Quirky system architecture and internal squabbles doomed this 32-bit system in America.  Japan, on the other hand... 




It's an unwritten law that every post-crash video game system must have an obnoxious mascot to go with it... the Genesis has Sonic, Nintendo's systems has Mario, the 3DO has Dana Gould, er, Gex, and the Saturn has Bug!. He's your typical wisecracking anthropomorph, sort of a computer rendered Bubsy with antennae and a thorax, and he does your typical mascottian things- stomping on enemies, hunting down power-ups, making smart-ass remarks, et al. There's one big difference, though... Mario and Bubsy were stuck on one plane of perspective. Bug!, however, is less restricted and can take off in any one of four cardinal directions (toward the screen and away from it as well as left and right as is typical in games in this genre), provided that there is in fact a pathway in the direction he chooses. Walk from left to right and the game plays like any other in the genre, but take one of the northern or southern paths, and the Saturn responds by scaling the screen inward or outward in an impressive display once thought impossible on the system. It's a little disorienting at first, but hey, that's the price you pay for neat 3-D eyecandy... :) That aside, Bug! is just your standard side-scrolling Sonic and/or Mario clone, without nearly enough new ideas to set it apart from better games in the genre, like Ristar and the clearly superior Jumping Flash!. I'd recommend a rental, or better yet, purchasing the $5 Saturn demo disk with three rounds of the game as well as a stage from Sega's overrated 3-D shooter Panzer Dragoon.




Truly one of the classics in the Neo-Geo's otherwise derivitive software library, Bust-A-Move has arrived on the Saturn with dozens of new puzzles, a Vs. mode for one player as well as two, and even an edit mode which guarantees to keep the game fresh even after its many modes have been beaten. It goes without saying that this very well-rounded package is a must-buy for fans of the original. However, I do feel it important to note that Bust-A-Move 2 is, despite its candy-coated cutesy setting, one of the most frustrating games you can buy for your Saturn. The puzzle mode isn't so bad in this respect, but the Vs. mode against the computer... aargh! In it, you're pitted against twelve bizarre characters ranging from ethnocentric little girls to the undead to cast members from Bubble Bobble, and the difficulty of each battle varies wildly from character to character. For instance, Beluga (the purple fiend from Bubble Bobble) isn't too hard to dispatch, and the blue snake woman in the middle of the game makes ridiculous mistakes which cost her the match in a matter of seconds, but the girls... yeesh! You're forced to take on a very young African tribesgirl in the third stage, and dispite her innocent wide eyes and fondness for the color pink, she really knows her stuff and can literally flood your side of the playfield with bubbles if you're not quick. The same applies to the little girl who waits for you at the Great Wall of China. She looks like a two-year old Chun Li, but does enough damage to her opponents to make the Super Street Fighter 2-era M.Bison jealous! This wouldn't be so bad if these two characters weren't such sore winners. The pink tribesgirl in particular leaps up and down with her fist outstretched squealing "Do do do, do do do!" EVERY TIME she dumps a load of bubbles into your playfield, and this gets absolutely maddening after the seventh time. You can turn down the sound effects in the options screen, buuut I'm not really willing to do this because there are some great voices in the later stages that I'd rather not miss. I would be a lot happier if I had the option to just shut her up...

This isn't as inconsequential as you'd expect, but is nevertheless not too tough to ignore when you consider the overall quality of the game. One thing that could be the deciding factor in whether or not you'll want Bust-A-Move 2 is its high level of cuteness. Bubble Bobble fans will adore the opening screen and the cartoon introductions in the Vs. CPU mode, but anyone with a low tolerance for doe-eyed, extremely Japanese characters will want to think twice before picking this up. However, everyone else who loves puzzle games just has to have Bust-A-Move 2. I can't wait to try Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo next!




