And we are back again with the ODROID XU3/XU4 running Sega Saturn games. This issue will cover the rest of the games (letter in the alphabet) I tried and really liked to play on my ODROID. Once again I found some really nice gems that I want to share with you. This will probably be the last of the series, although I might pick it up again when emulators get better and more games will be available or running on ODROIDs for the Sega Saturn. For example, the newest version of Yabause libretro core sometimes works quite nice now and it’s possible to play some games on this emulator as well and I took it into account here and there.
Tenchi Wo Kurao 2 / Warrior of Fate
This is an very good arcade port. For all I know it’s actually arcade perfect. You can find it also on MAME, CPS1 and PlayStation. While all versions are rather good, the Saturn version has it all in my opinion. Graphics and sounds are as it’s arcade counterpart and the CD quality music is just an upgrade to an already amazing title. It’s also running very good on ODROIDs which is why I can highly recommend it.
The game is your typical arcade brawler, with tons of enemies coming at you from left and right. You hit them enough times and they stay down, down enough of them and proceed to the next section. At the end of each section you’ll encounter a boss which has plenty more hit points and takes a long time and some tactics and skills to take down.
I like it and it plays amazingly good on the XU4 even if you need to use frame skipping. Still, the game does not slow down even with 10 or more enemies on the same screen. The sprites are big and colorful backgrounds are well drawn there’s really nothing to complain about. This port to the Saturn is solid, and if you like games like this, I suggest you look into it on the Saturn.
The Legend of Oasis / The Story of Thor 2
If you played Beyond Oasis on the Sega Genesis, you know exactly what you’re getting into. This game is suppose to be the “prequel” but plays pretty much like the Genesis version. But with improved graphics. In fact it’s one of the nicest looking 2D games of it’s time I’d like to say.
Your first quest is to head down into the dungeon and befriend the water spirit. Similar to Beyond Oasis, you find elemental spirits and use them to solve puzzles and fight enemies. You can collect different weapons which have all limited uses but you always have your dagger which does not expire like the other weapons you can collect. You also collect a lot of other items, especially food which you can use to refill your health bar.
However, they changed a lot of the game compared to Beyond Oasis. You no longer find items to increase your level or health, but instead you “train” your character: take enough hits and get healed and you get more health and things like this. It’s an interesting concept, but also a little strange. The level design can be hard at times as you often struggle to figure out where to go and how to get up or down a platform. It often looks like you can go a certain way but then you see it’s suppose to be much higher and you can’t reach it. It might not be the best game of its time, but it looks rather beautiful and runs well on the ODROID XU4.
Theme Park was one of these games that I played way too long as a child. I actually remember playing this game on my trusty Amiga and was very surprised to see a Sega Saturn port. As you control this game by mouse on the Amiga I was skeptical how it would work out on a console with a joystick/gamepad. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it’s actually working quite well. It took me a little while to figure out all controlls, but it’s working rather good. Everything is there and works as it was in the Amiga version I remember.
What I also like are the render videos that you can watch for each attraction, allowing you to be the child in one of your rides and see how this attraction looks from a child's point of view.
You have to do a lot of micro-management in this game. Hiring staff distribute them through the park, select what rides you place where and what shops you want. You can manage the prices for shops or the amount of ice in your coke or salt on your fries. You have to select the right price of your entrance fee and so on.
It’s an interesting and fun game, and yes, we all increase the speed of the roller coasters so high that the people started to throw up after the ride. One downside of this game is that I could only get it to work with the libretro core, it still plays in a very good speed, so I assume Yabause would work fine as well, but sadly the standalone emulator crashes. Maybe with a newer version this can be fixed.
Time Bokan Series – Bokan to Ippatsu! Doronboo Kanpekiban
I want to be honest with you, I have no clue what this game is all about, as it’s completely in Japanese. Still this game is very fun to play and offers a lot of anime cutscenes which looks like they are from a actual anime series of the 80s. It’s a fast paced vertical shooter with bright colors and tons of stuff going on on the screen.
This game is not easy but very fun to play it’s nothing that you should take serious but the bright colors and tons of enemies on the screen are just fun.
