Category Archives: Sega Saturn

Last Bronx

Another Sega fighting game, but with weapons

Title Screen

Set in Japan (But from the title you would assume Brooklyn, new York) the game features actual real life locations set in Japan. It was the first Sega fighting game to use motion capture footage giving the character detailed and accurate move sets compared to Virtua Fighter.

The fights typically take place in the evening or night, and most of the stages have a dark urban tone to them in contract to Virtual Fighter 2 where most stages take place in the daytime since its meant to be based on a worldwide tournament, Last Bronx has a more underground fight club like feel to it.

Stages

All characters have their own stage, but when you select their characters their personal stage is skipped until the end, where you will face Red Eye on that characters stage

Cross Street: which is complete with advertising billboards and may be based off the Tokyo/Shibuya crossing. This is the first stage for all characters, unless you choose Tommy then Tears Bridge will be the first

Tears Bridge: is set near a warehouse / cargo park near a large bridge, hence the name. At this point the game is set in the evening, and most stages thereafter have a night time ambiance to them.

Dark Rooftop: reminds me a lot of Lei Wulong’s stage in Tekken 2, as its set on top of a skyscraper helicopter pad, with many building in the background. From the sky it looks like its set in the evening sunset, but Tears bridge gives the impression it is already night time, assuming the game is intended to simulate nightfall.

Saturn Version of the brilliant room stage

Moonlight Garden: A nice stage which is a departure from the industrial urban settings, this appears to be set on a garden or a large park and is a nice departure form the other stages

Lust Subway: Which is your typical Japanese underground subway, complete with display monitors. Thankfully this isn’t set at rush hour. This will be Yoko’s stage

Nightmare Island: Set on a construction or a building site, despite the name insisting its an island, you will fight Zaimoku on this stage.

Naked Airport: Set on an airport runway and reminds me of the Shooting Hoops track from Ridge Racer Type 4 This is Yusaku’s stage

Radical Parking Lot: Kurosawa’s stage, not much to say here except its set on a moderately used parking lot.

Brilliant Room: Hidden and only available if you beat Red Eye with the lowest time

Lust Subway from the Model 2
A common occourance – Saturn Version
Survival Mode Results

Modes

Arcade: The main game mode, you choose a character and progress through 8 stages, with a bonus 9th stage if you complete the game with a new time record.

Saturn/PC mode: Similar to arcade player but features a story mode complete with cut scenes, and opponents are chosen at random

Team Battle: Pick multiple fighters who will battle

Survival Mode: You only have one life, and the health bar carries over to the next round. Objective here is to last the longest

Training Mode: A basic training mode that show the different fighting moves across the roster

Network Play: On the PC version, allows two players to play over a LAN

Character Select

There is also an extra mode in the Saturn/PC version that allows you to view unlocked FMVs

Versions

Arcade

The game was released on the Sega Model 2 arcade board, and was designed to be an upgrade for Virtua Fighter 2. This version has the best graphics, and it makes full use of the Model 2 graphics hardware which was more powerful than the Sega Saturn or common Windows PC’s of the time, in terms of 3D performance. However this version lacks FMV endings. It should be noted that the AI in this version is difficult to beat, since it was intended for the player to use multiple credits within a single play-through, you’d be surprised at how hard it is to beat on a single credit, despite using the easy settings in the games config.

This version of the game is fully playable in the Nebula Model 2 emulator, but is still unplayable in MAME as of 2021.

Most of the other screenshots captured are from the arcade version, except where noted.

Sega Saturn

Introduced a Saturn Mode which is similar to arcade mode but the opponents are randomized. This has a few changes compared to the arcade version, with the 3D background options being exchanged for sprite based background which are handled flawlessly by the Saturn’s VDP2. You will mostly notice the effect when the charicters move to an extent where the camera has to pan to follow the player. FMV videos are also present in the Saturn mode. Although they are in Japaneese, English subtitles are provided.

