The Best Sega Saturn Games Under $35
Of course, the Sega Saturn has always been one of the consoles that has never been especially cheap especially if you want complete copies of your games. And while we saw a solid amount of appreciation in Saturn game values over the past decade, unsurprisingly, most of the bigger increases have been in those pesky NTSC jewel cases and longbox-style manuals (check our our Rare and Valuable Saturn guide in case youre curious).
Many of those collectors that didnt pick up a lot of Saturn titles early on are even seeing some of the more common games get pricey in complete condition. In the case of the Sega Saturn, the perfect example is “NiGHTS into Dreams”. The game was a crown jewel of the Saturn library, but it sold relatively well and lots of copies were available. When I first created this guide back in , a complete copy could easily be found for $20 (probably only about $10 or $15 just a few years earlier. In my revision, you could still find it for $ However, now you need to shop tactfully to score it for $35 or less.
Anyway, because of the premiums on complete games, Im going to go with a hybrid pricing criteria (like I recently did with the Cheap Sega Genesis/Megadrive guide) where I shoot for games that are under $35 loose (crazy, I know) and under $60 complete (well, $62 for the iconic Panzer Dragoon)
Not only does this revised list reflect the changing values, but I’ve also expanded it and included a Japanese-exclusive list and a short list of popular Saturn games that are significantly cheaper as Japanese releases. Hopefully, this revised list of Saturn games will help you start or build up your collection without having to spend much.. (Prices listed are an average eBay price for US games, including shipping)
NiGHTS into Dreams: $19 / $30
This crown jewel of the Sega Saturn used to be one of the most affordable games on the system. Even with the general disappointment of the Wii sequel, the demand for Nights into Dreams for the Saturn has stayed strong. It’s not too hard to find a disc-only copy, but you will pay a premium if you want a complete copy in a large Saturn game case (there was another version that came in a standard CD-size jewel case) Until this fan favorite gets a solid port to another console, the demand for this otherwise common game should stay high.
Like Panzer Dragoon, Nights into Dreams received a PS2 port. However, it also got an excellent HD remaster on the PC, Xbox , and PS3 as a digital download. (It would be really nice if somebody created a new physical version).
Shop for NiGHTS into Dreams on eBay
Shop for NiGHTS into Dreams on Amazon
Panzer Dragoon: $30 / $62
Sega has some of the most iconic on-rails shooters franchises under its belt but Panzer Dragoon may be the most underrated of its peers. Perhaps, with the original game being an early launch title for the Saturn, Panzer Dragoon was a bit ahead of its time. (It is also worth mentioning that much of Panzer Dragoons original development team went onto develop, Rez for the Dreamcast and PS2)
Of course, there is also the follow-up/prequel, Panzer Dragoon Zwei that is, as you might expect, a bit more refined. For a short while, Zwei could be found cheaper than the original, but it falls just a bit out of the range for this guide at $40 loose/$70 complete.
Panzer Dragoon has been a bit of a NTSC console exclusive for the Saturn so far. Other than a Japanese PS2 release and it being unlockable bonus on Panzer Dragoon Orta on the Xbox, most of us have only played it on the Saturn.
Earlier this year, it was announced that an HD remake was underway for the original Panzer Dragoon, so it will be interesting to see what impact there is on the Saturn originals value.
Shop for Panzer Dragoon on eBay
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Virtual On: Cyber Troopers: $18 / $30
This excellent conversion of the one-on-one mech fighter is one of the most innovative bargains out of the bunch. Virtual On is essentially a true 3D fighter with super-quick mechs trying to blow each other up while dodging and hiding behind obstacles in the course.
The Dreamcast eventually got an enhanced sequel and weve seen a few more visits to the franchise on modern platforms, but its hard to pass on this original for a decent price. It also happens to be one of those Defining games for the Saturn that every owner of the console should look into.
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Daytona USA: $6 / $15
Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition: $15 / $25
As one of the biggest launch titles and eventual pack-in game, Daytona USA is one of the most common games in the Saturn library. You can get it dirt cheap in its pack-in form as it is commonly thrown in as game or system bundles on eBay. You can also find the original full-case version for a quick reasonable price. This Saturn version obviously isn’t as polished as the new remakes on PSN and XBLA, but if want to get an inexpensive essential for a Saturn library, you can’t go wrong with the original console version of Daytona USA. If you enjoy the original and want a reworked and extended version that was designed specifically for the Saturn (using a modified version of the Sega Rally engine), check out the Championship Circuit Edition. It has better graphical performance in addition to more cars and tracks — these improvements are definitely worth the modest price jump.
Shop for Daytona USA Series on eBay
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Shop for Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition on Amazon
Sega Rally Championship: $13 / $18
Sega Rally is the essential complement to Daytona USA if you are a racing fan. It isnt quite as mainstream-friendly as Daytona, but this drifting-filled racer truly is an essential and dirt-cheap classic. Many of the initial blockbuster arcade ports on the Saturn, such as Daytona and Virtua Fighter had some rough edges, but Sega Rally is perhaps one of the finest ports and holds up quite well today (which is one of the reasons Daytona CCE utilized its engine see above).
Much like Daytona, weve seen enhanced followups of Sega Rally on the Dreamcast and some modern systems, but this Saturn version is a classic that is affordable and still shines with classic charm.
Shop for Sega Rally on eBay
Shop for Sega Rally on Amazon
Virtua Fighter 2: $6 / $17
Just like Daytona USA, you can find the plain disk or sleeved (pack-in) version for next to nothing. But collectors will most likely be willing to pay for a modestly-priced full-case retail version.
Even thought VF 4 & 5 are great, modern fighters, Virtua Fighter 2 is still a strong favorite in the Sega crowd. Virtua Fighter 2 also serves as a great technical demo for the Saturn. The game maxed out the Saturn’s High Resolution × mode (highest for a console game at that time) while running at a smooth 60fps and was a strong upgrade from the original Virtua Fighter.
Shop for Virtua Fighter 2 on eBay
Shop for Virtua Fighter 2 on Amazon
Clockwork Knight: $17 / $32
As many of us know, the Sega Saturn wasnt designed to be a pure 3D powerhouse. As a Saturn launch title, Clockwork Knight played it safe by making essentially a 2D platform with 3D elements and pre-rendered sprites.
Clockwork Knight isnt an an especially innovative game (however, its more-expensive sequel is better) but its a decent platformer that remains exclusive to the Saturn.
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Shop for Clockwork Knight on Amazon
Street Fighter Alpha 2: $23 / $41
As one of my favorite fighting games of all time, I can’t help but put Street Fighter Alpha 2 on this list. While some may prefer the larger character lineup of the more expensive Street Fighter Zero 3 (Alpha 3), I feel that Alpha 2 has more balanced gameplay and tighter control.
Even though the Saturn version of the game is one of the best home ports, it isn’t the great bargain it used to be — especially now that there are modern Street Fighter Alpha compilations out there that are a better value.
Shop for Street Fighter Alpha 2 on eBay
Shop for Street Fighter Alpha 2 on Amazon
Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge: $22 / $55
Even though the Darkstalkers series essentially uses the same engine as the Street Fighter Alpha series, it is still a blast to play due to is diverse cast of characters and its flashy style.
If you are a fighting fan or even just like monster movie characters, Night Warriors is a must-play — especially for the price. (Also check in the imports section below for the sequel)
Shop for Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge on eBay
Shop for Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge on Amazon
Fighters Megamix: $15 / $32
Before cross-over fighters were commonplace, Sega took the models from Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers (another good recommendation mentioned below) and threw in some of Virtua Fighter 3’s new moves (before the games port got moved to the Dreamcast) to create Fighters Megamix. Megamix looked good, but lacked Virtua Fighter 2’s high-resolution feature. You still won’t find as much depth and balance as some modern fighters, but it’s loads of fun youre into 3D fighters and enjoy Segas franchises.
