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  • VR Golf ’97 (PlayStation, Saturn)


    Source: GamePro – November 1996

    Yet another golf game. That’s how I think of VR Golf ’97 (known as Actua Golf in parts of the world other than North America). As you could probably guess, I’m not the biggest fan of golf games. I don’t play golf in real life either though I don’t mind the occasional round of miniature golf. To be fair, I’m not a big fan of sports games in general and for a golf game, this isn’t bad.

    VR Golf ’97 was released in late 1996 for both the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. It competed with PGA Tour 97 which was really the benchmark for golf games at the time. On the PlayStation, you were better off with PGA Tour 97 as it had more features and advantages in licensing. However, on the Saturn, the PGA Tour 97 port was not as good as it could have been and was very slow. VR Golf ’97 was also choppier on the Saturn but still a much better experience. Mediocre ports like these no doubt helped kill the Saturn…

    There was a sequel to VR Golf ’97 but it was titled Fox Sports Golf ’99 and released for the PlayStation and Windows. Ratings for it were not so great though and this would be the last game in the series. Far better golf games have come along since but if you want to give this one a try, you’ll have to track down an original. The PlayStation version is a little better in that the graphics are a bit smoother and is also probably cheaper and easier to find.

  • Shining Force 3 (Sega Saturn)

    Shining Force 3 (Sega Saturn)


    Shining Force 3 is a tactical RPG released in 1998 for the Sega Saturn. If you are more familiar with the PlayStation, think something along the lines of Final Fantasy Tactics. There isn’t much in the way of puzzles to solve and the game consists mostly of exploration and battle.

    There are a fairly wide variety of Shining Force games and most are well thought of but the core tactical RPG series represents the best of the bunch in my opinion. This third game in particular was ranked highly by the critics. The North American audience was lucky to get this one but they were kind of left out to dry too. In Japan, there were three volumes to Shining Force III but only the first volume was released in North America. This probably had more to do with disappointing sales of the Saturn in general than the performance of this game in particular.

    While the first game in the series was remade as Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon for the Game Boy Advance in 2004, the third game has not been remade or re-released as far as I know. Unfortunately, later games in the series are more action based and not at all similar to the original trilogy. You will have to hunt down an original copy for the Saturn or try emulating it if you want to give this RPG a try. Fans of RPGs, particularly of the turn-based tactical variety should not pass this one by (or the first two games in the series for that matter).

  • NAKI Lunar Gun


    Source: Electronic Gaming Monthly – Issue Number 97 – August 1997

    The third party controller market seemed to peak in the 16-bit era but there were plenty of third party controllers in the 32-bit era and even today. This particular ad is for a company called NAKI that developed controllers and other accessories. However, the latest stuff I could find from them is for the PS2.

    This ad is highlighting a gun controller by NAKI for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Nintendo 64 called the Lunar Gun. What is unique about this particular gun is that there was also an optional accessory for it called the Red Sight Laser Target System. That’s a pretty fancy name for something that basically amounted to a laser pointer. In theory, it makes it easier to hit what you are aiming for because, just like a laser sight on a real gun, you just have to put the red dot on what you are trying to hit.

    Overall, the Lunar Gun was a pretty good choice if you needed a light gun. It’s main competition was the Justifier and while that one is better known, the Lunar Gun has more options like auto-reload, easy (three round burst) and a laser sight among others. My one problem with it is philosophical. I’m not sure I could see buying an