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fastbilly1
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Re: How is your Saturn gaming going?

by fastbilly1 Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:02 am

One day I will beat the Shining Force scenarios. But I think I need to beat Shining Force 2 first.

Due to covid I had to pack up most of my retro stuff to give us more indoor space. But I have a saturn hooked up to a crt with the all important five in dvd cases - Baku Baku, Xmen COTA, Virtua Fighter 2, Daytona USA, and Die Hard Arcade.

I also realized that I no longer own the Panzer Dragoons - I sold Saga a couple years ago, but dont have 1 or 2 for some reason.
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Re: How is your Saturn gaming going?

by nightrnr Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:15 am

I don't think there are any adapters that convert a true analog control to PlayStation thumbsticks. It's always just the digital directions to both d-pad and analog stick.

I have a couple tototek adapters for other systems. They do make them for Saturn (only one left as of this post), but it's the same story as above.
http://www.tototek.com/store/index.php? ... ucts_id=52

Myself, I'll keep my Saturn controllers forever.
...just another lost soul...
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Re: How is your Saturn gaming going?

by Ziggy587 Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:30 am

I don't believe I've ever posted in this thread until now, so here's my Sega Saturn background...

My first exposure to the Saturn... Like many 90's kids, my first knowledge of the Saturn was from gaming magazines. It had a cool factor to it. The Japanese logo is alright, but I love that Western logo! The ads in magazines that I saw for the Saturn were very intriguing. I guess I might have seen Saturn stuff in stores, but I don't specifically remember that. N64 and PS1 took up most of the shelf space. I didn't know anyone at the time that had a Saturn. And of course, it was hard enough raising the cash for one system. I had an N64 that generation, and that was it.

A few years later, when I would regularly get the Funco Land flyer, they all of a sudden had a huge Sega Saturn section in the flyer that wasn't ever there before. And the prices for the console and games were very affordable. I decided I would pick one up. But when I got to Funco Land and mentioned the Saturn, the guy behind the counter immediately said something like, "Yeah, we don't have any Saturn stuff." As if corporate put the Saturn stuff in the flyer, but the stores had no inventory and this guy was annoyed getting asked about Saturn stuff all day long LOL. So I left empty handed. Although, this is when I learned that the Saturn cart slot is indeed NOT for Genesis games (c'mon, you know you thought this when you first saw it).

When I got my first Saturn... So yet another few years later, we're now in the early days of eBay. This is back when eBay was awesome. Before eBay, it wasn't easy getting older video games. Pretty much my only avenue was going into Funco Land or similar and crossing my fingers that they had the game I was looking forward. But with eBay, not only could you find whatever you wanted but you had your choice of condition too! So that's how I got my first Saturn.

The Saturn that I got ended up being a round button model 2. It came with one controller, Virtua Fighter 2 (disc and manual without a case, so I always assumed it was a pack-in), power cable and RF adapter. And it was just as cool as I always thought it was. I thought that logo looked awesome in gaming magazines. Well, it looks even cooler on the start up screen with that awesome brushed metal background!

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I can't really remember what the first few games I picked up for the Saturn were. I do remember getting SimCity 2000 and being very disappointed. I was probably disappointed or underwhelmed by whatever other first few games I got were, which is why I can't recall them. I eventually got DOOM, it was factory sealed for $15 LOL. Little did I know what a crappy port it was, I wish I left it sealed because that would be worth a decent amount today!

So at this time I was in high school. I told my good friend that I picked up a Saturn and he was excited about it. Turns out he had a Saturn during its heyday, so me getting a Saturn was like a nostalgia trip for him. He clued me into to some things about the system and what some good games were, and gave me whatever Saturn stuff he had left in his closet. He gave me an oval button model 1 console, a controller, a backup memory cartridge, and a few loose disc games.

The oval button console would power on, but would not read discs. But I held onto it anyway (more on this later). The controller also didn't work, but it turned out to be an easy fix (one of the pins in the connector got dislodged).

The backup memory cart was an awesome score. I remember asking my friend why I would need it because the console had built in save memory. This is when learned that the built in memory was very limited so you really want the memory cart. Also, that damn system battery!

Now I forget if my friend gave me multiple loose discs, or just one. But the only one I can remember is Shining the Holy Ark, and I still have it. It turned out to be one of my favorite games for the console. The disc is a little scuffed up (like all of his game discs were) but I never had an issue reading it in my model 2 Saturn. I printed out artwork for a DVD case for it.

