While the Saturn did horribly in North America and Europe, the story was quite different in Japan. It did pretty well and is fondly remembered over there. There are tons of exclusives that never made it over to the West. A lot of these are playable without understanding Japanese, while a few do require fan translations or guides to get the most out of them.
If you're getting into collecting Saturn games, it mostly worthwhile to collect for the Japanese market since the games are cheaper than their western counterparts and easy to play on any system (see Action Replay 4-in-1).
Also Japan had one of the best Video Game advertisement campaigns in the form of Segata Sanshiro.
Sega Saturn Games - NTSC-JEdit
|Akumajo Dracula X - Gekka no Yasoukyoku||2D Platformer||A.K.A. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on the Saturn. Still the same fucking awesome game you know and love. Never came out in America. DAMMIT BERNIE STOLAR! THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!
Longer load time, screen door transparencies, and more slowdown than PS1, but it has extras such as the new areas the Underground Garden and the Cursed Prison (which become the Hell Garden and Soul Prison in the Reverse Castle) new bosses, enemies, and items. Plus you get to fight Maria as a boss in that weird room at the center of the castle.
The more cartoonish artstyle for the new content really clashes with the rest of the game, but it's balanced out with the awesome Maria mode. It should be noted that this isn't the Maria from the later Dracula X Chronicles port, this is a completely different playable version of her which is hilariously broken and overpowered.
(Protip: Save to external RAM cart to avoid slowdown).
|Assault Suit Leynos 2||Platformer / Action||Part of the Assault Suit series that includes Assault Suits Valken listed on the SNES page. A prequel titled Target Earth in North America is on the Genesis.|
|Asuka 120% Burning Fest. Limited||Fighting||A G-rated, all girls fighting game that is shockingly good. Think of it as Killer Instinct but with school girls. Great visuals, simple 3-button controls and fast pacing make this a hidden gem in the Saturn fighting library. Also worth noting that this was the final release in the series that was made by the original developers.|
|Battle Garegga||Shoot 'em up||Excellent port of the arcade game, includes tate mode and the option to change the bullets from the realistic ones to fire shots.|
|Batsugun||Shoot 'em up||A crazy shoot 'em up with bullets EVERYWHERE. You gain EXP to boost your main gun and shoot so many bullets that it practically takes up the whole screen. Is considered to be the first bullet hell game.|
|Blast Wind||Shoot 'em up||A pretty cool arcade vertical shooter, from the makers of Thunder Force.|
|Black/Matrix||SRPG||It seems like the minions of hell have won the war against the angels and they rewrite history and make up there own rules where love is punishable. Are you gonna take that!? It's a fairly fun SRPG, like Final Fantasy Tactics. Also, the beginning and ending of the game are decided for you as soon as you pick your black-winged master.|
|Bulk Slash||Mecha Fighting||Virtual On but better. Blow enemies and other mecha in a fully 3D scenary.|
|Cotton Boomerang||Cute 'em up||Control a loli witch in a side-scrolling shoot 'em up. That's pretty much all you need to know about this game.|
|Daytona USA: Circuit Edition||Racing||Doo Do-Do Doo Do-Do Do-Do Do-Dooooo. DAAAYYY-TOOONAAAA!! Remember that? Awesome arcade racing game. Probably one of the best arcade racers for its time, maybe even today. The original release was a rushed affair and pretty underwhelming compared to Ridge Racer. It was remade using the Sega Rally engine and named the CCE edition, adding new levels and cars and even music! The Japanese Circuit Edition is the definite port on the system, as it re-adds the original arcade music, refined controls, has 3D controller support, and different lighting corresponding to different times of day.
Also on the PC, Dreamcast, and PSN/XBL
|Death Crimson||Lightgun Game||The Legend itself. "Recommended" only in the sense that this game is so genuinely awful it has to be seen to be believed. The game so bad it has the title of "Emperor Kusoge"(Emperor Shit-Game) in Japan. The game so bad that the developers were sent death threats on the game's registration cards. Because of its genuinely abysmal quality, incompetent execution, terrible value for it's price and overall aura of nonsensical surrealness it's gained a cult status in Japan.
Has two sequels on Dreamcast, Death Crimson 2 which intermixed classic Resident Evil style sections with the lightgun shooting sections, and Death Crimson OX which re-uses assets from Death Crimson 2 but is a pure light gun game. These aren't anywhere near as well remembered because by then it seems developer Ecole was in on the joke. They later went on to work on the Melty Blood Series with French Bread. Huh.
|Deep Fear||Survival Horror||Deep Fear was only released in JP and PAL regions, but both versions contain English voice acting. It has the same basic mechanics as early Resident Evil games, but is much more action-oriented, requires less back-tracking, and takes place in an underwater facility. The graphics and creatures designs are excellent, but the environments are mostly bland and the story's a wash. Still, fans of classic survival horror won't regret tracking this one down.|
|Devil Summoner Soul Hackers||RPG||A Shin Megami Tensei game. Take control of a bunch of hax0rs called the Spookies and enter the virtual city Paradigm-X to fight against demons using demons of your own (on the internets of course) via GUMP (A computerized gun used for summoning demons). Like any SMT game you can gain loyalty over demons, install software, and fuse demons.
