Reviews Archive
         
         
  Hyper Duel  
 

From the same company that made the classic Thunder Force series, Hyper Duel easily lives up to its pedigree (frenetic action and impressive set pieces) whilst offering a very different and original experience. Apart from going for a more mech-based Macross feel (you can transform between robot and ship), the game also deviates from the TF series by allowing you to collect extra supporting ships which independently fly around the screen helping you, their mortal nature tends to push you towards protecting them, providing covering fire so as to allow you to accumulate a small gang as you progress. Hyper Duel is also a phenomenal arcade port, every aspect of the game was actually improved during its transition to Saturn, graphics, music, and gameplay.

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  Marvel Vs Street Fighter  
 

Here's yet another reason for the Saturn's reputation for being a fighting game powerhouse. Marvel Vs Street Fighter sports a very different feel to many of the other Capcom games out there, its just a lot more over the top and hectic, and the ability to swap between two characters at any time in-game and do combination attacks lends a very different (and very fun) style to the gameplay. As usual this was a very accurate port of the arcade game (unlike the dire PS1 version which should be avoided at all cost) with all the features and animation pretty much intact.

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  Soukyugurentai  
 

Souky is yet another beautifully crafted scrolling shmup for Saturn. The weapon system is very well implemented, being somewhat similar to the one used in Layer Section, pressing the button fires, whilst holding it down locks onto enemies below you that are within range, letting it go sends homing missiles to all targets highlighted. Apart from the weapon system Souky is simply very well paced, and includes some awesome boss fights, but what really stands out is the truly commendable, and artistic design, which creates an atmosphere which is second to none.

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  Virtua Cop 2  
 

After many people did a double take after seeing the first Virtua Cop ("but I though Saturn couldn't do 3D?") Sega came back with this sequel, which looked even better than the last! Virtua Cop 2's main improvements over the original lightgun classic (apart from the graphics) have to be its faster, more intense pacing, and increased longevity (an important element where it comes to home ports), the game's inclusion of branching paths means its pretty much double the length of the original, and the introduction of the 3-shot multiplier (shoot someone three times in different places in quick succession to get a higher score) rewards replay and mastery.

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  Dragon Force  
 

Dragon Force is a very addictive game which balances both RPG and strategy element extremely well. The battles are huge in scope, and very impressive, allowing you to see the armies battle against each other on a unit by unit basis, while you, as the general throw around spells. The developers really did do an admirable job in all areas, the campaign is very long, and made even longer by the inclusion of multiple endings for each character, and they do a good job at keeping the story interesting, and involving.

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  Saturn Bomberman  
 

As far as I'm concerned this is actually the best Bomberman game ever made, and the best Bomberman ever likely to be made. Apart from the fact that it has what is, in my opinion the best selection of power-up's for balanced multiplayer, Saturn Bomberman also feels like Hudson went to town adding fan service, they even included the option to play as characters from their other, non-Bomberman series, such as Master Higgins from the Adventure Island series, and Bonk. There's options for up to 10-player simultaneous local play, and even the campaign mode (which includes 2-player co-op) is surprising well crafted, with good attention to detail and presentation.

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  Duke Nukem 3D  
 

Lobotomy do it again with this brilliant port of Duke Nukem. If there's anyone out there that isn't familiar with the game, Duke Nukem was one of the highest profile PC releases to come in the wake of Doom, the game contained loads of fast action, some neat new inclusions such as the jet pac, and most notably, interactive environments which, amongst other things contained loads of adult humour. This version is very accurate to the original, its very smooth, and (as far as I can see) uncensored too.

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  Fighters Megamix  
 

Sega's amalgamation of their Fighting Vipers, and Virtua Fighter series' (both some of the most respected home fighting series' for that period) created yet another brilliant game, and easily one of the best value for money deals of the time with its huge character roster. Fighters Megamix feels more like FV in gameplay than VF, emphasising faster, more action packed gameplay, the graphics are also more akin to FV, gearing more towards lighting effects than VF's high resolution.

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  Wipeout XL  
 

A very good port of the PS1 classic. Wipeout has to be one of those series' which really shines with the attention to style and detail, having a very distinct look of its own. The gameplay is some of the deepest out there, with much skill and perseverance required for the harder levels, and the tracks themselves are well designed and respectable in number too.

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  Shining Force III  
 

Shining Force III does its classic predecessors justice and provides a fantastic strategy rpg experience. The plot is strong and constantly moving forward, the graphics clear, crisp, and expressive, and the strategy elements deep, and very well thought out. This is actually the 1st part of a 3 part series, the 2nd two parts were never released in English, but fortunately you do get some level of closure upon finishing so the game can be played and enjoyed for its own merits.

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  Tomb Raider  
 

One of the 1st truly defining titles of the 3D generation, Tomb Raider astonished with its well realised environment, and clever interlocking puzzles. Presentation wise the game was also 1st rate, with excellent, moody music, and impressive (by 1996 standards) graphics. The control system was rigid (similar to Prince or Persia) but precise, and tension was ever present, with sudden attacks from bears or even dinosaurs a fairly regular occurrence. The game's impact was immense at the time.

