In this second installment of the greatest retro consoles and games that have aged well and are still good fun to play today we look at the almost forgotten mega-console that Sega released back in 1995, the Sega Saturn. During its release it was the most impressive and technical console ever to have been released, with two powerful CPU’s and six other processors dedicated to graphics and sound. This powerful machine should have been a hit with the console buying public, however games were slow to be released, the price was high, and some of the cross-platform games were not up to high standard because of the perceived idea from developers and coders that the Saturn was too hard to program.
Today though we can look back on the Sega Saturn and see that regardless of it being seen by many as a major Sega flop, it was indeed an awesome games machine with some of the best games of the generation. The joystick is almost identical to the much older Sega Genesis (Megadrive in the UK and rest of the World), which makes the console feel like a different generation compared to the original Playstation, however through its brief lifetime, Sega released some great peripherals and alternate joypad’s that would allow it to play more advanced 3D games.
It was the 3D era that really brought 3D gaming to the forefront of console gaming, and although the Saturn could produce great 3D games for its day, it’s catalog of 2D games are the ones that really shine. Today, Sega Saturn’s can be picked up very cheaply on eBay and other outlets, and the games for the most part are cheap and affordable. Due to the clumsy huge cardboard boxes being so fragile, most games will come in quite tatty boxes, making your collection probably be one of the untidiest looking game collections you will own.
So, as the series is based on the most fun games that have aged well and are fun to play in 2012, here we have the best five Sega Saturn games that you really should be playing.
01: Sega Ages Volume 1
The Saturn may have been a 3D power-house, but this collection of pseudo-3D/2D arcade conversions is a must play, even if It’s just for the arcade-perfect conversion of Outrun. Enough cannot be said about Outrun, it’s a classic game so steeped in classic-ness that I feel no description is necessary. It’s one of the greatest arcade racing games ever, bar-none, and I challenge anyone to say different.
Sega Ages Volume 1 also includes arcade perfect conversions of After Burner II and Space Harrier. Both games are still fun to play, but 99% of your time will be playing Outrun, admiring the superb graphics and humming along to one of the greatest soundtracks in history.
The collection of three games really brings hours of fun and nostalgia to anyone of a certain age, the collection can be picked up for next-to-nothing on eBay and is a must for any Sega Saturn owner.
02: Street Fighter Alpha 2
Again a 2D game on a 32-bit 3D power-house console makes the list, but what a 2D game this is. Take the best bits of the Street Fighter franchise, make the graphics better than you’ve ever seen them before and make the game accessible for anyone of any gaming level to play and you have a game that is amazing fun.
Street Fighter Alpha 2 is fun as a single player game or a two-player head-to-head game. If you’ve even seen a Street Fighter game before you’ll know the characters and you’ll love how easy this game is to pick up and play. This is not one of the cheapest games to pick up for the Sega Saturn, however it is one of the very best that holds up perfectly even in 2012.
03: Sega Rally
Racing games are fun, and one of my favourite genres. Sega Rally may not offer a lot of content compared to today’s uber-impressive outings, but what it does offer you is game play that is arcade perfect and a whole lotta-fun. Sega Rally really hasn’t aged as well as one might expect in 2012 on the graphical front, however this is one of those games where game play really is more important than graphics. The car handles well over the different rally terrain, and the tracks are perfectly balanced, making you want to have just one more go. It’s what gaming is about, fun delivered in bucket loads!
Sega Rally can be purchased from various sources at various prices. It’s nearer the lower end of the price range, so every self-respecting Sega Saturn owner should own a copy of this even if they have the slightest interest in racing games.
04: Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition
Also known as Puzzle Bobble in some countries, Bust-A-Move 2 and all its variants has been converted to every gaming platform ever invented, and the Saturn version was the best version of the game released during the 32-bit era.
For those without knowledge of the game, Bust-A-Move has you controlling Bub and Bob or one of their friends on the bottom of the screen, moving a giant bubble machine which shoots bubbles of different colours up the screen. The idea is to match three or more colours and clear the screen. It all sounds very simple, but it is ridiculously addictive, especially in two player mode against a human opponent.
Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition can be picked up for a reasonable amount of cash, usually in the middle of the range, not cheap but not over expensive. It’s worth every penny, and again is just so much fun!
05: Manx TT Superbike
This may be a bit of a surprise to Sega Saturn fans, and in this list it is another racing game, but it’s here because it’s just so much fun. Manx TT Superbike has a limited number of courses and motorbikes to use, but again what it does have is fun by the bucket load as you tear around the various circuits.
This game can be picked up at various prices, but is worth what-ever you pay for it. Graphics hold up quite well, although the draw distance is not too good, the music is exciting and it has some really funny speech that has to be heard to be believed.
Again, that wraps up another look at classic games that are as much fun to play now as they were back in the day. Next time we’ll look at another Sega console.