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NeoGAF Official SEGA SATURN Community

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

I have four words for you: Dragon Force II Longplay.

Honestly, the only reason why I'm not a massive Dragon Force junkie is because I haven't had the time to sit down and learn the immense depths and varieties of this magnificent series. Being a parent of a baby/toddler will do that. But I certainly have an immense amount of respect for Sega's innovative Strategy-RPG. If only I was a teenager again with nothing but spare time on my hands and the energy to stay awake until 4:00 am every night, I'd be more addicted to this than crack and pizzas combined.

Thank goodness for the DF2 fan translation, which seems to take everything that made the first game great and kick it up a notch, adding multiple divisions to control during massive battles. This might be the best 2D showpiece on this system...or any other videogame system, for that matter. Some of the larger battles feel almost overwhelming, and yet the Saturn handles everything calmly and smoothly.

Why do you play Sega Saturn in 2022? For Dragon Force I & II, that's why.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

Technosoft. Thunder Force V. Longplay video. You know what to do.

Yet another Sega Saturn classic that we didn't get, but this one really stings because it was a casualty of the very open feud between Bernie Stolar and Victor Ireland. As a result, we lost out on TF5, the Thunder Force Gold Packs, Lunar Silver Star Story, and goodness knows what else.

The popular consensus is that Thunder Force IV is the peak of the series, the Led Zeppelin IV of the franchise. If that's true, then TF5 is definitely Technosoft's Houses of the Holy: leaner, more direct, more upbeat, more visually experimental. Its fast speed and breezy pacing remind me more of Thunder Force 3, which was always my personal favorite, and so this feels like a welcome return to form. I love TF4 as much as anyone, but it does feel a touch bloated sometimes and does take a while to get up to speed. But, hey, if we're making Zeppelin parallels, then that only means every album is fantastic.

I love this videogame to pieces. I think it's one of Saturn's absolute best shoot-em-ups and clearly stands as Technosoft's final masterpiece. They struggled in the adaptation to the 3D polygon age like so many Japanese software houses, as classic arcade games and spaceship shooters faded away, replaced by immersive adventures and FPS deathmatches. It's a damn shame, but if you're going to go out, go out with a big bang, I say.

What a fantastic shooter! This is easily the best genre showpiece for Gen-5...until Radiant Freaking Silvergun shows up and completely obliterates everything in sight, of course. But, hey, Zeppelin got replaced by punk and hip-hop. It happens. It's life and life only.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus


It is a running joke that the current owners of Sega--a company that is now a shell of its former self, like an aging, burnt-out rock star decades past his prime--know absolutely nothing about the company's software legacy apart from Sonic and Yakuza and maybe Super Monkey Ball. They are sitting on a goldmine of countless arcade and home classics that still rivals Nintendo, yet they barely seem aware that any of them exist. Fortunately, indie software developers have been carrying the torch, providing us with revivals of Streets of Rage and Panzer Dragoon and a number of Genesis and Saturn classics. Sega did surprise us with an updated version of Virtua Fighter 5 last year, to say nothing of the long-awaited Shenmue 3 two years back, so there's hope that this situation is slowly turning around.

My top candidate for a revived Sega franchise: Fighters Megamix. Like, duh. When you look at the spectacular success of Nintendo's Smash Bros franchise, this seems like the easiest slam-dunk in videogame history. This spectacular mashup of Sega AM2 properties plays like both a sincere tribute and winking self-parody. How else do you explain all of those bonus fighters who are clearly "joke" characters? Many fighting games will have one good joke character, like Norimaru the fanboy nerd in Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter, the body bag in Waku Waku 7, the stick figure in Astra Superstars. But only Sega would give you two balloon animals, a Mexican jumping bean in Mariano outfit (with a bird hiding under the hat), a giant cartoon slab of meet, a palm tree/corporate logo and the Daytona USA race car.

Just imagine what characters you'd like to see in a new Megamix: Shinobi, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star, Alex Kidd, Kid Chameleon, Shenmue, Jet Set Radio. Now imagine all the joke characters: the Sega Rally cars, the Afterburner plane? Segata Sanshiro is an obvious choice, but how about Craig Stadler? Joe Montana? Tommy Lasorda? The Truxton spaceship? The robot mech from Herzog Zwei? Maybe the Sega home consoles? Here's a chance for 32X to finally get its revenge.

The possibilities are endless. And the best thing is that a modern graphics engine now exists: the PS4 Virtua Fighter 5 engine. Like, duh.

Wake up, Sega. Make this happen.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus





I recently picked up EA's NHL 97 and NHL 98, bringing my total number of Saturn hockey games to four (the fifth, Sega's wretched All-Star Hockey, will never touch my console in a million years). The universal consensus is that Radical Entertainment's two hockey sims, NHL Powerplay 96 and NHL All-Star Hockey 98, are superior on Sega's console, and while I would generally agree with that, I find myself enjoying this one more than I had expected. In fact, I think I enjoy NHL 97 more than the 98 edition.

It's interesting to note that EA's two Saturn hockey sims are created by two different software studios. NHL 97 was created by Visual Concepts, the crew famous for Madden 94 on the Super Nintendo (the only SNES Madden worth playing), NBA Action 98 on Saturn, and, of course, the NFL 2K and NBA 2K franchises. NHL 98 was given to Vancouver-based EA Canada, who have been the guardians of the franchise ever since.

Of the two, EA Canada's NHL 98 is far more professional, polished and closer to where the franchise would evolve. But on Saturn, it absolutely chugs with a dreadful frame rate that seems to croak in single digits. VC's NHL 97, meanwhile, feels like an attempted throwback to the early Genesis classics, and despite the many flaws you could level at its feet, at least it's competent and--dare I say it--fun.

Let me state for the record that videogame hockey went through its awkward teenage phase in Generation Five. Gone is the confidence and breezy perfection of the first three NHL Hockey titles--especially NHL 94, the greatest sports game ever made--and in its place are ugly graphics, sloppy frame rates, stumbling animations, imprecise controls and an overall sense of confusion. The software teams are learning to adapt to new technologies that they have yet to fully master, and their efforts feel like rough first drafts. During this era, "competent" is just about as good as it gets. If you can live with that, you'll do alright. If not, you should either go back to the Genesis or skip ahead to more modern consoles.

When I say NHL 97 is competent, I mean the frame rate is suitably smooth and fast enough and the buttons more or less do what you want them to do. The motion of the players is a little awkward, but once you learn the circular rotations of the skating, you'll do alright. Passes sort of work but can often miss intended targets, slap shots can hit their mark or fly wide, one-timers can be entirely missed or strike perfectly, and hits are sometimes satisfyingly crunchy and violent while other times falling flat.

