and reports that a sizable majority of the titles run perfectly or with only minor issues. My own testing has not been nearly as thorough, but I tried four different titles and the lion's share of them ran brilliantly on my crusty old desktop. These include Radiant Silvergun and Bulk Slash, two games which ran at the speed of slug on other Saturn emulators. Hold on, let me dig up some pictures...

Here's Bulk Slash, a futuristic action title that looks better than Virtual On and runs at a faster clip than the Armored Core series on Playstation. You pick up hitchhiking co-pilots, you lob bombs at cannons, you transform into a jet and rain hot death on your enemies... it's ten tons of iron-plated fun, and it's a shame that it's never been ported to other systems. Most emulators can't handle Bulk Slash, downshifting into first gear when the action gets too intense, but YabaSanshiro runs it at roughly the same speed as a real Saturn. That alone makes it worth the download.

But wait, there's more! YabaSanshiro also runs Radiant Silvergun without much difficulty. It seems just a hair bit slower than it was on the Saturn, but everything else, from the legions of enemies to the powerful sword clap that sweeps them all off the screen, has remained intact. Note that my gaming desktop is from 2011, an antique by today's standards. You'd need a machine with much higher specs to get the same kind of performance from competing Saturn emulators.

Here's Street Fighter Alpha Zero 3, the best home version of the game until the PSP release came along five years later. It looks gorgeous in YabaSanshiro, and runs without any apparent glitches. However, as you'll notice from this image, the top of the screen is slightly cut off. Hitting Alt+Enter a couple of times brings back those extra pixels, but I haven't found a permanent solution to this problem.

The only game that gave me any real issues was Street Fighter: The Movie... you'll notice here that Ken and Vega's shadows have horizontal stripes, and another stage has a layer that covers the entire bottom third of the screen, obscuring the characters as they battle. On the plus side, the transparent shadows that trail your character during super moves have been preserved. Why they're here in Street Fighter: The Movie and not in more worthy Saturn games is anyone's guess.

You can download YabaSanshiro from the developer's web site. Just keep in mind that you'll also need the Visual C Redistributable (x86) to make it work... you can find that here. Also, be sure to set the video plugin to OpenGL so all the layers display properly. Find some Saturn games, plug in your favorite controller, and have a yaba-saturn gay old time.

Thursday 1 March 2018

Die Hard Arcade VS. Dynamite Cop: A Sega Brawler Grudge Match!

Now playing on the Saturn Junkyard YouTube channel:

Join Virtua Schlub in this hard-hitting Grudge Match episode starring Sega's OTHER iconic beat 'em up games, Die Hard Arcade and Dynamite Cop (a.k.a. Dynamite Deka 1 & 2 in Japan). In this episode, these classic 3D brawlers face off in an action-packed showdown with all of the sumo pirates, killer robots, and frozen tuna beat-downs you can handle!