I probably don't have the right to review this, since I've only played one round of Daytona:CCE on the Sega Screams game sampler, but what the hell... I fully admit that I haven't had much experience with this game, so I'll make this review short. The first Daytona on the Saturn was a fine game in its own right, but was quite laughable in comparison to Ridge Racer, with a low frame rate, excessive pop-up, and some of the most intensely dumb music ever in any video game. Sega realized that Daytona was somewhat of a misfire on their parts, and decided to release this championship edition as an atonement of sorts as well as an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the Playstation's flagship racing title. The graphics in CCE are smooth and have a slicked over, high-tech look, just like in Ridge Racer, and the cars themselves are more compact this time out and smack of RR's vehicle design. It's plainly obvious, even from the single round I'd played on my demo disk, that Daytona:CCE wants to be Ridge Racer. It succeeds in copying RR in most respects, but not in the most important one: control. Even with a digital controller, Ridge Racer controls beautifully, but to fully enjoy CCE, it must be played with Sega's 3D control pad or steering wheel. Playing the game with a standard controller is an exercise in frustration... the gameplay is unforgivably stiff, and if you try to use both gas and break pedals at once (an accepted procedure in the first Daytona), the breaks lock up and you're left sliding out of control! Arrrgh!!! If you kicked yourself for buying a Saturn after playing Ridge Racer, and own a 3D controller, CCE is worth a look. Otherwise, stick with the first Daytona.


TREASURE (distributed by a little company called Sega)


First, let me get one thing off my chest: "Why the HELL did Sega completely ignore the fact that this game was designed by Treasure!?" Like most Saturn instruction booklets, a gaggle of American playtesters and marketing losers were given sole credit for the creation of the game, and the name Treasure is nowhere to be found in either its own manual or Battle Arena Toshinden Remix's, where Guardian Heroes was advertised. Even in the game itself, Treasure's glorious spinning violet logo has been reduced to a cheesy static picture, and you're given no clue whatsoever as to who designed Guardian Heroes until you actually finish it. I guess it's to be expected from the same company who would have us believe that they released the first consumer video game system six years after the 2600 was introduced...

Anyways. I've been a huge Treasure fan since the advent of the cult hit Gunstar Heroes, and was naturally expecting big things from this odd cross between Golden Axe and Street Fighter 2. I can't say I wasn't disappointed, as Guardian Heroes offers the most frenzied fighting action this side of Street Fighter Alpha 2, but the game has various annoying quirks which set it a notch below the game which (didn't) make Treasure famous. Sega of America is to blame for some of these (ie the crappy Treasure logo, no music in the character select screen), but most of the game's flaws can be directly attributed to Treasure itself. For instance, the storyline, while competantly translated and reasonably clever, gets old fast and has a tendency to bog the game down in otherwise intense moments. Guardian Heroes' characters are remarkably long-winded, and their conversations are more difficult to speed through than they should have been (you're forced to press the right shoulder button, then the C button, to skip through each line of text. Oy...). While it's true that Treasure wanted GH to be considered a fighting RPG, endless lines of text was not the way to justify this catagorization.

Secondly... the characters are rather quirky, and there's simply not enough of them to use in the quest mode. Oddly, half of the enemies you'll beat up in an average game of Guardian Heroes have magic points and special moves just like the title characters, but you can only use them in the versus mode after you've defeated them. A survival mode with an abbreviated story line and a larger selection of characters would have greatly bolstered Guardian Heroes' playlife, but alas, that was not to be. Instead, you'll have to settle for the versus mode, which allows you to have a six character battle royale with the ability to select teams and several of the locales from the actual game. It's a nice addition (especially since up to six human players can participate in this mode!), but playing as unique fighters like the Muscle Heads and the Undead Soldier just makes you wish you could use them in the Story Mode all the more.

OK, enough complaints. What Guardian Heroes does have makes it more than worth the purchase. The gameplay is as I'd mentioned before an odd mixture of Golden Axe and Street Fighter 2, with the basic attacks and magic of GA and the special moves and combo system of the latter. There are all sorts of breakable objects, plus the combos can get into the eighties or higher if you cast spells at the right time (HA! Try topping THAT, Killer Instinct!). Also thrown in for your pleasure are elements from nearly a half-dozen Neo-Geo games, including intense super special moves and a three-tiered playing field which allows you to switch planes if things are getting a little too hot to handle in your own. Very cool stuff. It doesn't stay fresh for long, since the selection of characters is so thin and the fighting action isn't quite as indepth as it is in Street Fighter Alpha 2, but it's still fun to jump into the game with someone who hasn't played it. They'll be overwhelmed by Guardian Heroes' incredible graphics and chaotic battles.

Guardian Heroes is, like most Treasure releases, a game you simply have to have in your collection. However, it doesn't touch the ceiling of Saturn perfection as Capcom's best fighting games had, and isn't even as revolutionary as Treasure's first Genesis efforts. But considering the way that Sega had treated the company, is that any surprise?




Back in 1993, a humble Genesis game named Gunstar Heroes shook the very foundations of the video game industry and shattered misconceptions about Sega's often maligned console with its jaw-dropping special effects and terrific gameplay. A half year after its release, it was sold at clearance for $19.95 at most retail outlets.

