Tag Archives: Sega Saturn

February Gaming

Just a couple of completions this month, I was going to include ‘Shoppe Keep’ as I thought I was ready to stop playing it, but apparently not. This month I also attended Play Expo in Blackpool, so there are a couple of bits from that to mention.

Games completed during February

halo2vistaHalo 2: Master Chief Collection – Xbox One

A fair few months in the works, my buddy and I finally cleared this in co-op. Great fun, but disappointed by the lack of a final Warthog level that I’d come to expect from Halo finales. Onto Gears of War 4 next!

wEWQWhat Remains of Edith Finch? – PS4

Initial similarities with Gone Home are pretty strong, but there are significant gameplay mechanics that move this slightly away from the ‘walking simulator’ standard. Great story and some pretty dramatic moments. Like Gone Home it’s about a 2 hour play-through, and definitely best experienced in one sitting. It’s worth mentioning that it does have some fairly sensitive subject matter too. It deals with death and loss, so maybe tread lightly if you’re concerned. I can imagine a couple of parts being quite brutal, although I think they actually handle it pretty well.

Also played during February

img_keyPower Drift – Arcade & Saturn

Managed to play the full hydraulic Arcade Machine version of this at Play Expo, a machine I’ve wanted to try forever. As such it got me back on the Saturn version, such a great game, and one I’d always choose to play over Outrun. Sorry.

header (1)Shoppe Keep – PS4

I have put too many hours into this. I need to stop.


Wulverblade-previewWulverblade – PS4

As with Shoppe Keep, this was one of my pick ups last month. I haven’t made a lot of progress, but managed to put a couple of hours into the Campaign on my own, and also play some arcade co-op. With 2 players it’s everything I loved about Golden Axe, such a great brawler.

February Pickups

61pDf+aePXL._SX355_Raspberry Pi 3

Finally pulled the trigger on getting one of these. I think it was the C64 Mini that made me do it. I had one of those pre-ordered over on Amazon for about £30 more than the cost of the Raspberry Pi. I saw sense, and cancelled the pre-order in favour of building a RetroPi system. Having a great time tinkering with it and playing a few games. Hoping to build it into a self-contained Arcade Stick that I can just hook up to the TV and play. We’ll see.

PuyoPuyoTetrisLogoPuyo Puyo Tetris – PC

This is the third time I’ve bought this game, but the digital Steam release was much cheaper than the others, and I’m hoping to play a bit online. Maybe I’ll even get a bit better at Puyo. If you like puzzle games like Tetris at all, I can’t recommend this enough, although this port isn’t as polished as the console ones, so maybe start there if you have the systems for it.

hss07shotsHori Arcade Stick – Sega Saturn

The only thing I bought from the traders at Play Expo, I finally got an Arcade Stick for my Saturn. Really pleased with this, has a great weight to it, and the parts all feel good and responsive. Very much enjoying getting back to my shmups and fighting games on there now.


All-Time Top 5 Local Multiplayer Games

While I’m very much a fan of online multiplayer in games, some of the finest experiences  to be had in videogames are with friends in the same room. For this list I’m focusing on the very best of these titles (according to the very scientific method of “these are the ones I like most”).

With the exception of number 4 on this list, I’ve picked franchises here, where there are multiple versions in the series available with (usually) the same core gameplay. Feel free to interpret it as your favourite version in each case. I’ve also avoided 2 player games, but will concede that a winner stays on approach to games like Street Fighter also takes some beating. (ahem)


5) Mario Kart

I think depending on nostalgia, which version of Mario Kart you’d choose for this will vary. Personally the Wii version (providing actual controllers are available and no one has to use the heinous motion wheel) was my favourite for a long time. I can see how Mario Kart 8 may hold the crown for many now, but I don’t own the hardware for it, and have no immediate plans to purchase any. These days my go-to would be the best Mario Kart, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. (This is obviously very surprising coming from me).


4) Overcooked

Kind of hoping this gets to become a franchise in the future. Overcooked is also the only primarily co-operative title in the list, although the rage it can inspire does sometimes make you feel otherwise. When things are going well though, you do feel unstoppable. At making burgers.