Now a short time after this, another good friend at the time learns that I got a Saturn. Turns out that he also had a Saturn during its heyday. And he had a TON of games, all complete and in excellent condition. So he came over with a huge stack of games one day and was willing to sell them to be for just a few bucks each. Like $2 or $3 each, or maybe $5 for an awesome game. I based my decisions off of game titles that sounded cool and cover artwork that looked awesome. I ended up getting a nice stack of Saturn games for 20-something bucks.

After that, I was buying and selling a lot on eBay. I ended up selling most of that stack of games, but I made a huge profit on them (even back in the mid 00's). I had a decent Saturn collection at one point, but I ended up selling games off over the years when I needed cash. Today, I only have half a dozen or so games for the Saturn.

Another good friend of mine when I was in high school, we had a sort of Castlevania renaissance. Up until this point, I had only beaten Castlevania IV. I had the three NES games, but I found them too hard and I thought I would never beat them. But we started playing these games with a lot of determination, and eventually conquered them. We had a huge interest for Castlevania, so we started to playthrough more games in the series one at a time. During this time, I got Symphony of the Night, a sealed greatest hits version, from my local Blockbuster on a discount rack. We knew nothing about this game, and were very confused when we first started playing it. Long story short, we ended up loving this game and eventually learned of the mythical Saturn port with the added content. Even back then, the Saturn port was kind of pricey. But I decided to get a copy anyway, I think it was around $50. I learned that some Saturn carts allowed you to boot foreign region games, so I ended up getting a Game Shark. I probably went with a Game Shark over other brand carts because I was more familiar with the brand. It worked, and we enjoyed playing through the Saturn port of Symphony of the Night. But then I found out the hard way that the Game Shark will mess up the Saturn's cart slot!

PSA: The Saturn Game Shark has a PCB that's too thick. The Saturn's cart slot is very fragile. Using the Game Shark will wear out the Saturn's cart slot, making it very hard to read other carts. After learning this, I'll only use my official memory cart or Action Replay. But the damage is done, and my model 2's cart slot is very finicky now.

I first found Racketboy... When I was searching the net for stuff about the Saturn. At the time, Racketboy was the only one selling Saturn mod chips. They were specifically for the model 2, and luckily that's what I had! So I purchased a mod chip, and that's actually how I came to join the forums here! I posted a question, I think something about Sega Cue Maker. And, unfortunately for you guys, I never left! I mostly used the mod chip as a "try before you buy" solution. At this time, Saturn games were still really cheap (compared to what they are today).

As mentioned above, I only had an RF adapter. Well, I started to venture down the AV quality rabbit hole. But Saturn AV cables weren't easy to come by at this time. The proprietary mini-DIN AV connector wasn't being produced, so we were limited to what was out there from the console's lifespan. These days, that connector is being manufactured so you can get easily find cheap cables. But back then, S-Video cables were rare and expensive. There's an old thread on Racketboy about converting an RF adapter into composite cables. So that's what I did to my RF cable. Once I got to be more of an AV snob, I really wanted S-Video though. So I ended up modding my model 2 with AV jacks on the back to use standard AV cables.

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I really enjoyed playing the Saturn. This is back when each console had it's own personality. What's the difference today between Sony and Microsoft consoles? Not much. But the N64, PS1 and Saturn were all a very unique experience. I had an N64 during that generation. The next generation I got a PS2, which was the first time I had a PS1 (through backwards compatibility) and PS1 games were cheap at that time. After that I got the Saturn, and the games were very affordable. I had a blast exploring the Saturn!


For a few factors, I haven't played my Saturn in quite a few years now. Mostly because I didn't have space to set up a CRT and I didn't want to use the Saturn with the Framemeister. But that's going to change! I picked up the Fenrir ODE (optical drive emulator) and it should be here any day now. As mentioned in my wall of text story above, I have a model 1 Saturn that wont read discs. I got it all cleaned up and ready to go! I'm just waiting for my Fenrir to arrive.

