Sunday, 26 July 2020

Five Platform Games On The Saturn Which Still Hold Up In 2020

Do you ever start something and think to yourself; "I really don't know what I'm doing here..."? Well I think that is the starting point for this brief consideration of platform games on the Saturn. As I started, I realised I didn't really have the exhaustive knowledge necessary to write this article, that I was unaware of all examples of the genre available for our 32 Bit obsession, and that I hadn't even played any of these games sufficiently to actually pass judgement on them.

SO - please look upon this written passage as a way for you to dip your toe in the waters of Saturn platforming, rather than an exhaustive deep dive into the ocean of up and down, left to right and occasional back and forth...

My initial consideration was about the exact type of game I should include... should I include games such as Sonic 3D, NiGHTS or Burning Rangers? Should I include Castlevania or Metal Slug - both of which contain platforming elements - the directional side to side and up & down movement, being integral to both games? Should I include Clockwork Knight - (by far my most played Saturn platformer, but also one which I had highlighted before?) In order to cover myself on all fronts, let's just re-brand this article as "5 Platform Games On The Saturn (Part 1)" implying there will be careful consideration of other games in the future!

Okay, caveat over, we'll dive straight in...

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Duke Nukem 3D - Don't Steal Our Chicks

A game that needs very little introduction on its own and was another landmark in the First Person Shooter genre of video games. Duke Nukem wasn’t perfect, but it certainly was a fantastic way to jump from Doom to a new age of games when it came to play style. Where Doom made different vertical levels possible, Duke Nukem made it to where you could not only jump, vertical aim and platform, but also fly around on a jet pack. There were now recognizable structures that you could view around a city with different environments and entire alien worlds.

After the abysmal port of Doom to the Sega Saturn, many might think that Duke would be similarly tainted by framerate and movement problems. The exact opposite is true, as it ported the game with seemingly no differences and even did it better than the Playstation and the N64. Textures, lighting and graphics were transported to the system and it delivered on an amazing scale.

As said before, it wasn’t perfect. Using the controller was a bit of a switch from the normal keyboard and mouse and it took some getting used to, especially when it came to things like aiming. However, the learning curve worked well with the levels. As difficulty grew, so too did your ability to use the Saturn controller. Many, such as myself, played this port of Duke Nukem more than the PC itself.

With such great innovations as environments rich with both detail and interactivity, Duke Nukem had a great deal of high points that still shine bright today. The main character was a badass, although his one-liners weren’t exactly what we’d call original. His large array of weapons was a lot of fun to sort through and test out in the battlefield.

While his franchise didn’t exactly pan out very well at the end of it, it certainly shined in the early games. Duke Nukem 3D remains the best game in the entire line-up and that is not an insult to the other games. They even made the conversion over to the Saturn with grace and elegance and you can master the controls in no time. If you have the opportunity to pick up this title, do not hesitate. Although, it has become somewhat pricey among the retro gaming community. Just stay safe and game well while you’re drinking water.