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Alive 8
O V E R   T H E   F E N C E

A mini series of luckless computers
video games and other concepts that
failed to establish themselves ...

Episode 1:
     Sega Reloaded

   Wondering what this article is supposed to do in an Atari-related
   disk-magazine like Alive ? The reason is rather simple. We all know
   about the story of Atari, about their computers and video-games and
   how they all appeared, ruled the world for a while (or did exactly
   the opposite) and disappeared again. Slowly, but surely, we have
   read all the details uncovered about the Sparrow, the mystic Micro-
   box, the potential Falcon040, we learned the details about the
   creation of hard- and software, read interviews with people behind
   the scenes and even though this all enlightens us in a way that it
   does re-animate the great past we all long for in a way, we're slowly
   but surely running out of topics.
   This series is supposed to conquer that by also spreading some light
   into the moving pasts of other companies that also ruled the world
   for a while and had to withdraw in the end - and either live on as
   shadows of their former beings or have been swallowed up by larger
   companies now living on the rights and patents. The series shall
   give in-depths information about other computer and demo-scenes
   such as, for example, the Commodore Plus/4 or Sinclair ZX Spektrum
   scene or have a closer look at other video games - competitors of
   the 2600, 5200, Lynx or Jaguar.

   And of course, you, the reader, are invited to join in. You code
   software on other exotic machines with a great past and certainly
   no future ? A vast collection of unseen games on an exotic console ?
   Consider yourself an active member of the demo-scene on an unknown
   computer system ?
   If so, why not write about it and give the readers of this magazine
   some insight in these scenes and communities as well.
   After all, this is what makes these scenes ... alive ...

  Now we all played Tempest 2000 and Alien vs. Predator on the
Jaguar and smiled at those whose video game system had less
  bits on the CPU than ours had buttons on the joypad. We played
  Chip's Challenge or Lemmings on trains and busses and laughed
  at those staring hard at washed up green & black screens.
  And we cried bitter tears at the end of the Jaguar and the
  demise of the Lynx, but it would help nothing: Those who laugh
  last laugh the best, and in the end, we were the ones being laughed
  about, when the Playstation slaughtered the whole video game
  market for good.
  It were moving times, back then, both in positive and negative
  ways, and in this issue, we're going to look a bit deeper into
  the movements of one certain company at that time.

Episode 1: Sega Reloaded, chapter 1
  The time:  Early nineties.
  The place: Sega of America
  The story:
    Slowly, but surely, Sega of America, distributor of the world
    leading 16-bit video game system, the Genesis (MegaDrive in
    Europe and Japan), started to think of what shall follow the
Genesis. The CD-Drive add-on, Sega CD (MegaCD in Europe
    and Japan) was a nice add-on, but failed to establish itself
    as a natural add-on to the Genesis. Besides that, the
Super Nintendo-system of Sega's arch-enemy, Nintendo, was
    hard on the Genesis' tail. Additionally, the competition was
    not really asleep: Even though the Neo Geo by SNK failed due
    to its family-unfriendly price, there were bad news ahead for
    Sega: Atari was still existant and officially developing a
    16-Bit system capable of slaughtering both the Genesis and
    the SNES, nicknamed Panther, Japan was about to see the
    first true CD-based console, the 3DO, produced by a group of
    companies around Panasonic and there were also rumours about
    Sony, japanese multimedia-giant, showing interest in the video-
    game market.
    However, the direction was more or less clear. Video games, that
    was clearly shown by the coin-op machines popular at these times,
    would become more and more intense on 3D-effects, consuming more
    processing power, but also enable much more realistic racing,
    sports and action games than ever before. Sega themselves had
    walked in that direction from the beginning on, being famous
    for coin-op machines that were based on a 3D-gameplay never seen
    before, beginning with Zaxxon and Buck Rogers, continuing with
    Afterburner, Space Harrier and Thunderblade and ending in games
    like Virtua Racer and Virtua Figher.

