Sega Saturn Appreciation and Emulation Thread

Apr 18, 2018
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It was tucked in the middle of the last page, so I wanted to shout out to @Kazza for the post they made about their dream-list for a "Saturn Classic".

What've you folks been playing, all three of you who still have a Saturn hooked up?

My two most recent grabs were Hanagumi Taisen Columns and Fatal Fury 3.

Hanagumi Taisen Columns is a Sakura Wars-themed variant. Pretty fun as far as Columns is concerned with really good animations. it's a bummer that it only supports up to 2 players Versus. Columns III had up to 5 players!!

Anyway, the garbage in Versus mode is handled a bit differently than previous games which is why I wanted to own this Columns variant. You still charge up your gauge by completing combos and breaking 4 or more gems, but there isn't a manual "garbage" button like in some of the previous games. Instead, every time your meter increases a level (1 to 3) a menu pops up:



The top option is an Attack that sends numbered dice to your opponents side of the board. These dice count down and then turn into normal gems, just like the attack gems in Puzzle Fighter. The bigger the attack, the more gems you send. The middle option stores your attack but since you cannot manually trigger the garbage, you must fill your meter again before the menu pops up. The bottom option is defensive: it clears some of your gems from the bottom.

It's nifty. I like it. I'm glad I got it.

Fatal Furty 3... not so much. I like the fighting game itself, but it doesn't run very well, it has long load times, and it's not all that pretty of a game to start with so I don't know why the system struggles to play it correctly. Oh well. It was cheap anyway.
 
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Oct 6, 2018
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It was tucked in the middle of the last page, so I wanted to shout out to @Kazza for the post they made about their dream-list for a "Saturn Classic".

What've you folks been playing, all three of you who still have a Saturn hooked up?
This time of year reminds me of a time when, in a fit of festive generosity, I gave Saturn and 20+ games away to my distant cousins, who were visiting our house just after Christmas (around 98/99). A fine collection of games it was too (although Panzer Dragoon Saga wasn't among them - I might have be asking for it back this Christmas if it was!). As a result, any Saturn gaming has been reduced to emulation, and my basic laptop can only handle 2D games :(

My last couple were Shinobi X (surprisingly hard, and I've completed Revenge of Shinobi quite a few times) and 3 Dirty Dwarves. I usually play using my grey Japanese controller hooked up to a USB adaptor, but I'm studying in China for the next few months and didn't bring it with me. I have a USB SNES controller, but using that to play Saturn games just feels wrong! If I take a trip to Japan before I return to Europe, then I might pick up a nice white Saturn. But then I would probably have to buy a CRT etc - a lot of hassle.

Maybe next year we could create a thread on the main gaming forum called Saturn September, where we spend that month playing and reviewing Saturn games. The Saturn needs more love and attention. There are a lot of great games that people missed out on (even being a Saturn owner in the 90s, even I have a long list of games I want to try - Psychic Killer Taromaru being chief among them).
 
Apr 18, 2018
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Speaking of giving the Saturn the love and attention it deserves, no one has been doing that better than Sega Lord X. I've gotten a lot of good game recommendations from him.
Good recommendation. I like his stuff a lot too.

I'd totally be down for a Saturn September! It's understandable -- if you're traveling -- that it would be a pain to acquire and set up a CRT.
 
Dec 25, 2018
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Princess Crown Fan Translation

Princess Crown is a side-scrolling Action-RPG that has become a cult classic among gamers since its release on Sega Saturn in 1997. It was never released outside of Japan, but its creator went on to found Vanillaware, whose hit videogames include Odin Sphere, Dragon Crown and Muramasa.

Former IGN staff writer and critic Anoop Gantayat wrote his own fan translation to Princess Crown and posted on his website, complete with boundless numbers of screenshots. A Microsoft Word document was promised but was never completed, but thankfully, the website has been preserved by The Wayback Machine.

According to his notes, Gantayat admitted that he "purposely strayed from from making a direct literal translation of the dialog...Also, the story and characters are very familiar to Western audiences, so it seemed appropriate to take some liberties." One should note that this translation was made sometime in the late 1990s, so this attitude is very much in keeping with the era. I also suspect that the English script retains the meaning of the Japanese script, but takes liberties to allow for more flowing and natural dialog in its translation. Such things are perfectly normal in translations, as I can personally testify from my experience with Horus, Prince of the Sun.

Anyway, enjoy this English translation of Princess Crown.
Hello there!

New to the forums but would like to quote this in particular as I love Vanillaware games.

