Saturday, 20 May 2023

Neptune - 10 Saturn Games That Saved the Day!


Allow me to take you back over the past few months. If you could allow me the subjective anecdote into my personal computer life, my desktop decided that it did not much like having a graphics card anymore and shed itself of it. To repair it would cost more than the system itself, so there came an upgrade in the form of a new PC. With my graphics card experiencing a slow death, my choice of games were especially limited when it came to the computer. So, of course, I turned to my classic games and the old pal, Mr. Saturn. With the higher graphics games buzzing funny colors, there came a basic gaming void in my life, so here we come to lean on the system I met when I was 10 years old.

Today, I'm here to tell you that my new computer stopped working as well. In fact, it just flat out broke twice in the two months since I have purchased it, and I just got it back. The thought of it going out again is very possible, but once again, these are the top games that got me through this ridiculous barrier of broken first world problems.


No, I did not stutter and you are not blind. The Sega Saturn version of Doom is, by far, one of the most overlooked ports of this legendary game. This is for good reason, but I do not care. There's still plenty to love here. There was enough play here to where the first seven or eight levels weren't so bad with Doom 2, which is accessible from the start. The cheats, along with the mild annoyance in controls and framerate make this a pretty great distraction. Using the Super Shotgun in every single level of Doom. That is awesome! It doesn't matter if you can do that in other ports or not, I consider that a win! Bad reputation or not, this version of the game blasts big fat demon guts straight across Hell and back!


The Saturn boasts two of the most influential First Person Shooters ever made. One was done not-so-well but still playable, this one was done with a level of quality that is still rather mysterious. By all accounts, Doom should have been the one to knock it out of the park and Quake should have been the misfire of the ages. For some reason, the two were swapped and Quake became one of the better ports. Quake is just a dark, gothic game that revolutionized the gaming industry with its fully rendered 3D mechanics that had never been seen before at the time. It's the same shooting and gibbing enemies, finding keys and getting lost in labyrinths, while also looking bad ass while doing it!

                                                                                        Virtua Fighter Kids

If you were looking for a reasonable explanation as to why, of all versions and iterations of the VF game, would I pick this one, I do not have one. For some reason, this one was just faster paced and simpler to deal with than the other titles in the series. There is a grand scale that Virtua Fighter stands on, because it was definitely a stand out in Sega's arsenal against Tekken. Virtua Fighter never floundered in quality and VFK was no slouch in the lineup. These kids are just adorable and it's a title that never forgets to have fun with its own concept.

                                                                                            House of the Dead

Sometimes, when you're feeling down or need to relieve some stress, there's nothing better than a simple game of shooting up zombies. There's something so deeply satisfying when you're unloading bullets into an already dead person who's still moving. This game may not be as good as its sequel, nor is this port as good as the arcade edition, but that literally means nothing to me. The fact that I can do this in the comfort of my own home while my computer is on the fritz is all that really matters in the long run. 

                                                                                           Sonic Jam

You can't put a price on the classics. Sure, you pay for them in order to bring them home a lot of the time, but you really can't put a price tag on something in order to make it great. That sort of thing is earned. Sonic Jam takes this concept and gives you the option of having all of that greatness in one package with a lot of extra content and easter eggs. You're welcome! The first three Sonic games will never go out of style. They are difficult, fast, and they have some of the most amazing soundtracks that you can bump on your boombox. The Sega Saturn was a wonderful home to this amazing trilogy, and it even had the courtesy to add a 3D Sonic walk-around called "Sonic World". Does it need to be there? Probably not, but we love it all the same.

                                                                                    Panzer Dragoon II: Zwei

Were you expecting different? I certainly hope not. While the RPG, Sagas is considered the better game, it does not have the casual "pick-me-up" quality that this game has. This game does not have the same need for investment of your time, nor does it take a great deal of brain-power to play. It's high-flying adventure and shoot'em up fun that's timeless and easily digested. That's not to say it's easy, this game is definitely not without its challenges, but that really doesn't matter when all you want is something fun and simple to occupy your brain.

                                                                                Warcraft II: The Dark Saga

I have iterated how lucky we are to have a Sega Saturn port of one of the greatest RTS games. While World of Warcraft still flings expansions at the public to stay afloat, WC2 needed just one and it was set. With ridiculous amounts of levels and obstacles, this game still stands firm on its own two feet and will gobble up hours of your time if you allow it to. Set up your defenses in your own town and build your armies to conquer the map before your opponents do the same. Strategize your units and deploy them accordingly, what could be more simple? 