So why is it even more depressing that NightWarriors, easily one of the best titles ever released for the Saturn, is selling for the same ridiculously low price at most stores? If you've played both, the answer is clear: Gunstar Heroes had everything you could possibly ask for in a video game- intense action, innovative level design, two player simultaneous action, wonderful graphics- but this didn't change the fact that it was at its heart just that- a video game. NightWarriors, on the other hand, is a work of art. What else can you call a game with hand painted, museum quality backgrounds and characters which animate with more fluidity than those in any Saturday morning cartoon?

This, of course, is not to say that NightWarriors falls short as a video game. In fact, it excels here as well, with the rock-solid gameplay we've come to expect from Capcom. However, much of the game's charm stems from the vast imagination of its creators. Before the Darkstalkers series, nobody expected much from fighting games with monsters and aliens as the main characters, because the characters in these games weren't too much different than their human counterparts. Darkstalkers legitimized the concept of vampires, werewolves, and yeti duking it out, because their interpritations of these classic movie monsters were fresh, innovative, and in some instances better than those of their creators. It may be presumptuous of me to say this, but I feel that Brahm Stoker and Mary Shelly would be quite satisfied (or, at the very least, very amused) by Capcom's reinventions of Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster. One thing that could be said with absolute certainty is that the creatures in the Darkstalkers series far outclass their movie counterparts. The emaciated mummy in Universal's cheesy black and white flicks doesn't hold an incense candle to Anakaris, a towering Egyptian pharoah who can transform his wrappings into massive poisonous vipers and drops fourty foot tall coffins on his victims. Similarly, the merman Rikuo could swim circles around the Creature from the Black Lagoon, with his incredible agility and the power to transform any part of his body into that of other sea creatures.

Nightwarriors builds on the success of Darkstalkers' personable cast of characters with two newcomers, Hsien-Ko and Donovan. Hsien-Ko is charming as a Kyonshie (remember the hopping Chinese phantoms that made up 95% of the population in the corny NES beat-'em-up Phantom Fighter?) with enough tricks up her sleeves to make Moose from the Ranma 1/2 anime' and game jealous. As for Donovan, he seems to take some inspiration from the title character in the mediocre animated feature Vampire Hunter D, but is more likely a parody of Simon Belmont, much as Street Fighter Alpha's Dan was of the title characters in SNK's The Art of Fighting. In addition to these characters, the bosses Pyron (an imposing human flame) and Huitzil (a Mayan contraption with over a dozen crushing and slicing weapons as standard features) are now playable, which is a nice- if somewhat extraneous- feature. Truth is, the bosses are absurdly powerful and throw the game's balance off to such an extent that it's unlikely that anyone will use them more than a few times.

OK, now to the gameplay. It's great (would you expect anything less from Capcom?), but there are a few quirks which keep Nightwarriors from being as balanced or as playable as Street Fighter 2 and its many sequels and upgrades. For starters, the attacks are easy to perform but tend to have illogical and downright bizarre trajectories. I find it incredibly frustrating when, as Felicia, I attempt to counter a grounded enemy's attack with a ducking fierce punch, only to wind up leaping straight into the air with a claw flail and landing on the foe's extended fist. Huitzil and Pyron are even worse in this respect, as the range of their projectiles are affected greatly by the strength of the buttons pressed. Pyron's Red Dwarf Sun immediately curves upward and rockets off the screen if you initiate it with a Fierce Punch, and has a standard trajectory if it's started with a Jab Punch. It would have made far more sense if the angled attacks had been assigned to the weaker buttons, as these are naturally associated with weak, short-ranged hits.

Not that that's a big deal, of course. In fact, there are several features in NW that are sorely lacking in the Street Fighter series. My favorite is the enhanced special attack system... provided you have enough energy stored away in your power bar, you can greatly improve your character's special moves by pressing two punch or kick buttons when initating them. For instance, Sasquatch's already cool Typhoon Twister Kick creates a large, snowy tornado which encases enemies in ice when enhanced, and Bishamon's Katana Toss forces enemies to commit seppuku on themselves in its powered up form. And if that weren't enough, there are extremely impressive and uproariously funny EX moves which can only be performed with a full power guage. Street Fighter Alpha fans can say what they like, but I'd rather slamdunk my opponent through a demonic hoop or drop them into a frozen lake with an angry whale than perform a tired jumping uppercut which hits enemies eight times instead of the usual two or three.