Most Saturn emulators will play this game, being a 3D titles it will play slowly on less powerful hardware. The Nvidia Shield struggles to play at full speed using the Yaba SanShiro emulator, and the FMV videos pixilate whilst playing. Mednafen Saturn will work the best

Microsoft Windows

A Windows PC port was released in 1998 and is very similar to the Sega Saturn version, and makes use of DirectX. Saturn game mode is renamed to PC Mode but remains the same with random opponents. The PC version supports higher resolutions then the Saturn version, and retains most graphical effects but lacks the texture quality and geometry of the arcade version.

Like most PC titles that were released in the 90s, the game is reliant on using analogue CD audio, which can cause problems on modern systems that use SATA or IDE CD drives without the CD audio line being connected. The reason is that from Windows 2000/ME on wards, Microsoft introduced digital audio for CD decoding, where audio is sent via the IDE cable itself rather then than the CD audio line. There’s no easy workaround unless you play the game in Pcem or 86box, otherwise the game will play but with no background audio or music.

I’ve not tested the game on modern Windows NT based release, but can confirm the game to be playablle using PCem or 86Box using any Windows 9x based operating system with a 3DFX or S3 based accellerator.

Daytona USA

Sega’s hit racing game and part of the new generation of 3D arcade titles. Here we are introduced to texture mapped polygons, an upgrade from the flat shaded graphics from Virtua Racing. Daytona would be in prime competition with Ridge Racer, which was released by Namco.

Tracks

Beginner: A simple track but has 40 opponent cars, this track can get crowded in places. The only track on the game that begins with a rolling start and features a pit in area. There are 8 laps to race in total, but this can be extended to 20 or 40 with the Grand prix or endurance modes.

Advanced: A regaular track but has a couple of sharp turns. ‘Lets Go Away’ is the song that plays for this track, which a portion also plays during the games attract mode. Theres a few hidden messages in this track that appears in the grass during the race.

Expert: The hardest track with frequent sharp turns and a couple of obstickles in the track, Thankfully these don’t affect your cars speed and are mostly for visual effect. Powersldiing is reccomended to get the best lap times.

The tracks would be renamed in later releases after further tracks would be added.

Modes:

These can be set in the options menu (Test mode on the arcade release)

Standard: The default option with 8 laps for the beginner track, 4 for the advanced and two for expert

Grand Prix: Addidtional laps are added which expands the game’s length, with 20 laps for the beginner, 10 for advanced and 5 for the expert. With these laps you will want to use the pit stop to replace the cars tyers.

Endurance: 80 laps for beginner mode, 40 for advanced and 20 for expert mode.

There is also a time attack mode which can be accessed by holding down the 1P Start button on the arcade version whilst choosing transmission.

Releases

Arcade

Where it all started, running on Sega’s Model 2 hardware. This was initially released in 1993, and a updated version came out in 1994 to promote the Sega Saturn version. This version also amended the HUD elements slightly. 3 tracks are present in this version and lcoal multiplayer is avalible by linking the arcade machines together. This version of the game runs at a constant 57fps and a higher resolutiob compared to the Saturn, but lower then the PC version.

Can be emulated using the Nebula Model 2 emulator, or recently MAME. However the Model 2 core is still under development and there has been some improvements to the MAME core.

Daytona USA Arcade had three releases, all of which run on the original Model 2

  • 1993 release that was exclusive to Japan
  • 1994 release that was worldwide that amended the on screen counter display
  • Sega Saturn update that added adverts for the console, for before and after the consoles release (Changeable in the games test mode the Model 2 had no RTC clock)
  • There were a couple of unofficial modifications that were done by a few third party programmers that added RPG like elements to the game, known as GTX edition and To the Maxx

The game was only compatible with the original Model 2 board.

Sega Saturn

The first version that was ported for the home market, this was a rushed port due to wanting to be a Saturn launch title and the difficultly of the Saturn’s hardware for the developers. Also, its no secret that 3D wasn’t the Saturn’s strong point, being built primarily as a 2D sprite scaling system, and Daytona USA being designed for the 3D model 2 arcade board. The music is altered in this version, taking advantage of the red-book CD audio.