Shop for Fighters Megamix on eBay
Shop for Fighters Megamix on Amazon
Baku Baku: $15 / $27
Good puzzle games don’t often go unnoticed, but Baku Baku is one that is a hidden gem for sure (the name might have something to do with it). In Baku Baku blocks come in two types, food and animal. Their may be five of each type of block, but they are still only food and animal. A simple paring mechanism is in place here, ie Dog and Bone, Panda and Bamboo. So when a dog block and a bone block touch, the dog block becomes a big dog head and eats the bone block, and all attached bone blocks. This, of course, leads to combos and endless bizarre gameplay concoctions.
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Galactic Attack (Layer Section): $31 / $55
The Sega Saturn is one of the best consoles for fans of 2D shoot-em-ups. Unfortunately, most of the best shmups on the system were only available in Japan and usually sell for $60 or more (many time a LOT more). Fortunately, one of the most recommended shooters for the Saturn was actually released in the US and carries a rather reasonable price tag. Galactic Attack (also known as Layer Section, Rayforce, or Gunlock) is one of Taito’s best of the genre and had a number of gameplay innovations considering its release date. While it used to be quite inexpensive, shmups in general have increased in value quite a bit. But this is still quite a solid value considering its quality and platform. If youre looking to build a library of Saturn shooters and want to know what prices to expect and what the best values are, I did a sortable Saturn shmup price guide (with quality ratings as well) a couple years back. The values may have changed a bit over the last couple years, but the guide should still point you in the right range.
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Darius Gaiden: $30 / $50
If you are a Shmup fan on a budget, another US release to check out is Darius Gaiden. While it is in the middle of the pack when compared to the extensive Saturn shmup library (most of which are Japanese imports) and not quite as impressive as Galactic Attack above, it’s a solid release and a good challenge.
Again, check our Shmup price+quality guide for a more complete picture.
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Shop for Darius Gaiden on Amazon
Tempest $25 / $59
The original Tempest started out in the early 80’s as a 3D version of Space Invaders that initially failed, but eventually became an icon of the vector age of gaming. Tempest was a remake by Jeff Minter that featured updates to the original game such as collectible powerups, more stages, and one amazing soundtrack. While the game saw a superior version on the Atari Jaguar, the Saturn version is still a relatively inexpensive and enjoyable addition to the library.
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X-Men Children of the Atom: $27 / $55
This 2D fighter from Capcom essentially was the comic book genesis before evolving into the Marvel vs Capcom universe.
While it doesnt have character switching and some of the over-the-top effects that arrived in the amazing X-Men vs Street Fighter (that was a Japanese Saturn exclusive that required the 4MB RAM cart), it is still a solid fighter with that trademark personality of the Capcom and Marvel alliance.
Shop for X-Men Children of the Atom on eBay
Shop for X-Men Children of the Atom on Amazon
Alien Trilogy: $23 / $55
This first-person shooter got overlooked often by Saturn fans. It didnt get the buzz of the Jaguars Aliens vs Predator and got lost in the shuffle of the Quake and some of the other impressive FPS games in the era. Alien Trilogy actually made good use of the Saturn hardware to create the great atmosphere you would expect from the franchise and was actually rather true to the films. It isnt the best of the genre for the Saturn, but if you are a classic FPS fan or enjoy the Alien franchise, this is a decent value.
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Virtua Cop $6/$30 & Virtua Cop 2 $15/$30
For another great arcade conversion, the Virtua Cop series are fine selections for Light Gun fans. Quite popular at the time of their release, the discs are super common. Its a shame the series didnt progress or get ported more on other platforms like the Rail-shooter haven, Nintendo Wii.
Anyway, as a console exclusive of the Saturn, these are great budget pickups if you have a display that supports light guns. Of course, if you want to pick these games up as complete in the larger boxes that included the light guns, youll need to invest quite a bit more.
Shop for Virtua Cop Series on eBay
Shop for Virtua Cop Series on Amazon
Affordable Japanese Exclusives
Since complete Japanese games are more affordable (and common for that matter vs loose discs), I will just quote the average complete copy (this typically doesnt include spine cards, etc). If you dont happen to have a Saturn modified to play imports, an Action Replay cartridge (eBay / Amazon) makes it really easy. They fit in the Saturns cartridge slot and also work as a RAM expansion and Memory card.
Assault Suit Leynos 2: $35
One of my first impressions of this game was “Mechs meets Metal Slug“. It’s an impressive, but very tough 2D Mech shooter with some spectacular graphics and gameplay. It’s a wonderful exclusive for the Saturn and is definitely worth looking into if you are a shooter fan.
Shop for Assault Suit Leynos 2 on eBay
Magical Drop III: $13
The Magical Drop series is an essential for puzzle fans. It’s a shame the series never really got much exposure outside of Japan. It has a much different setup than typical falling-block type puzzlers, but feels like a natural fit for those that enjoy the genre. Magical Drop III also happens to be one of the best values in the puzzle genre for the Saturn.
Shop for Magical Drop III on eBay
King of Fighters ’95, ’96, or ’ About $13 each
SNK was a strong supporter of the Saturn in Japan and blessed gamers with handful of King of Fighters titles for the bit machine before continuing their support on the Dreamcast. Each game should come with a RAM cart for about $15 each. Not a bad price at all for such solid fighters. However, keep in mind, you could purchase The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga, which contains all three games for the same price
Shop for King of Fighters Series on eBay
Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness: $33
This is one of Capcom’s lesser-known fighting gems and is a spiritual prequel to the Dreamcast game, Tech Romancer. Cyberbots is good change of pace for fighting fans and duking it out with large robots gives off a unique feeling of satisfaction
Shop for Cyberbots on eBay
Samurai Spirits III or IV: $18 each
More SNK goodness. While many fans of the series prefer the original two installments of the series, part III and IV are still solid fighters and are quite affordable on the Saturn. However, you could purchase the Samurai Shodown Anthology on a newer platform for about the same price of one of these games.
Shop for Samurai Spirits III or IV on eBay
Vampire Savior: $25
Also known as Darkstalkers 3, this beautiful fighter really takes advantage of the Saturn’s 2D capabilities and requires a RAM cart as well. Just be aware of some of the incompatibilities with many of the Action Replay Plus cartridges.
Shop for Vampire Savior on eBay
Cheap Import Alternatives
I thought it would be interesting to list of few of the especially popular Saturn games that are quite expensive as US releases and see what the Japanese version sell for. If you have a way of playing imports, you might want to consider these if you want real copies of the games. If you dont happen to have a Saturn modified to play imports, an Action Replay cartridge (eBay / Amazon) makes it really easy.
Heres the titles that are friendly to English Speakers
Saturn Bomberman: $28
Compared to $ for US copy of Saturn Bomberman
Bomberman is Bomberman. And any Bomberman fan must play Saturn Bomberman. The legends of its multiplayer capabilities has been growing and now the US release is worth as much as Panzer Dragoon Saga was just a few years ago. So if youre looking to score a real copy on the cheap, the Japan import is quite appealing. It is worth noting that the Japanese version lacks the Netlink option, but thats only for those that want to figure out a way to play online through the dial-up modem add-on.
Shop for Saturn Bomberman on eBay
Guardian Heroes: $33
Compared to $ for US copy of Guardian Heroes
There is some text in Guardian Heroes since it has RPG elements, but its rather playable in Japanese. Plus, the savings is quite noticeable. Note: you can play the HD remake of Guardian Heroes on XBLA for less of a financial investment, but if you want a physical version for the original release hardware, this is a great deal.