    To conquer the new challenges, Sega of America and Sega of Japan
    decided to approach from two directions. In America, where the
Genesis was very popular, Sega would develop and procude a
    power-up for the 16-Bit console, yielding enough processing
    power to keep up with the modern games' needs. In Japan, where
    the MegaDrive was about to finally lose the battle against
    the SuperFamicom" by Nintendo, a totally new console would be
    produced, as a sequel to the MegaDrive, allowing even more
    complex games and mind-blasting effects. Both systems however
    should be similar to keep both development costs on the hard-
    ware as well as on developer-kits for the software low - and
    to retain the option of making them compatible some day.
    Now, all they had to find was a name for the whole new series
    of projects and decided to go for roman gods.

Episode 1: Sega Reloaded, Chapter 2
   Sega of America decided to start developing a system named
Mars. Learning from the current developments at the coin-op
   department, at the same time keep the costs low and keep in
   mind that all this should still be interfacing the Genesis
   in some way, they decided about the following:
   - Not one but two SuperH2 32-Bit RISC processors, clocked
     with 23MHz
   - 512k RAM
   - Mars VDP (Video Data Processor), capable of displaying up
     to 32768 colours and combining its own video output with
     that of the Genesis, also supporting scaling and rotating
   - 2 16-Bit DMA channels audio
   - Capable of using the Genesis synchronously for music,
     graphics and also as additional data processor

   The reasons for this design are plausible. One processor alone
   would not have supplied enough CPU-power for the games as they
   were being designed at this time - filled-vector 3D with an
   awful lot of details in form of extra-polygons and not textures
   (Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter, the competition was also
   walking into this direction, for example Atari with Hard
Driving or S.T.U.N. Runner). Single processors at this
   time yielding an equal amount of CPU-power (about 40 MIPS)
   were considered too expensive, the SH2-RISC processor is
   an embedded design, hence rather inexpensive.
   Also, the Video processor was intended to offer more details
   and softer shades of colours mainly and to over- or underlay
   the Genesis graphics, but had no real 3D extensions, even
   though hardware scaling and rotation were available. The
   resolution was fixed to the Genesis resolution to make it
   easier to mix the video outputs.
   Also, Sega decided to make Mars a cartridge based system
   for obvious reasons. First, Mars was supposed to not
   require to be removed to play Genesis games, hence it
   needed a cartridge slot in any case. Second, Mars could
   use any hardware extension the Genesis could use by
   simply using the Genesis hardware to do so, therefore
Mars would be capable of using the SegaCD system if
   a CD-ROM as data storage was required.

Mars was presented to the world with a few previews on
   June the 2nd 1994 under the name 32X. Sale of the system
   began in November 1994 and the introductory retail price
   was $159.99, without any games bundled and - surprisingly -
   none available either. Sale of the games started roughly a
   week later and the library consisted of a mere 3 games:
Virtua Racing Deluxe, Doom and Star Wars Arcade.
Cosmic Carnage and Metal Head followed soon, but the
   "main attraction" for christmas sales obviously was meant
   to be Doom.
   Not necessarily a wise choice. While Virtua Racing Deluxe
   and Star Wars Arcade produced an so far unseen amount of
   fluently moving filled polygons on screen, Virtua Racing
Deluxe suffered from competing with an excellent Genesis-
   conversion of the game (that incorporated the Sega Virtua
Processor, which is nothing but a SH2 in disguise) and
Star Wars Arcade suffered from dated gameplay and bad
   controls. The mass attraction was meant to be Doom, but
   the conversion was obviously made in a hurry and didn't
   look very good.
   Besides, the 32X was in tough water from the beginning on.
   Another company, well-known still to the video game consumer,
   decided to declare plumbers and hedgehogs as catfood by
   releasing the 64-Bit video game system Jaguar and also
   considered the US American market as the key to success.
   While the Jaguar did not offer half of the CPU-power of
   the 32X - the Jaguar had only an 68000 clocked at 12.5MHz,
   which is just slighty over the Genesis' specs - but the
Jaguar was designed not with flatshaded polygons in mind
   but with gouraud-shaded, or better yet, textured ones in mind.
   The Jaguar was obviously not capable of calculating as many
   polygons as for example Virtua Racing Deluxe featured, but
   who cared about that when you could get softly shaded polygons
   like in Cybermorph, textured walls and ceilings like in
Alien vs. Predator or freaky dot- and melt-effects like in
Tempest 2000 ?
   Yet again, the 32X and the Jaguar soon shared one of the
   worst problems a video game can suffer from: Lack of decent
   Sega of America tried a very similar approach to this problem
   like Atari tried: Bring some brand-new games getting the
   maximum out of the console, and at the same time re-cycle some
   of the classics. While Atari had an instant success with
Tempest 2000, the strategy failed for Sega. After Burner
complete and Space Harrier 32X did indeed look and play
   like the arcade originals, however, they offered no extended
   gameplay and they were already available for both the Master
System and Genesis - with basically no other restrictions
   than the graphics.
   Also, Sega tried to find third party developers for the 32X.
   And while quite a huge list of companies showed interest first,
   they soon announced to draw back from their projects on the
32X (much like they did for Atari as well). Companies like
Acclaim (Alien Trilogy), Konami (Castlevania) or Atari
   (Race Driving) pulled out, not only because of the rather low
   sales of the 32X but also because the system clearly showed
   its weak points too obviously in the newer games: For example
Virtua Figher on the 32X was a game that suited the system
   perfectly: Each of the SH2-processors calculated the polygons
   of one fighter, while the Genesis produced the background
   graphics. Since Virtua Figher only relied on filled polygons
   and did not apply one single texture, the movement was very
   slick. Games like Doom or Motocross Championship however
   were not so easy to adopt to the 32X + Genesis infra-
   structure. On the contrary, it was quite hard to optimize
   the requirements of games like these to balance the load on
   each of the processors and to take advantage of the underlying
Genesis-hardware at the same time and obviously, Sega's own
   developer kits were unable to assist the programmer on finding
   the best way. Though Sega officially rated the 32X as
   capable of rendering 50.000 textured polygons a second, this
   number is definetly a landmark, not a real benchmark. The
   spare main memory of the 32X and the problems of balancing
   the load on the processors in typical in-game situations
   reduced this number definetly by an awful lot.

