SEGA Retrospective: 20 years of Fighters Megamix

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Between the likes of Marvel vs Capcom, Super Smash Bros and NEO GEO Battle Coliseum, suffice to say that it is characteristic of the crossover fighting game sub-genre to not take yourself so seriously. Put any worries about canon to rest, don’t sweat character balance too much, and just have a good time. SEGA’s one and only foray into the world of crossover fighters dropped twenty years ago today, and if it’s not immediately obvious that they’ve let their hair down, it will be once you unlock Rent-A-Hero.

Fighters Megamix bills itself as a crossover between the Virtua Fighter and Fighting Vipers franchises, two series which mean considerably less to your average Joe today than they did back in 1996. I remember when Masahiro Sakurai unveiled the Akira and Jacky Mii costumes for Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Twitter blew up with questions along the lines of “what the hell is Virtua Fighter?” Nevertheless, Fighters Megamix has carved its way into the libraries of many fighting and retro game fans in recent years, largely due to its outrageous roster.

Admit it. You know about this game because of the car. I don’t judge you. It’s been twenty years.

SEGA Talk Podcast #06: NiGHTS into Dreams… (1996)

SEGA Talk NiGHTSWe have a very special episode of the SEGA Talk Podcast as we cover not only NiGHTS into Dreams… but also Christmas NiGHTS. We have a interesting discussion on the development of NiGHTS into Dreams…, how it shifted Sonic Team into creating a new mascot, the game’s iconic soundtrack, and even speak about our thoughts on the game play. Make sure to stay on to hear us talk about Christmas NiGHTS during the end of the podcast to get some holiday cheers. Get your eggnog, turn up your speakers and let’s talk about NiGHTS into Dreams…  (and Christmas NiGHTS)

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If you want to give us feedback, suggest a topic for the next podcast or want to ask a question for us to answer on the next episode you can add them as a comment below or send theme directly to our email. Make sure you use subject line ‘SEGA Talk’ and as always, thanks for listening!

English Sega Saturn Policenauts fan translation released

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An English Sega Saturn Policenauts fan translation has been released today, which is certainly not the October surprise you were expecting to be excited about.

Policenauts is a graphic adventure game that follows in the footsteps of Konami’s Sega CD cult classic Snatcher. Several years ago, an English translation patch was released for the PlayStation version of the game. Which was nice, but what most of us wanted was for the Sega Saturn release of the game to get the same treatment.

The Japanese Sega Saturn port of Policenauts contains all of the same content as the other editions of the game, but with a number of improvements. Most notably, the anime cutscenes run at 24 frames-per-second, while it’s PlayStation counterpart chugs along at just 15. In addition, it features more dialogue and scenes, less censorship, bonus videos after the game is completed, and an alternative credits sequence. It also features light gun support if you still have a handy Virtua Gun and old CRT TV to play it on.

The translation team has already made the game region free with the patch, so all you need to do is patch your game and load it up. You’ll be good to go and finally be able to experience this lost Hideo Kojima classic.

Head on over to Policenauts.net to download the patch and instructions.

SEGA Saturn copy protection cracked after 22 years

The SEGA Saturn has long been that one SEGA console that was near impossible to crack, and console owners could forget trying to easily play copied games (which currently relies on a mod chip and burning CDs). But now, thanks to electronics fellow and coder James Laird-Wah aka “Dr Abrasive”, the Saturn’s copy protection has finally been cracked.

Detailed in the extended video above is the process which Dr Abrasive took to achieve this. Essentially, games are loaded from USB via the expansion card port. The Saturn was so difficult to crack due to DRM requiring discs to have a physical mark on them (called a wobble) which was etched into the CD. Dr Abrasive got past this by figuring out how the disc drive worked and emulating it via USB. The project is still in the testing phase, but there are plans to make boards available for sale. The work will eventually open up doors to homebrew communities and preserve the console’s functionality years beyond the eventual death of the CD drive.

You can follow the project at Dr Abrasive’s Twitter account and at the official Assembler Games topic, and you can join the discussion at the SEGAbits forums.

SEGA News Bits: Shining series turns 25 years old

25 years ago today, on March 29th 1991, Shining in the Darkness released to the Japanese Mega Drive. While the original game did not light the world on fire, the later Shining Force games would become some of the best strategy RPGs ever produced. The series is still going strong, at least in Japan, with Blade Arcus from Shining EX releasing just last year.

Whatever you may think about the recent installments, most fans agree that the Shining Force games were legendary and the original Shining in the Darkness is to thank for starting the franchise. Join us on this SEGA News Bits as we share our Shining memories and talk about the possible future of the series, and don’t forget to brush up on all the SEGA anniversaries hitting this year!

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Developer Retrospective: The winning combination of SEGA and Compile

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As summer winds down, we thought it would be the ideal time to shift the focus of our Year of the Developers feature to third party Japanese developers who have worked with SEGA in the past to bring us countless classics. We are, of course, referring to the legendary developers Compile, Treasure and Westone. While these three developers existed on their own outside of SEGA, their collaborations with our favorite company utilizing beloved SEGA home console and arcade hardware went a long way in cementing their statuses as some of the best third party developers of the 80s and 90s.

Presenting “My Life with SEGA: Nothing Else Matters ”, a short film by A.J. Rosa

Andrew Rosa and Mickey Mac team up once again to take on a new threat. Their new flagship, SEGA Saturn, must ward off an army of palette swapped goons loyal to the Sony Empire in this high-octane geek-fest that DOES what Ninten-WON’T.

