SEGA Saturn may not have sold as well as the Playstation or the Nintendo 64, but the system is full of gems that were never appreciated when they where released. We will now talk about our favorite games on the Saturn, if you want to add yours, do so in the comments.
Barry The Nomad
While NiGHTS into Dreams is my favorite Saturn game, my second most favorite game is Sonic Team’s Burning Rangers. One would think that a game about firefighters wouldn’t be too exciting, but it is! Players jump, fly and rocket through flame filled environments, extinguishing fires via a pulse blaster and rescuing trapped civilians by teleporting them out of the area using crystals that players collect during play. One of my favorite elements of the game is the way it employs sound. Players can actually hear the direction from which an explosion is about to appear, and can use this audio queue to jump to safety. Instead of using an onscreen map, the game uses an audio navigation system. The system is quite effective, and is a great alternative to a map. Unfortunately, as this feature is central to the gameplay, this means that English speakers can only best enjoy the game by playing the rare English language version. This explains why the Japanese import is so affordable on ebay.
Other features include water and lighting effects, which were amazing at the time, and a mail system. Players can receive messages from those they rescued, including Sonic Team members Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima. While there is a lot to love in Burning Rangers, the game is not perfect. The camera can sometimes cause problems, and the graphics do not hold up for today. However, these problems should be expected from a fully 3D Saturn game, and when compared to many other 3D Saturn titles, Burning Rangers is a masterpiece. When I bought the game, it was $45 new. Now it goes for $100 to $150! Is it worth it? Well, if you love ’90’s era Sonic Team games and want to experience one of the best 3D titles on the Saturn, I’d say yes.
Out of all the games the SEGA Saturn got, NiGHTS is easily the game that best defines it. Quirky, imaginative, and unmistakably Japanese, NiGHTS works well as the Saturn’s mascot, and as far as I’m concerned fills that role better then Sonic ever could. It’s also easily one of the best games on the system, and my personal favorite. Why?
Well, the game is unique. There wasn’t anything like it before it came out, and there hasn’t really been anything like it since. As a result, NiGHTS is not only still a very fresh game that has aged incredibly well, it’s also easily one of the most unique gems Western gamers can still only play on a Saturn.
Unlike Sonic the Hedgehog, or most other games for that matter, the goal isn’t to simply get to the end of the stage. In fact, collecting your 4 ideyas in each stage, the stated goal of each level, is something of an afterthought in the grand scheme of things. Rather, the goal here is to get the highest score possible within each stage’s time limit. You accomplish this by linking as many rings and chips in succession as you can. The higher the link, the higher your score. In addition to that, you also get the chance to perform tricks and take advantage of each stage’s unique gimmick, and you can as much as double your score by beating the incredibly easy bosses in record time.
Nothing beats the feeling of flight in NiGHTS; not to mention the imaginative stages, the spectacular bosses, or the superb soundtrack. Not only Sonic Team’s best effort, but the Saturn’s best game.
For a runner up though, I’d definitely go with Dragon Force. The game’s rock paper scissor’s style of strategy game play may seem simple on the surface, but it’s quite a bit deeper once you begin to understand the nuances of making war in Legendra. If nothing else, the massive 100 v 100 sprite character battles are still something to behold, even in this day and age.
You know, it’s hard to pick a favorite game for a SEGA system. It’s like picking what child you like the most and after thinking about it for a long time, I was stuck on either Shining Force III or Panzer Dragoon Saga. At the end of the day, Panzer Dragoon Saga won out for being so ahead of the curve.
If you have read my ‘SEGA Sequel Saturday’ on Panzer Dragoon Saga then you know how much I enjoyed the game. I always have a soft spot for SEGA RPGs, I think SEGA really shines when it comes to this genre. Something about Panzer Dragoon Saga just clicks with me as being one of the better (if not the best) RPGs created for a home console.
I was a huge fan of the on rail combat for Panzer Dragoon and its sequel Zwei. But SEGA really shocked me when they took off the rails and finally let us explore freely on a dragon and on foot. Panzer Dragoon Saga hit all the aces with its interactive combat system and fabulous art style. Did I mention the music? Actually everything about the game was top notch.
Check out some of the artwork from the series, its amazing stuff.Ad: