SNES Reviews
SNES Sanctuary
Obscure SFC Hub
Planet SEGA Saturn
Magazine MADNESS
Retro Fire

#50: Mass Destruction -87%
#49: King of Fighters '95 -89%
#48: Shining Wisdom -N/A
#47: Enemy Zero -88%
#46: Actua Golf -90%
#45: Pandemonium! -90%
#44: Athlete Kings -90%
#43: Dark Savior -92%
#42: Daytona USA CCE -90%
#41: Space Hulk -90%
#40: Soviet Strike -90%
#39: Jonah Lomu Rugby -91%
#38: Manx TT SuperBike -91%
#37: Saturn Bomberman -90%
#36: Croc: Legend of the Gobbos -91%
#35: Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo -86%
#34: Baku Baku Animal -93%
#33: Bust-A-Move 3 -91%
#32: Fighting Vipers -94%
#31: SEGA AGES -91%
#30: Bubble Bobble Featuring Rainbow Islands -92%
#29: Last Bronx -92%
#28: WipEout 2097 -92%
#27: Madden NFL '98 -92%
#26: Steep Slope Sliders -92%
#25: Warcraft II: The Dark Saga -91%
#24: Sonic Jam -92%
#23: X-Men: Children of the Atom -92%
#22: Daytona USA -92%
#21: Guardian Heroes -93%
#20: Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge -93%
#19: Quake -93%
#18: Shining the Holy Ark -93%
#17: Sonic R -93%
#16: Panzer Dragoon II Zwei -93%
#15: Command & Conquer -94%
#14: Sega Worldwide Soccer '98 -91%
#13: Resident Evil -94%
#12: Virtual On -93%
#11: Virtua Cop -94%
#10: Street Fighter Collection -92%
#9: Tomb Raider -94%
#8: Exhumed (PowerSlave) -94%
#7: Marvel Super Heroes -95%
#6: Virtua Cop 2 -95%
#5: Fighters' Megamix -95%
#4: Duke Nukem 3D -97%

And now -- the top three! (with bonus special guest commentaries galore!)


Quite simply the most unique, innovative and beautifully crafted videogame of all time, from the crack development team that brought you Sonic the Hedgehog and the explosive Burning Rangers (coming soon!)
"Whilst many were quick to criticize the Sonic Team's creation for being a tad short and easy, what they consummately failed to appreciate was the true nature of the game. Whilst the sumptuous 3D visuals are enough to draw most gamers in, it's the superlative retro style of gameplay which keeps them engrossed. Pulling off massive links, racking up huge scores, performing a diverse range of aerial stunts and watching the artificial life system evolve as you play is only a minuscule part of what NiGHTS has to offer. Admittedly, the game concept may appear bizarre at first and 'immature' even, but NiGHTS is a unique and lasting experience which simply must be owned by all." -Lee Nutter

. Just about every Saturn owner has had their special little memory of this very charming game. But enough of my memories... I'll let these folks speak on its behalf... oh and who could forget Christmas NiGHTS as well?
Enjoy these little special guest commentaries, pulled from the archives of days gone by...

  • Sometime in mid-late '96

    I just got home from Toys R Us and have played (test-drived) both Mario 64 and NiGHTS. I came away impressed with both. Mario 64 is destined to become a classic for generations to come, and NiGHTS possesses a unique charm... the kind that might make it the cult classic for the ages. I would not be surprised if these two games still have a large fan base ten years later....