This is one of these casual shooters that you pick up play for half an hour and feel satisfied. It also exists for the PlayStation so I guess it’s up to you where you want to play it. Tryrush Deppy
I don’t even know where to start to describe this game. It has a very cartoon-ish style both in the game graphics but also in the intro of the game. You’re a cab (taxi) and you participate in a car racing, but not what you might expect. In this game cars act like humans and they are actually WALKING on their back tires (I’m not kidding).
The game itself turns out to be a fast-paced platformer similar to Sonic, but without the loopings. It’s very fast and you can run, jump or dash through the world. You have to collect “oil” to keep going but there are more items you can collect which give you temporary powers, like a shield so you can run through everything or you become a lot faster for a short time. The goal is always to run to the end of the level and hit the goal sign (sounds familiar?).
Once again I really like the bright colors as well as the cartoon-ish design, since it really suits the game. You can also select your own license plate at the start of the game to save your in game progress.
I haven’t played the game very far yet, but there’s lots of things going on aside from you running and jumping. There are cops chasing you for “speeding” there are villains that get chased by the cops and can run you over. Your dash can act as an attack and you can actually charge it so you run faster and dash further. Some enemies can be killed by jumping on their head or dashing through them. There are hard to reach objects, hidden paths and more.
All in all, it’s a very fun game and I rather enjoy playing it. I found one tiny issue with it, which is that the character sprite sometimes glitches for a frame or so and then becomes normal again. I’m not sure if that’s due to the emulator or a bad ROM. If you like platformers (games similar to Sonic or Mario) you should definitely check this game out. Also, did I mention that there are actual boss fights in this game as well? At some points you have to crash huge monster cars that you have to hit with your dash attack in certain spots.
Twinkle Star Sprites
Twinkle Star Sprites is a fun little game on the Saturn. I’ve the game also for Dreamcast but sadly it’s extremely slow on the reicast dreamcast emulator. Luckily for us the Saturn version works just fine.
In this anime styled shooting game, you can select between many different characters and fight against your opponent not by shooting at them, but by shooting at monsters and objects coming at you and avoiding getting hit. If you destroy enough things on the screen you cause extra stuff to spawn on your opponents screen making it harder for them to avoid things. If you or your opponent get hit often enough it’s Win or Lose.
The gameplay is rather easy: shoot at everything and avoid what you can not destroy. It’s a lot of fun and looks very good. I love the bright color and yes even the sparkles and explosions going on all over the screen is nice to look at. I’m not quite sure why the Dreamcast version is running so much slower, but I’m happy to be able to play the Sega Saturn version, which the ODROID-XU4 can handle really well. You have a power meter which allows you to shoot a charged attack which does more damage and can hit more enemies at once. It also can have different level depending on your charging. You also have a limited number of bombs you can use to destroy a large number of enemies on the screen.
Vampire Hunter Darstalkers’ Revenge
While I’m normally not a big fan of fighting games like Street Fighter and so on, this is one game I actually enjoy playing and I enjoy it on the Sega Saturn.
I have to say I enjoy the brighter colors on the Sega Saturn a lot. Compared to the Genesis where everything seemed dark and muddy the Saturns games are much more vibrant when it comes to colors and I enjoy this a lot. So it also is with this fighting game paired with tons of animation on each character and with many different attacks it makes a really solid game experience. Like most good fighting games this one uses 6 different buttons which also makes it best on the Saturn as other consoles only use 4 action buttons most of the time. It also means you can pull off a lot of different moves and special attacks rather easily. It’s probably one of my favorite fighting games (also maybe cause I can actually beat the enemies). If you like fighting games, I highly recommend to try this game on the ODROID.
Waku Waku Puyo Puyo Dungeon
Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to play this as much as I would like yet, also it’s a little bit hard to understand for me as the entire game is in Japanese. Still I managed to get into a dungeon and figured out how to attack, cast spells and switch through different spells that I had, and for all I care I had a lot of fun.