Some reviewers criticized the audio, especially the players' grunts and shouts, for sounding just like their Genesis counterparts, but I found myself enjoying that precisely for its retro charm. I wish there were more of those old audio effects, especially the boos from the crowd that always sound like they're coming from the same three drunks. The hits also remind of of the Genesis days, probably because my only strategy for defense is to lay opposing players flat on their backs, and I find these checks to be more satisfying than in Radical's hockey games.

The player models are a bit low-poly and their jerseys are blurry, but you will find some nice Gouraud(*) shading and decent color. There are some nice reflections on the ice under players (this can be switched on/off) and the side boards, and this is the only Saturn hockey title to feature that. The arenas look a bit low-res, the dithered plexiglass looks slightly awkward (only NHL 98 gets this right by, funny enough, by only drawing the white outlines and leaving the plexiglass blank), the team logos and crowds are a bit pixelated. Again, awkward teenage years. But it's decent and--what's that word again?--competent. The frame rate is there and the buttons work. Nothing essential is broken.

There are a hundred things I would change to improve this title, and I'm sure VC would have made many of those changes if they were given NHL 98. Instead, their troubled relationship with Electronic Arts finally gave out and they were cast out, where they would soon be scooped up by Sega (a decision that, interestingly enough, led directly to EA boycotting the Dreamcast, one major factor in that console's early demise). And so this feels like an unfinished work-in-progress, a good start to something that could have been greater. Oh, well. After this, it's EA Canada's franchise, for good or for ill. Pity the frame rate on their Saturn version sucks eggs.

So, bottom line, NHL 97 is pretty decent, playable, what's that word again? Competent? That's about as good as it gets during this era, so just live with it. And, besides, if you're a Saturn fan, you should already have Powerplay 96 which is the best hockey game on the system.

(*Note: The name "Gouraud" comes from French computer scientist Henri Gouraud, who created the computer shading technique named after him. His name is pronounced "gore-ROW," not "GORE-ad.")
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Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus



I honestly have no idea what Next Generation is going on about here. Either they were trying to get the jump on what they thought was a major scoop, or they misunderstood something about Sega's relationship with Lockheed Martin, or they heard some gossip and ran with it. The revelation that somebody at Sega contacted LM about a Saturn successor in 1994 is interesting, although it's unknown whether that was from the American or Japanese side. And if that came from Kalinske's people, exactly what timetable were they thinking? Were they looking to replace Saturn immediately, or are we talking about the usual "five-year plan" for succeeding console generations?

Oh, well. These were strange times and it felt like the whole videogame industry was evolving at such a rapid pace that the whole scene could be completely overwhelmed at a moment's notice. In 1989, Atari's STUN Runner was the cutting edge of real-time 3D polygon computer graphics. By 1996, it was Sega's Virtua Fighter 3. And in that time, we went from 8-bit NES to 16-bit Genesis and Super NES to 32-bit Playstation and Saturn and 64-bit Nintendo and Matsushita (M2).

This does kind of fuel my own personal conspiracy theory that Tom Kalinske wanted to replace the Saturn with a 64-bit console in 1996 and was doing everything he could, in a Midwestern passive-aggressive way, to ensure Saturn failed in '95. Then again, there's no need for elaborate conspiracies when good 'ole fashioned incompetence works best, and goodness knows Sega was drowning in that stuff.
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Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus



Here's an interesting article from Next Generation's September 1995 issue: rumors were raging that Sega was in talks with 3DO for some sort of partnership or licensing deal involving the 64-bit M2 console. A subsequent blurb two issues later confirmed that the two companies were speaking to one another.

An article in the New York Times dated August 24, 1995, directly challenged rumors that Sega was planning to buy 3DO and its M2 technology outright. This would be in keeping with the lead times for the NG articles, so it's all very fascinating. I'll reprint the article in its entirety, and note the final paragraph where 3DO pitched the idea that M2 could launch at the same time as Nintendo 64 in late 1996:

Sega Enterprises Ltd. today denied speculation that it had plans to acquire the 3DO Company, whose shares rose nearly 9 percent following a report that the two companies were in merger talks.

"We can say with confidence that Sega Enterprises has no intention of buying 3DO," said Lee McEnany, a spokeswoman for Sega of America, the Japanese company's North American subsidiary. An article in The San Francisco Chronicle today reported that Sega was in talks to buy all or part of 3DO.

Shares of 3DO, which is based in Redwood City, Calif., closed up $1.0625 today, to $13, in Nasdaq trading, after trading as high as $13.625. 3DO shares soared to $48.25 in October 1993 from an initial public offering price of $15 five months earlier, but have been trading recently in the $10-to-$13 range.

Analysts were skeptical of the merger speculation, noting substantial incompatibilities between the technologies used by the two video-game companies.

Sales of 3DO game players have improved since the company's manufacturing partners, the Matsushita Electric Industrial Company of Japan and LG Electronics Inc. of South Korea, dropped the price to $299 in July. But analysts continue to question 3DO's long-term survival in the face of new competition from the imminent release of the Sony Corporation's Playstation, as well as from more powerful machines from Sega itself and Nintendo.

Though 3DO has demonstrated a new technology called M2 that would leapfrog those machines, it has not announced a delivery date.

"The M2 technology is pretty cool and 3DO doesn't have a way to bring it to market effectively," said Neil West, editor of Next Generation, a magazine devoted to the new game machines. But he said that M2 cannot be affixed to Sega's new Saturn game player, and that Sega is unlikely to shift technologies. "To abandon Saturn and adopt a new hardware platform would be suicidal," he said.

Lee Isgur, an analyst with Jeffries & Company, said "Sega really needs something that will go beyond Saturn and blow Sony out of the water, so on the surface picking up M2 makes sense. But if Sega owned 3DO, would they have to manufacture the hardware, or could they farm it out to someone else, and would that someone else be able to make it on a loss basis as Matsushita is willing to do now? It just doesn't make sense."

Shernav Davra, a spokeswoman for 3DO, said the company would not comment on the speculation, but would have an announcement soon regarding manufacturing partners for M2. "It's pretty much public knowledge that we are talking to everybody about the M2 technology," she said.

Just how powerful M2 is remains unclear. The system has so far been demonstrated only in simulated form, on a videotape generated by computer workstations. 3DO executives have said that the technology could reach the market at the same time as the Nintendo Ultra 64, which is being developed in conjunction with Silicon Graphics Inc. and is scheduled for release next year.
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Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
3DO Co. May Be Bought By Sega

That was the headline from a San Francisco Chronicle article dated August 23, 1995. It spelled out rumors that Sega was planning to purchase their hardware rival in order to 1) secure its 64-bit M2 console for a 1996 US launch, and 2) partner with Panasonic/Matsushita on the manufacturing side. The article also shares rumors--which were already swirling around at the time--that Sega was looking to exit the hardware business entirely, and this was the impetus behind a partnership with Panasonic.