  • 10-13-01

    I remember the whole Mario 64 vs. Crash Bandicoot vs. NiGHTS thing. Heh-heh, good times those were. The battle of '96. Each heavyweight representing its system. How can I ever forget that Saturday where I was at Toys R Us waiting in line to test play each game? There were so many gamers on hand to play all three. It was an exciting time/rivalry -- one I still have yet to feel in today's generation of games. Maybe I'm just getting old or cynical -- I don't know. But I know that I was impressed by Mario 64 and NiGHTS -- Crash to me was more "Crap Bandicoot." NiGHTS was especially something else to witness in 1996. It was poetry in motion. The music was off the charts. They sure-as-hell don't make games like this anymore

  • I love NiGHTS! If they ever make another one, here's an idea. Imagine finding a secret underground passage underneath a tree, filled with gems and power-ups, or even better, a clan of Nightopians living in seclusion

  • I loved NiGHTS (so much, I bought it import. :P) That was definitely one of the most inspirational games I've played in '96. Only 2 games have EVER kept me up the entire night fueled from adrenaline... NiGHTS and the original Sonic. Yuji Naka and Sonic Team, thanks
    -Michael Ko

  • 12-10-97

    Being single and living alone, I usually don't get into the Christmas spirit until I go to visit my folks a few days before Christmas. I just got Christmas NiGHTS and it actually gave me the Christmas spirit earlier than normal. Thank you Sega. Now I don't have to buy a tree...

  • I just picked up my copy of the latest Next Generation magazine and along with it my copy of Christmas NiGHTS. What a great gift! I had forgotten how fun NiGHTS was to play

    I couldn't put it down last night until I had all 23 of the 24 gifts. I was confused as to why I couldn't get the 24th gift until I changed the date to earlier in the year and saw that the 24th gift was Christmas NiGHTS itself

    I thought the Sonic into NiGHTS gig was a nice touch also! I just want to thank Sega for giving me (and others) this very very cool Christmas treat!

  • 12-15-97

    Don't forget people, Christmas is coming, and you know what that means:

    Christmas NiGHTS Into Dreams time!

    If you got this little gift of joy, whip it out. If not, go find it. Don't look at me though. Mine ain't going no where but inside my Saturn

    So, don't forget...

  • 12-10-98

    Don't forget people, Christmas is coming, and you know what that means:

    Christmas NiGHTS Into Dreams time!

    Still copyless you say? Fool!

    So, don't forget...

  • 12-11-99

    Don't forget people, Christmas is coming, and you know what that means:

    Christmas NiGHTS Into Dreams time!

    You BETTER have a copy by now...

    So, don't forget...

  • 12-18-00

    Don't forget people, Christmas is coming, and you know what that means:

    Christmas NiGHTS Into Dreams time!

    So, don't forget... but I don't think I have to repeat myself any more. It's Tradition by now *wink*

  • This might sound sad but I owe Sega some major thanks. In 2000 I was alone on Christmas Eve, with only Christmas NiGHTS to keep me company. And you know what, it was a pretty good Christmas, all things considered. So thanks, Sega

  • 12-07-02

    Wow, almost Christmas NiGHTS time already. I've played every year since release on Christmas. Last year I only played it on 12/25

    Not only has it become tradition for me and many others, it's become a staple for the Holidays. When I was a kid growing up, Christmas just wasn't Christmas unless you watched "A Christmas Story," went to the parade, sang carols or sat on Santa's lap in the mall. Well, for me anyhow, these days and yes still to this day -- Christmas NiGHTS is the equivalent to those, if not a little sweeter

  • 12-07-02

    I agree! Christmas just isn't Christmas unless you watch Mickey's Christmas Carol, eat some gingerbread men and play some Christmas NiGHTS! It's a legend all in itself. One in which I shall pass down to my kids and their kids. Sega made a lot of mistakes over the years but everytime I play this, I say 'thank you for the good memories'

Starlight, starbright... hope I may, hope I might... get the wish I wish tonight...

Good night to all... and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

[You ain't going nowhere! There's still 2 and 1 to go ya FOOL! -Ed.]

Right. Onto number two, then!


Since its release in early 1996, Sega Rally has gone on to become the best-selling Saturn game ever and the benchmark by which all other racers are judged. And rightly so, in SSM's opinion.