   While Sega introduced the 32X riding a wave of self-created
   hype by selling/renting advertisement videos, t-shirts, cheeky
   campaigns with racy taglines, it was pretty soon obvious to the
   customer that the 32X could not live up to the hype. Games
   were announced, then cancelled (there is, for example, not a
   single 32X-Sega CD-game available even though several were
   announced), the price of the 32X fell and it was already
   obvious that stand-alone 32-Bit consoles and not upgrades for
   existing consoles would live on.
   Thus, Sega of America either decided or was commanded to start
   importing the Saturn (see the referring chapter) and had to
   abandon the 32X. Prices fell to a minimum of $19.99 (less
   than 12.5% of the introductory price) as retailers tried to
   get rid of their stock of 32X.

   Naturally, that also slaughtered every other aspect of marketing
   the 32X that Sega of America had at the beginning. For example,
   Sega obviously considered releasing a 32X with integrated
Genesis, nicknamed Neptune. There is supposed to be only one
   prototype at all and it was canned for several reasons. A, it
   would have still been quite expensive as there was hardly any
   hardware to spare without introducing incompatibilities with
   either existing Genesis- or 32X-games or hardware. B, sales
   of the 32X were not at a level in which a "successor" would
   have been wise to introduce and C, the Neptune would have
   been another competitor if the Saturn was supposed to be
   introduced - which was still seen as the last emergency exit.
   Same goes for the Jupiter, which would have been the 32X
   to Saturn upgrade.

Episode 1: Sega reloaded, Chapter 3   

   Before going into details about the past, present and non-
   existant future of the Saturn, a little digression about
   some games that were available on Mars, sold as 32X:

   - Virtua Racing Deluxe
     While the coin-op was a massive hit due to the so-far
     unseen amount of plain polygons, the conversion shows its
     age. It's not a simulation but arcade game, the new tracks
     and cars offer a bit more variation, but it won't keep you
     hooked up for a long time as it badly lacks depth.

   - Star Wars Arcade
     What looks like Sega's late revenge for Nintendos StarWing
     is in fact the coin-op game with more filled polygons and a
     few extra levels. Bad controls and lack of variation spoil
     the game despite the impressive intro.