Additionally, the article states that 3DO and Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins personally met with Sega of Japan President Hayao Nakayama to discuss this matter. Now we have a lead who might actually talk. Time to get 'ole Trip on the phone.

Finally, ask yourself one simple question: where would Sega Saturn have been without Virtua Fighter 2, Virtua Cop and Sega Rally Championship? The console was practically stillborn in the US after the Playstation launch, and without that legendary triple punch, Sega would have been dead. We're talking "Virtual Boy" dead.

Here is the Chronicle article reprinted in its entirety:

Sega Enterprises Ltd. is talking to The 3DO Co. of Redwood City about buying all or part of the struggling video game maker in a deal that would dramatically alter the landscape of the electronic game industry, sources said.

No price has been mentioned, but Trip Hawkins, the founder and chief executive of 3DO, reportedly has been offered a deal for all or a portion of the company. The company's current market value is $250 million.

Also, Sega is talking to Charles (Skip) Paul, executive vice president of MCA Inc., a 3DO board member, to head Sega USA, the company's coin-operated game and theme park division. MCA has a 300,000 share investment in 3DO.

The scenario drawn by several industry sources points to Sega's disappointment with the performance and sales of its newest machine, the Saturn. The company also is wary of competitor Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s Ultra 64. Its newest machine, expected out sometime next year, uses more sophisticated technology and could hurt Sega Saturn sales.

Tokyo-based Sega would not comment on the issue and added that it has not lowered its estimates for Saturn sales this year. The company says it already has sold 100,000 units in the United States. Analysts dispute the figure saying it is inflated by 20,000.

Also, Sega is nervous about being unable to spend as much money on marketing the Saturn as Sony Corp. and Nintendo, both more financially robust companies with new game machines.

However, Sony recently has dropped several television advertisements for its new PlayStation game machine, due in stores in September. Sony is in the throws of company-wide cutbacks caused mostly by its $2.2 billion write-off from its purchase of Columbia Pictures, a Sony source said.

Sega apparently wants out of the hardware business, which it sees as unprofitable, sources added. Instead, Sega plans to align with Panasonic, a division of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which owns 13.5 percent of 3DO and is currently one of its hardware manufacturers. Sega longs to do what it does well -- make great video games.

3DO officials would not comment specifically about Sega's intentions, but denied any knowledge of pending deals.

But fueling speculation, Hawkins and Sega's president, Hayao Nakayama, met two weeks ago in Japan apparently to discuss the deal. 3DO would not confirm Hawkins' travel schedule.

Paul reportedly was playing golf with Nakayama four days ago, another source said.

All these meetings raise the question: What happens to Trip Hawkins, when Matsushita -- his major manufacturer and key investor -- teams up with Sega run by Paul, and Tom Kalinske, the current head of Sega of America in Redwood City?

"In my opinion, whatever is being discussed, it would be highly unlikely for Trip not to be a part of it or to be moved out," said Steven Eskenazi, an analyst at Alex. Brown & Sons Inc.

If this all sounds like a complicated video game full of fits and starts, you've got the picture of the cutthroat multibillion- dollar industry.

Known to have plenty of money and enough ego to outlast competitors, Hawkins is toying with several options and actually may be in a position of strength.

He has battled the video game industry since he started 3DO in 1991. He may now decide to carve up his company, sell a portion or license its latest technology, dubbed the M2, to Sega of America, Philips Electronics in Europe and Matsushita in Japan.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus





EA's NHL 98 on Sega Saturn certainly looks very nice in screenshots. You have a great amount of detail, the polygon player models are impressive for its time (if a bit too large, ala FIFA 98), the arenas look authentic and it's great to see the screen-door plexiglass replaced with clear panels, the billboards are varied and actually readable, the face-off circles and team logos at center ice are very clear and sharp. It all looks so nice, probably the prettiest hockey game on Saturn.

And then you see how it all looks in motion. Oy vey.

This hockey title was handled by EA Canada in Vancouver and they've been in charge of the franchise ever since. The Saturn port--as always for EA, the Playstation get all the love and attention--was programmed by MBL Research, a software studio created by none other than Mark Lesser. That's right, the coding mastermind behind NHL 94! Well, talk about your surprise celebrity cameo. Surely, this sports title is in good hands.

And then you see how it all looks in motion. Oy vey.

The presentation is very solid, from the live-action movie clips to the menus to the presence of play-by-play commentary and horns and the occasional organ interlude. Lots of stats and menus appear to simulate that TV feel and you even get a short national anthem at the beginning. Player animations are extensive and very good for its time. Even the ice itself looks very solid, crisp and clean and even if there are no reflections, at least it's the right shade of white.

And then you see how it all looks in motion. Oy vey.

By now, I'm sure you see where this is headed. NHL 98 on Saturn just chugs. It drags. The frame rate stutters and hiccups, like a "frame skip" mode in an emulator. It appears to hover somewhere between the low teens and single digits, and it is absolutely dreadful and painful to see. Yuck. What else is there to say? There is absolutely no excuse for this. Saturn critics at the time would no doubt have pointed fingers and laughed and recited their favorite Sega Saturn mantra: "Can't Doo Three Dee, Can't Doo Three Dee."

NHL 97 isn't perfect or even great, but at least the damned thing can move at a playable pace. Even NHL All-Star Hockey 98, sluggish and slightly choppy as it is, never embarrasses itself like this. And NHL Powerplay 96, the best hockey title on Saturn, runs circles around NHL 98. And don't get me started on the Japanese sports titles. Don't make me pull out Tecmo and have them beat your ass.

The Playstation version of NHL 98, needless to say, runs super smooth and even retains the giant scoreboard and roof on the stadium. It almost looks like a generation ahead of its Saturn cousin. And when a team scores a goal, the players all cheer and wave their arms, while on Saturn, they all just skate to the side boards and then stand there like they've just been grounded.

This is so unbearably frustrating. I'm finding myself hating this one the more I think about it, so I should just quietly retire and get some rest. Saturn deserves so much better than this lazy, sloppy mess. Did Mark Lesser lose a bet? Was he at home sick with pneumonia the week this videogame was made? Boo!

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

EGM ran this interesting profile of the US and JP Sega Saturn controllers, showing their readers who were missing out on the good stuff from overseas. If you were a '90s Saturn fan, it was a unique feeling of loss and envy that you had to learn to live with.

Ugh, I have never been a fan of the blocky US Saturn joypad. It was a terrible idea, and a needlessly costly one for a company that needed to squeeze as many pennies as possible to survive. This decision by the Sega of America managers could either be chalked up to a) gross negligence, b) comical incompetence or c) a crude act of sabotage, depending on your take. Oh, you were aware that a faction within Sega was desperately trying to scuttle the Saturn post-launch and replace it with a new hardware design, first Lockheed Martin's Real 3D and then 3DO's M2?