Shop for Guardian Heroes on eBay
Burning Rangers: $39
Compare to $ for US copy of Burning Rangers
Like Guardian Heroes, there is some text in the game, but it should be quite playable in Japanese. The vocal directions that you often get are in Japanese, so that will add to the challenge, however. The financial savings is far larger, however mostly due to the fact that Burning Rangers is still a Saturn exclusive and the game was quite common in Japan.
Shop for Burning Rangers on eBay
The House of the Dead: $18
Compared to $ for US copy of The House of the Dead
We’ve see re-releases of the House of the Dead 2 and 3 on a handful of platforms, but the original entry in the series remains exclusive to the Saturn (not including the arcade, Windows, and a mobile phone version). The US version remains a much sought-after release, but it is much more affordable as a Japanese release. And even with all the text in the game (not that the gameplay is dependent on it), 99% of it is in English.
Shop for The House of the Dead on eBay
Mega Man X4 / Rockman X4: $29
Compared to $ for US copy of Mega Man X4
Classic Mega Man games increasingly have been hot commodities on most platforms, but the Sega Saturns lower print run and delicate packaging have given it even more of a premium. This also happens to be a pretty great 2D game on a great 2D system. Just remember to shop for the Japanese name of the game to find them easily on eBay.
Shop for Rockman X4 on eBay
Sonic Jam: $24
Compared to $ for US copy of Sonic Jam
This was one of the first solid Sonic the Hedgehog compilations and it remains a hot collectors item for Saturn enthusiasts. If you insist on playing the Sonic collection on the Saturn instead of the modern compilations, check out the Japanese release of Sonic Jam to save some serious money.
Shop for Sonic Jam on eBay
Die Hard Arcade / Dynamite Deka: $24
Compared to $93 for a US copy of Die Hard Arcade
This port of Segas arcade brawler is classic that is one of the best of the bit era. Sega paid up for the rights to the Die Hard license outside of Japan, but had to treat the game as an original property (like it did for the games sequel Dynamite Cop, which received a Dreamcast port), so they changed up the name to Dynamite Deka even though the cover art features more of a Bruce Willis likeness than the American version.
Shop for Dynamite Deka on eBay
Super Puzzle Fighter II: $25
Compared to $90 for the US copy of Super Puzzle Fighter II
This is one of my favorite puzzle games (although Im partial to the Street Fighter artwork) and the Saturn version is wonderful. You can find Puzzle Fighter cheaper on the Playstation and Game Boy Advance, but for Sega fans, this is a nice collectors piece.
Shop for Super Puzzle Fighter II on eBay
Panzer Dragoon: $16 / Panzer Dragoon Zwei: $20
Compared to $62 and $75 respectively for US copies
Even though I had the original Panzer Dragoon listed above as an affordable game, it does happen to be the most expensive game on the list and its sequel is significantly more expensive especially if you want nice complete copies. If youre diving into the Japanese games, the Panzer Dragoon series might be worthwhile for you as they are pretty cheap. The only Japanese is for the text of the cutscenes. The menus are even in English so you should have a pretty good experience on both games.
Shop for Panzer Dragoon Series on eBay
NiGHTS into Dreams: $13
Compared to $30 for the US copy of NiGHTS
Not a huge dollar savings here, but I thought I would include this one just because its one of the most important games for the system and a worthwhile mention and youre thinking about simply building a Japanese collection and skipping NTSC releases.
Shop for NiGHTS into Dreams on eBay
Side note: if you want some recommendations of other Japanese Saturn games that are easily playable for English speakers, check out this Racketboy Forum thread.
Other Cheap North American Favorites
- Fighting Vipers: $9 / $16 (eBay / Amazon)
- Tomb Raider: $11 / $20 (eBay)
- D: $14 / $45 (eBay)
- Bug!: $12 / $27 (eBay / Amazon)
- Christmas Nights into Dreams: $28 / $40 (eBay)
- Myst: $7 / $14 (eBay)
- Gun Griffon: $14 / $30 (eBay)
- Road Rash: $16 / $35 (eBay / Amazon)
- Rayman: $23 / $46 (eBay)
- Virtua Fighter Remix: $7 / $12 (Note: Long Box Version is Rare / Valuable) (eBay / Amazon)
- Virtua Fighter Kids:$11 / $20 (eBay / Amazon)
- Virtua Racing: $9 / $18 (eBay)
- Wipeout: $12 / $24 (eBay / Amazon)
- Sega Touring Car Championship: $10 / $23 (eBay)
- Need for Speed: $10 / $15 (eBay)
- Doom: $27/ $50 (eBay / Amazon)
- Hexen: $14 / $32 (eBay / Amazon)
- Bust-A-Move 2: $12 / $19 (eBay / Amazon)
- Last Bronx: $17 / $28 (eBay)
- Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels: $16 / $23 (eBay)
- Solar Eclipse: $9 / $17 (eBay)
- Manx TT Super Bike: $13 / $22 (eBay)
- Steep Slope Sliders $17 / $50 (eBay / Amazon)
- Mansion of Hidden Souls: $9 / $20 (eBay)
- Dark Legend: $15 / $40 (eBay)
- Sim City $7 / $17 (eBay)
- Scud: The Disposable Assassin: $10 / $25 (eBay)
- Grid Runner: $8 / $20 (eBay)
- AMOK: $10 / $21 (eBay)
- Decathlete: $15 / $25 (eBay / Amazon)
- Pro Pinball: $5 / $17 (eBay / Amazon)
- Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3: $25 / $37 (eBay / Amazon)
- Cyber Speedway (Gran Chaser): $8 / $14 (eBay)
- F1 Challenge: $7 / $15 (eBay)
- FIFA Series: $5 / $9 (eBay)
- NBA Jam TE: $15 / $21 (eBay)
- Soviet Strike: $8 / $15 (eBay)
Video game console
‹The templateInfobox information appliance is being considered for merging.›
Western and Eastern Sega Saturn logos
Top: Model 1 from North America
|Type||Home video game console|
|Introductory price||JP: ¥44,|
|Media||CD-ROM, CD+G, CD+EG, Video CD, Mini CD, Photo CD, E-book|
|CPU||2× Hitachi SH-2 @ MHz|
|Memory||2MB RAM, MB VRAM, KB Sound RAM, expandable with Extended RAM Cartridge|
|Storage||Internal RAM, cartridge|
|Graphics||VDP1 & VDP2 video display processors|
|Online services||Sega NetLink|
The Sega Saturn[a][b] is a home video game console developed by Sega and released on November 22, , in Japan, May 11, , in North America, and July 8, , in Europe. Part of the fifth generation of video game consoles, it was the successor to the successful Sega Genesis. The Saturn has a dual-CPU architecture and eight processors. Its games are in CD-ROM format, and its game library contains several ports of arcade games as well as original games.
Development of the Saturn began in , the same year Sega's groundbreaking 3DModel 1 arcade hardware debuted. The Saturn was designed around a new CPU from Japanese electronics company Hitachi. Sega added another video display processor in early to better compete with Sony's forthcoming PlayStation.
The Saturn was initially successful in Japan but failed to sell in large numbers in the United States after its surprise May launch, four months before its scheduled release date. After the debut of the Nintendo 64 in late , the Saturn rapidly lost market share in the U.S., where it was discontinued in Having sold million units worldwide, the Saturn is considered a commercial failure; the cancellation of Sonic X-treme, planned as the first 3D entry in Sega's popular Sonic the Hedgehog series, is considered a factor in its performance. The Saturn was succeeded in by the Dreamcast.