   - Doom
     Every console at this time had to offer its conversion of
     this game. Mars' Doom does not run full-screen, but in
     an absolutely suitable speed, even though graphic errors do
     pop up every now and then and the music stands in contrast to
     the bloody gameplay. Also is a bit short in levels, but one
     of the better games on Mars.

   - Knuckles: Chaotix
     The only episode of the Sonic series on Mars. You control
     two characters from Knuckles' crew, connected to each other
     by an elastic band, which can be used to slow down, speed up
     or even catapult the duo around. The slightly odd gameplay -
     the main task is to reach certain points in the level - is
     well converted, graphics and music are good. The best game
     available on Mars.

   - Virtua Fighter
     This game was also a coin-up-hit even though it uses plain
     polygons like Virtua Racer - No textures, even details in
     the faces of the players are made up of untextured polygons.
     Fluent movement of the fighters is supported by the fact
     that each player is "rendered" by one CPU of Mars while
     the Genesis generates the background. An excellent

   - After Burner Complete
     This attempt to recycle one of Sega's biggest hits failed.
     Graphically and accoustically identical to the coin-op, this
     late version offers no extensions or additions, hence, the
     gameplay seems aged and the lack of the coin-op's peripheral
     hardware adds up. Only for fans of the original.

   - Space Harrier 32X
     Same as Afterburner complete, this game is identical to
     the arcade version, which, by that time, was about 8 years
     old. Gameplay is dated and the arcade machines peripheral
     hardware is missed. Only for fans of the original.

Episode 1: Sega reloaded, Chapter 4

   For Sega of Japan, the situation was not any better than the
   situation was for Sega of America at that time. Even worse, the
MegaDrive, as the Genesis was called in Japan, had lost the
   battle against the SuperFamicom by Nintendo (SuperNintendo
   in Europe) and Sega, still one of the hot-shots in the arcades,
   was looking for what to sell as next generation video game.
   The deal formed with Sega of America about developing two
   different, but similar consoles, defined the way to go but
   not exactly how to go. The only thing decided upon at a
   rather early stage was the name: Saturn.

   Sega of Japan therefore left a lot of questions unanswered
   first and began with the basic details. To make sure a basic
   "similarity" to the console that Sega of America was working
   on, they soon decided about the following architecture:

     - 2 SuperH2 RISC processors, clocked with 28 MHz
     - 1 MC68EC000 as audio controller
     - 2 MB of RAM
     - 1.54 MB of Video RAM (segmented)
     - 540 KB of Sound RAM (also usable for wave-tables)
     - 2 Video Controllers, VDP1 and VDP2
     - 32 voice Synthesizer including a Yamaha DSP

  The basic layout was hence similar enough to Mars to ensure
  a certain level of compatibility if required. On the other hand,
  the architecture itself was designed to be more powerful than
Mars and therefore not only "expand" the capabilities of what
  the MegaDrive offered but to present a true next generation
  video game system.
  The dual CPU architecture allowed a certain level of parallel
  processing with the bottleneck being RAM- and peripheral access.
  The two video processors serve special purposes each: One is
  meant as combined 2D/3D processor, which primarily offers an
  awful lot of 2D sprites, freely scale-, rotate- and deformable.
  Obviously, Sega feared the increased usage of advanced 3D
  technique in games (Texture-mapping, Gouraud-shading and such),
  hence they offered a so-called Geometry-Engine in this video
  processor, officially capable of rendering up to 500.000 flat
  shaded polygons a second and 200.000 texture-mapped polygons,
  however, this is mainly achieved by using "deformed sprites".
  The other video processor was meant to work as the background
  graphics engine, capable of displaying totally independant
  playfields, two freely rotating and up to five scrollable
  playfields, capable of using up to 24 Bits per pixel and
  displaying up to 704 x 480 pixels in total.
  The sound subsystem is superior to basically anything
  available on the market at that time and the time following
  (In fact, the only system to top these specs is Sega's very
  own Dreamcast).
  However, Sega left two very important questions unanswered
  at the time developing the system in this stage: A.) Was the
  system to be compatible to Mars and if to which level and
  B.) What media storage device would the Saturn be given ?
  The general system architecture proposes that the initially
  planned system was meant to be cartridge based, just like
Mars was. In the end however, it was given a double speed
  CD-ROM drive with an additional cache of 512KB.
  An arguable choice. To not cross out cartridge based games
  right from the start, the Saturn was also given a quite
  flexible cartridge port that was, in the end, meant to
  handle add-ons only.
  The compatibility to Mars was also debated. Sega of
  Japan favoured Saturn to be compatible to Mars but not
  to the MegaDrive so that the Saturn wouldn't harm the
  sales of MegaDrive consoles. That, however, was declared
  impossible by the technical department of Sega. If the
Saturn was supposed to be fully compatible to Mars it
  would have been compatible to the MegaDrive since Mars
  included all interior and exterior hardware of the
MegaDrive. Therefore, compatibility to Mars was given up.

