Saturday 20 July 2019

Life on Saturn

Thoughts from someone who, until recently, had never owned or played a Saturn.

I love racing games. It's one of those genres, along with tower defence, which I just keep coming back to. I get a buzz from starting a race and then realising that I know the track from a completely different game (or indeed system.)

It's one of my gaming regrets that my family do not really enjoy racing games. There's no one who will go head to head with me in anything other than Mario Kart. And whilst MK has its place and is huge fun, races which aren't decided by a well placed banana hold more appeal to me.

Which brings me onto...

Image result for daytona saturn

The only other Daytona game I've played is a Dreamcast one which I remember being extremely twitchy. So I was interested to see how its predecessor played.

The first thing that hit me about the game was the music. I'm sure there's been loads written about it so I'm not going to say much other than: it seems incredibly positive. The sort of thing which might be played at a funeral as people are leaving. So musically, it's a big thumbs up.

The other aspect about the sound which I found interesting was the voice. It's everywhere! I wondered if SEGA (or AM2?) were trying to prove a point back in the day. My favourite instance was when I inputted my initials. Especially when it said all 3 back to me like it was trying to read.

As I started the game my 14 year old daughter glanced up from her book, "Why does it say 'Gentlemen start your engines?"
Image result for daytona saturn crash
Just in case you didn't hear it.


Whilst racing, my 16 year old son wanders in to ask if I'd like a go at Tetris 99. He looks at the tv and adds, "but I can see you're playing this graphical masterpiece!"
Honestly, the youth of today.

But, in truth, I didn't really try to defend the graphics. I found them difficult to enjoy. I prefer the handling to the Dreamcast version but I find the game as a whole rather headache inducing.

As with all driving games, I'm not very good when I first start. It is easy to overtake a few cars but then I started to bump into the walls and lose a lot of speed. I liked the skid animation and the crashes were impressive. There's always something satisfying about smashing cars up. I liked the way the car took damage and the suspension started to rapidly rock up and down as if there were a couple of bunnies inside doing what bunnies do best.

The ultimate test of whether a driving game is enjoyable in our house is how long it takes someone to start driving backwards round the course. I knew the game was not going to be a winner when my 9 year old, who wanted a turn, began to do this after just a few laps.

I enjoyed Daytona but, sadly, I won't be coming back to it very often. The graphics and frame rate just hold it back for me.

Now, where's that banana?