There are two game modes, an arcade mode which plays the same as the arcade original, and a Saturn mode which gives the option of selecting a car. Mirror tracks are also selectable for all tracks in the game and a 60 lap endurance mode. This version has no support for multiplayer.

Sega would later release a revised version for the Sega Saturn that corrected a couple of issues that the original port recieved.

Windows

Very similar to the Saturn version, the game is designed to run on Windows 95 but features little graphics acceleration, rending entirely in software mode (on the CPU). The game uses DirectX 2 which limits it to Windows 95, although it will work on later Windows 9x releases, things start to break on more modern systems.

This release is not recommended since a better version was released a few years later, and the limited resolution and graphics settings this game offers. There’s also black bars at the top and bottom which makes it feel like I’m playing an ported PAL game, either that or they thought Daytona PC needed to be cinematic?

Comparison

Arcade version is running in the Nebula Model 2 emulator with default settings, Saturn is running the NTSC build in Retroarch Beetle Saturn, Windows is running in a PCem virtual machine running Windows Me.

Arcade

Saturn

Windows

The home versions remain very faithful to the arcade original when it comes to the menu layout

Car transmission selection

Saturn version has the worst draw distance, to the extent that some background elements don’t appear fully and look like they are floating

Only major difference being the lap time dispay, with other HUD elements remaining consistant.

Conclusion

Daytona USA would go on to become very popular in the arcades thanks to the pioneering 3D graphics technology, despite the high price of the Model 2 hardware. The home ports were not greatly recieved, with the Saturn port having a negative reception in comparision to Ridge Racer, which was also ported from the arcade to the Playstation and was considered a bettrer adaption.

Sega would later release newer home versions of Daytona USA, being the Champtionship edition which helps fix the issues of the initil Saturn port and was ported to the PC shortly after. It was released again for the Sega Dreamcast in 2001 with slightly remastered graphics.

In the arcades, Sega would follow up with Daytona USA 2, being a showcase for the Model 3 platform.

WipEout

A futuristic racing game released in 1995 for various platforms.

In Wipeout your mostly battling against the track itself, rather than the rival ships, and at fast speeds the game can become a challenge, requiring quick reflexes. Thankfully it comes with a banging soundtrack, something which is a staple of the Wipeout series of games.

2 Player mode exists for the console versions, but its one of those games that needs a serial cable, two PlayStation or two Saturn’s, TV’s and copies of each game.

PlayStation

Probably the best version, since it has all the graphical effects, and the sound effects when you enter a tunnel. Can also be played on the PlayStation 3 and PSP as part of the PS Classics. Only issue with this port is the low resolution and the pop-in textures on the track, poor draw distance. As a bonus the game supports the use of a NeGcon controller, allowing for an analogue control, useful for turning and for the airbreaks.

On modern emulators you can sort of re-create the PC effects such as higher resolution and texture filtering, but you are still stuck at 30fps. Overclocking the CPU results in the game running too fast.

Duckstation: Enhanced

The game clears up rather well compared to how it originally looked

Sega Saturn

Wipeout was released for the promising Sega Saturn, and serves as an example of the PSY-Q dev kit for the Saturn, which Psygnosis were trying to promote at the time as an alternative to Sega’s devkit (a version of PSY-Q was released for the PlayStation). The soundtrack has been altered with some songs being removed

Screenshots: SSF emulator

Windows

WipEout was ported to the PC a year later than the PlayStation release, and was designed exclusively for ATI video cards and was typically bundled with Windows PC that had those cards. It’s one of the games that supports ATI’s CIF API rather than Direct3D. This limits it to ATI Rage series 3D chipsets, the one in my Dell OptiPlex being one of them, but in order to play CIF games you need to use an older 1999 driver from ATI (The Windows 98 bundled driver has no CIF support), also CIF is only supported under Windows 98, there is no support for Windows NT 4.0. ATI later removed CIF support from its drivers from late 1999 onwards, so you may have to downgrade the driver order to play. A CIF wrapper exists for Windows 7 onwards, although I’ve not tested it.