Regarsing Princess Crown, is it beatable without knowledge of Japanese? I ask as I don't think I am skilled enough to tweak my console to use a patched ISO without burning out the Disc Drive (I believe it was reworked when I bought a Region Free one a few years back).

What the guy has done is brilliant and I honestly hope he does more of these as it is greatly appreciated.

Was thinking on getting this on Saturn or PSP depending on the perks and flaws.

Any thoughts? :)
 
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Hello there!

New to the forums but would like to quote this in particular as I love Vanillaware games.

Regarsing Princess Crown, is it beatable without knowledge of Japanese? I ask as I don't think I am skilled enough to tweak my console to use a patched ISO without burning out the Disc Drive (I believe it was reworked when I bought a Region Free one a few years back).

What the guy has done is brilliant and I honestly hope he does more of these as it is greatly appreciated.

Was thinking on getting this on Saturn or PSP depending on the perks and flaws.

Any thoughts? :)
Welcome to the Saturn appreciation thread!

You could try to play the patched ISO on an emulator (Mednafen is good, in my experience)
 
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Got some SS for Christmas, including the first Sakura Taisen.

The CDs are in great shape (some cracks in the jewel case, but that's easy to replace). Those games probably came from Japan 100 yen bins LOL

Unfortunately my saturn isn't working with the Evangelion CD, it stays at the main menu and recognize them as audio CD only, dunno why.
 
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I've only played around half a dozen games via mednafen so far, but they all seem fine to me. Princess Crown seems to be working fine.
Ah okay then. I will try it out once I get back home tomorrow. (Away on Holiday).

Thanks for the advice!

My collection is pretty small but I like what I have so far.

I have so far; Panzer Dragoon Saga, Story of Thor 2, Daytona USA, Clockwork Night (Jpn version), SEGA Rally Championship 1995 Burning Rangers and Cotton 2. (Might be missing one but those are from the top of my head.
 
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Ah okay then. I will try it out once I get back home tomorrow. (Away on Holiday).

Thanks for the advice!

My collection is pretty small but I like what I have so far.

I have so far; Panzer Dragoon Saga, Story of Thor 2, Daytona USA, Clockwork Night (Jpn version), SEGA Rally Championship 1995 Burning Rangers and Cotton 2. (Might be missing one but those are from the top of my head.
A small, but good collection! Unfortunately, I gave away all my Saturn stuff to a cousin around 20 years ago, so am stuck with emulation for now. Let us know how you get on.
 
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Another game has been translated to English, and it seems that it is a very high quality work.

Linkle Liver Story

For your information, Policenauts also received an English translation a few months ago.

And it seems that Princess Crown has made some great progress, as seen on the dedicated topic at romhacking.net

As a reminder, please know that it is possible to play these translated games on an original, unmodified hardware if you own the original game. I can explain the method if required.
 
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DT MEDIA

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Another game has been translated to English, and it seems that it is a very high quality work.

Linkle Liver Story

For your information, Policenauts also received an English translation a few months ago.

And it seems that Princess Crown has made some great progress, as seen on the dedicated topic at romhacking.net

As a reminder, please know that it is possible to play these translated games on an original, unmodified hardware if you own the original game. I can explain the method if required.

Yay! I've been hoping for an English translation patch for Linkle Liver Story. It's a pretty good Zelda clone, not up to the standards of Nintendo, but pretty good. This will definitely help us better appreciate this game.

Kudos, as always, to the Sega Saturn and retrogaming translation community. You kids are doing great work.
 
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I've lready mentioned him before on this thread, but Sega Lord X recently released a video about reproductions. There are a few really well done reproductions of games which were never translated into English. The Shining Force 3 trilogy in particular looks really nice:

 
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I've lready mentioned him before on this thread, but Sega Lord X recently released a video about reproductions. There are a few really well done reproductions of games which were never translated into English. The Shining Force 3 trilogy in particular looks really nice:
I usually make my own French covers for Japanese games I love the most.

Stuff like this :


Or this :
 
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Nice. Do you sell them as well?

How was the Saturn received in France? Was it the same as the situation in the UK (PSX dominating, a little N64 market share, with even less Saturn)?
 
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Nice. Do you sell them as well?

How was the Saturn received in France? Was it the same as the situation in the UK (PSX dominating, a little N64 market share, with even less Saturn)?
I don't sell them, I only make them for my own usage. It is not that difficult.

In France the Saturn did not have much success. Of course, I had the console back then, I was a Sega gamer and never really was interested by the PS1. The TV ads for the PS1 were quite something. I strongly disliked them, but I understand how it managed to attract a whole new audience. In one of them, I think you would see monkeys playing the video-game. These ads were so over the top, it attracted everyone. Tekken 2 was the game that interested me the most on PS1. Final Fantasy VIII too, but that's it.

