This week’s Sega Addicts Top 10 is our favorite games on the Sega Saturn. It wasn’t an easy list to create with a ton of great games appearing on the system but we’ve narrowed it down to a list of games that no Saturn owner should be without.
Hit the jump to find out our top 10 Saturn games!
10. Clockwork Knight 2
Tom Kyzivat:Well, well! Just let me tell you what it’s like being a pretty doll day and night. Baby, it ain’t easy. I’ve always been a big fan of games with tiny heroes (Cool Spot for the win!), and the Clockwork Knight series delivered! Our hero, the wind-up knight Pepperouchau (I think named “Tangara” in Japan) is off on his wacky adventures again, rescuing his girlfriend from evil toys. While the first game was a blast, the second seemed to improve on everything that made the first endearing, particularly with new and interesting toy-perspective levels and innovative boss fights. It also helped that, although played on a 2D plane, it sported impressive 3D graphics (for its time). The highlights of this game include fun, over-sized environments like the standard toy room, a study with giant books and dark wood, a bathroom stage where you floated on rubber duckies, and a stage inside a clock tower. After games like Cool Spot, levels like this might seem a bit passe, but they were done in a very visually appealing and fun way that made them their own. And of course the boss fights really made the game, from the giant octopus in the bathtub to the castle that transforms into a robot, to the final boss–an Erector Set-inspired mechanical dragon. But of course, my personal favorite was the boss to the study room: a sheet of paper that dips itself into different color inks and folds itself, origami-style, into different animals based on the color. It was innovative, unique, fun things like this that made this game a treat. And if that wasn’t enough, it also featured a very distinct, jazzy soundtrack, including several songs with full lyrics.
The Nutcracker Suite? Babes In Toyland? No thanks, buster–I’ve got Clockwork Knight 2.
9. Saturn Bomberman
Scott Morrison:Saturn Bomberman is hands down the best party game ever created for two reasons: simple controls and simple idea. You try to blow up your opponents while you avoid their bombs. This is accomplished with the d-pad and the C button, and a short-attention span. The top-down view of the game gives an even playing field to all players. This game is the reason people buy the multi-tap for the Sega Saturn and with good cause. It also is the first Bomberman game to incorporate a 2-player co-op mode. Bomberman is known for being a great party game in general, but Saturn Bomberman kicks it up a notch by making the game playable for up to 10 people at once. Having enjoyed 10-player battles, I can say that there is nothing more fun than a room of people yelling at each other due to the constant explosions and insanity on the screen. Between the power-ups, saddled dinosaur helpers, and the ability to fire bombs from the sidelines after you have died, Saturn Bomberman is literally non-stop mayhem in the best sense.
8. Sexy Parodius
Alex Riggen: The Parodius series in general is one of the best and most unique schmup series in existence. Konami took the schmup genre, which, was usually full of serious looking ships and sci-fi elements and made it weird, goofy and light-hearted. Sexy Parodius stands out from the rest of the games in the series for more reasons than the word “Sexy” in the front. The game is filled with a great cast of creative characters, hilarious and sometimes sexy bosses, and little touches and attentions to detail that make the game a blast to play through. You can even grab a friend with the two player co-op mode and experience the weirdness together.
7. Darkstalkers 3: Vampire Savior
Alex Riggen: Capcom’s Darkstalkers series has a huge following from 2D fighter fans. Inspired by Capcom’s Street Fighter roots but adding some “monster” charm and some amazing animations and personality, Vampire Savior is one of the best fighters on the Saturn. The game made the transition from the arcades nearly flawlessly and, as usual for 2D Capcom fighters, showed off what the Saturn was capable of for sprite-based graphics. It’s no wonder why fans are still clamoring for a fourth game in the series as the game is not only beautiful to look at but also a blast to play.
6. Fighters Megamix
Mike Kyzivat: Fighters MegaMix is a much different bag then the Virtua Fighter series. if Virtua Fighter is Street fighter then Fighters MegaMix is the Vs series. It takes itself much less serious, but its just as much fun. Fighters MegaMix takes (primarily) characters from the Virtua Fighter series and pits them against the characters from another Sega fighting franchise Fighting Vipers, but there is also a host of hidden characters from all sorts of Sega games.
Fighters MegaMix pretty much uses The Fighting Vipers style of play which has always been a more loose game, it plays a lot like Virtua Fighter, the same motions are used for moves, but the input seems looser and it’s much easier to send your opponent flying across the screen and have them crash into the caged arena. The viper characters also have armor that can break off if it takes too many hits (which then leaves that area of the body vulnerable to more damage) So the virtua fighter characters have been changed to match the more frantic action, they now have moves that will also send an opponent flying, and most characters have been given some of their moves from VF3 (which was nearing release at the time)
But what makes this game so great is that it’s a fighting game anyone can pick up and play and have a good time. Vitrua Fighter 2 you play with your gaming league, MegaMix you play with your pals at home. Also the selection of characters ranges from: “oh cool they put that person in” to “who the hell is this?” to “huh!!!?”
The game has, hidden away, Bark the polar bear and Bean the bird from Sonic the Fighters, a Mexican jumping bean with a bird under his sombrero, Janet from Virtua Cop 2, Kids Akira and Sarah from Virtua Fighter Kids, Rent-a-Hero from a Japanese Sega game, Siba a prototype character from VF that never made it in, and finally the Hornet stock car from Daytona USA.