                                                                                            Die Hard Trilogy

Really, you have a game that is basically three arcade experiences all in one. Why wouldn't you play it? Die Hard Trilogy seriously has the most mindless replayability at its core and there's no reason not to. Even if you're not that good at it and can't make it through the full game, you can always just try to beat your high score. If that element in gaming is too old fashioned for you then, by all means, try and beat them. Shoot through tons of criminals or drive through bombs, it's your show, after all! Just remember to quote the movies while you do it. Make sure to say the quote really loud to where your parents can hear.

                                                                                             Resident Evil

Somehow, I ended up with the Steam version, Gamecube version and Sega Saturn version of this game. Guess which one I play the most. People can complain all they want about the Saturn's graphics, but there's more to life than sharper detail. Killing zombies and bioweapons is still a jolly good bit of fun in this version. I didn't beat this game this time around but I got pretty far thanks to some gaming binge sessions. This is probably the game I played the most, but there is another game that just made me feel better all around. 

                                                                                    X-men vs Street Fighter

You really can't put a price tag on such an amazing game. The nostalgia for both the video games for SF and the comic books/TV show for X-men comes together so beautifully in this title. It's really no wonder why people consider it one of the greatest fighting games. I played pretty much the entire roster, played some 2-player and went through some of the arcade rounds. If you want to know how to spend time with friends, look no further. 

Get yourself X-men vs Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Virtua Fighter 2 and have a ball. All of these games I've mentioned really did give me something I kind of forgot the magic of for a moment there. Get someone close to you, it doesn't matter who and spend some time with them. That's definitely one thing I did with these titles and it surprised a lot of people how much fun they had. The fun factor is what really matters. Remember to share some fun with game time and don't forget to serve your guests some water.

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Virtua Sonic #6: Knuckles Against Sonic's Face

Today, I was wanting to talk about a very divisive title that has had Sonic fans scratching their heads for ages now. A little title called Sonic the Fighters was originally released for arcades in June of 1996, essentially making it a Sonic Saturn game that never reached the system. The setup is as basic as you could get for any title, even a fighting game. You pick a fighter and you press punch a lot. Sounds like an over simplification, but I assure you, it is not. There is some story here, but it's about as paper thin as it gets. That's like saying a movie meant for 2 year olds has a villain. Yeah, he's there, but who's paying attention?

This game is notorious for being very, very bad in terms of an actual fighter. It is bad, yes. The mechanics are so loose and clumsy that before you know it, after spamming your punch button and/or hard kick, you've beaten the entire lineup. The computers are either a joke or they spam their own quick attacks so much that you can't get a hit in. That's the double edged sword you need to deal with when it comes to challenge spikes. 

It is not in the single player that people have sworn by this game, though. The single player is fine for a little distraction to keep you occupied. Though, the true way this game shines is through its 2-player mode. If you have a little sibling, a child or a friend you can comfortably chum around with a light game with, this game is worth a good laugh. It is so easy to let your younger player win, while also teaching them that you can button mash with the greats. More often than not, everyone finds their favorite characters to play.

Speaking of characters, one of the big fan favorites of this game is not based off a Sonic character, but a Fighting Vipers character. Honey the Cat was Honey the human in her debut but the devs somehow found it in their hearts to make her an anthropomorphic cat. She is cute with a great character model, but she pretty much fights just like everyone else. Still, who cares? Honey is the tops!

If you're in this for real competition, you're barking up the wrong tree. Try and make this into a tournament meant for skill or gaming experience then you are in for a very off center string of fights. There is nothing complicated about this game and there is no real winning strategy outside of what has already been discussed. A novice has just as much chance of beating a seasoned Sonic Fighter as anyone else. Still, the charm this game exudes is palpable. It has a very similar energy to Sonic R. Not only are the graphics a great deal like the Saturn, but the overall gameplay mirrors the carefree nature they encourage. 

Even though it only got an arcade release at first, it is now in all of the main 6th consoles (aside from the Dreamcast, ironically) in the form of the Sonic Gems Collection. Unless you'd like to fork over some serious dough for an arcade cabinet of the game, which may or may not exist, this is the best way to access it. If you're a Sonic fan and a fan of the 32-bit era games, this is definitely one that you could take a look at. Sonic R, Sonic CD and Sonic the Fighters are all on the Gems Collection and it has a lot more to offer than that, if you take a look at the Virtua Sonic #4 article, it goes into more detail of the rest. Give this game a chance if you ever get the opportunity. Using Knuckle's gigantic fists to send someone flying across the arena could be worth the whole experience. Break the Blue Blur's Beak!