Although the game seemed slightly laggy, it doesn’t really matter since you don’t need a fast reaction time in this game. You and the enemies take “rounds” even if it doesn’t feel like it. You walk a step the enemy does, you hit the enemy walks or attacks you as well. It’s just back and forth. Your character is automatically turning to the enemy when they attack you so you don’t have to figure out how to do diagonals. You find gold and other items in the dungeon, so I guess you can buy either new weapons and armors or just health items outside of the dungeon, but I haven’t figured that all out yet. I have also found two types of pentagrams in the dungeon yet. One restores your health, and the other restores MP. The one for MP disappears quickly though after one or two uses, while HP seems to stay.
From the start you have fire and ice attacks as skills and on deeper level in the dungeon you find enemies that get more damage depending on the element you’re using. Killing an enemy gives you Exp and Gold every now and then they also drop items like apples and such. The first couple of level ups go fast and your HP and MP goes up automatically also your attack and magic becomes stronger. You’ll find a stairway at some point in the dungeon leading to the next level, go deep enough and you encounter a boss fight.
Warcraft II – The Dark Saga
I was very much surprised seeing this game on the Saturn, but then again, I’ve seen other PC ports on the system as well. I was also surprised to see the game running rather well, although I found out it has a few issues. So the bad things first. On Yabause standalone, the videos are broken and you can’t see (but hear) them. It also has some issues with transparent graphics it seems as the game misses some elements. For example when you click on a character you do not see that you have him selected and if you open up the info screen the background is white instead of transparent/meshed. This is rather annoying, since you also don’t see how many characters you have selected or what health they have left, but still everything else works fine once you figured out the button layout of the game.
When you figured out the layout the game is actually quite enjoyable on Yabause standalone and fun to play even with the shortcomings. The libretro core has no graphical issues and looks rather good, videos work, transparent and mesh is there everything looks fine, BUT the speed is too slow to be enjoyable.
Everything from the DOS version of the game seems to be there. The game even houses the expansion pack of the game. All Mission descriptions are fully voiced. Videos are all there (even if they don’t work on Yabause standalone), and the music is what you would expect.
Although the game uses passwords for the levels, there is a save option for the game as well. Although you probably won’t fit more than 2 save games on the internal memory of the Saturn as the save states are quite big. Still this allows you to save and restore on any point in the game. Still, you can easily play the DOS version of the game on ODROIDs as well, so it’s up to you how you want to play this masterpiece.
This game surprised me a little. In this 3D platforming game you play as Willy Wombat and jump and fight through different level. What is very interesting is that you can freely rotate the camera with the R and L buttons of the Saturn controller (for me mapped as L2/R2). This is very interesting as many objects only appear if you rotate the camera, they are strategically placed so you only see them from a certain angle. Although the 3D capabilities of the Saturn are very limited it works fine in this game, as it uses pre-rendered 2D sprites (similar to Donkey Kong) for the character and objects in a 3D environment.
I haven’t dived far into the game yet, but it plays actually quite nice. The controls work good, although it’s sometimes a little hard to place your jump correctly due to the isometric viewing angle, but turning the camera often helps a lot. You have two types of attacks: a close range slash, and a boomerang attack that has limited range. It can also be used to collect items. Later you can also find some special attacks called forces that you can use to support you in your quest. These do massive damage to a lot of enemies on screen.
Although the game is completely in Japanese, all voice acting is done in English, making it very easy to follow the story and understand the game. Also, the game is a Sega Saturn exclusive, so check it out you won’t find it anywhere else.
Wonder 3 Arcade Gears / Three Wonders
Wonder 3 Arcade Gears is a collection of 3 arcade games on one disc. Roosters, Chariot and Donburu are the three games on this disc. Roosters being a action orientated platformer, Chariot a arcade side-scroller shooter featuring the same characters as in Roosters and Donburu is an unrelated puzzle game. All games work actually quite nicely, with no slowdowns or anything.
Each game is fun in its own way, and it’s a really nice compilation of games on one disc. I did knew about Roosters before I got this compilation and already played it for the arcade or on the PS1. However, the other two games were new to me. Chariot instantly reminded me that on Roosters, it has the same characters and enemies, and the treasure chests are the same as in Roosters, although they now all fly.
You have your primary attack, which can be upgraded and switched through collecting power-ups, and you have your more powerful secondary attack which depends on the length of your “tail”. The longer the tail the stronger the attack but it also takes longer to recharge.
