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  #1  
Old 12-10-2018, 08:55 AM
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Default What are some must-have titles for the Saturn?

I recently picked up a US Saturn with no games, so I'm interested in grabbing a few must-have Saturn titles. I have very little familiarity with the Saturn so anything that really stands out on the system would be cool to know.

I'll prooobably get around to modding it to play Japanese games at some point, so if there's a huge price discrepancy between the US and Japanese titles (which I know can happen, with the J prices generally being cheaper) and the Japanese titles are generally playable with little-to-no understand of Japanese, that would be nice to know as well.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:21 AM
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The Saturn has a really great port of Street Figher Alpha 2, along with one of the best game pads ever made for fighting games. I also really enjoyed playing Daytona back in the day, which you can probably pick up on the cheap along with copies of Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua Cop.
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:38 AM
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Second on SFA2, really knocks it out of the park! It also has the rearranged-for-cd-audio soundtrack which is probably my favorite thing about it. It does require the 4M RAM cart, but it's honestly a good investment to make since the Capcom ports are all pretty stellar on the Saturn.

NiGHTS into Dreams is delightful, esp with the analog pad. It's been ported several times since, but I prefer the original due to the controls primarily. Saturn Bomberman is great even if you only have 1 extra controller: the story mode works great with two players; for battle mode, I honestly played it all the time with one other friend of mine + 3 CPUs for 5 player FFA and it never got old. Look up the cheats to unlock the stage variations.

Honestly, I feel like I'm just going to start parroting the Racketboy.com articles for the Saturn. If you haven't given those a once-over, I'd encourage you to review
those out at your leisure. A lot of the classic titles / ports of the Saturn have since been overshadowed by digital rereleases on newer consoles (Guardian Heroes, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara), but if you haven't checked them out either way, the Saturn's a charming venue!
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:41 AM
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Shining the Holy Ark
Clockwork Knight
Clockwork Knight 2
Virtual Hydlide
Burning Rangers
Panzer Dragoon / Zwei / Saga
Fighters Megamix
Mr. Bones
Darius Gaiden
NiGHTS into Dreams...
Saturn Bomberman
Shinobi Legions
Magic Knight Rayearth
Enemy Zero
Die Hard Arcade
Dark Savior

All released in North America.
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2018, 10:42 AM
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The Saturn side of things is pretty expensive. Still, here's my recs.

Shining the Holy Ark - Really nice first-person RPG that has that classic Camelot feel.
Panzer Dragoon Series - All of them are good, and of course, Saga is fantastic. Good luck scoring a legit copy; you might be better off chipping the Saturn or using one of those modded Action Replays to launch backups.
Radiant Silvergun - I'm not a shmup fan, but I'm a fan of this one. Great stuff from Treasure here.
Elevator Action Returns - Super fun update of the Elevator Action formula.

There are other great games, but I've not finished a lot of them. I will throw Powerslave/Exhumed out there as a solid, almost Metroid-like FPS on the system.
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2018, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demi View Post
Second on SFA2, really knocks it out of the park! It also has the rearranged-for-cd-audio soundtrack which is probably my favorite thing about it. It does require the 4M RAM cart, but it's honestly a good investment to make since the Capcom ports are all pretty stellar on the Saturn.
SFA2 got a US release, it does not require the RAM expansion cart. But many of the Capcom arcade ports do and they're pretty much all worth it, especially since in many cases they're the only quality ports of said games available (X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes, MSH vs. Street Fighter, etc.)

I'd also recommend Deep Fear, which is an easy Japan pickup (there's a European release, but it was the final release on the system in that market, so it's $$$$$). It's a Resident Evil clone from Sega that, instead of taking inspiration from Romero's Dead films, takes inspiration from The Thing and The Abyss. Some of the menus are in Japanese, but all the dialogue is in English.

I'll echo Saturn Bomberman, which is also much cheaper in Japan. Both Saturn Fire Pro games are fun, if you're into pro wrestling at all. Arthur and Astaroth's Incredible Toons is an Incredible Machine game starring Ghosts 'n' Goblins characters (it also came out on PS1).