3) Micro Machines

I’m torn on this one for a favourite between Turbo Tournament on the Mega Drive, or V3 on the PlayStation. I’d also accept Mashed on PS2 / Xbox. A pity the recent reboot took some missteps really, as we’re well overdue for some quality racing in this style.

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2) Worms

There are seemingly hundreds of entries in this series, and after Worms World Party, they were mostly sub-par. Things started to improve with the Xbox Live Arcade versions, Worms and Worms 2:Armageddon. Though it was when Battlegrounds / Clan Wars came along that I really started recommending it again, and now with Worms W.M.D. they truly have made a return to form. It’s at least as good as as the classics, and personally I think it might be my favourite. Mostly on the strength of the Dub-step Gun, wub wub.


Sega Saturn Joy

1) Bomberman

As with Worms, I suspect there are more bad Bomberman games than good ones. However, the good ones really are great. My personal favourite version is the Saturn one, as evidenced by its appearance in my All-Time Top 5 Games. Bomberman remains the very best game to play with friends, and I want a new one.

Almost made it:

Everybody’s Golf

This really was close to making it, I imagine you could also include the Mario Golf games in this section. Everybody’s Golf is a gem of a game. I’m sure many people would give it a miss based just on an apathy for the sport, but it really is worth checking out. It’s a satisfying single player experience, but excels in the entertainment stakes once you throw a few friends into the mix.

Halo 3

Although I still enjoy the Halo series, and am currently playing through the Master Chief Collection in co-op, my time with the competitive multiplayer seems to have passed. However, where Halo 3 really shined was when you had 4 players in your lounge, playing online with other randoms. It was absolute carnage and I loved it. I’ve got dibs on driving the Warthog.

Puyo Puyo Tetris & ZooCube

Both of these puzzle games are superb fun (see another top 5!), but unfortunately I haven’t managed to get 4 people who like them into a room together to try the local multiplayer. I can see how they could make the list in principle, but have yet to try them out. Since I wrote about this previously, it is now available as a European release on PS4 and Switch, so definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.


Just a couple more things…

Party Games

They don’t quite fit into the context of my original list, but with the right group of people, SingStar and to a lesser extent Just Dance, are highly entertaining games to break out at parties. For a more subdued but no less amusing experience, the Buzz series and more recently the Jackbox titles where people play along using their mobile phones, are definitely worth checking out. Sony seem to have begun to embrace this idea, with games in their ‘PlayLink’ series using this model of mobile phone as controller.


I expect many people would put Goldeneye into a Top 5 of this category. I get it for the nostalgia, but it’s pretty much unplayable now, so let it rest in peace.

What about Smash Bros?


All-Time Top 5 Racing Games

Racing games are still amongst my favourite game genres, despite my general apathy towards cars in real life. I’ve approached this list in my usual way, taking into account nostalgia and enjoyment. There was the normal amount of ‘almost made it’ games, so they’ll follow at the end.

Reverse order, as ever:


5) Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox One)

This very nearly didn’t make the list at all, and I strongly considered using an earlier entry. Once you’re in a race, I’m of the opinion that there is no better ‘realistic’ racing to be had than Forza 7. They’ve also improved the single player career mode to make it much more interesting than the last few iterations, 5 and 6 particularly were so very stale in that regard. However, in their ongoing bid to cash in on every possible additional revenue stream, the lootboxes, mods and pointless ‘Driver Outfits’ have made much of the experience incredibly tedious. Coupled with huge load times, this stuff grates even more. So annoying, because ‘in race’ it’s superb and looks stunning. Argh.

ePSXe 2014-09-08 19-40-41-69

4) Rage Racer (PlayStation)

Could easily have been any of the original PlayStation era Ridge Racer series, but this is the one I still choose to go back to now. I think Ridge Racer Type 4 is almost certainly the better game, but I just didn’t spend as much time with it. The art style of Rage Racer is really distinctive, and stands out against other racers not just in the series but across the 32 bit era.