Symphony of the Night is one of my favorite games (not an original sentiment, I know). I know the Saturn port has it's problems, but it's still neat to playthrough every now and then because of the extra content. I haven't played the Saturn port in a long time now. Maybe 5 or so years ago when I got a Framemeister I attempted to play it, but with the resolution switches (between the game, menu and map) it made the game unplayable in my opinion. So my Saturn got packed back up and I haven't touched it since. But more recently I got myself a 13" PVM. Being much smaller than my CRT TV sets, it was easy to make room to set it up.

The Saturn port of SOTN was recently hacked to use the 4M RAM cart. Link here. The main benefit is faster loading. The hacker optimized file layout and added a dummy for faster seek times, but that shouldn't matter with the ODE. But using the 4M RAM cart should still improve loading times. Other than that, there's a few quality of life improvements like being able to skip cutscenes and having button combo to bring up the map. Because the Saturn controller has less buttons than the PS1 controller, instead of having a dedicated map button like the PS1 version has you need to first enter the menu then press L. Then to exit the menu, you have to back out to the menu first, then back into the game. This is very annoying. So having a way to go directly in and out of the map is awesome. That reason alone, I might have to check this hack out!

I'm also very excited to play Shining the Holy Ark again. Even though this ended up being one of my favorite games for the console, I never actually beat it. I would love to finally beat this game. One interesting thing though, about playing this game with an ODE instead of off disc... When you're in an area that has random encounters, the disc is spinning. You move in a sort of gird. If you navigate to a tile just 1 move before an enemy encounter, there's a distinct audio cue from the disc drive. This clues you in that you're about to be attacked, which would otherwise be a total surprise. I got use to this audio cue, so I wonder what it will be like playing this game without that LOL.

I'm not only eager to play some games that I've enjoyed in the past, but also excited to check out more games. My tastes haven't so much changed over the years, as they have grown larger. I can appreciate more genres now than I can 10-20 years ago. So I know there's a lot of Saturn games that I wrote off that I think I will enjoy now. So being that I haven't played the Saturn in many years, and even when I did there were many games I didn't give a chance, getting back into the Saturn now for me will almost be like exploring it for the first time.

fastbilly1 wrote:One day I will beat the Shining Force scenarios. But I think I need to beat Shining Force 2 first.


Around the time I first joined the forums here (so 12 or so years ago) I started to play Shining Force III for the first time. I had the US release, and that's what I was playing. I made it a few hours into the game and I was REALLY enjoying it. Then I learned that it was just the first part of 3 games, and that the second 2 scenarios were getting fan translations. I decided to stop playing, and wait for the fan translations to come out so I could play all 3 scenarios back to back. I know that they have all been in the "playable" state for quite some time now, but my original thought was that I would wait for them all to be finished. Well, years passed and I would check the progress every so often. It got to the point that I figured maybe I'll just play them once they're all in the beta state. Well now it's 10 or so years later and I'm sick of waiting. They wont be the first Saturn games I play, but when I get around to it I'll just play them in whatever state they're in. I'm sick of waiting!

fastbilly1 wrote:I also realized that I no longer own the Panzer Dragoons - I sold Saga a couple years ago, but dont have 1 or 2 for some reason.


I mentioned above that I've grown interested in more types of games as time goes on, and Panzer Dragoon is a good example. For some reason, 10-15 years ago I didn't see anything appealing about these games. Now I look at them and think they look awesome!

nightrnr wrote:I don't think there are any adapters that convert a true analog control to PlayStation thumbsticks. It's always just the digital directions to both d-pad and analog stick.


Yeah, there's no point if it's just mimicking the d-pad.

I decided to just pick up a legit 3D pad. I always wanted one back when I was first exploring the Saturn, but they were always kind of pricey. I know they're a little cheaper from Japan, but I don't want a white one. I want a black one to match my US console. Also, I don't feel like ordering anything from Japan right now. I ordered a SFC cart back in July and I still haven't received it. I was able to find a US 3D pad on eBay that looked very clean for a decent price, so I decided to just grab one now. I could always get my money back for it if I decide I don't need it.

I've read numerous times that there's a few games that support the 3D pad that control much better with the analog stick. To be honest, I never tried NiGHTS because I never had a 3D pad and judging from the gameplay footage I've seen it looks like using a d-pad would be annoying or awkward or something.