So for the record, you can put me down for d) all of the above.


Speaking of Sega Saturn in pop culture, in the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm's friend Stevie's favourite game is Sonic R on the Sega Saturn!


Probably the only time I ever remember anyone talking about the Saturn on TV.


Sorry to double post, but wanted to share this sales data from The Magic Box archieves:


(If you're wondering why Sonic 3 & Knuckles sales are so low, the sales start from 1995 and those games came out in 1994)

It shows Saturn and Dreamcast had the opposite problem. Saturn had a breakthrough hit in Japan, but not in the USA. Vice versa for Dreamcast.

If only Saturn had a solid Sonic or NFL game, or if Dreamcast wasn't being pushed by an outsoruced port of a 2 year old Virtua Fighter 3, things may have ended differently.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

God Bless those mad genius wizards at Treasure. Guardian Heroes is so completely over the top, so wildly overconfident and extravagant, so endlessly exciting and thrilling, it's like the world's greatest roller coaster ride. That it's the best beat-em-up of the era goes without saying, and it's an absolutely sensational showpiece for 2D videogames in the 3D age. Probably the only thing that tops it, naturally, would be Treasure's other games on Saturn.

Honestly, I wish I was playing this game right now. Who needs sleep? I'm sure my daughter could snooze right through this if I keep the TV volume muted...right? That's responsible parenting.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus



My Japanese copy of Sega Worldwide Soccer 98 arrived, and I have to say, there are a few interesting surprises. I bought this despite already owning a disc-only copy of the US version because I was honestly curious to see what differences were in the Japanese edition. I had expected the usual suspects--Japanese color commentary--but also wanted to know about the status of the club teams and if they were any different.

WWS 98 was released in the PAL territories on October 1997, with the US version following in November. The JP disc appeared later, in March 1998. As a result, this version includes a two important new features: 3D Controller support and compatibility with NetLink and the Xband modem. Wow! I honestly hadn't expected this until I saw the inside-back insert behind the CD. It's a nice little cheat sheet showing all the moves and techniques, many of which were omitted from the Western manuals (I'll bet you didn't know you could do half these moves). And as you can see, the 3D Controller (or Multi Controller as it's called in Japan) is prominently shown at upper-left.

The Xband modem is an interesting feature, and I'm honestly wondering if this game would work with the US modem. After all, NetLink is only a direct-dial service over telephone lines. There are no servers to deal with, just the number of the other person you want to play with. I would really love to give it a try, but I don't have a Saturn modem at present. I really should have picked up that one that I saw on Ebay a couple years ago for next to nothing...d'oh!

Beyond that, this edition of WWS 98 is identical to the Western release in every way. All the text is in English, all the club teams are present, and the color commentary by Gary Bloom and the late, great Jack Charlton is still present. This was a real surprise, as I was honestly expecting Japanese play-by-play. I only played part of one game and watched the computer play another (time is precious and short with an 18-month-old running everywhere), so I cannot comment on whether the glitches in the audio commentary has been fixed (this was an ongoing issue that Sega couldn't resolve in time for the Western release), but I did hear the occasional out-of-place lines delivered just as before ("I'm not sure I agree with the referee on this one"). I never found that to be a big problem, and the only time you ever really noticed something was off was after scoring a goal and it took forever for Jack Charlton to say anything. I always just assumed he was drunk off his ass, which was always part of the game's charm.

The best thing about everything being in English is that Saturn fans now have a far cheaper option in collecting this title. Prices for the US version of WWS 98 have soared in recent years. I just checked on Ebay and found only one "complete-in-box" copy...for $200. Ack! PAL versions were nonexistent and it's clear the game just didn't sell as well as Worldwide Soccer 97, which is still easy to find. God only knows how much the '98 edition will cost you. The JP edition, however, can be found for as little as $20, and averages around $30-$40.

If you want a copy of Worldwide Soccer 98--and you absolutely should, what the heck is wrong with you?!--then the JP import is now your best option. The inclusion of analog control and possible online peer-to-peer matches seals the deal. I would say that for most sports fans, this is your go-to soccer game on Saturn. FIFA 98 has greater gameplay depth, Honoo no Striker has the polish and World League Soccer 98 has the killer visuals, but Sega's effort gets everything right. and is consistently solid where it counts.

P.S. Don't forget about Sega's World Cup France 98: Road to Win, the final installment of their beloved soccer franchise, which features four Japanese color commentators, World Cup teams, analog control, preliminary matches and tournament modes, as well as additional graphical touches here and there. It's another incremental semi-sequel that became overlooked as FIFA 98 and Pro Evolution Soccer smashed the competition once and for all, but it's still very fun and worth checking out.


So I know I'm about to kill a sacred cow here, but I could never get into Treasure games. Tried so hard to like Guardian Heroes but always just lose interest.

Worldwide Soccer 98 is a classic. Yes, it is a bit stiff at times and you can just run into a goal, but the presentation is ace. It even has the 1966 World Cup winner Jack Charlton! I wonder how Sega got him aboard.

Saturn's sports line up is so underrated.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

Time for an update on the much-anticipated Princess Crown English fan translation. I last posted about this project last April 14, when one of the two main programmers, CyberWarriorX, announced that the project was put on hiatus due to ongoing issues in his personal life. This message was posted on a website message forum that has since, unfortunately, been closed down. Another person at that time (I cannot remember specifically where, probably the same forum) stated that the cause of the delays were ongoing legal battles involving the estate of CWX's late father, who passed away several years ago. The April 14, 2021 message was the first official word on the project since December 2019.

I must admit that I haven't paid much attention since then, and when an old Twitter post of mine was getting some attention, I responded with the April 14 update which was my most up-to-date information. This has caused some confusion as I did not post any source links, and so I decided to take another look and see if there are any new developments to share.

Fortunately, we do have news to report from the romhacking.net forums. SamIAm, the Princess Crown project co-author, has posted several updates reporting his progress. I will share all of his messages in full starting at April 14, 2021:

April 14, 2021:

It's definitely not dead. It's just been stuck as a low priority for a while, with the usual real-life curveballs making it difficult to get around to it.

I still think about it often, and I'd like to see it finished, if that counts for anything.

April 19, 2021:

Much as Oscar Wilde said that books are never finished, only abandoned, Princess Crown's main script (everything that appears in dialogue boxes) is not finished so much as it's OK to be abandoned. I've given it multiple thorough in-game editing passes. Perhaps I'll give it one more. No matter when we release it, I'm sure I'll find things in the translation afterward that I wish I could change.