Mega Man 8 has unique content on the Saturn and hasn't been re-released ever, but it's expensive, like a lot of US Saturn releases. Which is why I would absolutely recommend getting an Action Replay. It cracks the region coding and has the 4M RAM built in. The only problem is that you can't play the very few games that use ROM expansion carts, but I think there are only two of those, so no huge loss.
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2018, 12:36 PM
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Panzer Dragoon Saga. Always and forever.
X-Men vs Street Fighter and Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter are superb ports that haven't been released on anything else. The ports of Night Warriors, Marvel Super Heroes and Vampire Saviour are incredible, but they were rereleased on PS3...

Christmas NiGHTS is better than the version on PS3 and XBox. Powerslave is great. I loved Steep Slope Sliders in the day, but I suspect that hasn't aged that well.
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2018, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShakeWell View Post
Mega Man 8 has unique content on the Saturn and hasn't been re-released ever, but it's expensive, like a lot of US Saturn releases. Which is why I would absolutely recommend getting an Action Replay. It cracks the region coding and has the 4M RAM built in. The only problem is that you can't play the very few games that use ROM expansion carts, but I think there are only two of those, so no huge loss.
Especially when one of said games is Ultraman, cough.

I JUST got a Saturn to replace the one I had in Michigan, because it had become pretty obvious I was never gonna get that back. That should arrive in, oh, a week I suppose. I may have to look into the Pseudo-Saturn cartridge so I can play backups, because all of my original games are in (GROAN) Michigan.

Anyway! A game I kind of thought was interesting on the Saturn was Bulk Slash by Hudson Soft. Controls are a bit awkward but I thought it was more fun than Virtual On and faster than most other mech games. You run around, searching for targets on a map and blowing them up. Occasionally you'll transform into a jet to battle bosses or just expedite your travel from one end of the map to the other. The graphics aren't high tech by today's standards but they're bright and chunky in an appealingly retro way, and there's a lot happening on the screen at once.
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2018, 01:01 PM
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Oh, yeah, I played a bit of Bulk Slash and it's really neat. Definitely put that on your list.
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2018, 01:14 PM
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Serendipitously, the Panzer Dragoon duology has been announced to be remade starting next year. Do seek out the originals, because much of their identity is wrapped up in the specificity of the hardware and technology, but this is something to look forward to.
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  #11  
Old 12-10-2018, 01:22 PM
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As a small aside, I was actually introduced to the series through the now-defunct Toys 'R' Us. I played a bit of the second game, but I didn't know that was what it was at the time. I ended up purchasing the first game instead for PC, which is a pretty solid port that also gives you the ability to double the resolution, playing in a whopping 640x480. Good times!

Many times, I would break out the disc just to listen to the soundtrack. It's that good.
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  #12  
Old 12-10-2018, 01:34 PM
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You might be able to get fighting games cheaper if you import. Only a couple actually require a RAM expansion to run well (you should check, I think it's...Alpha 2 and a couple SNK games?). Most import games will be able to be run with no more than a Gameshark -- don't even need to enter codes, they should just be able to boot IIRC.

Take everything I read with a salt shaker; I haven't looked at Saturn prices in general much except recently.
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  #13  
Old 12-10-2018, 01:42 PM
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I've never so much as even held a real Saturn, but I've always thought that Dragon Force looked impossibly cool and was bummed that I didn't have any way to play it. It got a Japanese PS2 port, but that was never released domestically.
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  #14  
Old 12-10-2018, 01:44 PM
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Additionally, Dragon Force II has been translated, so if you have a way to play burned games, definitely give that one a go, too. I think that's a game where I clearly need to read the manual; I have no idea what I'm doing in the first game and routinely get clobbered.

http://www.romhacking.net/translations/1622/
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  #15  
Old 12-10-2018, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muteKi View Post
You might be able to get fighting games cheaper if you import. Only a couple actually require a RAM expansion to run well (you should check, I think it's...Alpha 2 and a couple SNK games?). Most import games will be able to be run with no more than a Gameshark -- don't even need to enter codes, they should just be able to boot IIRC.

Take everything I read with a salt shaker; I haven't looked at Saturn prices in general much except recently.
King of Fighters 95 needs a specific ROM pack to run (I'm pretty certain it has game code on it). X- Men vs Street Fighter and on require the 4 MB RAM pack to run at all. It's worth it though, they look incredible.
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  #16  
Old 12-10-2018, 02:09 PM
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Unfortunately -- likely related to the issues with cartridge production for the game making it cost more -- KOF95 never did come to the US, so it's one of a handful of games you'd have to mod a US Saturn to play.