It would be awesome to have an adapter to let you use Dreamcast controllers on the Saturn, that support a true analog stick. That just seems fitting, somehow. I actually have the reverse of this, an adapter to use Saturn controllers on the Dreamcast. This is a must own, if you ask me, since the Saturn controller layout is perfect for Street Fighter style fighting games. Playing these types of fighting games with a SNES or Dreamcast controller always kind of annoyed me.
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I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: How is your Saturn gaming going?

by fastbilly1 Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:50 pm

Loved the backstory Ziggy. One of mine is finding Guardian Heroes in the bargain bin at a Kmart as it was going out of business. $5 sealed.

Ziggy587 wrote:I mentioned above that I've grown interested in more types of games as time goes on, and Panzer Dragoon is a good example. For some reason, 10-15 years ago I didn't see anything appealing about these games. Now I look at them and think they look awesome!

They were simply incredible going from Star Fox to Panzer Dragoon 1. Gameplay not so much until the analog controller came around.
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Re: How is your Saturn gaming going?

by Ziggy587 Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:18 pm

My Fenrir ODE came in the mail yesterday. I got it installed and it works great!


I went to grab the patch for SotN (I mentioned it in my last post) but the link is down. Hopefully it goes back up because I'd really like to have it. I'm not even very much interested in load times and such, I mainly want it for the button combo to pull up the map. Anyone that's played the Saturn version of SotN knows how big that is.


In researching Saturn games to try out, I came across this one I never heard about before...

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Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari (Translates to something like Island of Seven Winds Story, at least from a basic Google translation)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanatsu_K ... Monogatari

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtoDJFYEKVk

It's a beautiful looking game with a gorgeous hand drawn graphical style. Only problem is that you really can't play it unless you can read Japanese. It's not exactly text heavy, but from what I gather if you can't understand the little text that is in the game you'll have no idea what you're suppose to be doing. It looks like it's a sort of puzzle platformer. It almost reminds me of a point and click. It looks like a real hidden gem locked behind a language barrier.

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There were efforts to translate it, but it's hard to tell if those efforts are just really slow going or abandoned. There's one site dedicated to translating it to Spanish. That would make an English translation easier. There's also a thread on romhacking.net about translating it to English, but it isn't clear if it's actively being worked on or not.
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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: How is your Saturn gaming going?

by fastbilly1 Wed Sep 02, 2020 10:20 pm

I was about to say it looks like Wonder Project, only to realize it is the same folks.
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Re: How is your Saturn gaming going?

by Ziggy587 Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:45 am

Symphony of the Night

So I was gonna play some Symphony of the Night on the Saturn, but I really want to check out that 4MB cart hack. Unfortunately, the download link for the patch went down. I was checking every few days to see if the hack author would repost it, or better yet post an update, but now the entire forum thread wont even load.

The Saturn version has it's problems with slowdown and some other minor things like dithering instead of transparencies, but these are somewhat tolerable to what the biggest issue is with this port in my opinion: The menu and the map. To recap, the Saturn pad doesn't have as many buttons as the PS1 pad, so there is no dedicated map button. Instead, you enter the map by first going into the menu then pressing L. When you exit the map you exit back into the menu, then you can exit the menu back into the game. This would be annoying as it is, but to make it even worse there's a few seconds load time to go in and out of the menu! This makes checking the map very tedious in the Saturn port. And this is the kind of game that you check the map often.

This is why the 4MB cart hack is so great. I read some more details about it on the romhacking.net forums. Not only is there a button combo to go directly in and out of the map, but utilizing the RAM cart also improves the load time in and out of the menu! These two things pretty much make this hack a must-have for this game. Unfortunately, the download for it is down and there doesn't seem to be a mirror of it anywhere. Now that I can't even load the forum page, I was thinking about asking on RHDN to see if anyone has any insight on what's going on or perhaps upload a copy of the hack (usually people don't do this without permission from the author).


Shining the Holy Ark

So in the meantime I've been playing Shining the Holy Ark. This is truly a great old school dungeon crawling JRPG. It's just such a blast to play, a must-play if you ask me. It may not be the best graphics at the time, but I always thought it was a fairly beautiful game. You move in a 3D space, but I can't tell if it's made up on entirely 2D assets of if there's some 3D elements in there or not. Either way, I find the graphics charming. The character animations don't have a lot of frames of animation so they're not so smooth, which would have been a con back when it was released, but I actually kind of like it. It gives the game a certain style.