There are three real issues that remain:

- Graphical-text is largely undealt with. This includes signs that appear above doorways when you walk in front of them, text on the map (which is already in English but has mistakes), and a couple of bits at the loading screen.

- One section of the menu still doesn't quite work, and on-screen space limitations are severe. I'm not sure what we're going to do.

- There are a handful of bugs in specific areas that the translation introduces. I've got them recorded so that it will be easy for CyberWarriorX to reproduce them. How easy they'll be to fix, I can't say.

I'm actually in a good position to resume work on things, to the extent that I can. That doesn't necessarily mean that it will be convenient for CyberWarriorX to do the same, though. He's a busy fellow. We'll just have to see.

Thanks to everyone for your support. It is certainly encouraging to see how interested people are in this game and this project.

May 7, 2021:

Well, good news. CyberWarriorX and I are linked back up and making progress on the doorway signs.

At last count, there are 74 unique doorway signs in the game, and many of these are used in multiple locations. The Japanese game often composes these signs out of multiple elements: グラドリエルの部屋 (Gradriel's Room) is built out of グラドリエル, の, and 部屋 graphics, with the latter two being recycled into other signs in the same area. It would simplify things for us if we could make every English sign a single element and not deal with chopping up/recombining graphics, but there may not be space for that. We'll see.

The Japanese game uses the exact same font for the doorway signs that it uses in the main dialogue text boxes, so we'll do the same. I've taken our English font and print routine and used it to create a complete set of signs, formatted in the same manner as the Japanese signs that CyberWarriorX extracted. There are 41 areas in the game in which signs are used, so the next step is to give each area the signs it needs and see how things are looking space-wise.

I'm definitely going to give the game one more editing pass.

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. It does mean a lot.

May 8, 2021:

Just got the map graphics ripped, too. Now we can deal with "Dwalf Land."

May 14, 2021:

The past few weeks have been very productive.

- All entrance signs have been created, as well as copied, distributed into subfolders and renamed to facilitate an attempt at full insertion.

- Map graphics have been fixed, including Dwalf Land (sorry BlackMageJawa).

- One set of monster names that exist as graphics has been fixed. Alterations include Bigfook to Bighook and Polter Geist to Poltergeist, among others.

- I've taken the first baby steps into another editing pass. Hopefully, this round will go more quickly than the others.

June 13, 2021:

Thanks guys. Your enthusiasm and encouragement mean a lot.

I'm about 15% through my third in-game editing pass, and happily, it's been much smoother sailing than my first two rounds. At the same time, I've still encountered a few things that needed tweaking, which makes me glad that I'm doing this.

I can't quite say what CyberWarriorX has been up to specifically, but I know he's been active.

It's impossible to say when we'll finish, but progress is definitely being made.

Thank you, everyone!

June 16, 2021:

To answer your question directly ["Any chance of a language toggle for Japanese/English in the settings of the game?"], no, that will not be possible.

I have to say that I'm not entirely sure what your concern is, though. If you have an original physical copy of the game, nothing is going to change that.

The translation will come in the form of a patch to be applied to a rip of the original CD on your PC. You can take that patched game and burn it to a CD-R to play in real hardware, or you can put the file(s) on something external to load into an ODE like the Fenrir/Satiator/MODE/Rhea, or you can simply emulate the game.

If you want to play the Japanese version of the game, nothing would stop you from simply using the original version and loading from the same save file you were using to play the English version. The translation is cross-compatible in that way.

June 16, 2021:

Quote from: paul_met on June 16, 2021, 06:32:48 am
Which version of the game is used for translation - "1M" or "11M (Rev A)"?

Currently, it works with the earlier revision. That's what I'm using for play-testing.

This topic would be good to talk about with CyberWarriorX. From what little I understand, there is not much that separates the two revisions; however, there is also enough difference that a single patch wouldn't be compatible with both unless some special measures are taken.

June 19, 2021:

Quote from: paul_met on June 16, 2021, 11:25:54 am
I have a hack to increase the screen resolution in this game, but it is only compatible with version 1M. In addition, I am preparing another hack for version 1M. Therefore, I am wondering if it will be compatible with the translation.

I've been thinking about this. Princess Crown has no jump button and no ladders, and in most scenes has no vertical scrolling whatsoever. At a glance, it looks like the number of active lines in the original game is 226, and I assume you plan to expand this to something like 240. Are you sure that genuine graphics actually exist in these extra lines throughout the game? The developers would have had no reason to create them unless the reduced visible area was decided at a late stage.

I don't mean to come off hostile or anything. If the hack looks good, it looks good, and that's very cool. I'm just concerned. I've turned off background layers in some areas of the game and seen that they often didn't make redundant graphics.

Quote from: knight0fdragon on June 16, 2021, 11:28:14 am
Here is a list of differences.


Looks like they updated the game code between revisions.
I can write a script later on analyzing this more, but it looks like most of your monster changes are just pointer changes. May not be too terrible to support both revisions.

Thanks for taking a look.

This sort of technical stuff just isn't my end of things, but I can say that CyberWarriorX and I have personally ripped both versions of the game to compare them, and I have confidence that he's on top of the situation. Anyway, I don't think it will be hard for people to play the translation when it's finished, and I don't think prioritizing one version or another will make much of a difference.

June 19, 2021:

Quote from: paul_met on June 19, 2021, 02:01:28 p
I don't know where you got the idea that I want to increase the vertical resolution in the game. My hack is to increase the horizontal resolution to 352 pixels, which is much more useful.

Ah, I see. I guess I imagined you were increasing vertical resolution both because there are unused lines and because it seems like increasing horizontal resolution could introduce a variety of complications:

- There are a large number of areas in the game that are single-screen only. How do those come through?
- What about the story segments where characters enter and leave from the sides of the screen - do we ever see any "backstage" stuff that we weren't supposed to see?
- In other segments where the camera is supposed to center on one character or evenly between two characters, is that still happening?
- Does the camera never do anything funny when a scroll boundary is reached, including in battles?

June 20, 2021:

Quote from: paul_met on June 20, 2021, 12:24:14 am
Camera scrolling borders have been adjusted. Room tile maps without scrolling have been improved. In the end, you can see it all for yourself by installing a patch.

That must have been a lot of work. I'll be interested to take a look!

June 29, 2021:

It's been another productive couple of weeks.

- I'm about 50% of the way through Gradriel's scenario in my current editing pass. As one would hope, most of the lines are fine just as they are, but I have indeed made a number of adjustments.

- We've prepared English graphics for the save/load screen. Together with the door signs and the map graphics, I believe this covers all of the graphical text in the game.

- CyberWarriorX located and ripped the text that is used as the basis for printing enemy names in huge letters at the start of every battle. There are a few names we'll need to change.

