Monday, September 13, 2010

Video - Panzer Dragoon II Zwei

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei was one of the rare Saturn games to include a widescreen viewing option.  It didn't make much sense back in the mid-'90s, but it's very welcome today.  Indeed, this game feels more open and spacious when stretched to HDTV proportions (and a good s-video cable, of course).  NiGHTS was another Sega game that took advantage of widescreen.

This game looks absolutely spectacular.  I read an old magazine article with Team Andromeda, the studio responsible for the Panzer Dragoon trilogy, where they revealed they had experience programming with parallel processors.  Aha!  So that's why they were so far ahead of anybody else on the Saturn.  Dual CPUs was a relatively rare thing in 1995, and since most videogame programmers had no experience, their Saturn games suffered, while the Playstation, with its fast single CPU, was far easier to understand.

Throughout the 32-bit era, the Saturn was considered inferior to PSX with 3D polygon graphics, and goodness knows there are countless examples.  But the Sega faithful have always insisted that, no, the Saturn was just difficult to come to grips with, and once mastered, its games will match or surpass anything by Sony.  Panzer Zwei is a perfect illustration of this argument.  This is a fantastic, smooth, and visually polished video game.

Thankfully, now that the 5th Console Generation is long past, we don't need to pick sides.  We can enjoy the best of all the consoles, and appreciate the strengths of old rivals.  Personally, I'd be thrilled to see a compilation disc of the Saturn Panzer Dragoon Trilogy on the PS3.  You wouldn't even need to update the graphics - this is more than generous enough already.

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