Screenshots below are captured from a Dell OptiPlex GX1 with an Intel Pentium 2 350mhz and an ATI RAGE 2 with 4Mb of VRAM

The main difference is the ability to play the game in a higher resolution and with the ability to play at a higher framerate, it’s not exactly 60fps on a Rage2 but its a lot more smoother than the PlayStation version. However the sound is not has good as the console versions, with the PC missing the echo sound effects that play when you enter a tunnel. It’s also one of those games that’s stores the music as Redbook CD audio, and the game plays the audio back like a regular CD player would. This gives the option to change the CD (as the game runs from the hard disk) to play your own music.

MS-DOS

Very similar to the accelerated Windows version, but has a lot of enhancements removed, there’s no texture filtering, the framerate is lower and the resolution is reduced, likely because everything is being done on the CPU. You are limited to a low 320 resolution, 16 bit colour.

Personally I would stick with the PlayStation version, or the Saturn if you prefer more detailed textures. The PC versions sacrifice too much for what benefit they give, although you get the opportunity to run in a higher resolution, the missing sound effects are a huge setback and ruin the immersion of the game. besides with modern emulators you can run the game with additional filtering and upscaling, the FPS is still stuck at 30fps.

Hackers

A concept imaging of Wipeout appeared in the movie Hackers, which features slightly different gameplay with obstacles on the track, a crew that speaks to you instead of techno music playing. It was believed to be rendered on a SGI workstation and features perspective correct texture mapping

External Links

WipEout – Archive Website

WipEout – DOS Support

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo

What a mouthful

A gem based puzzle game, soft of similar to columns, but instead of matching 3 of the same colours, you have gems and crash gems which are used to destroy a gem of the same colour, and sends a counter gem to the rival player. The game does feature various Capcom characters but they are not directly controllable, merely appearing as avatars. The game is over when the players gems reach the top, similar to Tetris.

Arcade

Arcade version uses an arbitrary resolution. One nice feature is when the blocks are beginning to stack up, the music starts to speed up. As the arcade was the original released, the console and PC versions are based on this version.

PlayStation

Supports both memory cards, Seems to have some overscan (Could be due to the emulator), this can be adjusted in the game settings

Sega Saturn

Saturn version seems to run in a higher resolution compared to the PSone version (Could also be emulator related), also in the Saturn version, Dan randomly interrupts a match in arcade mode, which I have never encountered in the PSone version. The loading times are faster compared to the PSone and Windows version.

Microsoft Windows

The game was ported to the PC. The specs required are higher than I thought, which might be an indicator of a poor port. When running on a PCem based Pentium MMX 100Mhz, there was notable slowdown at 640×480 (not the lowest resolution supported) The graphics card was an ATI Mach64 VT2. Running at 800×600 was near unplayable. A Pentium 2 with a S3 Trio64 gave better resolution.

A nice side effect is the music of the game can be played in any media player, since they are wav files, even the sound effects, They are located in the BGM folder. There is also an EMI folder that contains a bunch of files with the EMI extension, which I’m guessing relates to the background and sprite graphics. There is also a goodies folder which contains images that are also in the goodies section of the game, plus a zip file with a Windows theme. The PlayStation also appears to use the EMI format, but the Saturn does not.

There’s an exe file in the movie folder on the PlayStation version, but trying to run it on windows 98 results in an invalid Win32 application error, trying tor un it from does gives a ‘Program too big to fit in memory’ error

Desktop Theme

Desktop theme

A desktop theme comes bundled in the GOODIES folder which can be installed

Comparison

Saturn version (middle) is run on the RetroArch Yabause core with default settings, PlayStation (left) is using the BeetlePSX HW core which also with default settings, the arcade version is on the right.

The graphics are mostly the same across the different versions, with the PC version having the ability to run at a higher resolution.

Score Ranking

Main Menu

Demo

Gameplay