Although the Saturn is remembered for several well-regarded games, including Nights into Dreams, the Panzer Dragoon series, and the Virtua Fighter series, its reputation is mixed due to its complex hardware design and limited third-party support. Sega's management has been criticized for its decisions during the system's development and discontinuation.
In the early s, Sega had success with the Genesis (known as the Mega Drive in most countries outside of North America), backed by aggressive advertising campaigns and the popularity of its Sonic the Hedgehog series. Sega also had success with arcade games; in and , the new Sega Model 1 arcade system board showcased Sega AM2's Virtua Racing and Virtua Fighter (the first 3Dfighting game), which played a crucial role in popularizing 3D polygonal graphics. The Model 1 was expensive, so several alternatives helped bring Sega's newest arcade games to Genesis, such as the Sega Virtua Processor chip used for Virtua Racing, and the 32X add-on.
Development of the Saturn was supervised by Hideki Sato, Sega's director and deputy general manager of research and development. According to Sega project manager Hideki Okamura, the project started over two years before the Saturn was showcased at the Tokyo Toy Show in June The name "Saturn" was initially only the codename during development.Computer Gaming World in March reported a rumor that "the Sega Saturn will release in Japan before the end of the year" for $–
In , Sega and Japanese electronics company Hitachi formed a joint venture to develop a new CPU for the Saturn, which resulted in the creation of the "SuperH RISC Engine" (or SH-2) later that year. The Saturn was designed around a dual-SH2 configuration. According to Kazuhiro Hamada, Sega's section chief for Saturn development during the system's conception, "the SH-2 was chosen for reasons of cost and efficiency. The chip has a calculation system similar to a DSP [digital signal processor], but we realized that a single CPU would not be enough to calculate a 3D world." Although the Saturn's design was largely finished before the end of , reports in early of the technical capabilities of Sony's upcoming PlayStation console prompted Sega to include another video display processor (VDP) to improve the system's 2D performance and 3D texture-mapping. CD-ROM-based and cartridge-only versions of the Saturn hardware were considered for simultaneous release during the system's development, but this idea was discarded due to concerns over the lower quality and higher price of cartridge-based games.
According to Sega of America president Tom Kalinske, Sega of America "fought against the architecture of Saturn for quite some time". Seeking an alternative graphics chip for the Saturn, Kalinske attempted to broker a deal with Silicon Graphics, but Sega of Japan rejected the proposal. Silicon Graphics subsequently collaborated with Nintendo on the Nintendo  Kalinske, Sony Electronic Publishing's Olaf Olafsson, and Sony America's Micky Schulhof had discussed development of a joint "Sega/Sony hardware system", which never came to fruition due to Sega's desire to create hardware that could accommodate both 2D and 3D visuals and Sony's competing notion of focusing on 3D technology. Publicly, Kalinske defended the Saturn's design: "Our people feel that they need the multiprocessing to be able to bring to the home what we're doing next year in the arcades."
In , Sega restructured its internal studios in preparation for the Saturn's launch. To ensure high-quality 3D games would be available early in the Saturn's life, and to create a more energetic working environment, developers from Sega's arcade division were asked to create console games. New teams, such as Panzer Dragoon developer Team Andromeda, were formed during this time. In early , the Sega Titan Video arcade system was announced as an arcade counterpart to the Saturn. In April , Acclaim Entertainment announced they would be the first American publisher to produce software for the Titan.
In January , Sega began to develop an add-on for the Genesis, the Sega 32X, to serve as a less expensive entry into the bit era. The decision to create the add-on was made by Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama and widely supported by Sega of America employees. According to former Sega of America producer Scot Bayless, Nakayama was worried that the Saturn would not be available until after and that the recently released Atari Jaguar would reduce Sega's hardware sales. As a result, Nakayama ordered his engineers to have the system ready for launch by the end of the year. The 32X would not be compatible with the Saturn, but Sega executive Richard Brudvik-Lindner pointed out that the 32X would play Genesis games, and had the same system architecture as the Saturn. This was justified by Sega's statement that both platforms would run at the same time, and that the 32X would be aimed at players who could not afford the more expensive Saturn. According to Sega of America research and development head Joe Miller, the 32X served a role in assisting development teams to familiarize themselves with the dual SH-2 architecture also used in the Saturn. Because the machines shared many parts and were being prepared to launch around the same time, tensions emerged between Sega of America and Sega of Japan when the Saturn was given priority.
Sega released the Saturn in Japan on November 22, , at a price of ¥44,Virtua Fighter, a faithful port of the popular arcade game, sold at a nearly one-to-one ratio with the Saturn console at launch and was crucial to the system's early success in Japan. Though Sega had wanted to launch with Clockwork Knight and Panzer Dragoon, the only other first-party game available at launch was Wan Chai Connection. Fueled by the popularity of Virtua Fighter, Sega's initial shipment of , Saturn units sold out on the first day. Sega waited until the December 3 launch of the PlayStation to ship more units; when both were sold side by side, the Saturn proved more popular.
Meanwhile, Sega released the 32X on November 21, , in North America, December 3, , in Japan, and January in PAL territories, and was sold at less than half of the Saturn's launch price. After the holiday season, however, interest in the 32X rapidly declined. Half a million Saturn units were sold in Japan by the end of (compared to , PlayStation units), and sales exceeded 1million within the following six months. There were conflicting reports that the PlayStation enjoyed a higher sell-through rate, and the system gradually began to overtake the Saturn in sales during  Sony attracted many third-party developers to the PlayStation with a liberal $10 licensing fee, excellent development tools, and the introduction of a 7- to day order system that allowed publishers to meet demand more efficiently than the to week lead times for cartridges that had previously been standard in the Japanese video game industry.
In March , Sega of America CEO Tom Kalinske announced that the Saturn would be released in the U.S. on "Saturnday" (Saturday) September 2,  However, Sega of Japan mandated an early launch to give the Saturn an advantage over the PlayStation. At the first Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles on May 11, , Kalinske gave a keynote presentation in which he revealed the release price of US$ (including a copy of Virtua Fighter), and described the features of the console. Kalinske also revealed that, due to "high consumer demand", Sega had already shipped 30, Saturns to Toys "R" Us, Babbage's, Electronics Boutique, and Software Etc. for immediate release. The announcement upset retailers who were not informed of the surprise release, including Best Buy and Walmart;KB Toys responded by dropping Sega from its lineup. Sony subsequently unveiled the retail price for the PlayStation: Olaf Olafsson, the head of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), summoned Steve Race to the stage, who said "$", and then walked away to applause. The Saturn's release in Europe also came before the previously announced North American date, on July 8, , at a price of £ European retailers and press did not have time to promote the system or its games, harming sales. The PlayStation launched in Europe on September 29, ; by November, it had already outsold the Saturn by a factor of three in the United Kingdom, where Sony had allocated £20million of marketing during the holiday season compared to Sega's £4million.
The Saturn's U.S. launch was accompanied by a reported $50million advertising campaign that included coverage in publications such as Wired and Playboy. Early advertising for the system was targeted at a more mature, adult audience than the Sega Genesis ads. Because of the early launch, the Saturn had only six games (all published by Sega) available to start as most third-party games were slated to be released around the original launch date.Virtua Fighter's relative lack of popularity in the West, combined with a release schedule of only two games between the surprise launch and September , prevented Sega from capitalizing on the Saturn's early timing. Within two days of its September 9, launch in North America, the PlayStation (backed by a large marketing campaign) sold more units than the Saturn had in the five months following its surprise launch, with almost all of the initial shipment of , units being sold in advance, and the rest selling out across the U.S.