Sadly I never got on with any of the Ridge Racer’s post PS1, and mostly just pretend the series ended with Type 4.


3) Sega Rally (SEGA Saturn)

I still remember when I first saw Sega Rally running on my Saturn. It was the first time it really felt like I had ‘Arcade quality’ games at home, and also when I really started getting into Racing Games. Before the Saturn & PlayStation appeared, the racing games I liked tended to be of the top down variety, i.e. Micro Machines, Super Sprint. I always found it difficult to really get into the ‘driving into the screen’ style of racing games, even classics like Outrun, because I couldn’t escape the feeling that the car was staying still and the track was rushing towards me. Once polygons arrived, this was mostly mitigated for me, and I’ve never looked back.

Sega Rally remains an absolute joy to play, and it’s a testament to the quality of the game that many otherwise forgotten arcades around the country, manage to have a functioning Sega Rally twin cabinet amongst their gambling machines, and that it still draws in players.



2) WipEout Omega Collection (PS4)

While the demise of Studio Liverpool has made it very unlikely we’ll get a true new Wipeout game, their last few releases had been refining content from earlier in the series. This latest collection put together by new developers is a masterpiece, and pretty much essential for a PS4 owner. All the content from the PS3 and Vita games, remastered to be a full 60 fps at 1080p. It’s gorgeous, and just as fun as it ever was. This month should see them release a free VR patch, which makes the entire game playable in PSVR. I can’t wait.


1) Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One)

When the original Forza Horizon first appeared, I really wasn’t convinced. I was much more into Forza Motorsport 4. This changed when I got my Xbox One though, I picked up Forza Horizon 2 and fell in love. It has the polish of the Motorsport games, but is just so much more fun, and easier to play in short bursts. I find I can play for half an hour in the morning before work, and make good progress in events. Horizon 3 was even better, giving an all new map and it didn’t hurt that when it arrived it was the best looking game on the console. The 2 DLC packs, Blizzard Mountain & Hot Wheels, are also outstanding and pretty much essential.

While this third game in the series is comfortably my favourite, what I like about  Forza Horizon is that the maps are so different, it is still worth playing the earlier games. I’m hoping they follow their own pattern, and release Forza Horizon 4 this year.

Other mentions:

Mario Kart (DS & Wii) – This probably would have made my list if I’d been making it a few years ago. Although the series would likely be in my top 10, I have drifted away a bit. I adored the DS and Wii versions, and put many hours into multiplayer on both. However, 7 was a bit of a disappointment on the 3DS, and I’m yet to own either a Wii U or Switch to spend time with 8. Maybe that’ll change in the future, but neither console is on my radar yet.

Porsche Challenge & Rally Cross (PlayStation) – I have great memories of both of these, and on nostalgia alone they’d probably be in my top 5. However, when I started drafting this list, I went back and played a bit of Porsche Challenge, and unlike Rage Racer & SEGA Rally, it hasn’t aged well at all. Borderline unplayable, I was too scared to go try Rally Cross.

Drive Club (PS4) – I have no doubt that this is now a great game. It was admittedly a mess at launch, but the developers worked on it with frequent updates and it is now a very polished racer. Until Forza Horizon 3 came along it was the best looking racing game I’d ever played. Unfortunately I find it too difficult, and was unable to make too much progress. I got quite a bit more mileage out of the Motorbikes expansion, but just not prepared to put in the extra time to improve. Ultimately Forza Horizon and Motorsport series are better games and I’d sooner spend more time with those.




September in Gaming

Decent amount of games played and completed this month, almost a return to form.

