My favorite games for the Sega Saturn

On my old blog, I was writing my favorite games with the systems I owned. I wrote about the NES, SNES and Sega Genesis. I wish I still had access to those articles, but I wanted to continue my ongoing series into what I view as my favorite games per system. I was doing it in the order I received the systems and will be continuing this along with tackling the handhelds. I do plan on recreating my lists for Atari, NES, SNES and Genesis and might have different opinions now versus when I first published.

I wanted to give a little background on why the Saturn was a huge deal for me. I really remember being content with having both the Genesis and SNES. I didn’t feel ready or interested in making the jump to a new system even though I was unsure of what that would be. When I was ready to purchase a system, I was completely unsure of what I wanted. I had become a fan of Sega and wasn’t sure that the N64 or Playstation were going to be ideal for me. This was a pretty big deal as whatever system I chose was going to be purchased with my own money so I really wanted to get the best system for me.

I would buy tons of gaming magazines (such as Game on USA, GameFan, and GamePro to just to name a few) trying to research the different systems and games available. I even created a list of games I was interested in just to see if that could be the deciding factor. Apparently, none of that really helped though it did make me more aware of what each system was capable of.

I still remember my parents taking me to our local Toys R US to purchase my first system. I was still torn deciding what I wanted as we walked to the games section. It wasn’t until I played the demo of Clockwork Knight that my mind was finally made up. I really was blown away by the graphics of this game because I had never seen anything like it before. It just stood out to me like a shining beacon and any doubt that the Saturn was for me was erased. I picked up the system and the rest is history.

When I was compilimg the list, Tom mentioned that this has to be my favorite system. I wasn’t sure if I could call Saturn my favorite of all the systems because each system holds a special place in my heart. I will say that the Saturn is my favorite Sega system. It could also be this was the first system I bought for myself or that it helped foster my love of games more because I could purchase the games I wanted. I’m not really sure of the reason I love this system so much.

The games I selected are my favorite in the Saturn’s library. They represent a good mix of everything the Saturn offered that I had the fun of playing. I just wish I still had my system to play them again. At least I have my memories.

Virtua Fighter 2: I first played this game at my local arcade, The Dream Machine, with my little sister. I remember the game was on this huge screen and we did our best to mash buttons to win. A practice I still use with the expectation of one fighting game that I really worked hard to learn. My to go character was Pai as she had lightning speed punches and attacks that really helped cover up how badly I suck. I think that this game came with my system and I would spend so much time trying to beat the game with all the characters only to really beat it with a few.  This game has made me a bit of a fan of the series and I’m always happy seeing these characters pop up anywhere. I even had the VHS of the anime OVA just to support  this franchise. I would love Virtua Fighter to return because there’s so much potential still left.

Virtua Fighter kids: How could I not buy this game? Honestly, chibi cute fighters and Lau with a mustache was something I could not pass up. The concept was hilarious and just so damned cute that I really enjoyed playing and trying to get the hilarious endings for each of the characters. If I wasn’t playing Virtua Fighter 2 I was playing this game. I really enjoyed how they just made the characters act like kids and it was just so different from anything I played. I just wish more companies took a chance to make games like this because it was so much fun and made me appreciate the fighting genre a lot more.

Shining the Holy Ark: This remains one of my favorites in the long running series to this day. It was a throwback to Shining in the darkness and prequel to Shining Force III. It was nice to just be able to enjoy more of the world, unlike in Darkness, and just have such an interesting story that had me hooked from the get-go. I loved that it was a dungeon crawler versus the tactical game that the series was known for during that time. The game was a lot of fun and one I really recommend for those who love Shining Force III as it gives some backstory to the events of the game and history about a certain character. I keep hoping Sega will bring this type of game back or bring the entire collection. It would be nice to finally see how the story continues in scenarios 2 and 3.