  The Saturn was first mentioned around November 1994 as well
  but unleashed to the public in June 1995, shortly before Sony
  released the Playstation (September 1995). The first games
  to be available seem to have been Virtua Fighter, Panzer
  Dragoon and Daytona USA. Sega succeeded to contract third
  party developers, so that pretty quickly games like Alien
Trilogy (Acclaim) or Tomb Raider (Core Design) were
  being previewed. The Saturn was also presented to the US
  audience rather hastily in 1996 for an inadequate price ($299).
  The system was also presented in europe and on sale in july
  1996 for 750.- DM (which is about 380 Euro) - without any

  But pretty soon, the rather complex hardware of the Saturn
  caused trouble.
  First, the dual-processor technology was, just like in Mars,
  not easy to handle. Load-balancing and dead-locks of processes
  were troublesome and not handled well by the developer kits.
  The same went for the complex graphics hardware. The Saturn
  was considered the "ultimate 2D console" by some, but the
  market and the developers required more and more complex 3D
  environments and supposed the hardware - or at least the
  developers kits - to supply that. Handling two - more or less -
  independant graphic processors of which one is almost useless
  when it comes to basic 3D (and can, however, support lighting
  effects, when basic 3D is taken care of by the other video
  processor) was not easy to adopt to. Also, the sound-subsystem
  was definetly oversized for a CD-based console as more and
  more games tended to simply replay pre-recorded audio from the
  CD, which made the superior (and expensive) sound-system of
  the Saturn almost useless. Instead, the Saturn badly
  suffered from the slow CD-ROM which made it hard to replay
  video in real-time. Saturn developers usually had to apply
  a few tricks to achieve full-motion video (FMV): Using lower
  colour-depths, lowering the resolution and/or the graphics
  window, using lower frame-rates, mono audio at half/quarter
  replay rates and so forth.

  In other words: The Saturn looked bad at every aspect the
  main competitor, the freshly introduced Playstation looked
  good at. While it may be argued whether the early Playstation
  games were better than the Saturn games - playability-wise -
  they definetly managed to impress the customer more: By full-
  screen full-motion video in decent framerates with stereo
  sound thanks to a hardware MPEG-decoder, by complex 3D graphic
  environments thanks to the multi-stage graphics subsystem of
  the Playstation that was, without a doubt, inferior by far
  to the Saturn's with regard to 2D games - But the public
  wanted 3D games. The "pros" of the Saturn - much more
  flexible graphics hardware, more powerful CPU(s), way more
  complex audio-subsystem - stayed widely unseen by the player.