It's a very easy to play game. Some old JRPGs make it very frustrating to upgrade equipment, but thankfully STHA isn't one of them. When you're browsing items in a shop, you can very easily see which specs will be affected for each character. When you purchase and item, you can immediately equip it right there. And if you do equip an item, the shop asks if you'd like to sell the item you just unequipped! I just love how easy they made that.

Dungeons and puzzles are fun to play, not frustrating. It's definitely a dungeon crawler, but there's an in-game map that fills out as you go and it never gets overwhelming. Well, I'm in the second to last dungeon right now so maybe I shouldn't speak too soon. But navigating is never an issue, as long as you don't mind exploring (which usually requires you to double back often). There's a puzzle every now and then, but they're mostly fun and easy. My favorite is a puzzle at the end of one dungeon that makes you figure out the value of several gems by using algebraic formulas. It doesn't outright tell you to use algebra, it just gives you a bunch of statements of how much the gems are worth compared to each other and you have to figure it out from that. How original is that?

My only complaint is that the game doesn't run so great at times. There's some massive slowdown, and it can be very annoying. It's worse than I remember it being. Certain random encounters can just really drag because of it. And there isn't even a clear reason why. You can have a random encounter that runs smoothly, then another with the same kind and number of enemies that runs at a snail's pace. You can have a random encounter that starts off at a snail's pace, then midway through just starts running at the speed it should be. Very strange. I remember this game having some slowdown (like the entire time you're in the town of Enrich) but I don't remember it being this often. I was actually suspecting maybe it was because of the ODE. So I grabbed my model 2 Saturn and my legit copy of the game and played for a little on there, and this is indeed just how this game runs. Bummer. Another weird glitch is sometimes after a random encounter the area music will be super low and you can just barely hear it, and it will stay that way until there's music change like opening a chest or going into another random encounter. This I confirmed happens on a legit setup as well.

But even with the slowdown issues, it's still a great game. Definitely one of the strengths of the Saturn's exclusives list, but it's also kind of a shame that it's locked away on the Saturn.
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I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: How is your Saturn gaming going?

by Ziggy587 Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:07 pm

I beat Shining the Holy Ark! Not that it's a big feat, it's just that it's been one of those games that I never finished but always wanted to. I first played this game 15-20 years ago, and it feels good to finally beat it.

edit: When you beat the game, after the credits, it gives you some play stats. It took my 35 hours and change to beat it, and I found 96% of the items. Also, I found all of the pixies in the game. I have to admit, there were a few that I never would have found if I didn't look it up, but I was able to find most of them on my own.

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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: How is your Saturn gaming going?

by Ziggy587 Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:18 pm

So I was able to find a mirror of the hack for the Saturn Symphony of the Night that adds support for the 4MB RAM cart. Just go to the Segaxtreme forums and search for the user "Ardiloso," he has a thread with a mirror for all of that hacks by YZB that add support for the 4MB RAM cart.

This hack is definitely worth getting if you like playing the Saturn port of SotN. The initial load when you select a file is actually a little longer, but certain load points thereafter are better. And the biggest improvement, which I've complained about plenty, is the map and menu. The menu loads a lot quicker, and you can press B+R to directly pull up the map without having to go into the menu first. This is a huge QOL improvement for the game!

There's one thing that I've never noticed with the Saturn port of SotN... The time in the clock room uses the Saturn's real time clock! How awesome is that? The Saturn's RTC clock is the reason the battery doesn't last long, which always seemed pointless to me because of how underutilized it is. Very few games make use of it, to my knowledge. The system menu doesn't even display the date and time anywhere. You know what would be cool? If save files were time stamped using the RTC. It would be cool if they had the date and time of creation and last modified. But, I suppose that would make the small internal save game RAM even smaller.

Speaking of the built in save game RAM and how annoying it can be... There's a fairly simple mod to replace it with non-volatile RAM, which means it'll hold game save data for a very long time (45 years minimum) without the need of the battery. The battery is still needed for the RTC, but that's no big deal. I'm thinking about doing it, but NV RAM isn't very cheap and I would want two of them so I could do it to both of my Saturns.
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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: How is your Saturn gaming going?

by Ziggy587 Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:31 pm

I beat SotN on the Saturn, which is nothing special because I've done it before. But I guess I didn't fill in the entire map the last time I played the Saturn version, or maybe I did but I just didn't notice or remember noticing this. You're completed save file flashes the word "ALL" next to the completion rate.

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1990 rooms!

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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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