SNES Reviews
A-M Obscure SFC
N-Z Obscure SFC
SEGA Saturn Times
Interview with SSM
SSM Top 50 Part 1
SSM Top 50 Part 2
SSM Top 50 Part 3
SSM Top 50 Part 4
SSM Top 50 Part 5
SSM Top 50 Finale
Planet SEGA Saturn
Magazine MADNESS
Mission/Q & A
My Collection

Conducted in issue #28 (February 1998), two things to keep in mind while going through this list:

  • All games ranked are PAL releases, so there are no JP titles (e.g. Soukyugurentai)
  • List was compiled in December of '97, hence titles such as Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shining Force III and Burning Rangers are missing for obvious reasons

I originally posted this awesome SSM feature at a message board way back in October 2003. Posting 2 entries each day, it became a HUGE hit. On random odd nights during 2004, 2005, even 2006 -- I'd check my topic for a quick trip down memory lane, and what would I see at the very bottom of the topic, on several different occasions?

  • Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 3 (1 members and 2 guests)

Are you kidding me?! A thread that was made waaay back in 2003, which still got hits in late 2006, and wasn't a sticky topic? Now that's amazing. It was only a matter of time before I'd transfer the whole she-bang over, with updates and refurbishing here and there. Replicated just for you, I proudly present... Sega Saturn Magazine's Top 50

  • "Because you demanded it -- the Top 50 Sega Saturn games available on the shelves now! The entire team have been involved in compiling, writing and checking (and indeed arguing about) this feature... So, have we got it right or have we messed up big time? Send in your comments to Virtua Writer..."


Best described as Return Fire meets Soviet Strike, the unambiguously titled Mass Destruction is a technically outstanding blaster.
"Yeah, there's a loose mission structure to follow, but the meat and bones of Mass Destruction is just that -- Mass Destruction. Running at a super-smooth 60 fps and featuring some of the most incredible pyrotechnics we've ever seen, it's just a shame they missed out the all-important two-player mode." -Lee Nutter

                   Check out
                   that lovely

#49: KING OF FIGHTERS '95 -89%

SNK's greatest fighters from their legendary beat 'em ups mass in this one 2D battling megagame! Action-packed fighting action guaranteed!

"Capcom have virtually owned the 2D fighting genre on Saturn, but this one SNK release shows that when it comes to true hardcore fighting games, the underdog are in a class of their own. KoF 95 is probably the most lastable fighting game on the system... if you're into SNK of course." -Editor Rich Leadbetter

                         Only KoF title that
                         got a PAL release
                         on the Saturn

#48: SHINING WISDOM (oddly, never rated)

The last 2D game in the Shining Force series. Explore a fantasy realm and undertake a quest to save your homeland from destruction.
"Sega have always produced quality RPGs and Sonic Software Planning's epic is no exception. While the visuals may look pretty basic, Shining Wisdom's playability and grand scale are second-to-none. There are literally hundreds of characters to meet and magical spells to master. A deserved addition to the RPG fan's library." -Matt Yeo

                A real mixed
                bag among
                Saturn fans

#47: ENEMY ZERO -88%

The best attempt yet at an 'Interactive Movie', programmed by legendary Japanese nutters Warp. The 11th best selling Saturn game EVER in Japan!

"The Japanese loved it. We quite liked it as well, come to think of it, as the smooth sci-fi action and top quality rendered FMV makes for an enjoyable and deep experience, with a pretty tough challenge for all you Saturn-owning adventure fans." -Gary Cutlack

              Be fair warned,
              this IS NOT as
              as other first
              person games

#46: ACTUA GOLF -90%

Golf -- hitting a ball around a field with a stick. Sounds crap, but it actually makes for a decent videogame simulation.

"To convince your dad that games aren't just about shooting and fighting, it's essential to own a golf game. And you might as well buy a good one while you're at it -- Actua Golf scored 90% for its attention to detail, smooth 3D graphics and great control." -Gary Cutlack

                                       VR Golf '97

                                       in the US

#45: PANDEMONIUM! -90%

Resurrecting the neglected platform genre from its 16-bit glory days, Pandemonium! is the finest example of its kind on the Saturn. [AMEN! This genre was sorely lacking on the Saturn, but this game helped to make amends for that -Me]

"Incorporating classic 2D gameplay into a luscious 3D environment, Pandemonium! is a speedy and visually astounding platformer." -Lee Nutter

