Now we come to the Sega Saturn version of Resident Evil. This oversized boxed American case version is certainly unique, and a sign that if given more love by the right companies, the Saturn could have lasted long that 1998 in the US. The Saturn version actually had several bits included that the Director's Cut did not have, including a bonus Battle game that would serve as inspiration to future Resident Evils. But is the game worth owning if you have the others?
Being a huge Resident Evil fan, I bought this game for the little details. I've always seen Saturn cases as a great test for collectors. Because there are pretty shoddily made, taking care of them and preserving them in mint condition takes a special kind of devotion, the kind that I like to think I possess. Anyway, using Gameshark cheats are also very easy on Saturn, due to the need of the device to make importing effortless. Resident Evil Saturn version has many neat cheats worth checking out, if you are in need of an incentive.
RE Saturn's graphics are the same on the surface, you have the standard console respective strengths emerging, with a lack of the Saturn's transparencies being apparent in many areas of the mansion, most prevalent in fire and water effects. Of course, there are areas in which the Saturn indeed looks better. I prefer the look of the Aqua Ring and Guardhouse in the Saturn version. The sparse coloration just seems to stand out more on Saturn, making these areas look sharper.
The character graphics for Chris and Jill are less pixelated overall, but the faces are noticeably worse. The new alternate costumes help to obscure the messed up facial features though, and I am thankful for that.
Music and sound is again mostly the same, though the music seems to be sampled at a lower rate. This naturally hurts most tracks, but helps others. The new music for the extra Battle Mode is sweet, and no doubt a model for future great RE action cues. The Saturn seems to have trouble processing sound effects in the proper order, so it often seems to be missing sound effects. The best example of this is when Barry says: "Let me take care of this!" and starts shooting the zombie. The Saturn version doesn't hear the first magnum shot (which really should have decapitated that zombie instantly...) as Barry's dialogue is not finished yet. I believe this was the result of programming nuances, not Saturn inferiority.
The gameplay in the Saturn version is the same, though the 6-button pad can take some getting used to. There is still no auto aim. Combined with imprecise turning, the player may find themselves missing more shots than in the PSX version. I estimate that this handicap will be overcome by midgame though, if you persist. I guess that mention of the Battle Mode belongs under the gameplay description. Battle Mode is a Saturn exclusive in which you chose a character and must kill all enemies in a random area of the game and then move onto the next. This is a fun diversion and features some exclusive enemies: a Zombie Wesker and the Gold Tyrant, who takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. Luckily you may have plenty of "exprosive" rounds to help you to get through to him. Finally, there is a new color of Hunter in the main game, dubbed "Ticks".
Challenge in the Saturn version is pretty much the same, perhaps harder at first due to the different controls. The new enemies still go down fairly easily if you have the right ammo. And the Battle Mode is not as hard as you may expect. Overall it is probably harder for first time Resident Evil players, but definitely easy for veterans.
Replay value is the same as the original Playstation version. To me, it is always fun to run through this game in record time, blowing away the undead with infinite rockets! Good times...
In summation, Resident Evil Saturn is best fit for people who only own a Saturn (for some reason...) and Resident Evil completists like me. To tell the truth, if I hadn't bought this game before the advent of Youtube, I would have been fine with just watching videos of the Saturn exclusives there. I really REALLY wish I had done that with the Outbreak series...
- Ugly Bob