It'd be redundant for me to call NightWarriors a must-buy for Saturn owners, since it's already obvious that I think quite highly of the game. But is it worth buying a game system with next to no third-party support, that's likely to be obsoleted by another Sega console in the next two years? If you absolutely must have the full Darkstalkers experience, yes. If you're willing to accept anything less than a perfect translation of this arcade classic, feel free to pick up the pared down version of Darkstalkers for your Playstation. However, true fans of the series will be more than willing to plunk down $120 for a used Saturn and a copy of NightWarriors. Hell, this game not only convinced me to buy a Saturn, but was purchased weeks before I actually picked one up! That's strong testimony coming from someone as jaded as myself.




After being inundated with hype from both the professional game rags and fanzines, I guess it was in my destiny to buy this. I wasn't too happy about having to pay $45 for the game (as $20 is usually my self-imposed limit for Saturn purchases), but at the time, I could either buy it, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, both Tunnel B-1 and Criticom, or go home emptyhanded. MKT was out of the question, because, well... if you'd read my review of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on this web site or in Video Zone you'll understand. Tunnel B-1 fits in the dreaded Doom rip-off category, and Criticom was renamed Criticrap by most gamers, so I decided to pass on both games. And going home without any Saturn games would have been stupid, so I made an impulse buy and brought home Resident Evil.

Was I glad I did? Not at first. In fact, I absolutely hated the game for the first fifteen minutes... the characters, while admirably well rendered and texture-mapped, move like robots, and the weapons system made absolutely no sense to me. I had to force myself to really get into Resident Evil, but the effort paid off in the end. After thirty more minutes, I couldn't pull myself away from the game. Resident Evil presents the player with constant, nagging questions... "What's in this room?" "Is there something around this corner?" "What do I do with this thing?" And every time you answer one question (usually with the business end of your combat knife), three more pop up. Like a good horror movie, Resident Evil is loaded with tension... you never know what could happen next, and if you drop your guard for even a moment it could spell your demise.

However, like any garden variety slasher flick, Resident Evil is filled with aggravatingly arbitrary situations that'll make you feel as helpless as the blonde bimbo that's running from Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street films. For instance, you're offered a variety of weapons as you progress, but ammo for these sidearms is hard to come by, and if you waste it, tough titties... you either have to do without when you need it most or start from an earlier point in the game. And believe me, Resident Evil's flaky control makes it tough to make every shot count. You have to hold down the right shoulder button on the Saturn joypad to draw your weapon, then use the D-pad to aim, then press the B button before you can actually fire. By this time, the game's tougher opponents (such as the demon dogs sprinkled throughout the courtyard) will be all over you like hemoglobin on blood cells. Resident Evil would have benefitted greatly from analog joypad support, but in a final crushing blow, no such support is offered, forcing owners of the controller to suffer just like standard Saturn joypad users.

As long as I'm nitpicking, may I add that the puzzles in Resident Evil are by any measure ridiculously easy? For instance, there's a shotgun in the game which is perched on a lever that triggers a falling ceiling. Instead of doing anything especially clever to keep the lever from lifting, you simply replace the shotgun with a broken one to escape with the weapon. Oooh, that's a real brainstrainer. Other puzzles in the game are similarly uninspired... the toughest of the lot are a security panel which plays the game Lights Out in reverse and an art gallery with paintings of people in various stages of life. These aren't 7th Guest quality brainteasers, folks.

So here's my verdict... I admire what Capcom has done with Resident Evil. The game is certainly diverting, with a long quest and some eerily realistic enemies that, if you'll pardon the expression, blow up real good. However, there's plenty of room for improvement. Here's to hoping that Resident Evil 2 has analog joystick support, better puzzles, and fewer arbitrary deaths than its innovative but somewhat flawed forebearer.




Yes, I spent good money on this.  Don't ask me why... I hated the original Rise of the Robots on the Super NES, and after reading tons of negative reviews on the Internet and in fanzines, I knew this sequel wasn't much better. But damn it, I just have to try every damned fighting game ever released for the Saturn, no matter how lousy it is!  This morbid curiousity led me to waste my time and money on stinkers like Criticom (the words "That didn't hurt!" still ring in my ears to this day...), Toshinden Remix, and Battle Monsters.  What can I say?  I'm sick... I need help.

But anyway, about Rise 2: Resurrection.  It sucks.  Specifically, it's not even slightly fun.  It's not fun to play, it's not fun to look at, and it's not even fun to ridicule, because the characters, the backgrounds, and most likely the designers have no personality at all.  Everything in this game is so lifeless that you half expect to catch a whiff of rotting flesh every time you play it.

