THE SATURN: SO DEAD BUT SO DAMN GOOD
Back in 1996, I had a dilemma. I had just graduated high school and I was facing the biggest choice of my life, the Saturn or the Playstation. On one hand, I had Sega's new system that had some awesome games including my favorite fighting game Virtua Fighter. Then you had the Playstation that had some cool games but had, in the future, the Final Fantasy series. Like many people did, I went with the Playstation and never looked back. It was until 2001, that I was checking out some games at the now out of business gamestore chain called Gamefellas, where I saw Shining Force 3 for the Sega Saturn. I had read reviews back when on how SF3 and Panzer Dragoon Saga where amazing games for the Saturn but the stories of the rarity of these games had become well known so I thought I would never see them. Once I saw that SF3, the memories came back of all the Shining Force games I had played in the past.
Shining Force 1 blew me away when I first played it on my Genesis. Rather than sprites fighting each other, you had these anime type fights on a battlefield with 12 characters of your choice. It was almost too much for me since I loved the idea of having a whole army to fight with each their own character rather than typical soldiers. I had only rented the game but I did beat it. Then for the next year after beating it, the game was never seen again at my local rental store so I didn't get a chance to play it again. Sadly, my Genesis had died thanks to my uncle to the possibility of playing it again was even less likely. That summer, I had my first summer job and with that money I purchased a Sega CDX(portable cdplayer/genesis/sega cd) and was determined to play it again. I finally did as well the sequel which amazed me even more. To complete the series, I played the Game Gear version: Shining Force Sword of Hajia, and Shining Force CD for the Sega CD. All of them provided me with hours upon hours of enjoyment.
Seeing that SF3, I knew I had to buy it and a Saturn, which I did. Once again, the game went far beyond my expectations and has become my favorite game of all time. The only sad part is that SF3 for the US was one part of a three part series. The other two parts never were released in the US and the series has an amazing story where each game intertwines with each other at certain points giving you three viewpoints of this gigantic story. Missing out on two-thirds of this story still upsets me today. But once I had the Saturn, I was going to play those hard to find games even if it meant spending $100+ on them.
Lucky for me, I had been given a video game guardian angel. A kid name Reggie who worked at another video game store that was bought out by Gamestop, called Gameworld, had given mercy to a novice Saturn gamer. I went to that store hoping to find a rare Saturn game but he said it was not a chance to find them in stores. He then bragged a bit about how he had multiple copies of these rare games. I was amazed and had given him a queue that I was wiling to purchase a copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga. He agree to relinquish one of this copies, I think he had 3, for $80 which was a deal I couldn't resist. For those who don't know, Panzer Dragoon Saga is one of the best RPGs ever created and as expensive as it can be, you should try to check it out. A year later, Reggie came to my store, Circuit City, and while talking about Saturn games again, I mentioned that I wanted to play Dragon Force. Once again, taking pity on me, he was willing to part with one of his copies for my used copy of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Without hesitation I accepted and now I had three of the rarest games on the Saturn.
I went through some money problems and had to sell PDZ and SF3, for about $200 on ebay. I had kept Dragon Force because I never finished it. Several months later, more money problems had lead me to sell my copy and while I had tried to beat the game, the battery on the Saturn had gone dead and I couldn't save a game. It was a sad time because I loved the game. The huge battles were so much fun and were very addicting so playing it for several hours straight was no problem. I still ended up selling the game with a promise that I would get the game again. Unfortunately, I was robbed not long after and all my systems were stolen including the Saturn. So with my recent purchases of the Wii and Nintendo DS, along with my buddy giving me his old Dreamcast, I decided to fulfill my promise. So on to ebay I went and purchased both Dragon Force and a Saturn.
Originally blogged on 7/5/08