You may also want to check out the prequel, also on Saturn.
Recently ported to the Nintendo 3DS with an extra dungeon featuring Raidou Kuzunoha. Has an English release unlike this version.
|Dodonpachi||Shoot 'em up||A fun crazy bullet-hell (sort of) shooter. Improved over the first game as you gain awesome power-ups and such. If you want a challenge try getting all 13 golden bees without dying. GOOD LUCK!|
|Dragon Force 2||RTS||Sequel to Dragon Force.||Link|
|Elevator Action Returns||Action / Shooter||Rad as fuck sequel to the classic TAITO arcade game, choose from 3 different characters each with their own individual stats and sub weapons and blow the shit out of terrorists and collect documents. Play the first level, SHIT GETS REAL.|
|Grandia||RPG||A light-hearted RPG about treasure hunting and what not. Also on PS1 in America, but if you have a Saturn this might be cool to, if you understand japanse. Doesn't have the slowdown or graphics glitches of the ps1 port.|
|Guardian Force||Shoot 'em up||pow pow pow|
|Gun Frontier||Shoot 'em up||Game that inspired Battle Garegga and Ibara. Very stylish shmup that is set in the futuristic version of old west. Some people complain that this port is easier than arcade original which has brutal difficulty.|
|King of Fighters '95||Fighting||Unchanged from '94, except for the Team Edit option. Aside from that it's basically KOF '94. Also the hand on the cover looks a little weird. Was also release in Europe.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is one of two games (the other being some crappy Ultraman game) on the Saturn that uses a ROM cart (precursor to the more well known RAM carts). It will not run without it. It can only run on unmodded systems which share the same region encoding. The Action Replay 4-in-1 cart will not run this game, since it lacks the data the game will look for. Likewise, ROM carts are not interchangeable. If you have to play a KOF game on your saturn, stick with the following two entries.
|King of Fighers '96||Fighting||Take KOF '95.Get rid of the dodge for evasive maneuvers and add a couple of tweaks in gameplay and you have KOF '96. Now you can perform a Mega Super Special Move instead of a regular one.|
|King of Fighters '97||Fighting||See above. Last game of this storyline, as '98 was a "dream match" game.|
|Kingdom Grandprix||Shoot 'em up / Racing||A mix of Shoot 'em Up and Racing. Port of the arcade game, includes an option to play it like a regular Shmup as well as tate mode.|
|Langrisser IV||SRPG||A distance sequel to Der Langrisser. No translation available for Saturn but there is one for the PS1 version.|
|Langrisser V: The End of Legend||SRPG||A direct sequel to IV. The final game in the series, until the 3DS game. Unfortunately, no translation available for Saturn or PS1.|
|Layer Section 2||Shoot 'em up||Vertical shump with 3D graphics but played in typical 2D. Has a neat feature where you can lock onto background enemies and destroy them with lasers. Plays well and looks nice, but the screen can get cluttered with the explosion effects.
Was released on PS1 in America as RayStorm.
|Linkle Liver Story||Action-RPG||Spiritual sequel to Crusader of Centy for the Mega Drive. It only took a couple of decades for a fan translation to come out!||Link|
|Lunar: The Silver Star||RPG||Enhanced port of a SEGA CD game. Classic JRPG adventure with a lovable cast and vibrant setting. Excellent score and highly entertaining writing, well-localized for its time (though the team took some liberties). Developed by Game Arts, also behind the Grandia series, which has much of the same "kids on an adventure" vibe. Traditional, turn-based combat system with some limited tactics. Not a hardcore RPG, but one for fans of heartwarming stories. Also available as a MPEG edition that uses the MPEG card for higher quality FMVs.
No translation available, but was released on the PS1 in English.
|Lunar: Eternal Blue||RPG||Enhanced port of a SEGA CD game. Distant sequel to LUNAR, with a new core cast but similar story beats and writing. Turn-based combat also returns without major changes, though the game as a whole is harder. The tone is also more serious, though with lots of room for humor. Make sure to play the Epilogue after the credits! The series ends here, though there was a horrendous DS prequel (Dragon Song). Gameplay.