Back to the Saturn, I was a 100% French releases player. Never bought any import at the time. Honestly, it was very easy to have a blast on Sega Saturn even in France, even when we missed on many Japanese games. People telling everywhere that there was no games on PAL Saturn are the worst.

My parents bought me the console in 97 I think (went from MegaDrive to Saturn) when it was more affordable. My parents did not have so much money back then, I had to sell 18 MegaDrive games to buy it.

My first three games were :
Sega Rally
Fighters Megamix
Tomb Raider

I pretty much made the jump from Virtua Fighter 32X to Fighters Megamix. This was a pretty big jump for me. Loved Fighters Megamix to death. I also loved Tomb Raider, it felt a little bit like Doom on 32X to me back then. These were 3D games where you can explore, alone, in a hostile world that is full of secrets and difficult to navigate. I love these kind of experiences (the more recent ones being Dark Souls).

Then I bought many other games, never had any problem finding them. Here are some of the ones I played the most :
Night Warriors + Street Fighter Alpha + X-Men COTA
Mystaria (I love this game, played it a lot)
Nights + Burning Rangers
Panzer Dragoon 1 + 2 + Saga
Dragon Force + Shining Force 3
Doom + Hexen + Duke Nukem
Digital Pinball
Story of Thor 2
Dark Savior
Destruction Derby
Tohshinden URA (I love this game, yeah I know it's not great, but it is so much fun)

There were the most notable games I had back then, I have been playing my Saturn ever since on a very regular basis. I have been playing Burning Rangers these days.

I eventually started buying Japanese games much later, through eBay. I have a quite few of them, I like them as well, but I really had a blast with the PAL releases. Japanese games did not really change the deal for me. I have a few shmups (Radian Silvergun, Strikers I & II, Sengoku Blade, Sokyugurentai etc...), Castlevania, Elevator Action Returns, Bulk Slash, SNK games and both Capcom cross-overs etc... Also played English patched Shining Force III, it was pretty great, but my favorite scenario is the first one. Bought most of these 10 to 15 years ago, so the prices were okay.

My main regrets with the system is that we did not have English Grandia and Virtua Fighter 3. What a waste :(
I really hope that someone fixes this for Grandia, one of these days !

Also, one more thing that is awesome with Saturn, is that most of Sega's releases were PAL optimized in speed + resolution. And anyway, it is extremely easy to put a frequency switch on it.
 
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@cireza Thanks for the detailed reply. It's interesting to hear a little about the situation in other PAL regions.

I loved Mystaria too! It's a game which never seems to get much attention. I remember renting it from Blockbuster and falling completely in love with it. I played it all weekend and I'm pretty sure I rented it a few times after that too.

I owned over 20 games for mine, so had a decent sized collection, but watching Youtube videos some 20 years later made me realise how many great games I missed. I look forward to playing them over the next few years.
 
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@cireza Thanks for the detailed reply. It's interesting to hear a little about the situation in other PAL regions.

I loved Mystaria too! It's a game which never seems to get much attention. I remember renting it from Blockbuster and falling completely in love with it. I played it all weekend and I'm pretty sure I rented it a few times after that too.

I owned over 20 games for mine, so had a decent sized collection, but watching Youtube videos some 20 years later made me realise how many great games I missed. I look forward to playing them over the next few years.
There are many many great games, but the prices are very high for some of them nowadays. Buying a Rhea/Phoebe is probably a good solution, I might buy one to try some of the more expensive games/shmups. Not decided yet. I love my CDs :)

Not all expensive games are THAT great either, which is only basic logic after all.

Recently I have been wondering about giving Shienryu a shot. This shmups looks like everything I love in a good shmup, but the price is a bit high. Not sure if I will bite. Would have tried Cotton Boomerang if the price was not so stupid. I don't understand how a game can be available in tenths of units (so not rare at all), and all of them are 200+ dollars. So so stupid.
 
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I have been playing more Burning Rangers, in fact, I play this game four tenths of hours each year.

I am always amazed by how fresh the runs are, since the layout of the levels is altered and many different configurations exist. Add the fact that the persons to rescue are also randomized, and you get a game that never gets old.

The first mission is incredible because of how big the enterity of the level actually is. You simply never get to explore all of it in a single run. The game is still pretty well made and does not throw you in the more complex layouts from the beginning.