"It's difficult to pin-point exactly why Sega Rally is such an incredible game. Maybe it's the flawless conversion of the twenty-times as expensive coin-op. Maybe it's the feeling of gritty realism the programmers manage to convey, making you think you're actually driving a Rally car, but there's never so much realism that you'd have to know how to drive one yourself to play the game properly. Or coult it be the decent smattering of Saturn-specific modes, from the awesome split-screen two-player mode, to the ghost mode and custom car option. Who knows? The point is, two years on rom its release and Sega Rally is still the best racer on any console bar none. Whilst other racers may boast superior graphics (and only just), none have surpassed Rally in terms of sheer playability. It's a classic videogame of our time." -Lee Nutter

It's amazing how inexpensive and common this game is. Every Saturn owner must have this game -- it's that simple. Rally is the most fun I've have with a racer since, well, since Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo. I'll say it -- Gran Turismo -- HA! Give me Sega Rally anyday... now, check out what others had to say...

  • 7-27-00

    At one point in my life I poured so many hours into Sega Rally that, honest to gosh, I went out driving and heard a voice in my head say "Long medium left baby!" That's when I knew I had crossed that line... no game but Rally has ever made me feel that way. Not even the almighty Tetris...

  • 8-21-03

    Sega Rally still the best

    SEGA RALLY was an awesome experience that became even better after I got my official Saturn Steering wheel

    This was also one of the few video games my father actually played. He couldn't understand how a man in his late 20's could be interested in playing video games (NOTE: He was addicted to computer golf, but did not think of it as a VG)

    Anyway, my niece and nephew were visiting and he asked me to bring over some games for them to play. I debated for about 5 seconds before I packed up the Saturn, steering wheel, and several games -- including SEGA RALLY

    hardly left the machine for the other titles. Everyone was trying to get the best score. The game is just pure fun. I played it last night just to see if my memory was holding it in too high a place. Nope. I played it for a good two hours, loving every minute of it again

    As to my father... I overjoyed him last Christmas by giving him a Golden Tee arcade cabinet for his den
    -Mike Andrews

  • 5-28-96

    After playing out my current batch of Saturn titles, I decided to start playing some of the older ones I had not played in a while. I put in Sega Rally, a game I had beaten many times before and much to my surprise it was just as if not more fun than it used to be. The excitement of Rally racing is still there after 6 months! I beat all my records and had a blast doing so. If anything this is a testament to Rally's replay value and AM3's care and love for the games they make

  • 9-8-99 (1 day before SEGA Dreamcast's US system launch)

    Nothing's sweeter than practicing hard all night til you just manage to shave a half second off your career best. Man that is so satisfying words cannot do it justice. Even better is having a buddy watch you do it, trying to psych you out so you don't beat his best time -- and then handing the controller off to him with a smug smile saying "your turn, champ"

    Rock on, SEGA Saturn
    Bring it on, SEGA Dreamcast!

    -Jimmy Bakerfield

                          By the way, I'm a huge
                          fan of light tunnels in
                          my racing games

                          Almost every racer has
                          a light tunnel of some
                          sort. Sega Rally's was
                          ace, of course

Another groovy one is
High Velocity's... an
underrated Saturn

                              Speaking of which, HV's
                              mountain racing is a
                              decent alternative to

                              In Japan, it's known as
                              the improper KING THE

  • 11-14-98

    True story. One Saturday night I stood up my girlfriend. I had an hour to go before the date began. I thought, eh, a little Sega Rally's never hurt anybody. Right? An hour quickly became 2. My girlfriend called my cell but I left it upstairs. Eventually she came over to my place. She was about to blow her top when I told her to sit down and play. She looked like she was gonna kill me but I continued quickly

    "Look, I'll give you a big BIG lead, if you can beat me, I'll promise to go to that ... opera with you"

    "You're on"

    I caught up with her on the last lap and was in position to win. But, purposely, I bumped into one of the railings and let her speed ahead for the win

    But really... I won. The opera? It wasn't so bad

    OK -- it was really bad

    But, I didn't kick in the balls. Or have my Saturn and Sega Rally copy chucked out the window. It balances out...

