Monday, May 28, 2012

Project Phoenix Launch Titles - Sega Saturn

Continuing our discussion on "Project Phoenix" software titles, let's now take a look at Sega Saturn games that would launch with the hardware system.  The Saturn is a key element of this Sega super-system, offering a vast library of games that were seen in limited numbers in the West, or never left Japan at all.  To be fair, this includes a mountain of arcade shooters, fighting games, and tactical RPGs, but there are many quirky and inventive titles as well.

There are a lot of great Saturn games that we can release, and thanks to our low retail price points ($10-$20), I think audiences may want to take a chance on something different.  So let's take a look at our Phoenix Saturn launch games:

Panzer Dragoon Saga

A legendary game in its own time, Panzer Dragoon Saga is best known as a late-era RPG classic that now commands a small fortune on Ebay.  This is one of the two or three games most likely to get the hardcore gamers off the couch.  This is just about the best game ever made for the Saturn, thanks to some stellar programming skills from Andromeda.  I'd like to present PDS in a "deluxe special" package, with postcards, posters, and added extras.

Dragon Force

Since we're starting with RPGs, let's also highlight this strategy-RPG classic, another one of Saturn's best.  Command large armies in battle, adjust tactics in real time, travel to distant lands, meet interesting characters.  When was the last time you saw a video game like Dragon Force?  Never, that's when.  And were you aware that a sequel was released for Saturn in Japan?  Victor Ireland, where are you??

Nights Into Dreams (w/Christmas Nights)

Yuji Naka and Sonic Team's finest achievement?  One can definitely argue the case.  I couldn't stand the 2008 Wii sequel, which tried so hard to be a cheesy cartoon.  The original Nights is a thousand times better.  A surreal fusion of platform action, racing, and exploration, with an Artificial Life program to boot.  We'll also include the famous Christmas Nights demo, which has never been seen outside the Saturn.

Virtua Fighter 2

My favorite Sega Saturn game?  Of course!  VF2 was a technical marvel and a masterpiece of programming when it was released in late 1995, and pretty much single-handedly saved the Saturn in Japan.  Thanks to the high-resolution graphics and 60fps, it still looks terrific.  The gameplay remains fast, extremely deep, always addicting.

Sega Rally Championship

Saturn's finest racing game, and one of the most entertaining driving games ever made.  I'm amazed at how well these cars handle, at all the minor subtleties of racing on dirt, mud, sand, concrete.  Two player games are intense and blazing fast.  We need lots of great arcade racers, and Sega Rally is one of the best.  And let's not forget the great music...Game Over, Yeeaah!!

Daytona USA Circuit Edition

The US Champion Circuit Edition was rushed to market; this is the Japanese version which was refined and perfected.  The steering is much improved, graphics are sharper and more solid, and the original Daytona USA music is available.  Do we really have to pay Eric Martin for his crummy song?  Can we put the original title song back, please?  We need Daytona USA, and this is the best home version.

Steep Slope Sliders

Another one of those late-era Saturn games that fell through the cracks, Cave's snowboarding game is a masterpiece of the genre.  The environments are varied and full of surprises, there are many unlockable characters, and the Saturn's internal clock is put to good use.  This is a really great game that deserves to be seen and played.

Worldwide Soccer 97
World Series Baseball 98

I'm grouping the sports games together.  I'm undecided on whether to launch with Worldwide Soccer, or the '97 edition.  Both are great games, although the first title is a simpler, arcade-style sports game, while WS '97 is a stone-cold classic.  Same for the World Series Baseball series.  ESB '98 is the baseball video game ever made, full stop.  But we can begin with WSB2, instead.  And NBA Jam TE...hey, it's NBA Jam.  Who doesn't love this classic?  It's arcade perfect and allows four-players.  We need sports games!

Street Fighter Alpha 2

We're going to release as many Capcom fighting games as the market allows.  I'm eager to get all the 4Meg brawlers, like Street Fighter Zero 3, but some translation work will need to be done.  Let's launch with Alpha 2, a terrific fighter with wonderfully fluid 2D graphics.  The Saturn version includes an extensive gallery mode, which was absent from the PSX release.

Radiant Silvergun
Guardian Heroes

Treasure must be represented on Phoenix.  Radiant Silvergun is the obvious choice, thanks to its legendary status as a Saturn shooter and a pricey collectible.  Guardian Heroes is another classic that should be included - 2D pixel art, multiplayer, beat-em-up action.  Between this and Final Fight CD, the genre is well represented out the gate.  Vic Ireland, we need you to work on Silhouette Mirage next!

Saturn Bomberman

The king of multiplayer party games, and the best Bomberman game ever.  Single-player mode is fun, but the real action lies, as always, in Battle Mode.  Up to 8 players compete on 32 different boards, and 10 players in the famous high-resolution, "Hi-Ten" mode.

Bust-a-Move 2
Baku Baku Animal

As I wrote on the Genesis launch post, we need lots of puzzle games for families and social gamers.  Bust-a-Move 2 and Baku Baku Animal are two great offerings.  Who doesn't love Puzzle Bobble?  And Baku Baku has those great big animal heads.


We need one or two more arcade shoot-em-ups.  Dodonpachi gets my vote just for its wild, out-of-control chaos.  It's the definitive manic bullet-hell shooter.  Please support this title, so that we can continue to release more.  I want to unleash as many Saturn shooters as possible.

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