Games completed this month

headerMurdered: Soul Suspect – Xbox One

This has been in my backlog for a while. I had a couple of days sick in September, where I was stuck on the couch, but couldn’t bring myself to play any of my usual games. This turned out to be just the right pace. It’s only slightly more involved than a Telltale Game, but it ticks along nicely. Has a good story, and includes several interesting game mechanics. Did leave me wanting to watch the Salem TV series though…

custom-disc-labels-for-the-saturn-panzer-dragoon-gamesPanzer Dragoon – Sega Saturn

I’ve technically been playing this on and off for years, as I originally had it with my Saturn the first time round. This month I fired it up just to test my machine because another game was crashing a lot and I wanted to make sure it was the game not the console. However, I managed to clear the game for the first time ever, which was very pleasing! Might crack on and see if I can beat Panzer Dragoon Zwei next.
Ori & the Blind Forest: DE – Xbox Oneheader (1)

A fun and adorable little metroidvania (yeah I like the term, sue me). I’ve mostly really enjoyed this, although the ‘temple escape’ sections are frustrating. No interest in going for a 100% completion, but still an easy game to recommend.

507156bc-fa81-4f82-b487-5c69ad1c671eForza Motorsport 6 – Xbox One

Just in time for the release of Forza Motorsport 7, I managed to clear the Career mode of 6. I’ll probably to continue to play this on and off, and I’m also dabbling with Forza 5 since it appeared in the free Games with Gold, and as with the Horizon games, it’s good to contribute to my Forza Rewards level.

Also played in September

ChildOfEden_HeaderChild of Eden – PS3

After last month’s fun with PSVR using the move controllers, I decided to stick with them and revisit this. Still in no danger of completing it, but it remains fun. Pretty similar in gameplay to Panzer Dragoon so I may keep coming back to it. Also reminded me that I should at some point play Rez properly…

header (2)Pinball FX3 – PC / PS4 / Xbox One

Had a little trouble getting my PlayStation & Xbox tables imported, but on PC via Steam the update was seamless. Really like the new polish, and have spent a bit of time with some of my Marvel tables again. PC version is lovely to play on my vertical screen too.

All-time Top 5 JRPGs (wot I’ve played…)

Yeah a bit of a cheat this one, as I’ve only properly played 5 Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs) so that’ll be why your favourite isn’t in the list… I have tried to play plenty, but never got more than 2 hours into anything other than these 5.

I have really enjoyed the ones I have played (well the top 3 anyway) so I wouldn’t rule out playing more in the future. Anyway, on with the countdown!

Number 5 – Final Fantasy VII (PSX)

headerMy first JRPG, and apparently, the first one many of my friends played too. This game was a major event back in a high school, and for a while it seemed everyone was playing FFVII. I was quite enjoying it, albeit a departure from my usual choice of game. I do remember that trying to navigate the world map while also dealing with random encounters tested my patience, but the whole thing collapsed when my memory card corrupted around 20 hours in. I appreciate in the grand scheme of things, 20 hours isn’t very long, but that was pretty huge for me at the time, and certainly more than I’d be happy to play over.

I pretty much swore off the genre after this, and it would be quite a few years before I was to try them again.

Number 4 – Bravely Default (3DS)

BravelyDefault-810x449I gave this a go when struggling to find something other than Animal Crossing or Mario Kart to play on my 3DS. Discussions about it described a game with a similar feel to Final Fantasy VII which made me think perhaps I’d enjoy it. I was aware of the “outrage” at the changes made for the Western release from the anti video game censorship crowd, but they all seemed like changes for the better to me, so figured I’d give it a go.

I mostly enjoyed the game for maybe 18 hours. The story was nonsense and even with the localisation there was a a sufficient creepy ‘ick’ factor that never quite went away. (I think it was hard to distance from the fact that these characters were originally written to be 15 years old). However, the gameplay mechanics were fun, and I liked the ‘job’ system in building my party. It all got a bit grindy and dull though, and I just lost the will to come back to it.

Number 3 – Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360)

landscape-1481743951-lost-odysseyA game I played mostly by chance, got a bargain on release without knowing anything about it and fired it up just to see what it was. I was blown away by the graphics, it was easily the best looking game I’d seen so far on a console, and at first was just playing to admire the aesthetics. I got sucked in though, and it became the first JRPG I ever saw through to completion. The story was ridiculous, which I suspect may be an essential criteria for a JRPG, and the costume designs left me questioning the usefulness of such armor in a swordfight.

I really liked the combat though, and the timing based boost you could give to your attacks was surprisingly satisfying. I sometimes think I might replay this, but then I laugh at the thought of me replaying anything, never mind a 40+ hour epic, and the impulse goes away.