    8 months later we got married. I had an hour before the wedding started. I thought, eh, a little Sega Rally's never hurt anybody. Right? ... *wink*
    -Luis A.

Below are portions taken out of a very amusing (and informative) article ran in issue #21. Enjoy...

  • Rich's Ride with Death (SSM editor goes rally driving!)

    Just how close are the Sega racing games to the real thing? Can today's cutting edge 3D technology and advanced gameplay really replicate the high-speed thrills and spills of hardcore motorsport? RICH LEADBETTER takes the co-driver seat in a real life Toyota Celica GT4... let's go burn some rubber!

    I spent a fortnight of this issue's schedule in Los Angeles, taking a well earned break visiting my mate Julian Rignall (you remember, the guy who invented video games magazines)

    One of our little excursions saw us travel up into the Sierra Nevada mountains to check out the press launch for the bizarrely titled Rim of the World Rally.


    My ride was a vehicle which has been immortalized in the classic Sega Rally -- the super sleek Toyota Celica GT4, in this case driven by a certain Bruce Newie -- a man who I would later come to recognize as a truly maniacal driver!
    Inside the car was incredibly hot -- a thermometer reading 108 degrees Fahrenheit!


    Suddenly we're accelerating... REALLY accelerating. Right up to 50 MPH and the car's barely breaking a sweat. Oddly enough we're still accelerating madly as we powerslide into the first corner, Bruce expertly handling the steering, counter-steering us back on course. I swear that even on the tightest bends we're still managing 30 MPH.
    I know I should probably be in fear of my life at this point, but Bruce Newie is just so damn relaxed, carrying out an everyday conversation with me over the intercom that I realize that this suicidal driving is second nature to him. So I can afford to relax a little. Just a little.


    The overall impression of the drive is that Sega Rally does a great job of replicating a real rally drive within its limitations. However, the sheer noise of the engine, the dust and stones ricocheting off the windscreen, the sound of tires desperately trying to stick to the dusty track... that's kind of missing, as is the fear that you could damn well be dead in a few seconds.


    So what does the co-driver do in the Rally car? Well typically he spends his time with his nose buried in the map giving directions to the driver, warning him of what's coming up. Just like Sega Rally then eh?
    Well, no. For starters, a real rally co-driver could never get away with saying "Easy right maybe" before taking on a mammoth chicane! On a stage like the one we were on, anything other than pinpoint accuracy would result in us flying off the side of the mountain!
    Bruce Newie pointed out that the real pro rally drivers -- like the guys who take on the RAC -- use a kind of point system rating the severity of a corner on a scale from one to six. So no crappy "Long medium right" advice.


    The dynamics of rally driving have been translated well but in Sega Rally you can drive like a mad man because your car is indestructible! In addition, the stages of Rally, although great for a video game, seem to lack the wildness and danger of the real thing. That's perhaps Sega Rally's greatest shortcoming compared to the real thing: it's just too safe, a precision exercise in driving as opposed to the constant improvisation I saw going on. As amazing as Sega Rally is, I reckon a Model 3 technology-based sequel could improve the exprience significantly...

This is it. We have come to the numero uno game. The one deemed better than all the rest. The very best, as it were

I'd like to take this time to unveil its banner. If you would please direct your attention overhead, I shall reveal the banner of the king who sits atop all the rest. The one that shall proudly hang in the rafters as number one

The Champion of Champions

cue Tina Turner's Simply the Best

Cause you're simply the best
Better than alllll the rest
Better than anyone
Anyone I ever met . . . . . .
You're simply the BEST!

. . .

. . .

. . .


Virtua Fighter 2 remains the Saturn's finest hour, bearing all the hallmarks of greatness that the Saturn stands for. For starters, it's an AM2 arcade conversion -- quite possibly their best one to date. The Saturn's high resolution mode is used to create the most life-like fighters yet seen on the system, and the super-smooth 60 frames per second movement is uncannily realistic. But for all its technical accomplishments, the real joy with this game is its playability. Each of the characters battles away with REAL fighting techniques, they move and react just like real fighters would. And the possibilities with the 2,000 moves in the game make it virtually limitless in terms of lastability. When this arrived in coin-op form, it was such a step forward that arcade-goers across the globe took notice. And the Saturn version, bar small graphical compromises, is identical. A mammoth achievement -- still.