A high-quality port of the Namco arcade game Ridge Racer contributed to the PlayStation's early success, and garnered favorable media in comparison to the Saturn version of Sega's Daytona USA, which was considered inferior to its arcade counterpart. Namco, a longtime arcade competitor with Sega, also unveiled the Namco System 11 arcade board, based on raw PlayStation hardware. Although the System 11 was technically inferior to Sega's Model 2 arcade board, its lower price made it attractive to smaller arcades. Following a acquisition of Sega developers, Namco released Tekken for the System 11 and PlayStation. Directed by former Virtua Fighter designer Seiichi Ishii, Tekken was intended to be fundamentally similar, with the addition of detailed textures and twice the frame rate.Tekken surpassed Virtua Fighter in popularity due to its superior graphics and nearly arcade-perfect console port, becoming the first million-selling PlayStation game.
On October 2, , Sega announced a Saturn price reduction to $ High-quality Saturn ports of the Sega Model 2 arcade hits Sega Rally Championship,Virtua Cop, and Virtua Fighter 2 (running at 60 frames per second at a high resolution) were available by the end of the year, and were generally regarded as superior to competitors on the PlayStation. Notwithstanding a subsequent increase in Saturn sales during the holiday season, the games were not enough to reverse the PlayStation's decisive lead. By , the PlayStation had a considerably larger library than the Saturn, although Sega hoped to generate interest with upcoming exclusives such as Nights into Dreams. An informal survey of retailers showed that the Saturn and PlayStation sold in roughly equal numbers during the first quarter of  Within its first year, the PlayStation secured over 20% of the entire U.S. video game market. On the first day of the May E3 show, Sony announced a PlayStation price reduction to $, a reaction to the release of the Model 2 Saturn in Japan at a price roughly equivalent to $ On the second day, Sega announced it would match this price, though Saturn hardware was more expensive to manufacture.
Changes at Sega
"I thought the world of [Hayao] Nakayama because of his love of software. We spoke about building a new hardware platform that I would be very, very involved with, shape the direction of this platform, and hire a new team of people and restructure Sega. That, to me, was a great opportunity."
—Bernie Stolar, on his joining Sega of America.
Despite the launch of the PlayStation and Saturn, sales of bit games and consoles continued to account for 64% of the video game market in  Sega underestimated the continued popularity of the Genesis, and did not have the inventory to meet demand. Sega was able to capture 43% of the dollar share of the U.S. video game market and sell more than 2million Genesis units in , but Kalinske estimated that "we could have sold another , Genesis systems in the November/December timeframe." Nakayama's decision to focus on the Saturn over the Genesis, based on the systems' relative performance in Japan, has been cited as the major contributing factor in this miscalculation.
Due to long-standing disagreements with Sega of Japan, Kalinske lost interest in his work as CEO of Sega of America. By early , rumors were circulating that Kalinske planned to leave Sega, and a July 13 article in the press reported speculation that Sega of Japan was planning significant changes to Sega of America's management. On July 16, , Sega announced that Kalinske would leave Sega after September 30, and that Shoichiro Irimajiri had been appointed chairman and CEO of Sega of America. A former Honda executive, Irimajiri had been involved with Sega of America since joining Sega in  Sega also announced that David Rosen and Nakayama had resigned from their positions as chairman and co-chairman of Sega of America, though both remained with the company.Bernie Stolar, a former executive at Sony Computer Entertainment of America, was named Sega of America's executive vice president in charge of product development and third-party relations. Stolar, who had arranged a six-month PlayStation exclusivity deal for Mortal Kombat 3 and helped build close relations with Electronic Arts while at Sony, was perceived as a major asset by Sega officials. Finally, Sega of America made plans to expand its PC software business.
Stolar was not supportive of the Saturn, feeling it was poorly designed, and publicly announced at E3 that "the Saturn is not our future". While Stolar had "no interest in lying to people" about the Saturn's prospects, he continued to emphasize quality games for the system, and later said that "we tried to wind it down as cleanly as we could for the consumer". At Sony, Stolar had opposed the localization of Japanese games that he felt would not represent PlayStation well in North America, and advocated a similar policy for the Saturn, although he later sought to distance himself from this perception. These changes were accompanied by a softer image that Sega was beginning to portray in its advertising, including removing the "Sega!" scream and holding press events for the education industry. Marketing for the Saturn in Japan also changed with the introduction of Segata Sanshiro (played by Hiroshi Fujioka), a character in a series of TV advertisements starting in ; the character eventually starred in a Saturn game.
Temporarily abandoning arcade development, Sega AM2 head Yu Suzuki began developing several Saturn-exclusive games, including a role-playing game in the Virtua Fighter series. Initially conceived as an obscure prototype "The Old Man and the Peach Tree" and intended to address the flaws of contemporary Japanese RPGs (such as poor non-player characterartificial intelligence routines), Virtua Fighter RPG evolved into a planned part, hour "revenge epic in the tradition of Chinese cinema", which Suzuki hoped would become the Saturn's killer app. The game was eventually released as Shenmue for the Saturn's successor, the Dreamcast.
Cancellation of Sonic X-treme
Main article: Sonic X-treme
As Sonic Team was working on Nights into Dreams, Sega tasked the U.S.-based Sega Technical Institute (STI) with developing the first fully 3D entry in its popular Sonic the Hedgehog series. The game, Sonic X-treme, was moved to the Saturn after several prototypes for other hardware (including the 32X) were discarded. It featured a fisheye lens camera system that rotated levels with Sonic's movement. After Nakayama ordered the game be reworked around the engine created for its boss battles, the developers were forced to work between 16 and 20 hours a day to meet their December deadline. Weeks of development were wasted after Stolar rescinded STI's access to Sonic Team's Nights into Dreams engine following an ultimatum by Nights programmer Yuji Naka. After programmer Ofer Alon quit and designers Chris Senn and Chris Coffin became ill, Sonic X-Treme was cancelled in early  Sonic Team started work on an original 3D Sonic game for the Saturn, but development shifted to the Dreamcast and the game became Sonic Adventure. STI was disbanded in as a result of changes in management at Sega of America.
Journalists and fans have speculated about the impact a completed X-treme might have had on the market. David Houghton of GamesRadar described the prospect of "a good 3D Sonic game" on the Saturn as "a 'What if' situation on a par with the dinosaurs not becoming extinct".IGN's Travis Fahs called X-treme "the turning point not only for Sega's mascot and their bit console, but for the entire company", but noted that the game served as "an empty vessel for Sega's ambitions and the hopes of their fans". Dave Zdyrko, who operated a prominent Saturn fan website during the system's lifespan, said: "I don't know if [X-treme] could've saved the Saturn, but Sonic helped make the Genesis and it made absolutely no sense why there wasn't a great new Sonic title ready at or near the launch of the [Saturn]." In a retrospective, producer Mike Wallis maintained that X-treme "definitely would have been competitive" with Nintendo's Super Mario 64.Next Generation reported in late that X-treme would have harmed Sega's reputation if it did not compare well to contemporary competition. Naka said he had been relieved by the cancellation, feeling that the game was not promising.