Number 2 – Panzer Dragoon Saga (Sega Saturn)

Panzer-Dragoon-SagaOnly played through this for the first time last month, and I am amazed how well it has held up. I was a big fan of Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei first time round on the Saturn, and this is doubtless the main reason I took to Saga the way I did. The art style was consistent with the previous games, and immediately felt like a comfortable return to that world.

The shift to turn-based combat was a concern before I started, I didn’t know how the previous rail-shooter style would translate. I need not have worried, the combat is superb, with the two basic attacks being lifted straight out of the other games to feel instantly familiar. The need to constantly keep re-positioning around the enemies and the bonus to attack speed granted for attacking as you move ensures that the combat remains engaging.


I found the controls in general to be very well done, particularly in the parts where you’re navigating the world on your dragon. When revisiting early 3D games you often have to make allowances for the controls and/or camera, but I can honestly say I had no issues with either.

While the story here is no exception to my understanding of the JRPG norm, I did find myself happily reading all the subtitles and enjoying the many cut-scenes. This extra flavour for the world is a big part of why I’ve gone back to playing the original games, and why I’m optimistic that I might even beat them this time round.

Number 1 – Eternal Sonata (Xbox 360)

Eternal-Sonata-810x456Or, the one time I liked cel-shaded graphics.

I know about as much about JRPGs on the whole as I do Classical Music. The only composer I really like is Chopin, so the premise of this game immediately had me intrigued. The game is set inside a dream Frédéric Chopin has while he dies of Tuberculosis. Yeah. We’re well set up for another nonsense story, but this one did really hook me.

Until Eternal Sonata, I always found cel-shading to be a bit of a novelty. It’s such a perfect fit for making the whole game feel like an elaborate cartoon. It’s joyful, twee and yet manages to be interestingly educational at the same time, as along with the story cut-scenes it also has video history lessons relating to Chopin’s life. (From reading some commentary these weren’t to everyone’s taste, but I loved it)

The music in the game is obviously Chopin influenced, and accordingly spectacular. There are very few game soundtracks I listen to outside of playing the games, but the 4 disc album produced for this is still a staple on my iPod.

I remain annoyed the PS3 release afterwards had extra content, as I didn’t want to start over from the beginning after I completed it on the 360. I think I’d happily replay it now though if it was given a refresh for the modern consoles.

I’ve heard plenty of critique about Eternal Sonata, more than one person declare it “the worst JRPG I ever played”. I take some amusement from this, as it seems likely that as a generalisation, I can still say I don’t like JRPGs, and perhaps I like the ones I do because they are outliers within the genre.

What next?

I remain open to suggestions from anyone who can suggest games I might like based on what I’ve written above. I’ll be honest though and say there is next to no chance of me playing anything 16-bit or earlier.

I am thinking of playing Skies of Arcadia Legends, it always sort of appealed to me on Dreamcast, and now I’ve got the GameCube version which I’ve heard is generally an improvement.

March Gaming

Games completed this month

I’m three for three so far in gameplay months worthy of an update. Some progress has been made, and I’ve identified a few more games I might pick up due later this year.


Rise of the Tomb Raider – Xbox One: No surprise here, as I was fairly close to completion in February. I finished the main story early in March. Really enjoyed the game, but the Challenge Tombs remain the highlight, and the parts that feel like the games I remember. I won’t be going for 100% completion, as there appear to be hundreds of pointless collectables, but I do fancy going back and clearing the few Challenge Tombs I missed on my way.


Panzer Dragoon Saga – Sega Saturn: One from my long term bucket list, it’s only taken almost 20 years to get around to. A game that by all accounts was well out of my price range, but the recent addition of a modded Saturn to my collection changed that. I’m going to write a bit more about this game in a following post, but I’ll just say how well it holds up considering its age, and how satisfying it was to play. My getting through any RPG is a rare thing indeed, and should be acknowledged.


