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Why the Sega Saturn Needs to Be Represented on the Virtual Console

by: JMcEvoy2006 ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

While it won't make many lists for the greatest home consoles, the Sega Saturn holds a special place in gaming history. Though it was obliterated by the PlayStation, it was the second most successful console of the era and had some classic titles. As such, these titles need to be released on the VC.

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    Everything You Want to Know About the Nintendo Virtual Console

    If you are a fan of the Nintendo Virtual Console, make sure you check out Bright Hub's Ultimate Guide to the Nintendo Virtual Console. It has specific game reviews, analysis, and more.

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    Sega's Going Downhill - Get Sega Saturn on the Nintendo Virtual Console

    Welcome to the Next Level, Again 

    After reading my previous articles regarding the Virtual Console, it should come as to no surprise that I enjoy the classics. That said, I was enthused to discover the VC included games from some of the lesser know consoles, i.e. Turbografx 16, Sega Master System and the Commedore. That said there are several classic consoles, though many of them short-lived, that should have some attention on the Wii. Though some, if not most of these consoles were considered failures in their time, many games in their libraries have developed cult followings.

    The first console we’re going to look at is the Sega Saturn, this was Sega’s first full-fledged follow-up to the Genesis (with the 32X and Sega CD consoles in between.) Though it was technically the most advanced system at the time, Sega’s handling of its release alienated gamers and developers alike. The system was said to be difficult to program games on as well. The fall of Sega’s stock was so severe that many game historians believe the Saturn’s failure hindered the next and last Sega console, the Dreamcast.

    That said, here are five Sega Saturn titles that due to their quality and/or historical significance need to be included on the VC. Since Nintendo has already gained rights to Genesis and Master System titles, they should have no problem securing the rights of the Saturn.

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    Shoot to Kill

    Shoot First, Never Ask Questions 

    Virtua Cop: This is a very decent port of the classic arcade title. If you had a light gun all the better, playing with the controller was way too cumbersome. The game’s pretty straight forward; nothing major groundbreaking or outstanding, but it is a memorable title nonetheless. The game is effective and as advertised.

    It’s a good shoot em’ up game and doesn’t try to be anything else. It was decent enough to spawn a Saturn sequel and was the precursor to the House of the Dead series while also lending some inspiration to Namco’s Time Crisis. Sadly, the latter titles have somewhat overshadowed the Virtua Cop series, though it is definitely a classic worthy of being revisited.

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    What? No Guile?

    Decent Fighting Game 

    Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior Dreams: With the advances of home consoles, this game was a fairly impressive port of the original arcade classic. It also has the benefit of being the one of the best Street Fighter games on the Saturn - though this is not a fantastic achievement as a laughable title based on the Jean Claude Van Damme film was also issued on the Saturn.

    The game also features the first appearances of Charlie, Rose and Dan, all characters who would reappear in subsequent games in the series. The game would spawn two sequels to be released on other home consoles. The graphics were excellent for the time, the combo moves were novel and a significant addition and staple of the series. The only downside is the characters, too few classics here, among the characters who were MIA included Guile, Blanca and E. Honda.

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    Panzer Dragoon - the Epitome of Sega

    Dated Graphics, but Still a Great Game 

    Panzer Dragoon: This is just Sega at its best. Sega first began to gain mainstream notoriety in the 70s and 80s for their unique arcade titles including Space Harrier and Alien Syndrome. The Panzer Dragoon series follows in this vein. It’s a simple, but frustratingly difficult rail shooter.

    The graphics are dated and haven’t held well up over time at all, it’s hard to believe the game was ever ground breaking in that sense. That said, it’s still an enjoyable gaming experience, and while some gamers may prefer the sequels, the original still remains a personal favorite of mine and one of the major reasons I still own a Sega Saturn after all these years.

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    Sonic Enters a New Dimension

    Sonic for a New Generation 

    Sonic 3D Blast: This game is particularly impressive as it wasn’t originally released on the Saturn. It was initially a Genesis title that was later ported to the Saturn in 1996. The game boasted better graphics and gameplay. Unlike the Genesis version, the bonus levels are actually 3D and game included a completely new music soundtrack which was exceptional.

    The game’s enhanced graphics made up for the simplicity of the game which was rather monotonous; the game itself was pretty easy to beat. Though 3D blast has already made an VC appearance through the Genesis version. The Saturn edition should be released due to its better graphics as well as its place in history as one of few Sonic appearances on the Sega Saturn. That said, if you already have 3D Blast on the VC console, it would be hard to justify downloading another version, no matter how advanced it is. It is also significant as other than the Sonic Adventure titles on the Dreamcast, it is the last decent Sonic game, despite the many attempts on the Wii.

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    What a Wonderful Dream

    A One of a Kind Gaming Experience 

    Nights Into Dreams: This is one of the few titles of the Saturn library that was ever followed up by other consoles through its release on the Wii. In the game you take control of Nights in a dream world collecting stars and spheres and occasionally battling bosses. The game also featured a rather interesting combination of 3D and 2D gameplay.

    The Sega even released a special 3D controller specifically for the game. The graphics weren’t terribly good and haven’t aged well though the music is still fantastic and helps create an immersive gaming experience. It was a popular title on the console, so much so that a sequel was planned for the Saturn and Dreamcast, though such a game never materialized until the Wii release.

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    Quick Final Thought

    Though it wasn't the best system, and if anything, it lead directly to the Sega's demise in the console business, the preceding titles are just a few reasons why Nintendo should release Saturn games on the Virtual Console. Including the Saturn on the VC would be giving an appropriate nod to a significant console in gaming history.

    Honorable mentions: Virtua Fighter 2, Shinning Force III, Astal

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    More Nintendo Virtual Console Content

    Remember to check out our Ultimate Guide to the Nintendo Virtual Console. It has specific game reviews, analysis, and more.