From to early , although Sega's revenue declined as part of an industry-wide slowdown, the company retained control of 38% of the U.S. video game market (compared to Nintendo's 30% and Sony's 24%). Eight hundred thousand PlayStation units were sold in the U.S. by the end of , compared to , Saturn units. In part due to an aggressive price war, the PlayStation outsold the Saturn by two to one in , while Sega's bit sales declined markedly. By the end of , the PlayStation had sold million units in the U.S., more than twice the million Saturn units sold. The Christmas "Three Free" pack, which bundled the Saturn with Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter 2, and Virtua Cop, drove sales dramatically and ensured the Saturn remained a competitor into 
However, the Saturn failed to take the lead. After the launch of the Nintendo 64 in , sales of the Saturn and its games were sharply reduced, while the PlayStation outsold the Saturn by three-to-one in the U.S. in  The release of Final Fantasy VII significantly increased the PlayStation's popularity in Japan. As of August , Sony controlled 47% of the console market, Nintendo 40%, and Sega only 12%. Neither price cuts nor high-profile game releases proved helpful. Reflecting decreased demand for the system, worldwide Saturn shipments during March to September declined from million to , versus the same period in ; shipments in North America declined from , to 50, Due to the Saturn's poor performance in North America, 60 of Sega of America's employees were laid off in late 
"I thought the Saturn was a mistake as far as hardware was concerned. The games were obviously terrific, but the hardware just wasn't there."
—Bernie Stolar, former president of Sega of America giving his assessment of the Saturn, in 
As a result of Sega's deteriorating financial situation, Nakayama resigned as president in January in favor of Irimajiri. Stolar subsequently acceded to president of Sega of America. Following five years of generally declining profits, in the fiscal year ending March 31, Sega suffered its first parent and consolidated financial losses since its listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Due to a % decline in consumer product sales (including a % decline overseas), the company reported a net loss of ¥billion (US$million) and a consolidated net loss of ¥billion (US$million).
Shortly before announcing its financial losses, Sega announced that it was discontinuing the Saturn in North America to prepare for the launch of its successor. Only 12 Saturn games were released in North America in (Magic Knight Rayearth was the final official release), compared to in  The Saturn would last longer in Japan. Rumors about the upcoming Dreamcast—spread mainly by Sega itself—were leaked to the public before the last Saturn games were released. The Dreamcast was released on November 27, in Japan and on September 9, in North America. The decision to abandon the Saturn effectively left the Western market without Sega games for over one year. Sega suffered an additional ¥billion consolidated net loss in the fiscal year ending March , and announced plans to eliminate 1, jobs, nearly a quarter of its workforce.
Worldwide Saturn sales include at least the following amounts in each territory: million in Japan (surpassing the Genesis' sales of million there), million in the United States, 1million in Europe, and , elsewhere. With lifetime sales of million units, the Saturn is considered a commercial failure, although its install base in Japan surpassed the Nintendo 64's million. Lack of distribution has been cited as a significant factor contributing to the Saturn's failure, as the system's surprise launch damaged Sega's reputation with key retailers. Conversely, Nintendo's long delay in releasing a 3D console and damage caused to Sega's reputation by poorly supported add-ons for the Genesis are considered major factors allowing Sony to gain a foothold in the market.
Featuring eight processors, the Saturn's main central processing units are two Hitachi SH-2 microprocessorsclocked at MHz and capable of 56 MIPS. It uses a Motorola 68EC running at MHz as a sound controller; a custom sound processor with an integrated Yamaha FH1DSP running at MHz capable of up to 32 sound channels with both FM synthesis and bitPCMsampling at a maximum rate of kHz; and two video display processors: the VDP1 (which handles sprites, textures and polygons) and the VDP2 (which handles backgrounds). Its double-speed CD-ROM drive is controlled by a dedicated Hitachi SH-1 processor to reduce load times. The System Control Unit (SCU), which controls all buses and functions as a co-processor of the main SH-2 CPU, has an internal DSP running at MHz. It features a cartridge slot that allows for memory expansion, 16 Mbit of work random-access memory (RAM), 12 Mbit of video RAM, 4 Mbit of RAM for sound functions, 4 Mbit of CD buffer RAM and Kbit (32 KB) of battery backup RAM. Its video output, provided by a stereo AV cable, displays at resolutions from × to × pixels, and can display up to millioncolors simultaneously. The Saturn measures mm ×mm ×83mm (in ×in ×in). It was packaged with an instruction manual, control pad, stereo AV cable, and V AC power supply, with a power consumption of approximately 15W.
"One very fast central processor would be preferable. I don't think all programmers have the ability to program two CPUs—most can only get about one-and-a-half times the speed you can get from one SH I think that only 1 in programmers are good enough to get this kind of speed [nearly double] out of the Saturn."
—Yu Suzuki reflecting on Saturn Virtua Fighter development
The Saturn had technically impressive hardware at the time of its release, but its complexity made harnessing this power difficult for developers accustomed to conventional programming. The greatest disadvantage was that both CPUs shared the same bus and were unable to access system memory at the same time. Making full use of the 4KB of cache memory in each CPU was critical to maintaining performance. For example, Virtua Fighter used one CPU for each character, while Nights used one CPU for 3D environments and the other for 2D objects. The Visual Display Processor 2 (VDP2), which can generate and manipulate backgrounds, has also been cited as one of the system's most important features.
The Saturn's design elicited mixed commentary among game developers and journalists. Developers quoted by Next Generation in December described the Saturn as "a real coder's machine" for "those who love to get their teeth into assembly and really hack the hardware", with "more flexibility" and "more calculating power than the PlayStation". The sound board was also widely praised. By contrast, Lobotomy Software programmer Ezra Dreisbach described the Saturn as significantly slower than the PlayStation, whereas Kenji Eno of WARP observed little difference. In particular, Dreisbach criticized the Saturn's use of quadrilaterals as its basic geometric primitive, in contrast to the triangles rendered by the PlayStation and the Nintendo  Ken Humphries of Time Warner Interactive remarked that compared to the PlayStation, the Saturn was worse at generating polygons but better at sprites. Third-party development was initially hindered by the lack of useful software libraries and development tools, requiring developers to write in assembly language. During early Saturn development, programming in assembly could offer a two-to-fivefold speed increase over higher-level languages such as C.
The Saturn hardware is extremely difficult to emulate. Sega responded to complaints about the difficulty of programming for the Saturn by writing new graphics libraries which were claimed to make development easier. Sega of America also purchased a United Kingdom-based development firm, Cross Products, to produce the Saturn's development system. Despite these challenges, Treasure CEO Masato Maegawa stated that the Nintendo 64 was more difficult to develop for than the Saturn.Traveller's Tales founder Jon Burton felt that while the PlayStation was easier "to get started on you quickly reach [its] limits", whereas the Saturn's "complicated" hardware had the ability to "improve the speed and look of a game when all used together correctly". A major criticism was the Saturn's use of 2D sprites to generate polygons and simulate 3D space. The PlayStation used a different design, based entirely on 3D triangle-based polygonal rendering, with no direct 2D support. As a result, several analysts described the Saturn as an "essentially" 2D system. For example, Steven L. Kent stated: "Although Nintendo and Sony had true 3D game machines, Sega had a 2D console that did a good job with 3D objects but wasn't optimized for 3D environments."
Several Saturn models were produced in Japan. An updated model in a recolored light gray (officially white) was released at ¥20, to reduce the system's cost and raise its appeal among women and younger children. Two models were released by third parties: Hitachi released the Hi-Saturn (a smaller model equipped with a car navigation function), while JVC released the V-Saturn. Saturn controllers came in various color schemes to match different models of the console. The system also supports several accessories. A wireless controller powered by AA batteries uses infrared signal to connect. Designed to work with Nights, the Saturn 3D Pad includes both a control pad and an analog stick for directional input. Sega also released several versions of arcade sticks as peripherals, including the Virtua Stick, the Virtua Stick Pro, the Mission Analog Stick, and the Twin Stick. Sega also created a light gun peripheral, the Virtua Gun, for shooting games such as Virtua Cop and The Guardian, and the Arcade Racer, a wheel for racing games. The Play Cable allows two Saturn consoles to be connected for multiplayer gaming across two screens, while a multitap allows up to six players to play on the same console. The Saturn was designed to support up to 12 players on a single console, by using two multitaps. RAM cartridges expand the memory. Other accessories include a keyboard, mouse, floppy disk drive, and movie card.
