The Sega Saturn did not offer as large of a game library as the far more successful Sony PlayStation, but it was certainly not lacking quality titles. The system boasted some brilliant exclusive games and benefitted heavily from being the exclusive home of Sega’s arcade ports, which at the time were virtually unrivaled. Games like Sega Rally, Virtua Fighter 2, and the numerous arcade-perfect ports of Capcom’s 2D fighters made the Saturn an arcade gamer’s dream, but Sega dropped the ball on a few titles that could have saved its ill-fated system from its early demise in 1998. Had Sega released these three video games for the Saturn console, they could have overcome the early launch issues I previously wrote about.
A Proper Sonic the Hedgehog Title
The Saturn was not lacking Sonic games, it was just lacking a proper 32-bit Sonic game. In 1996, Sega released Sonic 3D Blast for the system but the title offered little that could not be found in the 16-bit Genesis version. The 1997 Sonic R release was actually a solid game, but it was a racing game in the spirit of Mario Kart, and not a true Sonic the Hedgehog title. The Sonic World Missions from the Sonic Jam compilation gave us a glimpse of what Sega could do with a true Sonic game on the Saturn. Sadly, this was the only glimpse we would see of the company’s blue hedgehog mascot.
Virtua Fighter 3 Arcade Port
Sony managed to port Tekken 3 to the PlayStation in pretty convincing fashion. Admittedly, the arcade version of Virtua Fighter 3 was a more technically advanced game than Namco’s Tekken 3 arcade fighter so an exact port would have been more difficult to accomplish. With that said, Sega could have scaled the game’s graphical scope down a bit to match the PlayStation’s port of Tekken 3. Not releasing Virtua Fighter 3 for the Sega Saturn showed that the company had given up on its console, and developers, retailers, and gamers all picked up on the signal. Sega spent a lot of time and money developing the Saturn Virtua Fighter 3 port but ultimately gave up before finishing the arcade conversion.
Sega ultimately released this groundbreaking adventure game for its Dreamcast console, but many people don’t even know that the game was originally being developed for the Saturn system. The Sega Saturn was a powerful machine in the right hands and the early running footage of its version of Shenmue shows what could have been. Imagine if Sega had released this revolutionary title for the Saturn.
More from this contributor:
Retro ’90s Video Gaming: The 10 Best Beat-‘Em-Up Fighting Games of the 16-Bit Era
Classic Arcade Games: The 10 Best Arcade-to-32-Bit Conversions
Top Classic Video Games: 10 Best Fighting Game Franchises of All-Time