Starring Mike Bean (Getting it ‘N’), Mickey Mac (2-Man Scramble), Erica Winter (Raven Heights Radio Podcast) and Alex Gonzales. Written, Edited and Directed by Andrew Rosa.

Like this video? Subscribe to the SEGAbits YouTube channel! After the break, check out a collection of outtakes from the production of the short film.

The Future of Panzer Dragoon

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It’s hard to believe Panzer Dragoon Orta is more than 12 years old. Looking back, Orta has aged incredibly well. Its visuals are still gorgeous and its gameplay still feels just as smooth and polished as it did in 2003. In an age where all sorts of obscure games are seeing digital re-releases and all sorts of franchises and genres are finding new life in the realm of digital, I think it’s a missed opportunity that Panzer Dragoon hasn’t received any sort of new release while digital gaming has been booming.

So today I thought I’d write up an article exploring the many ways Panzer Dragoon could (and should) fit into SEGA’s renewed focus on digital and mobile gaming.

First 4 Figures teases their upcoming NiGHTS figure

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First 4 Figures has teased this image on their Facebook, giving their fans a small taste of whats to come. If you haven’t heard of First 4 Figures, they make high quality video game figures in limited quantities. They dabble in Nintendo, Capcom and of course SEGA figures. I think my personally favorites are their Skies of Arcadia Vyse figure, Beat from Jet Set Radio, Akria from Virtua Fighter 5, and of course Ryo from Shenmue.

Not only are First 4 Figures known for their quality, but they are also known for their high price tags. Don’t be surprised if this figure goes on sale for over $200 dollars.

Celebrating 20 years of the amazing world of Panzer Dragoon

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Although few gamers nowadays have heard of it, the original Panzer Dragoon trilogy has an almost legendary status among Sega fans, particularly among those that owned a Sega Saturn. What was it, though, that made the Panzer Dragoon games so special? There were many things that the Panzer Dragoon games did right at the time. The game’s 3D graphics were amongst the best seen on the system at the time, and the first two games raised the bar for the on-rail shooter genre. Similarly, Panzer Dragoon Saga’s story, voice acting and battle system were ahead of their time.

2-Man Scramble put the dynamic duo to the test in Batman Forever: The Arcade Game for the SEGA Saturn

After having suffered through the 16-bit catastrophe that was Batman Forever on SEGA Genesis, A.J. and Mickey must tackle the 32-bit arcade translation, Batman Forever: The Arcade Game for SEGA Saturn. No riddles, no more platform hopping; just plain ass-beating!

Want a more in-depth review of this surprisingly enjoyable brawler? Check out My Life with SEGA: Batman Forever: The Arcade Game!

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SEGA Tunes: Panzer Dragoon’s OST is a beautiful masterpiece

Panzer Dragoon is an artistic and beautiful game, sure it might be ‘ugly’ now since games can do better graphically. But there is just something about the art assets used that really strike me as beautiful. Like most SEGA games, the soundtrack matched the presented game and no other game delivered as well as Panzer Dragoon series. This week we will be looking through the first game’s soundtrack.

The above song attached is the main theme that really sets the game’s epic scoop. Its a beautiful piece that for some reason reminds me of the 1989 animated film ‘Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland‘. Fun fact: French artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud was actually involved in both Panzer Dragoon (mostly influence and did the Japanese cover) and the Little Nemo movie.

Playable build of Sonic X-Treme now available

We all know the story. 19 years ago, everyone was getting super excited about the upcoming release of Sonic X-treme, which would mark Sonic’s first fully three dimensional adventure. Long story short, the game was never released, and the Sega Saturn always had a hole in its library, no main Sonic title ever being released.

While bits and pieces of what the game would have been have leaked/been released over the the years, last November JollyRodger showed up with a plethora of material from defunct gaming studio Point Of View, including the source code for a variety of Sonic X-treme builds on both the Saturn and the PC. Being as the code could only run natively on hardware very few people have access to, Jolly took it upon himself to begin the process of porting the code to modern PC’s. Earlier tonight, the first public release of this labor of love was been released, “version 037” of X-treme now fully operational.

Download links and more after the jump.

SEGA Japan releases Saturn and Master System themes for 3DS

While in the USA we only have a free Sonic Boom theme from SEGA to apply to our handhelds, SEGA of Japan is really using the theme service and giving older SEGA console gamers the goods. Above is the video of the SEGA Saturn theme that was recently revealed. The song playing the in back is from Sonic R.

Below is the video of the SEGA Mark III (aka Master System in the West) which features the always delightful Alex Kidd (including its music). Will these themes hit the American or European eShop? I really do hope so, with these and the awesome SEGA 3D Classics; the Nintendo 3DS is becoming a nice nostalgic gaming machine.

The themes are now out in the Japanese eShop and retail for 200 yen each (a little over $1.50).

My Life with SEGA gets his groove back with Groove on Fight for the Saturn

SEGA and Atlus have had a long history together. Before SEGA bought the company in 2013, the companies collaborated on various titles which appeared on home console and arcade hardware. 1997’s Groove On Fight: Gouketsuji Ichizoku 3 was one of these titles, the third in Atlus’ Gouketsuji Ichizoku/Power Instinct series of fighting games.

In this week’s My Life with SEGA, AJ and Mickey Mac put Groove on Fight to the test! Is this really one of the best SEGA Saturn games you’ve never played?

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