Like the Genesis, the Saturn had an internet-based gaming service. The Sega NetLink was a k modem that fit into the cartridge slot in the Saturn for direct dial multiplayer. In Japan, a pay-to-play service was used. It could also be used for web browsing, sending email, and online chat. Because the NetLink was released before the Saturn keyboard, Sega produced a series of CDs containing hundreds of website addresses so that Saturn owners could browse with the joypad. The NetLink functioned with Daytona USA, Duke Nukem 3D, Saturn Bomberman,Sega Rally, and Virtual On: Cyber Troopers.In , Sega announced a variant of the Saturn featuring a built-in NetLink modem under the code name "Sega Pluto", but it was never released.
Sega developed an arcade board based on the Saturn's hardware, the Sega ST-V (or Titan), intended as an affordable alternative to Sega's Model 2 arcade board and as a testing ground for upcoming Saturn software. The Titan was criticized for its comparatively weak performance compared to the Sega Model 2 arcade system by Yu Suzuki, and it was overproduced by Sega's arcade division. Because Sega already had the Die Hard license, members of Sega AM1 working at the Sega Technical Institute developed Die Hard Arcade for the Titan to clear excess inventory.Die Hard became the most successful Sega arcade game produced in the United States at that point. Other games released for the Titan include Golden Axe: The Duel and Virtua Fighter Kids.
Main article: List of Sega Saturn games
Much of the Saturn's library comes from Sega's arcade ports, including Daytona USA, The House of the Dead,Last Bronx, Sega Rally Championship, the Virtua Cop series, the Virtua Fighter series, and Virtual-On. Saturn ports of 2D Capcom fighting games including Darkstalkers 3, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, and Street Fighter Alpha 3 were noted for their faithfulness to their arcade counterparts.Fighters Megamix, developed by Sega AM2 for the Saturn rather than arcades, combined characters from Fighting Vipers and Virtua Fighter to positive reviews. Highly rated Saturn exclusives include Panzer Dragoon Saga,Dragon Force,Guardian Heroes,Nights,Panzer Dragoon II Zwei, and Shining Force III. PlayStation games such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Resident Evil, and Wipeout received Saturn ports with mixed results. The first-person shooter PowerSlave featured some of the most impressive 3D graphics on the system, leading Sega to contract its developers, Lobotomy Software, to produce Saturn ports of Duke Nukem 3D and Quake. While Electronic Arts' limited support for the Saturn and Sega's failure to develop a football game for late gave Sony the lead in the sports genre, "Sega Sports" published Saturn sports games including the well-regarded World Series Baseball and Sega Worldwide Soccer series.
Due to the cancellation of Sonic X-treme, the Saturn lacks an exclusive Sonic the Hedgehog platformer; instead it received a graphically enhanced port of the Genesis game Sonic 3D Blast, the compilation Sonic Jam, and a racing game, Sonic R. The platformer Bug! received attention for its eponymous main character being a potential mascot for the Saturn, but it failed to catch on as the Sonic series had. Considered one of the most important Saturn releases, Sonic Team developed Nights into Dreams, a score attack game that attempted to simulate both the joy of flying and the fleeting sensation of dreams. The gameplay of Nights involves steering the imp-like androgynous protagonist, Nights, as it flies on a mostly 2D plane across surreal stages broken into four segments each. The levels repeat for as long as an in-game time limit allows, while flying over or looping around various objects in rapid succession earns additional points. Although it lacked the fully 3D environments of Nintendo's Super Mario 64, Nights' emphasis on unfettered movement and graceful acrobatic techniques showcased the intuitive potential of analog control. Sonic Team's Burning Rangers, a fully 3Daction-adventure game involving a team of outer-space firefighters, garnered praise for its transparency effects and distinctive art direction, but was released in limited quantities late in the Saturn's lifespan and criticized for its short length.
Some of the games that made the Saturn popular in Japan, such as Grandia and the Sakura Wars series, never saw a Western release due to Sega of America's policy of not localizing RPGs and other Japanese games that might have damaged the system's reputation in North America. Despite appearing first on the Saturn, games such as Dead or Alive,Grandia, and Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete only saw a Western release on the PlayStation.Working Designs localized several Japanese Saturn games before a public feud between Sega of America's Bernie Stolar and Working Designs president Victor Ireland resulted in the company switching their support to the PlayStation.Panzer Dragoon Saga was praised as perhaps the finest RPG for the system due to its cinematic presentation, evocative plot, and unique battle system—with a tactical emphasis on circling around opponents to identify weak points and the ability to "morph" the physical attributes of the protagonist's dragon companion during combat—but Sega released fewer than 20, retail copies of the game in North America in what IGN's Levi Buchanan characterized as one example of the Saturn's "ignominious send-off" in the region. Similarly, only the first of three installments of Shining Force III was released outside Japan. The Saturn's library also garnered criticism for its lack of sequels to high-profile Genesis-era Sega franchises, with Sega of Japan's cancellation of a planned third installment in Sega of America's popular Eternal Champions series cited as a significant source of controversy.
Later ports of Saturn games including Guardian Heroes,Nights, and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers continued to garner positive reviews. Partly due to rarity, Saturn games such as Panzer Dragoon Saga and Radiant Silvergun are noted for their cult following. Due to the system's commercial failure and hardware limitations, Saturn projects such as Resident Evil 2,Shenmue, Sonic Adventure, and Virtua Fighter 3 were cancelled and moved to the Dreamcast.
Reception and legacy
At the time of the Saturn's release, Famicom Tsūshin awarded it 24 out of 40, higher than the PlayStation's 19 out of  In June , Dennis Lynch of the Chicago Tribune and Albert Kim of Entertainment Weekly praised the Saturn as the most advanced console available; Lynch praised the double-speed CD-ROM drive and "intense surround-sound capabilities" and Kim cited Panzer Dragoon as a "lyrical and exhilarating epic" demonstrating the ability of new technology to "transform" the industry. In December , Next Generation gave the Saturn three and a half stars out of five, highlighting Sega's marketing and arcade background as strengths but the system's complexity as a weakness. Four critics in Electronic Gaming Monthly's December Buyer's Guide rated the Saturn 8, 6, 7, and 8 out of 10 and the PlayStation 9, 10, 9, and 9. By December , EGM's reviews were more mixed, with reviewers citing the lack of games as a major problem. According to EGM reviewer Crispin Boyer, "the Saturn is the only system that can thrill me one month and totally disappoint me the next".
Retrospective feedback of the Saturn is mixed, but generally praises its game library. According to Greg Sewart of 1UP.com, "the Saturn will go down in history as one of the most troubled, and greatest, systems of all time". In , IGN named the Saturn the 18th-best console of all time, praising its unique game library. According to the reviewers, "While the Saturn ended up losing the popularity contest to both Sony and Nintendo Nights into Dreams, the Virtua Fighter and Panzer Dragoon series are all examples of exclusive titles that made the console a fan favorite."Edge noted that "hardened loyalists continue to reminisce about the console that brought forth games like Burning Rangers, Guardian Heroes, Dragon Force and Panzer Dragoon Saga". In , The Guardian's Keith Stuart wrote that "the Saturn has perhaps the strongest line-up of 2D shooters and fighting games in console history".