Donburu is a totally different game, and not connected to the former two. Your goal here is to push blocks around and with that, kill all of the enemies on the screen. Different blocks have different properties. For example, some explode and damage enemies in their surroundings. You get points depending on how fast you completed the level. All three games are very fun to play, have beautiful graphics, and run fluently on the ODROID-XU4. It’s worth having this disc for your Saturn or on your Saturn emulator of choice.
I remember the original Worms from my trusty Amiga. This game was the best of the best back then, and spawned many sequels and clones such as Hedgewars. The Saturn version of this game seems to be similar to the Amiga CD32 version, means it comes with all the video cutscenes music and voices that made the game fun and great. And although this game has tons of stuff going on in the background and with all the characters on the screen it’s working perfectly fine on the ODROID XU4.
In this game, you have teams of worms fight each other with different weapons ranging from Bazooka, Shotgut, and Air Strikes, to the famous exploding sheep. There are tons of weapons to choose from. It’s brutal, it’s war, it’s fun! Weapons are affected by wind direction and strength. With enough wind strength you can shoot to the right to get around an object and still kill an enemy that is standing on your left.
This game has beautiful graphics, especially considering that it was created for the Amiga. It’s a very competitive game and fun to play against friends or the computer. This particular game is what started the series, which goes still on today with many, many different versions of the game. If you played Worms Armageddon, or World Party, you know how fun this game really is and here you have the chance to visit the roots of these amazing games.
This is another rather generic shoot ‘em up vertical scroller. It has nice visuals and actually uses different planes where enemies are on, but not all your aircrafts can attack both planes which can be quite annoying. Still, I haven’t found anything special about it and it’s a little bit too slow for my taste to fully enjoy it, but worth if you like shmups.
What can I say: it’s Tetris and not the only one on the system, but it’s the better version in my opinion. There’s nothing bad about the game. It has different game mods, some anime characters, nice music, and a level system. It’s a very solid and enjoyable Tetris game.
The Lost World Jurassic Park
This one crashed when you load into the game on Yabause standalone but works on libretro, but sadly a little too slow. You play a dino this time and fight against other dinos and have to solve jumping puzzles and such. It uses a 3D world and characters and looks surprisingly good with it. I wish it would work on the Yabause standalone as it probably would run full speed there.
Three Dirty Dwarves
Unfortunately, this game has lots of graphics issues running under my current build of Yabause standalone emulator, but it runs without graphical issues under the libretro core, but as usual it runs way too slow here. This game is actually quite nice: you play 3 dwarves that fight against all kind of monsters. One uses a baseball and and bat as his main weapon, one uses a shotgun, and the last uses a bowling ball to fight off enemies. If you get hit, the guy goes down and the next in the line takes over, but you can revive your fallen comrades by kicking them in the butt, so to speak. It’s a fun action game with nice graphics. Hopefully I can get a newer version of Yabause running at some point, and that will fix this issue, since this is a really nice game.
Thunder Force Gold Pack 1, 2 and V
Thunder Force Gold Pack 1 consists of Thunder Force II MD and Thunder Force III. The first one is a top-down, and the second one a side scroller. Both are nice and fun to play with a little bit of parallax scrolling going on. Graphics are ok, but not impressive. You can switch between different weapon types back and forth to optimize the effect on your enemy. Especially in Thunder Force III you’re doing this a lot.
Thunder Force Gold Pack 2 houses Thunder Force AC and Thunder Force IV. The former is pretty much the same as Thunder Force III, but with much more lagging. I guess they upped the graphics with an additional layer of parallax scrolling background, but the performance took a serious hit. It’s easier than III though, but also removed the level select from III.
Thunder Force IV has better graphics lots of parallax scrolling and is much better performance wise, and the level select is back. The map is much bigger this time, and you can go far up and down on the screen, which means you don’t see what’s up or below you if you don’t go up and down. I like it the most, although it’s quite hard.