- When the game boots, it may show any number of messages if the Saturn's internal memory is full, needs formatting, or if the Princess Crown save is corrupt. The original messages are in English, and they're plenty intelligible, but stylistically, they're pretty Engrish-y. CyberWarriorX located and ripped this text, and it'll be fixed up for the translation.

July 12, 2021:

Quote from: 230-V on July 10, 2021, 11:06:39 am
Just a sidenote, but it was cool to see SamIAm contributing to the latest episode of PandaMonium Reviews Every U.S. Saturn Game and getting a shout-out about the Princess Crown translation.

His older short-form reviews are good, but his hybrid review-documentaries have been exceptional. I had to reach out and let him know I could help with Japanese-language research.

If you're even remotely fond of the Saturn or mid-90s Sega, by all means, give a watch to his recent videos on Virtua Racing, Parodius and Corpse Killer. If you like what you see, there is plenty more on his channel. I really hope he keeps going!

August 9, 2021:

Thanks, guys. It's always good for morale to see your posts.

I wound up being busy with real-life work at the end of last month, but these last few days have seen good gains in Princess Crown.

There are a couple of places in the game where, following a major event, a large number of NPC townspeople will change what they say when you talk to them. It's been a bit of a slog making the rounds to check all that, but it's coming along.

September 16, 2021:

Still pushing forward. I'm nearing the end of Gradriel's scenario in this current (and probably final) editing pass.

Thanks for all the encouragement, guys. The next time I stop working on this, I want it to be because the project is done.

October 6, 2021:

It's incredible to see so much support for this. Thanks again, guys.

It's been a busy few weeks at work, but I'm back at it - literally writing this while waiting for another disc image to build.

November 24, 2021:

Hey guys. I have been slightly derailed as of late due to a little translation-involved side project which, if you're a major Saturn fan, ought to be a real treat when it comes out. That's all I'll say for now...other than that you might be able to figure out what it is if you've been reading this thread for a while.


SamIAm has not posted any new messages since November 24, and we have yet to hear any word from CWX. However, it has only been two months and as these are fan-made projects, delays and real-life intrusions are very common. The busy developments last year are very encouraging, especially after an almost 18-month delay, and we should remain confident that the project will be completed.

My advice would be for members of the Saturn fan translation community to reach out and see if CyberWarriorX and SamIAm need any assistance. There may be unexpected snafus or bugs that need to be addressed (remember that two Saturn translation projects last year--Baroque and Phantasm--hit unexpected roadblocks). The project may just require greater time due to extensive text (this is an RPG). Or life may just get in the way and force the hobbies onto the back burner. As always, patience is key.
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Sega Orphan

I loved my Sega Saturn, although it's lack of transparency abilities did shit me off.
My games library was amazing.
Sega Rally, VF2, Fighting Vipers, Daytona, Nights, Virtua Cop, Loaded, Exhumed, Carrier, Grandia, THOTD, Darkstalkers, Manx TT, Panzer Dragoon and Vurtal On amongst others.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

I found this new Youtube video of Saturn Wipeout that was uploaded three days ago. It's great to see clear footage of this game in action, showing off the introduction, the demo mode and a few stages. This remains one of my favorite racing videogames, regardless of platform, and everybody should be playing this regularly.

Bonus points for the excellent Cold Storage soundtrack, he really did a bangup job. He also created the music for the Saturn version of Wipeout XL (all of the licensed electronica artists were Sony exclusives), which is highly recommended--you've all bought the JP import by now, correct?

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

Sega Saturn, Shiro! Podcast discusses Tomb Raider in their most recent episode, sharing personal anecdotes from playing back in the 1990s as well as today, reminiscing on Lara Croft's enormous pop culture presence and the enduring legacy of the TR franchise. And, hey, they actually have good things to say about the Saturn version, which is very nice to hear. Whoever was playing in the video was clearly stumbling around, however, but they do manage to make steady progress soon enough. Kudos to whoever was the one who said that Lara looks better on Saturn than Playstation. Thank you! Quads look better with low-poly models, and as Rodriguez would say, that's a cold fact.

Earlier this morning (actually, Wednesday morning), I was playing a little bit of Tomb Raider with my young daughter (who really just enjoys putting discs into the Saturn and pressing the console buttons) and I captured a couple screenshots which I'm posting here. For the record, that bear was not shot with pistols. I threw cookies at him until he got full and then lied down to take a nap. The bear is fine. He's just sleeping. Remember Super 3D Noah's Ark on the Super Nintendo? Yeah, exactly like that.

While the original Tomb Raider has aged in many ways, it remains a groundbreaking work for 1996 that helped blaze the trail for the new frontier of 3D adventure videogames, and its sense of mystery, isolation and atmosphere remains as compelling as ever. There really is something magical about the original that its countless sequels never could recreate. And I do love how this game looks on my 13-inch Trinitron. The colors and contrast just pop off the screen and everything is so wonderfully lonely and moody.



Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

Let's take a look at a new homebrew project for Sega Saturn: Tomb Raider: Unfinished Business. This is an attempted port of a 1998 reissue Tomb Raider Gold that was released exclusively to PC and Mac, featuring the original game plus four new stages. According to Stella's Tomb Raider Site: "In the first two levels, 'Shadow of the Cat,' Lara returns to the city of Khamoon in search of an undiscovered tomb dedicated to the Egyptian cat-goddess, Bastet. In 'Unfinished Business,' having learned of the existence of a hive of surviving creatures guarding an alien hatchery, Lara returns to Atlantis to destroy the mutants before they invade again."

"RetroRaiderJohn" is the programmer behind this project, and he has posted this Youtube video showing his progress. It is planned for a standalone release later this year and will include only the four expansion levels. He also elaborated on his work on Reddit, which I will share here in its entirety:

I've been working on a Sega Saturn "port" (level conversion) of Tomb Raider: Unfinished Business these past few weeks. Unfinished Business is an expansion pack for Tomb Raider (1996) and was PC exclusive, but has since been ported to PS1 by fans (twice). I wanted to see if the Sega Saturn version is also capable of handling it and, with a lot of data optimization, I'm happy to announce that the first three levels are running pretty well for the most part. There are some strict memory limits on the Tomb Raider Saturn engine (even more so than on PS1), so this has definitely been a challenge. There's noticeable lag in bigger areas, but that's unavoidable (and OG TR1 suffers from it too). It's certainly playable, still.

Anyway, I was just excited to show my latest progress, as I've reached a point where it's coming together pretty well. I will however be taking a break from it due to other responsibilities, but I hope to return to it soon. My goal is to not compromize anything significant, as I want the most complete experience possible. More updates to come!