I'll make one itsy bitsy teenie weenie (yellow polka dot bikini... that she wore for the first time today... oh, um, sorry) concession.  You get a lot more options in Rise 2: Resurrection than you did in the rather bare-bones Rise of the Robots.  There's a combo system, super moves, fatalities, and fourteen characters to choose from, each with a wide selection of alternate colors. Unfortunately, this just gives you even more reasons to hate the game.  The mechs are so small you could mistake them for nanoprobes, the alternate color schemes would embarass Earl Schieb, and the dull metallic backgrounds are next to impossible to tell apart.  The entire game is about as pleasing to the eyes as a severe case of glaucoma, without the marijuana high.  Even the ultrahyped soundtrack by Queen's Brian May comes up deuces... I've never heard an electric guitar sound so bored.  Of course, starring in a game like this, who could blame it?

As for the "new and improved" gameplay, it's new, but it sure ain't improved.  All the characters have three seperate punches and kicks (instead of the one punch and kick that would animate more slowly depending on the buttons you press), and you can get a little combo action going if you're quick, but Resurrection still has that icky Rise of the Robots feel to it.  Computer opponents have no trouble beating you into a corner (unless you've got a character with a Blanka-style electrical shield move, in which case you can mash the buttons until your fingers fall off to keep him off your back), and even if you do manage to land a blow, you don't "feel" it connect. Because of this, you're forced to keep one eye on your enemy and the other on his life bar to make sure you're damaging him.

So why would I bother buying a game this awful?  Well, I don't really consider Rise 2: Resurrection a game.  I prefer to think of it as a towering, hand-chiseled monument to the unfathomable stupidity of Acclaim in the mid 1990's.  It's an important piece of video game history, and just like the Constitution or the Mona Lisa, it's best kept behind a thick glass case with plenty of security guards and infra-red sensors, to ensure that nobody ever touches it again.




Go, Ming!  Go, Ming!  It's your birthday!  It's your birthday!

"After all my work in ER and 'The Joy Luck Club', you had to show them this..." An embarassed Ming-Na Wen to Conan O'Brien, after watching a clip of her work in the Playstation version of Street Fighter: The Movie

I haven't talked to a single gamer who can tolerate this cheaply produced cross between Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat (and judging from the above quote, the actors were equally unenthused about starring in it), but y'know, I must admit that I have a certain admiration for the original designers in that they had the gonads to alter the eternally popular SF2 engine and risk pissing off fans of the series in the process (and boy, did they! :). And hell, it was about time someone tried to incorporate Street Fighter 2's precise, intuitive controls into a fighting game with digitized graphics... who's idea was it to release Mortal Kombat with a block button, anyhow!? Urf... But anyways, here's the deal. Capcom went through the original game as designed by GameStar, took out the storm trooper and most of the Mortal Kombat-style moves, and replaced these features with better control and characters more familiar to the series, like Dee Jay and an unfittingly scrawny incarnation of Blanka. They sold the rights to the new and improved game to Acclaim (who'll apparently buy the rights to anything that's been on a film reel), and smash boom bang, we have Playstation and Saturn versions of a title which could very well have been released on the Genesis and SNES.

In fact, the dull digitized characters aren't even as detailed as the vivid sprites on the 16-bit versions of Street Fighter 2, or even the 8-bit Turbografx version, if you're willing to go that far back. Their outfits look like second-hand wardrobes from the Goodwill Thrift Shop for Needy Fighting Game Characters, with drab earth tones and butt-ugly reds and oranges, and the actors themselves are nothing to shout about. They're stiffly animated, and many of their attacks are clumsily performed (as one would have to expect from a digitized version of a game with superhuman characters). The voices are pretty silly, too, but are especially bad on the Playstation, where Jean Claude VanDamme announces the beginnings of rounds and the characters' names. If you thought the scratchy vocals on the Genesis version of Street Fighter 2 were bad, try deciphering phrases like "Roun' Wan" and "Yeew Ween"...

