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  • Sega Saturn Net Link

    Sega Saturn Net Link


    While online gaming with video game consoles didn’t really reach mainstream proportions until systems started coming with built-in broadband capability, network connectivity options (usually modems) were available for most systems going back almost to the beginning. For the Sega Saturn, this was the Net Link.

    The Net Link was essentially a $200 28.8 bps modem with a build-in web browser that plugged into the Sega Saturn cartridge port. While that sounds pretty expensive, it was actually pretty reasonable for such a device at the time (1996). A keyboard and mouse were also available for the Saturn which made the Saturn actually tolerable to check e-mail or to do light web surfing on. Of course, the main reason you would want this device is in order to play games against other people remotely.

    The Net Link had a couple of advantages over other similar devices and even over current ways to play games over the internet. It did not require a subscription or the use of a Sega specific service. You simply configured the Saturn to dial into whatever ISP you used for Internet access or dialed the person you wanted to play against directly. This was a normal way of doing things for computer users but it was pretty novel for console gamers.

    Unfortunately, due to the relative lack of success of the Sega Saturn, there were only a handful of games that supported the Net Link. These included a special version of Daytona USA (Daytona USA CCE Net Link Edition), Duke Nukem 3D, Saturn Bomberman, Sega Rally and Virtual On. The good news is that since no 3rd party service was required, it’s just as easy today to dial-up someone else and play against them as it was at the height of the Saturn’s popularity. Assuming you both have some sort of landline of course…

  • The House of the Dead (Sega Saturn)

    The House of the Dead (Sega Saturn)


    House of the Dead is a light gun shooting game similar to a number of other light gun games Sega was known for. This is not one of my favorite genres but Sega generally did a good job with arcade games of this type and this one has the added appeal of zombies. The original arcade game was released in 1997 with the two home ports, Windows and Sega Saturn, being released in 1998.

    While the arcade version was a solid game and generally got good reviews, the ports seemed to suffer somewhat from rushed development. The graphics on the Sega Saturn version were not up to the standards of the arcade and the frame rate was relatively poor at only 20 frames per second. The PC version wasn’t really any better. The home versions did add some additional game modes which is pretty common for home ports of arcade games.

    Unfortunately, there hasn’t really been an updated port of this game. The Saturn and PC versions are by no means terrible but you are probably better off seeking out an emulated version of the arcade game if you really want to play this game. There were also a couple of sequels so if you are really looking for a home version, check out House of the Dead 2 for the Dreamcast or House of the Dead 3 on the Wii or Xbox.

    Images above are from the Sega Saturn version of the game.

  • Last Bronx (Sega Saturn)


    Yoko Kono


    Released in 1996, Last Bronx was one of the first arcade 3D fighting games that used motion captured weapon fighting. Soul Edge was the other. Last Bronx was never as popular as Soul Edge, at least in the U.S. Partially this is because Soul Edge was really the better game but the fact that the Last Bronx home conversions only appeared on the less popular Sega Saturn and on Windows probably also played a role.

    The Sega Saturn port added additional game modes including a new story mode, survival and time attack as well as additional unlockable background music among other changes. The Sega Saturn version was released in 1997 while the Windows version was released in 1998. The Windows version was mostly the same but had superior graphics and a faster frame rate as well as two additional game modes, team battle and network battle.

    A 10th anniversary edition was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2006. However, this version was pretty much a straight emulation of the arcade game so it didn’t have any of the extra modes that were in the original home ports. These are the only ports of this game and it is really hard to pick a best version. The newer PS2 version will give you the best graphics and the closest experience to the original arcade. However, the older Sega Saturn and Windows ports have additional game modes that may be desirable. The Windows version is probably the better of those two but it is going to be more inconvenient to play because it was designed for Windows 95/98 computers. Fans of 3D fighting games of the Soul Edge generation should definitely check it out in one form or another though.

    All images above are related to the Sega Saturn version of the game.