"I remember seeing the first demo of VF2 in motion on the Saturn. You couldn't play it -- you could only watch as two CPU-controlled opponents slugged it out. But I was spell-bound. Months earlier we'd seen the Saturn seemingly having difficulties replicating VF1, which had no texture mapping and half the frame rate. To see VF2 on the Saturn with all the techniques, characters AND in hi-res was a revelation. Plain and simple. But technical issues aside, VF2 is more than a game, it is an art. On a trip to Japan, my old MAXIMUM colleague Gary Harrod brought back videos of expert VF2 players getting to grips with Akira and Jeffrey (my favorite fighter and his, respectively). What I saw on this video was light years ahead of my own skills. Watching these Japanese masters playing VF2 was like watching an entirely different game to the one I was playing. It was another revelation. These guys had taken VF2's precision controls and stunning physics to awesome effect, with combos and techniques I would spend the next few months attempting to emulate. It's this huge lastability that makes VF2 superior to MegaMix in my eyes. True, MegaMix has more characters, but it lacks the precision gameplay and thus the aspiration for true mastery that VF2 has. And that's why I think Virtua Fighter 2 is the best Saturn game money can buy." -Rich Leadbetter

Initially, I didn't find VF2 my cup of tea, but over the years I managed to develop an appreciation for it. I still prefer 2D fighters -- but it's one of those games that did a LOT for its system. And at the very least, you gotta respect that. I mean, VF2 did tons for the Saturn. Just a shame more games early on weren't of VF2 quality but no need to open that can of worms...

These guys will be happy to share their VF2 memories...

  • 12-5-95

    Just the other day I was at my friend's house. He showed me Virtua Fighter 2 and, remembering the disaster VF1 was, I prepared myself for a good chuckle or two. Then I played it. Well I'll be. Virtua Fighter 2 is quite impressive... I feel a little jealous it's not on PSX. Perhaps there is legit competition in the Saturn just yet... it certainly has changed this diehard PSX user's perceptions on what the Saturn is capable of
    -Brent 'The Bone' Bonds

  • 12-3-95

    I finally got my hands on Virtua Fighter 2 (for $49) this past Friday, and I must say this game is truly awesome

    First off, I've been into gaming for quite some time now. I've had those early PONG systems, an Atari 2600, the C64, Amiga all the way up to the Genesis and now the Saturn. I still remember waiting for 2600 PACMAN to come out and playing that for hours (despite the fact it was no where near the arcade version. This may serve as a good testament to the fact that a game does not have to be ARCADE perfect to be just as fun. In any case, I must say that Virtua Fighter 2 has been the first game I've purchased that has just made feel like "OH my God, this is incredible!" I look at this game and simply can't believe I'm playing this at home and I've played a LOT of games on a LOT of systems, and this game is just AWESOME!

    I've written quite a few programs, and worked with a lot of graphics applications, and maybe this is why I am so impressed. To realize what is going on and what has to take place in order to bring you a game of this magnitude is simply mind-blowing. This game is that good!

    And definitely it is not just the graphics. The gameplay is superb! Controls are excellent, and everything is just so smooth. This is a great translation. Sound is lacking, but hey, if you're totally into the game, you won't notice it as bad! (SFII for the Genesis had terrible sound too, but you got used to it, and the gameplay made up for it)

    I've got to reiterate: I'm very happy I purchased the Saturn. The recent games are just awesome! VF2 is unbelievable for a home console! And surprisingly load time isn't that bad

    I'd post more, but gotta get back to my Saturn

    Game on!
    -Dave Mann
    Irvine Alumni, Class of 1994
    University of Southern California

  • 12-1-95

    I just purchased a copy of Virtua Fighter 2 from Microplay and it is absolutely amazing!!!! At the first sight of the incredibly high res display and fluid animation, I was blown away. What's here folks is nothing short of a miracle. It's the punch in the face Saturn owners have been waiting for! Here's my quick review:

    Graphics: 10
    Sound: 9
    Game Play: 10!
    Replay Value: 10!