               This game is


One of the first games to be produced for the Saturn-based ST-V arcade board, and probably one of the best, featuring gorgeously smooth hi-res visuals.... It's AM3 magic!
"Tasty athletic girls in high-cut lycra gear... lovely! Of course we're only interested in the gameplay, and the button-bashing action made for an excellent sports game. It's not the biggest game ever made, but beating your personal (and buddies') bests presents a decent challenge that can last ages." -Gary Cutlack

                      If you liked this
                      be sure to check
                      out Winter Heat

#43: DARK SAVIOR -92%

Years in the making, this adventure has the same class and style as the epochal LandStalker on MegaDrive. Stunning adventuring, although RPG masters may find it too easy...

"The sheer quest in Dark Savior is one that all die-hard adventurers will savour -- it's quality. I completed the Japanese import, then played it through again when it came out here. Excellent." -Editor Rich Leadbetter

                   One of the
                   US RPG's
                   on Saturn
                   ($ cheap)

But before we get to #42, check out this awesome bit written by one of 'em SSM boys...

A long time ago, when man reached a state of civilization comfortable enough to make hunting a more mechanical and effortless process, he decided to celebrate the fact by eulogising the various hunting methods and turning them into a show of strength and superiority over every other species. Rather than running at pace after a pig, he decided to run after nothing, rather than throwing a spear at galloping elk he decided to throw a spear at nothing. OK, so it seems a bit stupid but then athletics, like all sports when you get to thinking about them, is a bit strange anyway.

Sega Saturn Magazine -- a hell of a fine magazine indeed! Back to the countdown!

#42: DAYTONA CCE -90%

The Rally conversion team try their hand at recreating the awesome Daytona USA coin-op on the Saturn with mixed results.
"The highly anticipated update of the often maligned Daytona conversion is a mixed bag really. The myriad of improvements (two-player mode, new tracks and improved graphics) is commendable, but somehow the superlative gameplay has been lost in the conversion. It's not really Daytona anymore, but a cool arcade racer nonetheless." -Lee Nutter

            Pretty shot eh?

#41: SPACE HULK -90%

A corridor shoot 'em up that tries to include more of a strategy element, with players responsible for positioning their troops as well as shooting.
"Do we want strategy in our shoot 'em ups? Well, if you're looking for something that's a bit tougher and durable than most games, Space Hulk's very complex levels and massive alien sprites should do the trick. But don't worry, there's still plenty of mindless blasting for you shooter fans." -Gary Cutlack

               Like E0, this
               isn't high in
               action so do
               not be fooled
               by this shot

There you have it! The first 10 games in the top 50 countdown

My quick thoughts on each game

  • Mass D- Played it a bit several years back. Fun but repetitive. I should give it a 2nd shot
  • KoF 95- Never played it. '97 was the last KoF on Saturn, and damn good I might add
  • Shining Wisdom- Own it since 2004, but still haven't played it. My buddy GAR3 loves this game, for sentimental reasons if nothing else. I bought a loose extra copy for dirt cheap at Game Crazy last year, which I gave to a friend for free (see Resurrection)
  • Enemy Zero- Invisible aliens, a beeping indicator, and lots of ZZZ's. Sorry, I just never liked this game. It's largely a mixed bag within the Saturn community. Seems you either love it or don't care for it
  • Actua Golf- Owned VR Golf '97 at one point. Meh. It was hard to enjoy it, after playing fun golf titles like Hot Shots Golf (PSX)
  • Pandemonium!- Ooh I love this game. I wished there were more platformers like this on Saturn. Lee Nutter was right... it's a throwback to the glory days of 16-bit gaming, but with a 32-bit coating
  • Athlete Kings- Meh. I never cared for it to be honest. I'm not a fan of games where you rely on button speed. Some people dig it... me, it's just not fun. Great graphics, though
  • Dark Savior- Also bought this for my friend along with Shining Wisdom. Also like SW, I've owned this since 2004 and have yet to pop it in once. Fo' shame I know...
  • Daytona USA: CCE- It's alright. Sure, it has more tracks than the original and a 2 player mode but it definitely doesn't feel 'right'... not to me anyhow
  • Space Hulk- Never played this, but 95% of people I've come across who did says this game blows. An odd choice to be on a top 50 best list, but SSM was right on the mark more times than not. Still, this one seems to be a bit of a head-scratcher

Until the next list...