Episode 1: Sega Reloaded, Chapter 5

  To conquer the Playstation's upcoming dominance, Sega
  decided to supply the better games. Also, Sega had learned
  from the Mars-desaster and decided not to recycle the Sega
  classics (like Afterburner or Space Harrier) again. On
  the contrary, the Saturn sees almost none of the earlier
  Sega mascots such as Alex Kidd, Shinobi or Wonderboy.
  The only Sega mascot that made it to the Saturn is - in
  fact - Sonic the Hedgehog.
  Instead, Sega focussed on their arcade-hit games first and
  converted Virtua Racer and Virtua Fighter to the Saturn,
  supplying lightning fast 3D sceneries and objects - but again,
  flat-shaded polygons looked so very yesterday in comparison
  to Ridge Racer or Tekken (both by Namco) on the
Playstation. Reading the bad reviews, Sega reacted quickly.
Virtua Fighter Remix was released still in 1995 and had
  each and every polygon textured, supplying quick and flawless
  3D graphics with a higher framerate and less 3D errors than
  the Playstation's Tekken supplied. A few months later,
  Sega released Virtua Fighter 2, which also produced
  beautiful and detailed 3D scenery. Also, Sega had contracted
  the NHL and produced an excellent 3D ice hockey game.
  Besides these names that were meant to draw attention, Sega
  also focussed on introducing new game-lines, abandoning the
  game-lines of the past: The results were, for example,
Panzer Dragoon 1 and 2, Sega Rallye, which showed that
  the Saturn, when programmed wisely, was capable of
  competing with the early Playstation games. Core Design
  released Tomb Raider on both the Saturn and the
Playstation and was hoped to give birth to the first real
Saturn-mascot, namely Lara Croft. It was rather Sony
  who took profit out of the heroine of this game as the Saturn
  version had even more 3D errors than the Playstation version
  The first Sonic game on the Saturn was Sonic 3D, which
  was converted to both the Saturn and the MegaDrive in
  1996 (release of the Saturn-version was 1997 though). The
  title was meant to mislead to compete with the massive amount
  of 3D games attracting the public at this time, however,
Sonic 3D is not a real 3D game, it is a 2D game using the
  isometric perspective, like Zaxxon or Marble Madness did.
  While the games' quality can be argued, it didn't do Sega any
  good to release "fake" 3D games while the Playstation offered
  real 3D games. Sonic 3D on the MegaDrive was also meant as
  a goody to the MegaDrive owners as Sega was about to abandon
  their 16-Bit video game soon.
  The first real 3D Sonic-game was Sonic R, which was released
  in 1997 and was aggressively advertised on TV even in europe.
  The game put Sega's only surviving mascot into a full and rather
  complex 3D scenery that moved in decent frame-rates, with very
  little pop-up and a very small amount of 3D errors. However,
  the game turned out to be a rather simple Racing game with
  fuzzy controls, lack of variation and options and a very bad

  In 1997 however, more trouble came up. With Atari out of the
  way and Panasonic's Real 3DO being a flop even worse than
Mars, the market looked like a two-player game first, but
  now Nintendo came back to live again and presented the N64,
  a 64-Bit console capable of beating both the Playstation and
  the Saturn.
  This was the time when Sega started to produce real 32-Bit games
  that did not need to fear comparison to Playstation games:
NiGHTS into Dreams or Shining: The holy Ark. Also, the
Saturn saw decent conversions of Playstation games, such
  as Resident Evil, Wipeout or Warcraft 2, however, it was
  obvious that the Saturn was not going to endure competing
  against two systems, so Sega decided to put most emphasis on
  developing a successor to the Saturn. The last famous games
  on the Saturn were also considered to be among the best:
Panzer Dragoon Saga and Shining Force 3.
  In April 1998, the Saturn development was officially
  discontinued, the last game released in Japan was dated
  March 2000 though (Final Fight Revenge, not by Sega though).
  Sega claimed to focus on developing the Dreamcast, which
  was then released November 1998 in Japan and in September 1999
  in Europe and the USA. Just as a little side-sidetrip, Sega
  really did everything right that could be considered a bottle-
  neck in the Saturn-development: The Dreamcast no longer was
  a multi-processor system but featured 1 CPU and 1 graphics
  processor, both way more powerful than the complex dual systems
  of the Saturn. The sound-system did not feature its own 16/32
  Bit CPU but was a custom-chip by Yamaha, the CPU and the 16x
  GD-ROM drive were both quick enough to replay full-motion video.

Episode 1: Sega Reloaded, Chapter 6

  Just before the Epilogue, a quick glance on some of the most
  attractive, the best and also the most disappointing games
  that the Saturn saw in its short live:

  - Virtua Racer Perfect
    The final conversion of this hit-coin-op. Featuring more
    details than the original, more tracks, more cars. But all
    that can't make up for the rather simplistic arcade racer
    that looked very dated in comparison to, for example,
Ridge Racer on the Playstation.

  - Daytona USA
    The coin-op was a super smash-hit and the Saturn-version
    is capable of fulfilling the expectations. Realtime textured
    polygon graphics, high speed and nice graphical effects make
    this game look good, but again, it is just an arcade racer
    that lacks the physics and depth of a real simulation.

