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mars 23, 2013

Sega Saturn games today

I received some Saturn games yesterday, so I happily started investigating them. ( I didn't know what titles I would get ) The usual stuff: some RPGs, many sports and adventure games, many fighting games, a lot of quiz and  "misc" games, a few shooters, and several rally games. So it is quite normal of the Saturn releases in Japan.

I was happy to see a game called Transport Tycoon because I played that a lot when I was younger, on the PC. It is sometimes voted the greatest game ever. A few years ago I played until it said "you can't build more stuff unless you replace your other stuff". I had hoped that the Saturn version would be an improvement on this issue, but what a disappointment...

The graphics is only in 640x480 mode, and you can't zoom out. The controller is more clumsy than the mouse, and the game is entirely in Japanese. The good thing is that I was able to rip the soundtrack from the CD, so now I can listen to it. (legally, I think, because I own the CD) I made a video of track nr 5, so you can read this blog to some nice background music.
I think the music was made by a professional jazz musician.

Another game was Destruction Derby, that I also played that on my PC when I was younger. In destruction derby, you get points for pushing the others' cars and not just win races. I played it for some 5 hours or so. The PsOne version has better graphics but the Saturn version is fun too.  The save function is weird, because you save in a save slot, but the newest save slot will always be placed last. So if you have 5 save slots, and you replace save slot 2, then your new save will actually become number 5. This cost me 1-2 hours before I understood.

Here is a video from the Ps1 version:
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I also received some of the horror/adventure games that the Saturn had a couple of. I have already revied Resident Evil (Bio Hazard) here. I don't think I have mentioned Enemy Zero, Virus and Deep Fear. All of these games have a strange English/Japanese mix of text and language, and they are "import friendly" but may require a FAQ at times.

Enemy Zero has a lot of first person shooting in it. But it isn't actually "Quake" good. If I remember correctly: In Enemy Zero you have a stupid weapon that needs to reload after each shot while you are being chased by invisible aliens. The frustration level is high. A lot of running around narrow corridors, Alien (the movie) style. The game was very popular in Japan, but it is too slow paced for me.

I tried out Virus and I liked the control scheme. Virus also has the anime graphics that is nicer than the "pseudo 3D" of most games from that time. Since the game is point-and-click, and the items are all pictures, I think it should be well possible to play without knowing Japanese. Unlike Enemy Zero it was only released in Japan so you have no other language choice. But maybe not very exciting if you can't understand Japanese. All those FMV (Full Motion Video) clips take a long time, and there's a lot of dialogue for the story. 

Let's go to Deep Fear. I haven't tried it out so I'll just show a video of it. It is definitely well made with a good atmosphere. This game was released in Europe, but it is quite pricey. The Japanese version costs like 10$ ( I sold one today for 75 SEK = 10$), while the European is 100$ or more these days.

Here is a video of someone who plays the Japanese version, so you can see the mix of Japanese text, English speech, and English menu. 
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After that I had a look at R?MJ, which is an adventure game only released in Japan for the PS1 and SAT. And I liked it, unlike other reviewers.

All the dialogue is in Japanese but it can be played with no problem. The game is more FMV than all the others I have mentioned and seems to be linear. You don't need any save game slots because I don't think you can die or get stuck. The game autosaves for you if you want to quit.

You have two buttons: One is for Use, and one for Investigate. There isn't any point and click, and no action moments. Just walk around and Investigate and Use in every place you face.  When you have done right, you will be able to progress.

Sometimes you need to bring up the Inventory (press Start) and take an item from there. Then use it while you stand in the right spot. Note that there are 3 screens of inventory, and you press Right several times to go from the first to the second screen.

The game doesn't require much of you, and I think that's nice. It is also interesting to try and see what has happened inside the Mystery Hospital. I didn't get very far though, because it took a long time to figure out these things with the inventory and the buttons and stuff. I couldn't find a video that wouldn't spoil the game, so here is a commercial.
If I had more time I would have played it more.

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