Firewatch – PS4: I picked this up along with the other PS4 games mentioned below in a recent Playstation Store sale. I was a bit wary getting another “Walking Simulator” (urgh) as I bounced off the Vanishing of Ethan Carter and actively disliked Dear Esther. I enjoyed Gone Home however, and the art style of Firewatch was instantly appealing. I was hooked pretty quickly and played it over two nights. At 4 hours long it’s still a short game but about twice the length of Gone Home. The story is engaging, and as I’d done a good job of avoiding any spoilers, I also found it surprisingly tense.

Also played in March


Epistory – PC: Grabbed this in a Steam Sale as it had been on my radar for a while. It’s a sort of cross between an isometric Action RPG and Typing of the Dead. Great little game where all the combat and some of the exploration is done via typing. I love the Typing of the Dead games, and played the second one to death (ahem) when it came to Steam. More games should have Typing combat as a mechanic.


Panzer Dragoon: Playing through Saga this month really got me back in the mood for revisiting the original games. Haven’t quite managed to beat it yet but I think I’ll keep it in the Saturn for a while.


8a407642-56b7-4327-bd86-1bd8bb3d757bForza Horizon 3 – Blizzard Mountain: This month I grabbed the DLC expansion as it was on offer for 50% off. Played a couple of hours of it so far and it is good fun. Like the main game it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and delivery an enjoyable arcade style Rally in the Snow experience.

Games picked up:

header (2)Abzû – PS4: Not really sure what to expect here, all I know is it’s an underwater adventure game along the same lines as Journey. However I still have Journey in my “to play” pile, so we’ll see. Looks really pretty though, and I’m a sucker for the theme.

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Inside – PS4: The follow up to the superb “Limbo” looking forward to getting on this one, I’ve heard lots of good things!


header (1)Caladrius Blaze – PS4: Was a bit disappointed with this, and glad I only paid a small amount for it in the sale. At its core it’s a fun vertical shmup, but unfortunately has an overdose of Japanese “fanservice” that gives it a disturbing creepy vibe. When choosing your ship style, you’re also effectively choosing a pilot. The pilots are mostly (possibly all) Anime women, in revealing attire (so far so par for the course). However during the game whenever you take damage, you get a pop up graphic of your clothes gradually disappearing. To make this even trashier than it already is, they also manage to call this the “shame” system, because getting your clothes ripped when fighting to save the world/galaxy/whatever is obviously shameful.

I did discover after my first go that you can turn this shite off, so the game is at least playable. I’m annoyed I didn’t know about it before I started, and have to live with the trophy it awarded me for having ‘experienced’ all the shame breaks of the first character I chose. *shudder*

Gears-of-War-4-01-HDGears of War 4 – Xbox One: Won’t be on this yet, as I will be playing it in co-op with a buddy. However we’re half way through Halo 1 on the Master Chief Collection atm, and intend to play Halo 2 before we start Gears 4. Was a great price though, and it is one from my list of games to play in 2017.

More releases I’m looking forward to:

When I compiled my list of 2017 games, I struggled a bit to find many games due this year to add. Indeed of the three I did select, I don’t think Life is Strange 2 will appear till at least 2018 (if at all). I’ve since found a few more that I’m now intending to play however, although all but 1 are remaster/reboots of games I’ve played before.

crash-bandicoot-trilogy-trailerCrash N Sane Trilogy: I was a big fan of the Crash Bandicoot games on the original Playstation, but don’t think I ever finished any of them. Looking forward to putting that right with this collection.



Wonderboy – The Dragon’s Trap: A game I remember fondly from my Master System days, and another I never finished, although I put that down to my still being in single digits at the time.


wipeout-omega-collection-listing-thumb-us-03dec16Wipeout Omega Collection: Essentially the third time I’ll have bought some of this content, it represents a collection of the PS3 & Vita Wipeout games, but delivering them at a crisp & smooth 1080p 60fps (hopefully).  Let’s be honest though, it’s Wipeout and I was always going to be buying it.

maxresdefaultNex Machina: The one new game in this list is a new shmup from Housemarque. Big fan of their previous games, and optimistic that this could do for Robotron what Resogun did for Defender.