Things aren't all bad on the Saturn version, though. Its access time is nearly half that of the Playstation's, and the control is much better thanks largely to Sega's nifty six button pads. Even the full motion video is better... it's very blocky, but it moves at a much smoother clip than the full-mo on the Playstation version (and I thought that system had compression hardware especially designed to handle the stuff...odd...). So if you've got to have a copy of this game and own both systems, the Saturn version is definately the one to get... that is, if you find it on clearance and can't afford X-Men, Night Warriors, or Street Fighter: Alpha. Otherwise, it's only worth renting once. Coincidentially, when you DO rent it, have a friend who loves Street Fighter 2 come over, and pop this in when he's not looking. Watching him wince at every special move and sound bite is in itself worth the three clams... >:)




Like I've said countless times, I'm not fond of 3-D fighting games. Nevertheless, I was very pleased with Virtua Fighter 2, as it does two things people never thought possible... 1. It proves that the Saturn can hold its own against the Playstation in respects to polygon manipulation, and 2. It made a fan out of me. I'm undecided as to which of these feats is more amazing, but this much is obvious... if you own a Saturn, you've gotta buy this game. It's expensive, but believe me, it'll end up saving you money in the long run if you loved the coin-op. Even if you didn't, it's still worth having, as it utilizes the Saturn hardware more effectively than any other game for the system.

(Apparently, Sega felt the same way, since you can get a free copy of the game alongside two others when you buy a Saturn. The only minus is that it comes in a cardboard sleeve that doesn't exactly make the CD shatter proof. Be sure to pick up a few jewel cases if you plan on doing something crazy like purchasing a brand new Saturn from Toys 'R Us)




Y'know, the concept of battling mechs seems like it would lend itself well to the video game medium, but I personally have never played a truly memorable game with fighting droids. Take Heavy Nova, for instance. From the back of the box, you'd think that it was one of the best Genesis fighting games ever released, but its overly complex control scheme and excruciatingly slow characters make you wonder why you ever bothered to graduate from Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Or how about Cyborg Justice? Its gameplay was surprisingly smooth, and the characters could augment themselves with all kinds of deadly weapons, but its overall presentation was, in keeping with most American-designed Genesis games, cheap and unsatisfying. I was hoping that Virtual On would reverse that trend, and for the first ten minutes, was totally convinced that it had... On's complete freedom of movement and lightning fast gameplay gives you the kind of adrenaline rush that was sorely lacking in games like Heavy Nova, and its graphics and sound (while not superb) add a touch of intense realism to the game's white-knuckled battles.

However... that was just the first ten minutes. I was really enjoying myself when the CPU threw me mindless chumps like VR Temjin, but like Super Mario 64, once I really delved into the heart of the game, I found it much more frustrating than it needed to be. And unlike SM64, I wasn't willing to return to give the game one more try after losing dozens of times to a particularly annoying challenger like VR Dorkas. After the second round, the computer gets unbelievably good at hiding behind barriers and hacking you into little bite-sized morsels with its close-range weaponry, and it's absolutely maddening how, no matter what you do, it's next to impossible to draw a bead on the CPU's character with your own attacks. If you try to hide behind a barrier and squeeze off some shots, your opponent will do the same thing or worse yet try to sneak up on you and deliver a close-range blow which will rob you of over half your energy. If you decide to leap into the air and fire a volley of blasts, he'll simply send a homing device up after you and force you to make a crash landing. And if you chase after your hated nemesis, he'll mercilessly pound you with devastating special attacks until you're reduced to a flaming pile of scrap metal. It's because of On's infuriating one-sided nature that most matches against the CPU will be reduced to a game of cat and mouse, with you running for your life trying to stave off an inevitable defeat for as long as possible.

As frustrating as Virtual On is, however, you do have to admire the game's freedom of movement. It gives On a Street Fighter 2 meets Cybersled kind of feel, with the ideosyncratic characters of the former game and the frenzied, paranoid action of the latter. With two players (in the somewhat cramped split-screen mode), I could almost imagine the game to be a lot of fun, but if you're going it alone, it's strongly recommended that you pass on the full release and just play the Virtual On demo included with the Sega Screams game sampler.


tech specs


2 Hitachi SuperH-2




4 MB (expandable)


CD-ROM at 700MB


Yamaha Saturn CSP


2 Custom VDP




16.7 million





best games

Grandia (JPN)
Marvel v. Street Fighter (JPN)
Metal Slug (JPN)
Midway's Arcade Classics 1
Panzer Dragoon Saga
Panzer Dragoon Zwei
Street Fighter Alpha 2
Virtua Fighter 2

worst games

Battle Monsters
Clockwork Knight
Dark Savior
Elan Doree (JPN)
Mighty Hits (JPN)
Race Drivin' (JPN)
Rise 2: Resurrection
Shinoken (JPN)