Magic Knight Rayearth: This was my last Saturn game I purchased, and I found it purely by luck. I don’t even think I knew this game existed until I saw it at Baggades and I certainly knew nothing of it. The game was a great introduction to the world of Magic Knight Rayearth and to the characters as well. I do recall having some difficulty trying to figure out what character is best suited for boss fights and regular combat. I don’t think it was that much of an issue, but there was a boss fight with Caldina that did give me a headache. I think it was just that we were fighting on a mine car and only Fuu was better suited, but I kept getting her killed. Cue my frustration. However, the game was a lot of fun and I enjoyed having the same yet different story from the anime. I also enjoyed the animated cutscenes that played after certain events. It was my first time seeing it in a game as I had never seen anything like that before. It also served as a great introduction to the series and made me dive into the anime which I had previously only seen random episodes.

Shining Force III: Is my last true Shining Force game I played, besides the handhelds, and one that I consider one of my favorites. The gameplay is the same as any Shining Force game but featured a more mature story that was completely different from any other Shining Force game I played. The characters, divided by three lead heroes with their own teams, were a nice change and really fleshed out the world more. I really liked seeing how the events of Holy Ark shaped the story in subtle ways without really knowing until much later. I still laugh as I remember Synbios’ voice actor when he would use magic in battle. It was pretty bad, but I like bad. I remember how the story had so many twists and turns that made it different from previous installments that I played as a kid. It just felt new even though the gameplay never really changed. I really wish Sega gave us the second and third scenarios in the states so I could complete this gem. I keep hoping Sega will bring this game to current systems so I can dive back in to this classic.

Guardian Heroes: A game that I rented first and slowly realized how much fun it was. The game was one where I honestly had no idea of what direction it was going to take. It reminded me of an anime version of Golden Axe with so many more characters and paths to take that it made me replay constantly. I really remember having so much fun trying to uncover new directions to take to unlock new areas. I am a real fan of this game where I bought the GBA game just to relive it. I do hope Sega will bring this gem back in some shape or form. It really is a blast to play. I did give a good friend my copy of the game and I hope she’ll experience the same fun I did.

Clockwork Knight: The game, as mentioned before, that made me get the Saturn. I was blown away by the graphics at Toys R Us. It was nothing I had ever seen before and when playing the demo it just was a lot of fun. Playing as a clockwork knight trying to save a princess in a bizarre twist of the nutcracker. The demo just gave me a taste and I wanted more. When I got home, all I could do was showcase to anyone in my family the graphics and compared this game to my SNES games. I don’t think anyone really cared, but I was completely in a state of excitement seeing how detailed this game was. It also reminded me of Castle of Illusion which made me even more giddy. I have a huge love of that game for Genesis. I really don’t remember how far I made it, except I know I did not beat this game. I would love to dive back in and just relive my memories.

Daytona USA: My first real racing game that I really took the time to learn. I did have Road Rash for Genesis and it most likely fueled my lackluster driving abilities in games. Plus, an affinity for ramming into walls or other drivers that made GTA Vice City such a blast. This game was just hours of fun as I attempted to figure out the different ways to really play, what cars types I prefer and just soak in the soundtrack. I really am glad I took a chance and that I was able to really get into racing games.

Dragon Force: Is and was one of my favorite games for the Saturn. I was so glad I purchased it and took time off work to just play this game. I had so much fun playing as Mikhal, Junon and Wein as they became my to go to characters. I did try with the other characters minus Goldrack and Reinhardt, but found myself more drawn to them. Working designs’ humor really brought a smile to my face, I am still extremely immature, so the fart humor certainly made me laugh. The game was more of an intense strategy game with over-the-top generals or commanders. I really worked hard on trying to locate secret generals or recruit other generals from opposing armies. I did enjoy hearing John Truitt voice the narration of the game’s opening. He was the voice actor of Ghaleon from Lunar. That was a real treat as I had played Lunar before playing this game. I know that this is another gem I would love to return to the newer systems or just, if Sega ever does, create a mini Saturn to be on it. 

What games are your favorite for Saturn? I’m sure I missed a lot of great games and I love to see what games you enjoyed for Saturn. There are so many great games that making this list was hard as I really tried to remember all the games I played. Perhaps one day I can replay these gems and relive the excitement of the Saturn.

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