Retro Gamer's Damien McFerran wrote: "Even today, despite the widespread availability of sequels and re-releases on other formats, the Sega Saturn is still a worthwhile investment for those who appreciate the unique gameplay styles of the companies that supported it." IGN's Adam Redsell wrote "[Sega's] devil-may-care attitude towards game development in the Saturn and Dreamcast eras is something that we simply do not see outside of the indie scene today." Necrosoft Games director Brandon Sheffield felt that "the Saturn was a landing point for games that were too 'adult' in content for other systems, as it was the only one that allowed an 18+ rating for content in Japan some games, like Enemy Zero used it to take body horror to new levels, an important step toward the expansion of games and who they served." Sewart praised the Saturn's first-party games as "Sega's shining moment as a game developer", with Sonic Team demonstrating its creative range and AM2 producing numerous technically impressive arcade ports. He also commented on the many Japan-exclusive Saturn releases, which he connected with a subsequent boom in the game import market. IGN's Travis Fahs was critical of the Saturn library's lack of "fresh ideas" and "precious few high-profile franchises", in contrast to what he described as Sega's more creative Dreamcast output.
Sega has been criticized for its management of the Saturn. McFerran felt its management staff had "fallen out of touch with both the demands of the market and the industry". Stolar has also been criticized; according to Fahs, "Stolar's decision to abandon the Saturn made him a villain to many Sega fans, but it was better to regroup than to enter the next fight battered and bruised. Dreamcast would be Stolar's redemption." Stolar defended his decision, saying, "I felt Saturn was hurting the company more than helping it. That was a battle that we weren't going to win." Sheffield said that the Saturn's quadrilaterals undermined third-party support, but because "nVidia invested in quads" at the same time, there had been "a remote possibility" they could have "become the standard instead of triangles if somehow, magically, the Saturn were the most popular console of that era." Speaking more positively, former Working Designs president Victor Ireland described the Saturn as "the start of the future of console gaming" because it "got the better developers thinking and designing with parallel-processing architecture in mind for the first time". In GamesRadar, Justin Towell wrote that the Saturn's 3D Pad "set the template for every successful controller that followed, with analog shoulder triggers and left thumbstick I don't see any three-pronged controllers around the office these days."
Douglass C. Perry of Gamasutra noted that, from its surprise launch to its ultimate failure, the Saturn "soured many gamers on Sega products". Sewart and IGN's Levi Buchanan cited the failure of the Saturn as the major reason for Sega's downfall as a hardware manufacturer, but USgamer's Jeremy Parish described it as "more a symptom than a cause" of the decline, which began with add-ons for the Genesis that fragmented the market and continued with Sega of America's and Sega of Japan's competing designs for the Dreamcast. Sheffield portrayed Sega's mistakes with the Saturn as emblematic of the broader then-decline of the Japanese gaming industry: "They thought they were invincible, and that structure and hierarchy were necessary for their survival, but more flexibility, and a greater participation with the West could have saved them." According to Stuart, Sega "didn't see the roots of a prevailing trend, away from arcade conversions and traditional role-playing adventures and toward a much wider console development community with fresh ideas about gameplay and structure." Pulp reviews editor Matt Paprocki concluded that "the Saturn is a relic, but an important one, which represents the harshness of progress and what it can leave in its wake".
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Buy Sega Saturn Games & Consoles
10 Most Popular Sega Saturn Exclusive Titles (-)
The Saturn is remembered with these top selling, highlighted titles from its library. From those selling millions of copes, to those that are just unforgettable, these are some of the most popular titles on the Sega Saturn.
Virtua Fighter 2
The sequel of the first 3D fighting game to be released on console. An exclusive Saturn title that was the highest selling game for the system.
The classic arcade shooter ported exclusively to the Sega Saturn!
Sega’s classic arcade racing title ported exclusively to the Saturn. Check out the Championship edition for extra courses and music tracks.
Nintendo had Star Fox, but Sega had Panzer Dragoon. Fly around and take down enemies in this amazing 3D rail shooter.
The Saturn version of Super Bomberman is often regarded as the best. With use of a multitap, up to 10 players can play at once.
The best Co-op beat 'em up game the Saturn has to offer!
Rather save lives than end them? Rescue civilians in extreme hazardous environments.
10 Sega Saturn Games You Should Avoid at All Costs (+)
If you're looking for a beautiful open world adventure, then you should stay far away from Virtual Hydlide.
This rail shooter has unengaging gameplay, beyond horrific graphics, and very minuscule overall quality. Even if you like bad games, stay away from this one!
This port of the PC classic suffers a downgrade with horrendous graphics and weak gameplay. If you are looking for some good Mech combat, then consider Virtual On.
Repetitive combat sim gameplay. To best enjoy Independence Day, stick with the movie.
A fighting game with potential, but didn't live up to its hype.
Battle Arena Toshinden Remix
A decent fighting game on the Playstation, but the so-called "Remix" on the Saturn only proved to be an inferior port.
10 Rarest Sega Saturn Games (+)
As the Sega Saturn began to decline and fall to the Sony PlayStation, the Saturn was discontinued in Many of the final game releases were more directed to a different audience, on a dying console. These final games were some of the best, and rarest Saturn titles.
Possibly the rarest Saturn game of all. Only used for a Japanese game show called “Tokyo Friend Park.”
A promotional video walkthrough of a 3D house. Only 50 copies were made and are extremely rare to come across.
Another promotional video similar to Eyeful Home in content and price.
Mega Man X3
The Japanese import is considerably cheaper, but the US and PAL versions are highly collectible and rare.
Daytona USA Circuit Edition Net Link
The rarest US Sega Saturn game. Has an added online multiplayer feature, and only subtle differences on the disc and manual.
Shoot em up game only released in Japan.
Magic Knight Rayearth
About 15, copies released in One of the last Sega Saturn games released in the US.
One of the few Saturn games to use NetLink. Regarded as one of the best Bomberman games due to its ability to have 10 players with use of a multitap.
House of the Dead
One of the final five Saturn games to be released. Classic rail shooting zombie action!
10 Best Sega Saturn Imports (+)
Imported versions of NA / PAL titles on the sega saturn are often more desirable for their lower cost and minimal language barrier. However, some titles remained exclusive to Japan, and only the imports are available. These unique games are must-have imports on Sega Saturn!
Street Fighter Zero 3
Known in the US as Street Fighter Alpha 3, this was the first port to come to consoles.
Dungeons & Dragons Collection
A collection of Dungeons & Dragons Shadows over Mystara and Tower of Doom released on the Saturn for Japan only.
An intense shoot-em-up game allowing seven different weapons to be used at once!
Digital Pinball: Necronomicon
A fantastic pinball game on the Saturn for Japan only.
A Japan exclusive fighting game.
On the screen, the nimble stew was fiercely snoring the young Latin American woman in a knee-and-glove pose or, simply speaking, like a rock. Samir vividly presented to himself what it was - Lala Khanum was standing on fours, and he was entering it from the.
Back. His hand habitually tugged at the penis and after a couple of minutes he finished. She can still send her summary… - he thought.
Saturn buy games sega
And then leaned on top, once again lowering his pants. The humiliated one always seeks to humiliate another, even weaker than himself. Please, not that, the girl pleaded with tears, and tried to escape. This.10 affordable games to start your Sega Saturn collection - top ten budget titles.
I fell for you from the very first day, and you tomorrow. Your husband will wait. We're fast. He had already laid me down on the seat, and pulling off my panties, pulled out one of my legs, then spread them to. The sides and threw one on the back of the front seat and the other on the back of the back.
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Tell me, how do. I know this. I will answer, his voice penetrated into my consciousness. I stood a few meters away from him and heard his every word, caught the slightest change in intonation.