In fact, there is a slight curve in difficulty, with the new areas getting progressively more complex and bigger in size, making it more difficult to keep the LIMIT below 20%.
This is the same kind of thing you also get in the second mission, with pretty complex layouts and it can be easy to miss someone.

Finally mission 3 is my goto mission when I don't have much time. It is a shorter mission that does not change a lot. You only get one out of four possible routes at the end, sometimes the route will have a special person to save, like Yuji Naka. Otherwise, this mission is always the same. With the ID cards, you must unlock only three switches out of the four in the room. Never use the farthest one, since you can access the room from somewhere else. When you get through gate B03, you should have 2 ID cards left and saved 4 persons normally.
 
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I've never played Burning Rangers, I've always had the feeling that it won't hold up very well today (in common with many 32-bit 3D games). It's good to hear a positive report.
 

DT MEDIA

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There are many many great games, but the prices are very high for some of them nowadays. Buying a Rhea/Phoebe is probably a good solution, I might buy one to try some of the more expensive games/shmups. Not decided yet. I love my CDs :)

Not all expensive games are THAT great either, which is only basic logic after all.

Recently I have been wondering about giving Shienryu a shot. This shmups looks like everything I love in a good shmup, but the price is a bit high. Not sure if I will bite. Would have tried Cotton Boomerang if the price was not so stupid. I don't understand how a game can be available in tenths of units (so not rare at all), and all of them are 200+ dollars. So so stupid.

Honestly, where price is a problem with Sega Saturn videogames, just download them off the internet and burn to disc or use the Pseudo Saturn mod. There's no logical reason in depriving yourself just because of some greedy Ebay scalpers.

Fortunately for collectors, there are still many great Saturn games available for $10 or less, so don't feel that you've been cheated.
 

DT MEDIA

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I've never played Burning Rangers, I've always had the feeling that it won't hold up very well today (in common with many 32-bit 3D games). It's good to hear a positive report.

As always, be sure to check my Saturn reviews on this thread. I've covered over 80 titles so far, including Burning Rangers. When I'm writing my essays, I always play them for a while so that I'm capturing my current mood. I'm not interested in "nostalgia" but in enjoying these videogames today.

As for Burning Rangers, it does hold up very well. As with all classic systems, you have to be a bit forgiving and accepting, but as long as you're not demanding Playstation 4 performance, you'll be fine. There have always been players who could never enjoy anything unless it was the bleeding edge of graphics. They were the ones with the $3,000 PCs who complained endlessly while the normal kids were happily playing Goldeneye 64.
 
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So I checked, let's say I have an Action Replay available, can I update it with Pseudo Saturn without being able to read burnt discs on my Saturn ? I have seen that there is a method to update the firmware with a burnt game.

Do you know if this will sacrifice the 4MB RAM ability of the cartridge ?

Edit : Ok i found the answers on Pseudo Saturn website. So I need to do the swaptrick, I never did it before and not too hot about taking the risk to break my console. I need to think about this... Otherwise, it seems pretty manageable. I need to find my old Action Replay cartridge, where the 4MB was not working. I hope that I have kept it somewhere.
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
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www.dtm-arts.com
So I checked, let's say I have an Action Replay available, can I update it with Pseudo Saturn without being able to read burnt discs on my Saturn ? I have seen that there is a method to update the firmware with a burnt game.

Do you know if this will sacrifice the 4MB RAM ability of the cartridge ?

Edit : Ok i found the answers on Pseudo Saturn website. So I need to do the swaptrick, I never did it before and not too hot about taking the risk to break my console. I need to think about this... Otherwise, it seems pretty manageable. I need to find my old Action Replay cartridge, where the 4MB was not working. I hope that I have kept it somewhere.

Personally, I would not sacrifice an AR cartridge for Pseudo Saturn. I would go with the mod chip instead, which costs the same amount of money and can be installed easily with a minimum of soldering. I remain hopeful that a future version of Pseudo Saturn will enable the rest of the AR functions to work as well. Until then, just spring for the chip.
 
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Personally, I would not sacrifice an AR cartridge for Pseudo Saturn. I would go with the mod chip instead, which costs the same amount of money and can be installed easily with a minimum of soldering. I remain hopeful that a future version of Pseudo Saturn will enable the rest of the AR functions to work as well. Until then, just spring for the chip.
Too late, I did it after coming back home. Did the swap trick for the first time, it was easy and work perfectly. You can always put back the firmware for the Action Replay anyway.

Going to try Shienryu right now.
 
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So I tried Shienryu. My Model 2 Saturn is having a hard time reading the burnt disc, it is the console I have been using for more than 20 years so I am guessing that it is getting old.

My Model 1 however reads it like a real one.