    Overall: 98%

    Definitely THE best fighting game on any home system to date, and it's just so damn fun to play, I could go on FOREVER about how great it is!!
    BUY THIS GAME!!!!!! If you don't, I'll hire midgets to burn down your house

  • 2-2-01

    In my gaming life, I can point to certain console moments that shall forever haunt me (in a positive way I mean). Super Mario Brothers 3 on NES. Sonic 1 on Genesis. Street Fighter II on SNES. Add Virtua Fighter 2 on Saturn to that list. I went with my dad and three friends to Toys R Us to buy it. Then we got home at 8 PM and played against each other for five hours straight. Imagine... four 12 year olds huddled around a 27 inch TV for five straight hours on a Saturday night. You know whatever's keeping their attention for THAT long has to be pretty special. VF2 certainly was, is, and always will be special

  • 8-28-00

    I was one of the hugest Street Fighter fans you would have found during the first half of the 1990s. Then came VF2 and I found my new calling. I recall a-many hours spent at my local arcade attempting to master all 11 characters. I'd stay until literally they had to kick me out

    Then the Saturn version came out and blew away everything I expected. I swear I must have spent at least 1,000 hours on VF2. No game is perfect, but in my book VF2 is VERY close
    -James Dat Nguyen

  • 6-6-02

    I don't play games much today. In fact, the last game I really touched was Halo on XBOX when it came out. Yeah, it's been a while. Anyway I still lurk from time to time and felt the need to chirp in

    There was once a golden age in gaming. It was the early 90s. NES still was kicking, Genesis was coming into its own and SNES was just about to be released. Boy what great times. Then came the 32-bit wars. They weren't quite as memorable as the previous generation of games but three words...


    'Nuff said

    This game had the kind of magic where, sadly, not everyone will understand. To fully experience it, you must have a gaming group of friends -- all about equally skilled as you are -- and have get-togethers on occasion where you just feast on this game. It really is a marvel. The bouts can either be snap-snap-snap or long drawn-out epics. It's about as fun to watch as it is to play and improvise on the spot. This is the only way to truly appreciate VF2

    All the guys I used to play with back in the day -- they all got married and having families of their own. I still talk to them and we kid around sometimes about the "good old days." We still get together to play VF2 every once in a while but for sure those times in 1996 and into 1997 even, they were priceless

    We joke around that one day we might be as old as Shun himself =p

  • 11-5-03

    I absolutely hated fighting games until I played Virtua Fighter 2 on May 1, 1997. I thought both 2D and 3D fighting games were stupid, boring and offered no depth whatsoever

    The day I got my US SEGA Saturn was the day that I changed my mind about fighters. I learned that deep fighting games did exist, I just had to find the ones made by Yu Suzuki. From 1997 up until 1999 my gaming group and I played an average of six hours of Virtua Fighter 2 a week. That's a lot of hours. The only reason why we stopped were due to life (marriage, college, whatever)

    I use to feel the same way about racing games. I hated the genre. Thought it too was junk . . . until I discovered my love of SEGA Rally. Thanks to both these titles (both on Saturn of course) I "evolved" as a gamer
    -Glenn A. Rudy III

(That's my man! Gar3 from LOG IT!)

Well, there you have it! The entire SEGA SATURN MAGAZINE TOP 50

After I presented this waaaaaay back in 2003, a year later former SSM editor Rich Leadbetter sent me a private email! Two, in fact! I even got to conduct a special exclusive POST SEGA SATURN MAGAZINE Q&A session with him and former SSM writer Gary Cutlack!

Read it here: Interview with SSM