In any case, outside of those games, just about anything can be run with the use of the very handy Action Replay Plus which is your save RAM extender/backup, your work RAM expansion, and your region-free loader. I don't know what they go for these days but they're nearly essential.

EDIT: some quick maneuvering around the internet suggests that they're gettable for $30, which strikes me as pretty reasonable for their usefulness.
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  #17  
Old 12-10-2018, 02:16 PM
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Yep, they're rather inexpensive, and well worth it. Do note that they don't serve as a backup RAM cart like the official Saturn backup cart, they serve more as a flash memory backup. So games that would normally let you save straight to the cart won't actually see it, but you can take what you've got in RAM and back it up from the AR menu. I do this pretty regularly when I'm on a Saturn kick, because by the time I roll back around to it, the internal battery has died and I've lost all the saves in RAM. In fact, I typically just hit reset after playing a game and back the save up manually, because I often don't have another CR2032 laying around.
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  #18  
Old 12-10-2018, 02:23 PM
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That's slightly unfortunate but I think the Saturn has more built-in memory than the Sega CD so you won't run into the issue of ever needing more space than the console has on offer he says while glaring at Shining Force CD. I have a similar cartridge for Sega CD I primarily use as a region modder to play, say, Japanese Sonic CD -- and I never use the cartridge backup because I have a RAM cart and most of the games that would use it are localized anyway.
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  #19  
Old 12-10-2018, 02:27 PM
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Yeah, it does. It's not nearly the problem that it was on Sega CD. I was lucky enough to have the official RAM cart on Sega CD when I played through SFCD... which I don't actually need anymore since I've got an EverDrive now.

There are also a few games that don't play nice if there's an AR in the cart slot, like Panzer Dragoon Saga. I think there's a patch and also codes to bypass that check, though.
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge View Post
As a small aside, I was actually introduced to the series through the now-defunct Toys 'R' Us. I played a bit of the second game, but I didn't know that was what it was at the time. I ended up purchasing the first game instead for PC, which is a pretty solid port that also gives you the ability to double the resolution, playing in a whopping 640x480. Good times!

Many times, I would break out the disc just to listen to the soundtrack. It's that good.
Hello, quick question: Are you actually me? Because that whole sequence of events is eerily familiar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge View Post
Yeah, it does. It's not nearly the problem that it was on Sega CD. I was lucky enough to have the official RAM cart on Sega CD when I played through SFCD... which I don't actually need anymore since I've got an EverDrive now.

There are also a few games that don't play nice if there's an AR in the cart slot, like Panzer Dragoon Saga. I think there's a patch and also codes to bypass that check, though.
I think you can play Saga just fine, if memory serves, but it does take a weirdly long time to save to the cart. I was normally in the habit of saving to the system's memory, then moving the save to the cart when done. But this may indeed hold true for other games, and I wouldn't know. My Saturn library is pretty slim.
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Old 12-10-2018, 03:11 PM
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Music written for the Saturn is sublime, sometimes because it's legitimately awesome and sometimes because it's so delightfully cheesy. Case in point? Daytona USA. It's catchy and fun and energizing and just plain weird. They even manage to make the Game Over theme memorable!

G. A. M. E. O. Voo. E. R. G-A-M-E O-Voo-E-R GAME OVER GAME OVER GAME OVER
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:15 PM
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All of the Sonic games are skippable. Sonic 3D's biggest selling factor over the PC version is that its special stages aren't complete ass (they are kinda cool in concept and to watch but in practice and playing them I think they are easily one of my least-favorite takes on the half-pipe style stage). Sonic R is outclassed by the PC version easily on all fronts. Sonic Jam is basically Namco Museum for the 4 Genesis games and has a lot of cool extras -- if you don't care about the Namco Museum kinds of things, it's just games you likely have owned and played many times around.
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:40 PM
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Shining the Holy Ark is a really excellent game that I can't recommend enough. Similar to Shining Force's take on SRPGs where it retains things like town exploration from standard RPGs, Shining the Holy Ark does the same. It feels like a larger scale adventure than you get in most first-person dungeon crawlers because of it. It has a cool timed element to combat with the fairy system, and the way battles play out with characters jumping out to do their attacks is pretty cool. I feel like this game doesn't get as much attention as PDS or Shining Force 3, so I always have to make sure it gets boosted a bit.
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Old 12-10-2018, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muteKi View Post
You might be able to get fighting games cheaper if you import.
You can definitely get pretty much everything cheaper as an import. I mean, also many of the fighting games just didn't get US releases anyways, and, as folks got into further into the thread, the Action Replay+ isn't very expensive, so getting a normal Gameshark or whatever to just break the region coding without the RAM isn't a great plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantoon View Post
King of Fighters 95 needs a specific ROM pack to run (I'm pretty certain it has game code on it).
My understanding is that it's not code per se, but a bunch of specific frames of animation for various characters. But, yeah, that's really the one that I think most people would want to play and won't be able to with an Action Replay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArugulaZ View Post
I may have to look into the Pseudo-Saturn cartridge so I can play backups, because all of my original games are in (GROAN) Michigan.
Pseudo-Saturn seems cool, but for my part, I'm waiting for the Satiator to be done.
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  #25  
Old 12-10-2018, 05:12 PM
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I have an ST-KEY as my region free cart+RAM upgrade. Dunno where I grabbed it from anymore.