Now get out there, get this game, and beat up a car!!!
5. Panzer Dragoon Saga
Alex Riggen: Panzer Dragoon Saga has such a legendary status that it seems hard to believe that the game could ever live up to the hype. I’m happy to say that I can attest for just how amazing this game is. I didn’t get the chance to play it until a couple years ago and I could not put it down. The story and art design are spectacular and capture the surreal minimalism of the original two games. Plus, exploring the world combined with the fast-paced combat system that turns the Panzer Dragoon action into a turn-based affair make the game a blast to play. Before I played Panzer Dragoon Saga, I hadn’t finished a JRPG since Skies of Arcadia on the Dreamcast and I was shocked at just how well Panzer Dragoon Saga still held up. Easily one of the best RPG’s ever made and it’s unfortunate that more people haven’t had the chance to play it.
4. Sonic Jam
Flake: I know what this looks like. A total cop out. “Way to phone this one in, Sega Addicts!” Hear me out though: Even in this world full of half-assed Genesis compilations, Sonic Jam is a game that warrants mentioning.
Sonic Jam is, sadly, the closest the speedy azure rodent got to an actual game on the Saturn. I love me some Sonic R, but it’s definitely a game with problems. Sonic Jam was the first collection of Sonic’s best games and it is as fully featured as they come: Sonic 1-3, plus Sonic and Knuckles, complete with lock on options. Yeah, you can do Sonic 3 and Knuckles on the Sega Saturn but not on your Xbox 360. The technology was lost long ago.
Better yet is the sheer volume of fan service. Concept art, digital manuals, bios for various characters and a chronology of releases for every Sonic game up until 1997. Framing the whole deal is an interactive, 3-D “Sonic World” that looks suspiciously like an early build of the Sonic Adventure engine. You wander this 3-D world doing little challenges and finding more features to interact with. It is not a stretch of the imagination to think that this might have been what Sega was thinking about using for a proper Saturn Sonic.
3. Virtua Fighter 2
Mike Kyzivat: This game is one of the best, looking games on the Saturn. Everyone knows that the Saturn was built for 2D, but Vitrua Fighter 2 proves that you can still get very good 3D out of the system. Part of the conception that Saturn couldn’t do 3D as well as the Playstation stemmed from Sega’s port of the original Virtua Fighter to the Saturn which had very dated graphics, and was prone to pop up. Virtua Fighter 2 had come out even before the Saturn with much better graphics, but I guess they wanted to release the games in order on the system. I think this probably hurt them from a 3D stand point. But it also gave them practice to get Virtua Fighter 2 completely perfect.
Graphics wise it is still behind the arcade port, but it’s a very close representation, and gameplay wise it is spot on. all 12 characters (yes that’s right, back then that’s all you got) play perfectly to their arcade counter parts. The new additions Leon and Shun have the most interesting fighting styles around. In fact after Virtua Fighter 2 came out every fighting game after featured an old man with a gourd canteen doing drunken kung fu.
The action is fast the moves are simple to pull off, there are no last-minute-save-me-from-
2. Guardian Heroes
Tom Kyzivat:So, how do you top Gunstar Heroes, one of the best games on the Sega Genesis and arguably one of the best games every made? How about with an equally well-thought-out beat’em up that features upgradable characters, a choose-your-own-adventure format and an arena combat mode that lets you play as every character and enemy in the game? *puts on sunglasses* Yeah. That might do it. YEEEEAAAHH!!!
Um, anyway, Guardian Heroes was a beast of a game, and surely one of Treasure’s greatest triumphs. It follows the story of four fighters who have to battle their way through a medieval-inspired world (yet still retaining an anime/futuristic twist) and delving deeper into a plotline that would bring them before the mighty gods themselves. I can’t recall any of those actual plot points (it’s been a while), but I do remember it being a juicy tale full of tragedy, betrayal, undead warriors and robots. Golden Silver, specifically. It tickled my nerd bone (no, not that nerd bone, you cheeky monkey) to see the final boss from Gunstar Heroes make a cameo in this game as one of the more formidable bosses, with a much broader range of moves, and better animation. The overall style of the game was top-notch, too–the colors were bright and evoked a Disney animation cell feel, and the bizarre proportions of the characters gave it a certain feel that has never been replicated since. Each character was equipped with an impressive range of moves and attacks as well, even involving quarter circle motions, which most beat’em ups never attempted. All in all, this game is phenomenal. The only possible downside is the terrible, terrible cover art for its U.S. release, but Treasure certainly can’t be blamed for that.
1. NiGHTS into Dreams
Sven Wohl: You’re probably not surprised that Nights made the top of the list and really, it has to be expected. The Sega Saturn lacked a real Sonic game, but what we did get was Nights, which was also created by Team Sonic. One of the reasons why this game is remembered so fondly by its fans is, that it had a pretty unique gameplay idea. While some aspects still remind you of Sonic, especially when it comes to speed, it actually tries some news things with the jump and run formula. Actually, I would have difficulties putting this game into a single category. Sure, you have levels where you collect orbs in order to proceed, but you fly around on certain layers of the levels. That’s pretty weird and unique, even to this day. The graphics are quite good for the system, mostly because the colors pop and the music is quite memorable too. There’s a certain charm to this game, which certainly comes to a certain degree from its uniqueness. It’s a weird game for all the right reasons…