In response to a question asking how this project was done (e.g. level lacks, reverse engineering), John replies with the following message:

I reverse engineered the level data format. I was familiar with the TR1 PC level data format after making a PC -> PS1 converter (which I then made compatible with the TR2 E3 level data format, to convert this particular demo to PS1). Earlier this year, I started having a look at Saturn level data files, which I noticed are split into 4 separate files, each centered around one main component: rooms, objects, sprites and sounds. What's somewhat convenient (and unique) about these files is that the data structs are all indicated (like with actual words). That said, this wasn't necessary for me because at this point I know the TR1 data format pretty well and I was immediately able to recognize lots of similarities compared to the PC version.

So with my trusty hex editor, I went through all 4 level files and documented how all data structs compare to the PC levels (sometimes for multiple of them, because there can be slight design differences here and there that can throw you off). As you can imagine, it can take a while before everything is extensively and accurately covered. It's better to do this immediately, otherwise writing a parser or converter can lead to difficulties. Writing the converter was relatively straightforward after that, for the most part.

One of the main challenges was tackling texture conversion. TR1 on Saturn has room texture mipmapping, meaning that each room texture has a mini version version that the engine only shows after passing a certain distance. You can actually see this phenomenon in-game. It's primarily done to increase the game's performance, which it desperately needs. PC and PS1 don't have texture mipmapping (although TR2 on PS1 does), so this was new to me. It took me a while to figure out how exactly this data is stored, especially since there is another fundamental difference which seems highly inefficient to me (which is a lack of texture coordinates, meaning that all cut textures are stored separately, dramatically increasing the amount of texture data).

Anyway, there's a lot more about my process that I can write about. Maybe I'll do so one day!

Finally, John concludes with a final promise to share his secrets with the Saturn homebrew community once he is finished:

I will eventually explain my findings in a more detailed manner, including the various optimization techniques I've used and will use later on. I'm estimating a data reduction of ~200.000 bytes for the bigger levels when all is said and done, which is a massive (but very necessary) amount.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

Longtime Sega fan and popular Youtube host John Hancock shares his rankings of the 1995 Sega Saturn US launch titles. Games featured in this video include Pebble Beach Golf Links, Worldwide Soccer, Clockwork Knight, Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter and Panzer Dragoon. I assume his definition of "launch game" is pretty strict, as I don't see Bug or Virtua Fighter Remix included in this video, but this is a nice look at those heady summer days where Sega had gamers all to themselves.

Personally? I know it was never popular to say so, but I think those are terrific launch games. I enjoy every one of them and think they do the job of introducing a new home games console, showing off its new abilities, and offering promises of a glorious future. Like everyone else, Panzer Dragoon was my favorite, but VF and Daytona both grew on me and became favorites (VF Remix was magnificent). Worldwide Soccer was the biggest surprise and enormous fun with roommates, and that goes double for Pebble Beach, which became the most-played Saturn game in the autumn months. Clockwork Knight was the weakest entry, as it was only one half of a larger videogame, much like Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but fans of traditional 2D platformers were very happy. I had way more fun with Bug, but that game also proved to be far more frustrating as well (the complete lack of any saves was ludicrous). And we shall speak not of the wretched abominable mess that was NHL All-Star Hockey.

Also--time for another wildly unpopular opinion--I think Sega was smart to launch Saturn early. A September launch alongside the red-hot Sony Playstation would have completely buried them alive. The console wouldn't have had a chance. Sony was riding an enormous wave of hype and goodwill that stretched out a full year, while Sega was beset with nothing but complications, controversies and negative press. They were in serious trouble and everybody on the planet knew it.

Sega needed some positive buzz and especially needed the limelight to themselves before Ridge Racer, Toshinden, Tekken, Warhawk, NFL Gameday, NHL FaceOff and Wipeout completely overwhelmed them. I mean, c'mon. That's a fantastic launch lineup. VF Remix and Daytona are great fun, but they can't compete against that level of flash, and Sega wouldn't have a proper counterpunch until Christmas.

What Sega should have done was launch the Saturn in July. This would have given them more time to build their inventory, which would allow them to allocate resources to retailers more wisely. In addition, make Virtua Fighter Remix the pack-in game and release the JP promotional video showing gamers how the game is actually played. Daytona could be tweaked a little more, but let's be honest, that title is about as good as it's going to get. Get a better demo disc, one that doesn't look so cheap and roughshod. And for heaven's sake, get rid of that stupid blocky US joypad. Use the Japanese Saturn joypad.

Would those changes have made any difference? Eh, it would help a little. It would at least demonstrate a little more competence which was sorely lacking at Sega of America. But they were facing the fight of their lives against a $30 billion company that practically defined consumer electronics and had just bought their way into Hollywood. Oh, and did you notice the Windows 95 launch? Microsoft now wants to get into the videogames business. Sorry, kids, that's the ball game. Game Over. By the summer of 1995, Sega was a dead man walking and absolutely nothing on God's Green Earth was going to save them. Which is precisely why the company's leaders were so desperate to replace the Saturn (first with Lockheed Martin, then with 3DO/Panasonic's M2) and scrambling to find any new revenue stream to stay alive, including Sega PC and Segasoft.

Oh, well. Slight tangent here. The important thing is that the Saturn launch games are really good and fun to play, even if Sega's days in the hardware business were numbered.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

Sega Lord X devotes his latest Youtube episode to the newly-released Powerslave Exhumed, an update to the 1996 Sega Saturn classic for Nintendo Switch. Needless to say, it's an outstanding effort that every Sega fan ought to buy. Now if the software team could just kindly patch in the old "Goldeneye" control scheme for me, that would be great, yeah.
This is such a great thread. That's for all your work Daniel Thomas MacInnes Daniel Thomas MacInnes I thought I knew a lot about the Saturn but I'm learning so much by going back through these pages.

I bought a Saturn in around 2000 after getting bored with the endless sequels on the PS1. Games like Radiant Silvergun, Street Fighter Zero 3, Exhumed, Nights and Panzer Dragoon Saga had such better gameplay than most of the unimaginative stuff on Sony's console.

For some reason I passed over Dragon Force at the time but now that Saturn emulation has improved I'll have to give it a try.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

I wanted to show off this excellent Sega Saturn controller by Retro-Bit. It's compatible with all modern platforms as well as the Saturn (an extension plug is required). It feels absolutely perfect, very solid and just the right weight, the buttons and d-pad are precise and fast.

This sort of thing is absolutely required for Nintendo Switch, as its standard controllers are absolutely terrible for fighting games, and if you own a Switch, you will obviously own a copy of Street Fighter 30th Anniversary, which includes every SF2, SF3 and SF Alpha title under one package. Saturn owners everywhere already know about its supremacy for 2D videogames, especially fighters, and now the rest of the world gets to notice.