Thunder Force V goes to 3D this time. It looks nice, but the lagging is back and the graphics have tons of glitches. I never knew if I hit the boss or not, as I don’t see any indicator for it, and the boss glitches all over the place. If Thunder Force IV was a standalone title I would recommend it, but together with the others, it’s not really worth it.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
I like this game: it’s very fast and you have a lot of characters to choose from. It’s not very easy, but I don’t think any of the Mortal Kombat games are. It’s a really good arcade port and plays rather well on the ODROID-XU4. If you like the Mortal Kombat series, you should try this version and see how you like it.
Virtua Fighter 2
It works, and the 3D graphics are actually quite good. Textures and backgrounds are fine. I’m just not a fan of it. The speed is ok if you use frame skipping.
Wakumon / Waku Waku Monster
This game is actually fun to play for a little while. It’s one of these games where you drop items and have to match the same color, and if you have 3 or more together, you pop them and you get points. Have enough points, and you attack your enemy, if the enemy attacks, you press a button to counter the attack and minimize the damage. Be faster than your opponent and win. Each time you win, your “Monster” evolves. You start with an egg, and every time you win, your pet grows and changes form, which is funny to see. It’s great in small doses, and I actually like it quite a bit.
Whizz is an interesting platformer where you play a rabbit with a hat that looks like it came straight out of Alice in Wonderland. The colors are bight, the music is very nice, and the game controls are rather good. It’s also fast enough on the XU4 to enjoy it. There is just one issue: the game freezes after a couple of seconds.
Using the libretro core instead helps in that the game doesn’t freeze, although it’s too slow to play. While currently the game is not working as it should, I’m wondering if newer versions of Yabause fixed that issue, and if so, we can probably play this game in the future.
Currently, this game only works on the libretro core, where it’s way too slow to be fun to play. However, you can see what the potential is, and I think I would probably enjoy it better than the PS1 version of the game. Unfortunately, it’s not really playable at the moment.
This game is another side-scroller, which is not bad, but not impressive either. You can build your own “mech” by selecting secondary weapons, close range weapons, leg types, and such, or you can choose one of the pre-configured options. The controls are not the best in my opinion, but if you hold the fire button, you will keep looking in one direction, but still have to aim up and down, if you don’t hold the button you can turn around and kill enemies from behind you. Although your weapon is widely spread, there is no angle from which you can hit all enemies, and even altering the two heights you can select back and forth won’t allow you to hit all enemies. You need to jump with the hope of hitting the other enemies before they hit you.
When your health goes to zero, your mech is destroyed and you jump out of it. The resulting character has only a tiny gun and the slightest hit will kill you, which is not really fun at all. On Yabause standalone it has some graphical issues, and libretro has some speed issues, but is probably good enough to play.
Z was a surprise to me. I love Z, and this version seems to have everything in that the PC version has, with all videos, music, and levels included, and that’s very positive. The graphics are fine as well, but this game requires speed, and lots of it. If you don’t know what and when to do things, you will lose. This game is very hard, and just to be honest, without a mouse, playing this game is not fun at all. You have a couple of shortcuts to jump to the next unit, next flag, and next enemy, but that doesn’t help much. Still, the game works perfectly fine.
Final recap of Sega Saturn on ODROIDs
It’s been a long journey. I’ve tested hundreds of Saturn games and picked the games that I liked the most. Not every game worked: some games were unbearably slow, and others crashed before I could even try them. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. There are a few games that I would have loved to play on the ODROID but that simply wouldn’t work. The emulation of Sega Saturn is very difficult, and often fails. The development is also very slow, and not much has changed in a very long time. I’m still using a very old version of the Yabause standalone emulator, but newer versions simply didn’t work.
However, there’s hope! New versions of Saturn emulators are still in development, and there’s even an Android version that runs on OpenGL ES. In fact, I’ve even seen videos that show this emulator working on the ODROID-XU4 as well.
I hope that in the future, we can see more Saturn games running on the ODROID, and I might pick the topic up once again when this happens. For now I’m quite satisfied with Saturn on the ODROID-XU4. I have a collection of over 50 games for the Saturn that I really enjoy playing, and which will take me quite a while to finish. I hope you too will have fun with the Sega Saturn on your ODROID-XU4 and that this series gave you some ideas on what you can play.