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  Powerslave/Exhumed  
 

This had to be the best FPS released during the early post Doom period, but reviewers of the time proved their collective stupidity and general susceptibility to hype by overlooking it completely in favour of Duke Nukem and Quake. Not only is Powerslave just as impressive graphically, and just as smooth and action packed, it takes a much more adventure inspired direction, with multiple endings and a plethora of new moves given to you as you progress through the game. Each of the new moves you acquire allow you to explore previously unreachable areas of the levels (a la Metroid), sometimes out of necessity, sometimes to find hidden permanent health upgrades. The longevity is also pretty huge as even after completion there are secrets to unlock by searching out all the "team dolls"

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  Radiant Silvergun  
 

Treasure showed all the old stalwarts how to make a shmup with this extremely imaginative take on the genre. Radiant Silvergun is packed full of ideas, you're given 7 weapons immediately from the start, and the levels are designed in a way which means that there's usually a right weapon to use for each situation, each weapon also gains experience and levels up in a similar way to what you'd see in an RPG, and many of the boss fights are very cleverly and carefully designed. Radiant Silvergun really is a refreshing take on the genre for anyone under the impression that they've seen it all done before.

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  Resident Evil  
 

Its unfortunate that Resident Evil didn't come out a little earlier on Saturn than it did, it was one of the games which really pushed the PS1 to the forefront in public popularity, representing the grown up image that Sony wanted to convey extremely well. With a mixture of fiendish puzzles, creepy horror themes, and masses of tension the like of which had never been seen before, Resident Evil carved its place in videogame history. Capcom really must be commended for a very good job here, the port is graphically very close to the PS1 version, and there's even a few extras, such as a battle mode and new outfits.

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  Street Fighter Alpha 3  
 

This is the Street Fighter game for fans of the series, Capcom built on top of the sumptuous, detailed graphics of the previous Alpha's and added a huge wealth of options, playable characters, and gameplay modes, effectively following a "everything but the kitchen sink" ethos. They also showed all the experience and knowledge of the Saturn they had stockpiled over the years as this is virtually arcade perfect (no exaggeration), even surpassing the Dreamcast version!

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  Nights  
 

The simplest ideas are often the most elegant, and Nights is no exception. The gameplay has you flying through hoops in succession whilst collecting orbs, aiming for fast times and high rankings. Whilst simple, that doesn't stop Nights from being a very unique, and fun game, with a lot of originality, and Sega really excelled themselves with the presentation here, with the endearing theme, and music creating a very memorable gaming experience.

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  Panzer Dragoon Zwei  
 

For anyone unfamiliar with the main branch Panzer Dragoon games, they're rail shooters reminiscent to (though arriving before) Star Fox 64. You control a dragon which moves forwards automatically whilst you aim and shoot enemies, or target lock multiple foes and release a barrage of homing lasers. This sequel to the original Panzer Dragoon (a Saturn launch title) was an absolutely astronomical improvement. All areas of the game have been worked on, happily controls and movement are now far more responsive and less scripted than the original, and analogue support is now available (an especially important feature for this style of game). The depth and longevity have also had a huge boost due to the implementation of a couple of interesting new features, in Zwei, your dragon actually changes and evolves differently as the game goes on based on your performance, and alternate routes can also be taken. Sega did an extremely good job with the graphics here as well, with some very impressive effects.

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  Sega Rally  
 

One of the first racing games to use different course surfaces with different properties, Sega Rally really was one of the big pioneers of the genre. The Saturn port of Sega Rally was a resounding success, much, much better than the previous port of Daytona had been, with much more solid, detailed graphics, a better draw distance, and some good extra modes (such as the 2-player split screen). Sega Rally may sound fairly short at only four tracks, but the game takes a lot of practice and mastery to complete.

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  Virtua Fighter 2  
  Possibly the biggest footnote in what is pretty much the deepest fighting series out there. The gameplay and balance between each fighter here was clearly handled with careful thought, and the graphics and animation set the bar for what was expected of 3D graphics for both the arcades and the home. Longevity is huge as each character has a large selection of moves and unique style to work with.
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  Panzer Dragoon Saga  
 

Team Andromeda did a complete turnaround for the third Panzer Dragoon game, deciding to create a JRPG of epic scale instead of the usual rail shooter mechanics of the previous games. Detractors may well have thought this would be a mistake, being that the team had never worked on an RPG previously, but Panzer Dragoon Saga ended up a tour de force even on par with the PS1's Final Fantasy games. You get a real feeling of epic scope as you make your way through the barren landscapes of the game, the music is fantastic and helps add to the atmosphere, and the whole world is very ambitious and well realised. Unlike many of the JRPG's of the time, PDS had fully 3D worlds to explore, there's also full voice acting for the characters, along with the copious amounts of FMV seen in the highest profile RPG's of the era. Saga's Battle system also deserves special mention as its far more intriguing, and interesting than the usual battle systems of the era, in Saga you still have freedom of movement during battles, and danger level is based on your positioning, with a radar indicating the danger levels of each quadrant, this system keeps you on your feet at all times, and does a better job at holding interest. Panzer Dragoon Saga really is one of the best of the 32-bit RPG's, which truly makes it a shame that many will never play it due to the high price it goes for these days.

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