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Policenauts Has Been Translated on Saturn

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A fan translation of the Sega Saturn version of Policenauts has been released.  It can be found here.  There you will also find the original Playstation translation as well, but read on to discover why you may want to go with the Saturn.

We love Policenauts here at Gaming History 101.  You can read a review on it, listen to a game club, and even hear a choice song from the soundtrack in one of our music episodes.  This is significant because the Hideo Kojima title was never released outside of Japan and never officially translated to English.  There was a fan translation of the version on the original Playstation in 2009, but it has some compatibility issues that can arise and the shooting sequences don’t support light guns, making them brutal.  On the other hand, the Saturn version is a bit more of a remake than a port with better graphics and even light gun support.  As of yesterday you can now get an English translation patch for the Saturn version and get to play the most definitive version of this great title.

Fred’s Take: This news is huge to me.  First off, it allows me to play (and hopefully finish) the game on an actual console.  I started a video capture of the PS1 version, but struggled greatly with the shooting sequences.  Upon beating the highway scene at the end of Act 2, I was then confronted with a save bug that I never could figure out how to overcome.  I was able to complete the game thanks to emulation, but it never felt right with a keyboard, mouse, and save states.  Hopefully with the help of my chipped Saturn and trusty Virtua Cop light gun I can finally play Policenauts as intended on original hardware.

Written by Fred Rojas

October 7, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Saturn

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Podcast: Old Console, New Hardware (Part 2)

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This week the mod conversation continues as the guys move into the CD-based consoles and the wonderful world of modchips.  There were many ways to get different things done in the Playstation era and beyond.  Finally the show wraps up with soft modding and the various things that can be done from consoles only a few generations old.


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Written by Fred Rojas

May 11, 2016 at 11:00 am

Doom Retrospective

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As I said in a previous article regarding Wolfenstein 3D, “Wolfenstein 3D did it first and Doom did it best.”  The same team, id Software, created both games so it’s less of a competition and more of an evolution.  While I agree that all games are a team effort, the technology that runs these games can sometimes be credited to one person.  In the case of Doom that one person is none other than John D. Carmack.  By this point most of us are aware of John Carmack and what he’s contributed to video games as a whole, but back in 1992 he was the guy creating a new engine for a new game.  That engine was called the Doom Engine.  Carmack claims the name Doom came from the movie The Color of Money in which Tom Cruise describes a custom pool cue as “doom” when questioned as to what’s in his case.  It was created to enhance the first person shooter to include different heights, distances, and even sound effects in stereo for a more realistic type of game.  In truth the hardware of the time couldn’t handle rendering a 3D world so the game is actually all on a flat plane in the code, which is why rooms never overlap and you can shoot a guy on a ledge by just aiming at the wall beneath him.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but in 1993 I hardly noticed.  Doom had positional breathing of mutant men, lighting effects (including dark rooms), a hybrid cyberpunk and distopian Hell setting, and a ton of violence.  It was the rock star of the video game world.

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Tomb Raider Review

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The original Tomb Raider exploded in popularity on its release in 1996. People were blown away by the 3D graphics and the title helped promote the Sony Playstation despite being released in mind for the Sega Saturn. The game was praised to high heaven by gaming critics and it launched Lara Croft into icon status by being the first digital character to feature on the cover of Face magazine in the UK. Lara would then quickly go on to be more of a sell out than Krusty the Clown. Her image was used to sell various products like the Lucozade energy drink and Land Rover vehicles. After all why not, she was huge in the UK. This game was the talk of many playground conversations when I was younger not just because of the mythical “Nude Raider” code but gamers would discuss how to get through difficult sections of the game. Guides were not common place back then and the small ones printed in magazines lacked the impressive detail we see in fan made guides online today. It was considered a badge of honour if you were able to finish this game without using cheat codes. Its almost twenty years now since this game came out so I made this months Game Club my personal mission to finish this game without a guide. After lots of blood sweat and gamer tears here are my thoughts.

Time has not been kind to Tomb Raider along with the rest of the back catalogue of early 3D 32 bit games. Before I get started on the game itself I really wanted to hit home that I am very nostalgic for games of this era. Resident Evil on Playstation one still remains one of my favourite games of all time, my enjoyment of titles from this generation seems to have actually grown as I got older. This is the beauty of nostalgia, unfortunately for the someone who doesn’t share this connection you’ll probably go into a lot of these old 3D games and have issues with the controls and be generally turned off by the graphics. I acknowledge all these negative points yet I still enjoy these games. I feel these points are worth bringing up before you hear what I have to say about Tomb Raider now.

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Written by jamalais

December 15, 2015 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Saturnday

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It’s the 20th Anniversary of the Sega Saturn.  Originally released in the late spring of 1995 the Saturn was unfortunately surrounded by bad circumstance all caused by Sega itself  The oddity is that from a Japanese standpoint, Sega’s biggest failure in all other regions was its biggest success.  Join Fred and Jam in discussing the early development, releases, and ultimate deaths of Sega’s most intricate home console.