And while the port has many problems I want to include the Saturn version of Symphony of the Night. There are new areas, and enemies, and a few neat items (like the speed boots, which let Alucard dash like Richter and Maria!). And for the fact none of these things ever showed up in later version of SOTN is a real shame.

The real reason is that the Saturn port had the first playable Maria mode, and it's really really good. I love it a lot more than her Playable version in the PSP version of SOTN. It's a very unique style of game and I wish it were properly preserved as part of the game's history.
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  #26  
Old 12-10-2018, 05:14 PM
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Oh drat, I was just writing up a long post about Saturn games and then my browser managed to eat it. Let me go over the highlights again:

I just recently picked up a Psuedo Saturn cart off eBay that offers the triple functionality of 1) the Kai Lite software that bypasses the copy check and allows you to play imports and backups 2) RAM expansion in either 1MB or 4MB toggled by switch, and 3) Backup RAM to save onto the cartridge. This last feature is particularly important if you're ever going to play RPGs or anything because the console's default mode is to save via the internal watch battery which is notorious for losing charge and then you've lost ALL of your saves.

I currently have queued up the Japanese version of Symphony of the Night (which despite its technical flaws I still find interesting for the new character and new area it adds to the PSX version) and the fan translation of Policenauts.

At some point I'm looking to get back to Dragon Force which I fondly remember as a really intricate strategy-RPG. I also played some Panzer Dragoon Saga many years ago which I remember enjoying a lot but I'm doubtful I'll enjoy a four-disc 90s RPG as much now as I would have fiteen years ago.

Also, the prices are so absurd for many of these prized old Saturn games ($300 for Saturn Bomberman! $600 for Panzer Dragoon Saga!!) that you should on no account pay those astronomical secondhand prices when you could just burn a CD and play it via a Psuedo Saturn cartridge or a hacked Action Replay cartridge.
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Old 12-10-2018, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
Hello, quick question: Are you actually me? Because that whole sequence of events is eerily familiar.
Maybe a long-lost brother? Awesome to know someone else had a similar experience! It does feel like these sorts of scenarios are a bit less common these days. Or maybe it's just that the experiences were so much more vivid back then.

Also, I will point out that Panzer Dragoon Saga, despite being a four-disc game, is quite short. You can blow through it in under 20 hours, and even now, there's really nothing out there like it.

Y'all also have me tempted to play through the Saturn version of SotN on my next run through. I've beaten the PSX version via the original (multiple times), the re-translation on PSX, and the PSP version. I was always put off by the slowdown, but I think I might consider it just to play through another unique version of the game.
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  #28  
Old 12-13-2018, 06:24 AM
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Are either Mega Man 8 or Mega Man X4 on the Saturn worthwhile entries in the series?
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  #29  
Old 12-13-2018, 06:57 AM
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Mega Man 8 Saturn has unique content, yes.
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:03 AM
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Shining Force III! It can be a little too impressed with its own 3D effects sometimes but it's a charming game. I haven't even beaten it yet and I like it a lot. If you liked the Genesis Shining Force games at all you'll like it.

Shining the Holy Ark is cool too, as others have noted.

I'm interested in picking up a Pseudo Saturn cart - which one should I buy (if there are even multiple versions?) - and does it let you play games from other regions? I have a US Saturn but it's not modded at all.
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