Shienryu is actually high resolution, this is very interesting. My guess is that the game was meant to be 320 * 240 in arcades, but since the Saturn is not TATE mode, then you have to fit the 320 pixels in only 240 available vertically.

So the choice here it seems has been to opt for the high res of the machine, thus having 480 pixels instead, and doubling 1 line out of two. The result is not bad at all, I think it is a better result than working in low res 320*240 and having to fit 320 pixel in 240, which means taking out 1 line out of 4.

You can feel that you have a higher resolution game than other vertical shmups designed for 320*240 TATE mode. However, because lines are doubled, it looks like the background is "alive" and you can see some slight movement everywhere. But it does not look bad at all.

Very interesting game in the end, that fits exactly the type of shmups I love (classic, old school, not too fast). Will give Cotton Boomerang a try this evening I think. Probably going to burn the ton of shmups I never bought because they are too expensive.

Edit : when you select Arcade Mode, it actually puts the game in TATE mode, and the console switches back to 320*240 progressive output, which confirms what I thought. Clever developers.
 
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Just wanted to correct myself concerning the resolution of Shienryu. After further observation, when displayed in the normal Saturn mode, the game uses the high resolution of the console 640 * 480.

What the developers did is double the native resolution of game, in TATE mode that's 240 * 320 = 480 * 640. And then, when displaying this resolution in 640 * 480, what they do is skip 1 line out of 3, bringing it to 480 * 480 pixels to actually display.

Pretty sure that this is how they did it for Shienryu. My guess is that it is not too taxing for the console, since everything is still calculated for 240 * 320 internally, the console (VDP) only having to double lines/columns at the final moment before the output.

But now that I think about it, they could have acheived exactly the same result in 240 * 240 progressive scan, so I wonder why they decided to go high res mode, and I am not so sure that it was a smart move.

In Arcade/TATE mode, the console goes back to its standard 320*240 progressive display.
 
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I usually make my own French covers for Japanese games I love the most.

Stuff like this :


Or this :
I do the same for Japan only games except I make them like the jewel case Nights into Dreams. That way I can put them over the original Japanese manual/art if they came with it.
http://www.nightsintodreams.com/NiD/boxscans/ussmall.jpg
Yours is more macho than mine I'd say.

I tried to imagine what they would have looked like if they released over here. Though I think I'm too generous with the Darkstalkers one considering the PS1 artwork.



Oh I just realized I could have reused the PS1 box for X-Men vs. SF but as usual it's boring to look at.
 
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Another game has been translated to English, and it seems that it is a very high quality work.

Linkle Liver Story

For your information, Policenauts also received an English translation a few months ago.

And it seems that Princess Crown has made some great progress, as seen on the dedicated topic at romhacking.net

As a reminder, please know that it is possible to play these translated games on an original, unmodified hardware if you own the original game. I can explain the method if required.
For those lacking the original game and/or hardware, the Mednafen emulator recently received and update, and this game now works:


I've recently been playing through The Secret of Mana and this game looks very similar (although I'm sure the music isn't quite as great).
 
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This was already posted on the main gaming forum, but I thought it deserved a place here too:

Japanese man collects every single Sega Saturn game

“All 1,057 titles of the Sega Saturn are finally complete…. It took a long time…. The last three especially…. There are pros and cons to completing this, but for now anyway, I feel relieved that I have made it. I thought it was going to be impossible personally, but somehow the dream came true. Well, guess I’ll have a tempura rice bowl.”

He even received a reply from Sega's official account:

“That’s quite a sight and made me gasp ‘OHHH!’ without thinking. And you did it in the 25th anniversary year of the Sega Saturn. Thank you for loving Sega Saturn for such a long time!”
An impressive achievement. In comparison, apparently only 196 N64 games were released in Japan.

The Saturn's relative popularity in Japan is the only reason I still hold a glimmer of hope for a Saturn Mini or Saturn collection at some point in the future.
 

Eolz

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This was already posted on the main gaming forum, but I thought it deserved a place here too:

Japanese man collects every single Sega Saturn game




He even received a reply from Sega's official account:



An impressive achievement. In comparison, apparently only 196 N64 games were released in Japan.

The Saturn's relative popularity in Japan is the only reason I still hold a glimmer of hope for a Saturn Mini or Saturn collection at some point in the future.
Goddamn, that's really impressive!
 
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A youtuber is attempting to review every single US Saturn release in chronological order:



This looks like a second attempt at the project (there are a few older videos on his channel too). While the humour doesn't always hit the mark for me, overall they are well produced and entertaining reviews.
 
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