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Written by Fred Rojas

May 20, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in podcast, Saturn

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Bust-A-Move 2 Arcade Edition Review

bam2_boxPlatform: Arcade, Playstation, Saturn, N64, Gameboy
Released: 1996-1998
Developer: Taito/Probe
Publisher: Taito/Acclaim
Digital Release? Yes, but only on the Japanese PSN (of PS1 version)
Value: $3.50-$10 (disc/cart only – all platforms), $7-$15 (complete, all but N64)/$25 (complete N64), $30-$40 (sealed)

Bust a Move 2 Arcade Edition was a popular title released on the Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn and N64. While the concentration of these systems was to move gaming into 3D, Bust a Move was a game that kept its feet firmly in the 2D realm, and it still does to this day. All versions are ports of the very popular arcade game and all versions are arguably fantastic ports, bringing that vintage arcade experience home. For this review I’ll specifically be covering the Playstation version.

bam2ae_2I have always enjoyed the Bust a Move series. I have played the majority of the entries on home consoles and arcades. The most memorable game from my younger days was Bust a Move 2. This was literally in every arcade in my area. It ran on Taito’s F3 hardware and could be found in dedicated arcade cabinets and later the Neo Geo cabinets which were becoming increasingly popular. Bust a Move 2 was one of those arcade game where I would literally watch the demo screen over and over again even after I ran out of money to sink into the cabinet. There was something rather hypnotic about watching, maybe because I have always had a fascination with arcade puzzle titles, or maybe its because I’m a utter fan boy for Taito games, especially the Bubble Bobble games of which this series is a spin off from.

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Written by jamalais

April 29, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Now & Then: Mortal Kombat 3

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Mk3

Switching It Up

mk3_1A lot happened both in the talent pool of Mortal Kombat players and in the game design overall between the release of Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3).  For starters there was a mass exodus of on screen talent due to royalty disputes, so almost no one from the original two games returned for the third release.  In addition, Boon and his team were trying to turn Mortal Kombat into a viable fighting game with things no one had ever seen before and mechanics that could compete with the massive rush of fighters in arcades.  The game was completely Americanized, with all hints of Eastern influence including symbols, locales, and the soundtrack completely absent without a trace and instead replaced by urban stages, 90s hip-hop soundtracks, and cyborgs replaced the signature ninjas.  These locations were now composed of pre-rendered 3D backgrounds and the character sprites were almost totally digitized as opposed to the digitized/hand drawn hybrid of the previous games.  Along with it came an overhaul of the controls, including combos and a “run” button to address rightful claims that defensive players ruled the previous title.  It’s all one giant 90s metaphor but that doesn’t change the fact that MK3 (and it’s update Ultimate MK3 or UMK3) stands as the moment I felt the series went into the mainstream fighter territory.  Couple this with the fact that it was on just about every console that existed at the time, still dominated arcades, and had more content than rival Street Fighter II could ever dream to do with its iterations and I see why it’s creator Ed Boon’s favorite.  Mortal Kombat 3 definitely upped the ante.

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Die Hard Trilogy Review

Die_Hard_Trilogy_CoverartPlatform: Playstation, Saturn, Arcade
Released: 1996
Developer: Probe
Publisher: Fox Interactive
Digital Release? No
Price: $3.92 (PS1)/$15.99 (Saturn) – Disc Only, $5.49 (PS1)/$24.99 (Saturn) – Complete, $14.95 (PS1)/$62.97 (Saturn) – Sealed according to Price Charting

Die Hard Trilogy was released in the early days of the Sony PlayStation and was generally well received. We were all excited for this because 3D was becoming big as developers looked to leave the 2D style of game in favour of the blocky 3D models.  Also this is Die Hard, one of the coolest film franchises ever, so why wouldn’t people want to play this? Well time has passed and the dust has now settled. Is this game really as good as we remember, or has it gone the way of the film franchise?

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Written by jamalais

April 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

Alien Trilogy Review

Alien_Trilogy_boxPlatform: Playstation, Saturn, Arcade
Released: 1996
Developer: Probe
Publisher: Acclaim
Digital Release? No
Price: $5.75 (PS1)/$11.64 (Saturn) – Disc Only, $14.47 (PS1)/$21.99 (Saturn) – complete, $74.99 (PS1)/$34.99 (Saturn) – Sealed according to Price Charting

Alien Trilogy was developed and released in 1996 as the bigger budget, larger team, and more experienced group making a full scale Doom clone alongside the presumed B-Team at Probe Software.  That other team was set to make Die Hard With a Vengeance to release alongside the film and eventually widened scope to release the Die Hard Trilogy.  Two games, each with its own take on large popular franchises in the 20th Century Fox vaults, and trying to hit it big.  Did Alien Trilogy succeed by cloning the more popular franchise and game genre?  Find out after the jump.

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Written by jamalais

April 1, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Podcast: Alien Trilogy and Die Hard Trilogy Game Club

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The better title for this episode was probably “Because 90’s”, but either way Fred and Jam tackle six massive movies made into two interesting games by one single studio.  Both released in 1996, Probe Software’s Alien Trilogy was a re-writing of three movies in one single genre (Doom clone) whereas Die Hard Trilogy was a compilation of three different genres (3rd person shooter, light gun shooter, and driving game) based on each game.  The results are interesting and stems some interesting conversation on these powerhouse trilogies.


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Written by Fred Rojas

April 1, 2015 at 11:00 am