  - Virtua Fighter, Virtua Fighter Remix, Virtua Fighter 2
    The first part was converted 1:1 to the Saturn and looked
    very dated in comparison to, for example, Tekken, also,
    bad controls spoiled the gameplay. VF Remix made up for
    that by sporting textured graphics and improved controls.
VF2 added more complex 3D scenery, but no major changes
    on the gameplay.

  - Sonic Jam, Sonic 3D and Sonic R
    The first of this series, Sonic Jam is basically nothing
    else but the Saturn conversion of the MegaDrive's Sonic
    games. However, it includes an additional "real" 3D part.
Sonic 3D was supposed to ride the hype of 3D games,
    even though it featured the isometric 3D perspective of
Marble Madness or Zaxxon, but besides more colourful
    graphics, a far too harmonic soundtrack, mediocre controls
    and a real 3D bonus-level, the Saturn-version is identical
    to the MegaDrive's. The game is not bad, but lacks the speed
    of the original Sonic-games. Sonic R was probably meant to
    make up for this, but this mediocre racing games lacks depth
    and variation, has fuzzy controls and a sticky soundtrack adds
    up, though it was "real" textured 3D polygon graphics.
    In total, none of the Sonic-games on the Saturn live up
    to the hype Sonic started on the MegaDrive.

  - Panzer Dragoon, Panzer Dragoon 2 and Panzer Dragoon Saga
    The first two episodes are shoot'em up games in which the
    player rides huge dragons. Flawless 3D graphics, a straight
    forward gameplay and beautiful scenes make these games
    stand out of the crowd. PD Saga is a role-playing game
    that takes place in the scenario around Panzer Dragoon.
    Definetly the most remarkable series on the Saturn.

  - NiGHTS into Dreams
Sonic Team's return (Sonic 3D and Sonic R were produced
    by Traveller's Tales). This game introduced the 3D Analogue
    pad, which also was included in the package, and is mixture of
    a jump'n run game, in which the player floats most of the time.
    It all takes place in a beautiful and complex 3D environment
    that is originally designed and moves fluently. If you have a
Saturn, you must have NiGHTs.

  - Dead or Alive
    One of the very few 3D beat'em ups that introduced new aspects.
    This game was one of the first to allow "counter-moves" when
    timed and correctly executed to turn an opponent's blow into
    the exacte opposite, also, the "bobbing breasts" on female
    fighters was (presumably) introduced on this game. The Saturn
    version looks and plays well and can compete with the PSX-

Episode 1: Sega Reloaded, Epilogue

Mars, Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn - the planets of our
  solar system or the roman gods of the antique, they didn't
  work out for Sega. Mars, or better known as 32X, introduced
  to re-establish the Genesis, marketed by promotion VHS tapes,
  posters, stickers and a bad lack of original games, even failed
  to establish itself, thus destroying the market for Neptune
  and Jupiter instantly.
  The Saturn, introduced at a price-level far beyond what the
  ordinary customer pays for a video-game system, boar raw
  power at about every aspect a video game could offer - besides
  those that the customer wanted: Real-time, full-motion video
  and hardware-supported 3D graphics. That, and an odd mixture
  of games put the Saturn into a bad position right from the
  beginning on. Even as the Saturn started to pick up speed,
  it picked up speed downhill: Every hit-game that Sega presented
  on the Saturn had at least one powerful counterpart on the
Playstation to compete with.
  In the end, Sega decided to try one more time and concentrated
  on developing the Dreamcast, Sega's finest - and final -
Mars has gotten cheap and can easily be obtained on eBay,
  just the good games are hard to get. Saturn has already been
  wiped out of the public's memory while its original competitor,
  the Playstation is still available as the PSOne. To find a
Saturn for an adequate price you will need a bit of luck,
  usually, the more games you take with it, the "cheaper" the
  whole package gets. The rare gems like NiGHTS or Dead or Alive
  are hard to get for a decent price, but other games sell
  relatively cheap.

  And so ends the first episode where AliVe magazine looks
  backwards over its shoulder and focusses on one of the main
  competitors of Atari in the early and mid nineties - and
  how they all failed in the end.

Alive 8