In the 70 to 61 places in Retro Sanctuary's 100 Saturn Games, the site once again selected 10 games from various genres, few of which were actually Saturn exclusives. That doesn't matter really, as the games are starting to get marginally better from the last 30 games. At least, in Mega Man 8 we have a seriously good game. As usual, the sports games are relics of the past (and that's fine), and there are a number of Japan-exclusive games
Note that Iron Storm looks like it is an excellent strategy game. However, I could not figure out exactly how to play it, since there were no tutorials at all. Based on that, the two games that I reviewed in detail are Mega Man 8 and Herc's Adventure.
70- Last Bronx (1997):
Of the few Saturn fighting games that were released in the west, it is somehow weird that Last Bronx was one of the game released. This is ostensibly one of the few weapon-based fighting games, like Samurai Shodown and Soul Calibur. Except, compared to those two, there is little complexity or meat or tension to the combat.
To be fair, the eight playable characters are varied in the way they play, and the basic fighting mechanics are perhaps just as sound as the first Soul Calibur.
What, I think made the Last Bronx an ultimately forgettable fighter is its forgettable characters. Other than the cool opening cinematic, there is little story or style to these fighters. This is further exacerbated by the blocky 3D graphics, where these characters cannot even give justice to their 2D portraits.
It is entirely possible that Mega Man 8 is mostly known today for its very cheesy voice acting, which is cringe-worthy to the extreme. For fans of the series, this was considered a regressive step back compared to the new excellence of the Mega Man X series. However, if we take the game at its own merits, as an evolution of the classical formula.
At its best, this game has all exciting action-gameplay of the series, with great levels and some excellent boss battles. While it does not have the fast action-packed gameplay of the X series, it is still a worthy Mega Man game besides them.
One thing that I think no one can complain about is the excellent 2D graphics and animation. This is one seriously gorgeous game, and that's only better with the great soundtrack. Even if the voice acting is one of the worst ever performed.
68- MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat (1997):
The most fascinating thing about MechWarrior 2 is to see Activision's acumen for big showy presentation even back in the days when the games looked caked in vaseline. With an explosive intro, and consistent Voice Acted commands, this is game that wanted to appear much better than it was.
Otherwise, most would see it as it is, a port of DOS game into consoles both ill-suited to its complex command scheme, and unable to produce much of a graphical jump. The poor graphics are to be expected in pseudo-3D games in the mid-90s. However, it is the poor controls (without mouse aiming) that ultimately dooms this game today.
67- The Need for Speed (1996):
Originally released on the unfortunate 3DO, the progenitor of the Need of Speed series was originally conceived as a driving simulation game. It was only through its various ports that the "Speed" in the title began to be emphasized. Ported to the PC, PS1, and the Saturn, The Need for Speed managed to get enough success to launch a massive racing franchise.
While the fast racing gameplay is nearly the same between the PS1 and Saturn ports, and there is little difference in graphical quality or animation, the lack of music in the Saturn game clearly makes it the inferior port. In fact, we could make the case that it is the game's success in the PS1 that eventually saved the franchise, and where most people initially experienced it.
66- Elevator Action Returns (1997):
This looks like another victim of the fixation on 3D games in the 5th generation consoles. Otherwise, why would an excellent action game that is already localized in English not be released in the West? Probably, due to both its name and its graphics, it would not fit Sega's marketing plans.
That was unfortunately to the loss of Western Saturn owners, as this looks like one bloody good game. Half a shooter, and half a puzzle, it takes place in several missions that kinda remind me of Die Hard. You go into a building, from top to bottom or in reverse, opening red doors to foils some terrorist plan.
Gameplay-wise, the shooting is fast and satisfying, with a lot of action to take into account and bullets to dodge. It is not a straightforward shooter because you need to use elevators and stairs to go between level, adding some verticality to the gameplay. Also, the music is really good and the graphics did not age like milk.
Back in 1997, there is no debate about Herc's Adventure being an excellent game for any Saturn owner. It is an Action Adventure game that takes place in an expansive world, with serviceable overhead gameplay (like The Legend of Zelda to some degree), and excellent graphics and animation that harkens back to the Saturday-night cartoons of the 90s.
However, playing the game today, its shortcomings are more apparent. It has little direction, and the gameplay gets repetitive fast. Before you know it, you realize the game mostly fails to grab your attention in the areas where you aimlessly walkabout. Only during some of the challenging boss fights does the game demand any sort of concentration.
Please note that from the three playable characters you can choose, Atlanta is the best and makes the game more fun.
64- Sega Worldwide Soccer 98' (1997):
It is surprising how if you play a certain sport, you can get the hang of the videogame version faster than other sports. That's one reason my experience with Sega Worldwide Soccer 98' was a mostly good experience compared to the earlier attempts to play handegg and basketball games on the Saturn.
Yet, I also think this is a very solid football game, even if it doesn't reach the level of Konami's Winning Eleven series (Which was the best on the market then and still is in my opinion). Long passes are weak and defending is very difficult. Most goals are the product of poor goalkeeping and attackers powering through everyone to get a shot.
Still, it is fun, even if all the players are placeholders with no relation to actual players. For fans of the game, they can simply edit all the players in the game into their real-life versions if they want.
63- Puyo Puyo Sun (1997):
Puyo Puyo Sun is another game in the Puyo Puyo Puzzle series that was not localized westward. It's basically another game with the same puzzle format, where you must link blobs of a certain color to get point. Not unlike Dr. Mario, but with the spin that each part of the capsule is individually affected by gravity.
One thing this game had was a full-fledged campaign, with dialouge, scenes, and even an anime opening movie and ending.
62- Iron Storm (1996):
As a fan of the Turn-Based Tactical Strategy (TBTS) genre, I really wanted to get into Iron Storm. It is one of the few localized entries in the famed Daisenryaku strategy series, a series based on World War II warfare where alternative results are possible. Unfortunately, this is one behemoth of a tactical game, and with no in-game tutorials to speak off, understanding it to be even remotely effective would have been a struggle. Instead, I focused on getting a general taste of the game's systems to write this small excerpt.
Compared to games like Advance Wars, or SRPGs like Fire Emblem and Shining Force, this game is a completely different level. With different classes of units, which have different classes of weapons, which have different specifications, the game has a lot of variables to think off. That is before you start thinking of supply lines, blitz campaigns, aerial bombings, fighter interceptions, and a host of other elements to worry about.
I am sure, that once you are in command of the game's many systems, then it can unlock a deep and satisfying TBTS game that is unlike any other in the market. However, to reach that point, you must dedicate a good amount of time to learn.
61- Virtua Cop (1995):
I played the Virtua Cop games in their natural habitat, in the Arcade. The home versions are known to be lesser products, especially since the game's short length becomes apparent once you don't have to worry about spending more coins.
Even in the arcade, the first Virtua Cop game wasn't special, with its blocky graphics and cheesy music. It's not any better on the Saturn.
This report is a consolidated review of the top 100 list by Retro Sanctuary. It features the reviews I made for the list but also has a brief paragraph about each game in the list that I didn't review. For games without an official review, the opinions I express are purely based on some little playing time and general research about the game and its reception at the time.