Seriously. Get the new Saturn joypads. They're a must. You'll love them.
So I know I'm about to kill a sacred cow here, but I could never get into Treasure games. Tried so hard to like Guardian Heroes but always just lose interest.

Did you try any others? I love Treasure but I think it's their worst game. Bought a copy when i was collecting saturn stuff a decade or 2 ago and i spent a LONG time trying to like it because of how much praise it gets, but i thought the gameplay and controls were terrible. It's basically a ripoff of that Sega arcade game Arabian Fight which is also pretty bad.
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Did you try any others? I love Treasure but I think it's their worst game. Bought a copy when i was collecting saturn stuff a decade or 2 ago and i spent a LONG time trying to like it because of how much praise it gets, but i thought the gameplay and controls were terrible. It's basically a ripoff of that Sega arcade game Arabian Fight which is also pretty bad.
Yu Yu Hakusho. Actually enjoyed this quite a bit.

Gunstar Heroes. Enjoyable but I don't revisit it often.

Radiant Silvergun. Good game but I'm not a big shump guy. Actually had more fun with Cotton 2 if I'm honest.

Okay, maybe I don't dislike Treasure. Guess it is just Guardian Heroes the one that I didn't enjoy.


Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
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Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Man, Saturn community is so awesome with all these games getting translated, from Bulk Slash and Vandal Hearts to Sakura Wars and these two, it sure makes the wait for Princess Crown easier! It doesn't :pie_lcry:


This is a great surprise and I can't wait to try these out on my Saturn. It also bodes well for Dino Island and Tactics Ogre seeing a translation in the future. Both would be amazing. I am very impressed at all the hard work among the Saturn community.

As for Princess Crown, well...I caused a minor uproar when I mentioned it on Twitter some weeks ago, but I should point out that the last word we heard about this from the two responsible for this was last November. They've been supposedly working on this translation for the past ten years. I'll be just as happy as anyone to see the project completed, but, honestly? I wouldn't count on it. Just my own personal opinion, will be happy to be proven wrong.


Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
As for Princess Crown, well...I caused a minor uproar when I mentioned it on Twitter some weeks ago, but I should point out that the last word we heard about this from the two responsible for this was last November.
He posted last February and before that said stuff to clear up some fud or whatever. I don't care, it's not something I'm waiting for, just something I'll jump on as soon as/if it appears, from this guy or whoever else (I guess others may be put off taking it on thinking this one is happening though).

I just always wanted to play this one ever since seeing it in magazines and then online, I've played it up to the first weakened dragon encounter in Japanese and feel it will probably not be as epic as I hoped by just loving the style and everything but still be pretty great and unique.

How about adding a list of released/mostly complete fan translations in the OP (+ in a new post), I think some semi recent stuff I mentioned in the "impressive 3d Saturn games" thread like Gungriffon II haven't been posted here where they're more appropriate.
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Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Ogre Battle translation updated to 1.1 in like hours after I reported some potential leftover Japanese text in the random soldier names. Just go to the latest download via the main site of the creators otherwise you might get to a broken link if you go for an older release and think you can't have it.
Edit: and it's already to 1.2 with some more fixes. Maybe you should keep that .old file it creates and replace the patched file with it before patching with a new version, repatching causes issues (the patch readme suggests doing this also anyway).
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Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Can anyone recommend a Japanese Capcom Saturn beat em up?
Dungeons & Dragons Collection. Tower of Doom & Shadow Over Mystara, the latter requires a 4MB RAM cart. I guess you can get the modern bundle instead. Really, for most of the Capcom (and SNK and some other) games, amazing as they were back then, I emulate the arcade versions now...
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Scotty W

Dungeons & Dragons Collection. Tower of Doom & Shadow Over Mystara, the latter requires a 4MB RAM cart. I guess you can get the modern bundle instead. Really, for most of the Capcom (and SNK and some other) games, amazing as they were back then, I emulate the arcade versions now...

Thanks. D&D it is since for some reason I can’t get the 4 meg cart to work on my Saturn.


Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
Thanks. D&D it is since for some reason I can’t get the 4 meg cart to work on my Saturn.
You misunderstood, The D&D Collection includes the two games named, one of which needs the 4MB RAM cart. I guess you could get Disc 1 only which is Tower of Doom (weird they even needed two discs for this instead of dump both on one and add a selection menu, they're less than 100MB, even the modern Chronicles version is ~350MB installed). Also, as far as beat 'em ups go they're pretty complex with story choices here and there, shops to buy stuff from and some advanced controls maneuvers so they may take some time to get to grips with in Japanese if you can't read it...
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Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Just picked up Die Hard Arcade.... Such a treat to play.

There is a very weird glitch if you play Die Hard Arcade (US) on a JP Saturn. The text for the QTE events switches from English to Japanese. Fortunately, a new patch was recently released that reportedly fixes this.

Oh, and since we’re talking about glitches, the first print run of Fighting Vipers (JP) has a weird bug that will crash the program and then erase all your battery backup files. Ack! I discovered this laat night the hard way. Later print runs fixed this issue, so you don’t need to worry about Pepsiman killing your game saves.


Gold Member
There is a very weird glitch if you play Die Hard Arcade (US) on a JP Saturn.

It's not a glitch it's coded with multiple languages depending on the system it's being played on. Same way you set a megadrive to Japan region if you have it switched and Streets of Rage will display Bare Knuckle instead. I had a moded PAL Saturn and I could get my PAL DHA to show Japanese by changing the region after it had booted up.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus

Yumimi Mix Remix is a wonderfully charming interactive cartoon from our good friends Game Arts. It appeared on Sega CD in 1993 exclusively in Japan, where it found a unique place among the deluge of FMV games that haunted the platform. Two years later, the game was ported to Sega Saturn with "Remix" added to the title, although Hardcore Gaming 101 openly questioned whether anything was really changed at all.

In any case, here is a cute little interactive cartoon that uses the console's graphics engines to create its cut scenes, instead of using heavily compressed FMV clips. There are moments where you are asked to select one of several options, much like those "choose your own adventure" books that were popular in the 1980s*, although their impact on the game's story appears to be minimal until the very end.

Personally, I would highly recommend Game Arts' follow-up title, the wonderfully charming and funny Dino Island, which was built from the ground up for Sega Saturn and looks far better in every respect. But I surely wouldn't pass up Yumimi Mix, especially now that a new English fan translation is available. Indeed, I think everybody ought to see this little gem, if only to catch a glimpse at the vast library of "interactive fiction" or "sound novels" available on the Japanese Saturn. Also, it must be said that I have great love and affection for Sega CD, a doomed half-console that is home to some of the weirdest and most experimental videogames from the dawn of the CD-ROM era.

You definitely owe it to yourself to give this new Yumimi translation a go.
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