No translation available, but was released on the PS1 in English.
|Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter||Fighting||From the people at Capcom and Marvel who brought you X-Men vs. Street Fighter comes Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter! Street Fightan and Spider Manan everywhere. Like before, |
|Metal Black||Shoot 'em Up||Rumored to be a sequel to Darius II that got its own setting because it was too dark for its own good. Still a damn good game on its own, albeit, strongly unforgiving; for one, bombing drains all your power and you don't get anything more than that narrowish twin shot to pick off enemies that come from all directions. Special note: this game may also have one of the biggest mindfuck endings in any video game ever|
|Metal Slug||Run 'n Gun||Metal Slug on your Saturn. If you don't have a Neo Geo or the anthology why not? Requires the RAM expansion cart.|
|Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari||Adventure||A combat-free platform game presented as an interactive storybook with beautiful visuals and sprite work. Unfortunately it is very dialogue-dependent and there is no translation effort planned as of current.|
|Necronomicon - Digital Pinball||Pinball||Pinball simulator by KAZe featuring three tables with a dark/gothic theme. This is probably the single best Pinball simulator ever made, with smooth silk graphics, spot-on ball physics, awesome music and a creepy ass voice talking all the time! Spiritual successor of Last Gladiators.|
|Night Striker S||Rail Shooter||A humble, yet nonetheless breathtaking rail shooter by Taito. Incredibly short even by arcade game standards but makes up for this with its incredible replay value; branching paths for those who want something different and a pacifist bonus for the dedicated. If that's not enough for you, this version of the port contains a special mode too.|
|Pocket Fighter||Fighting||Chibi Capcom crossover fighing game. Has a neat little gem power up system. Also availble on PS2 as part of Street Fighter: Alpha Anthology.|
|Policenauts||Adventure||The spiritual sequel to Snatcher. Basically one of Trolljimas early works before Metal Gear Solid (not Metal Gear the original, that came way before). I mean really, it even has Meryl Silverburgh in the screenshot. But a very good game nonetheless.
On PS1 as well, both versions now having fan translations. Saturn version is more complete, with extra scenes and characters, but the FMV quality suffers a (very slight) bit.
|Princess Crown||Action-RPG||You start Chapter 1 as an ass-kicking princess who travels around her kingdom saving people. As you progress, you can unlock more characters who have their own unique stories. Battles unfold in real-time combat on a 2D plane where you can jump, slash your sword, parry and shit; plus, you utilize a ring system a la Secret of Mana to do stuff like use items and cast abilities. If you loved Odin Sphere and Muramasa, you must play this.Sadly, no translation patch exists (yet). Designed by the Vanillaware team—who were still part of Atlus at the time—and published by SEGA, so the IP belongs to |
|Rabbit||Fighting||From EA's Japanese branch comes this cutesy 4 button fighter. Features dodges, recovery rolls, ground hits, and hops, the animal spirirt is the real focus here. You gain your opponets animal spirit after you defeat them, and can use it in the next match which encourages the player to try them all.|
|Radiant Silvergun||Shoot 'em up||A slow-paced yet very challenging vertical shmup with a shockingly dark story and amazing boss battles. Widely considered as one of the best games of the genre.|
|Real Bout Fatal Fury Best Collection||Fighting||ARE YOU OK? BUSTA WOLF!
Includes Real Bout Fatal Fury and Real Bout Fatal Fury Special.
|Sakura Taisen||SRPG / Visual Novel||The beginning of the Legendary Sakura Taisen (aka Sakura Wars) series. Its 1923 and Japan is being invaded by Demons! You're Imperial Navy Ensign Ichiro Ohgami, asigned to command a new all girls unit. Stop the demons from causing chaos in Tokyo while performing stage plays. Yes, really.
Also available on Dreamcast. Remake on PS2. Both untranslated.
|Segata Sanshirou Shinken Yuugi||Minigame/ Being a Badass||AWWWW YEAH! Segata Sanshiro in his very own game! If you like Segata (why even ask?) Buy this shit right now because Segata knows where you live. Ok not really but still its good.|
|Sengoku Blade / Tengai||Shoot 'em up||If you're expecting standard Psikyo shooting, think again. This is one of their harder horizontal titles. Also, robo-samurai and delicious titty monster!|
|Senkutsu Katsuryu Taisen: Chaos Seed||Action RPG||tasty action|
|Sexy Parodius||Cute 'em up||Just Parodius with a sexy setting. Hey, sex! something /v/ will never have (with a woman anyways) But I kid, I kid. Anyways it is a fun shooter made for fanservice purposes. And I suppose if macroism is your thing by the screenshot you might buy this for any amount.|
|Shining Force III Scenario 2||SRPG||The continuation of the first scenario, which was the only one to see a NA release, it's just as great.||Link|
|Shining Force III Scenario 3||SRPG||The end of Shining Force IIIs tale; again, fantastic for any fan of the Shining series or SRPGs in general. it's just as great.||Link|
|Shinrei Jusatsushi Taroumaru||Platformer||Be a psychic ninja for hire, stop a demon invasion! This like a mix of Shinobi and Mystic Defender. Nice gameplay, great visuals, and some very creepy enemies. Also, it's the last game by Time Warner Interactive, super rare so it costs a fortune.|
|Silhouette Mirage||Beat 'em up / Being a Badass||Also available in English on PS1. Be warned though: Working Designs made that version insanely difficult, so this version may be better for that reason alone.|
|Soldnerschild||SRPG||odd name, good game|
|Steam Hearts||Shoot 'em up||Amazing port of the PC-98 lewd shmup, now with 100% more mayhem and 100% less nudity!|
|Street Fighter Zero 3||Fighting||aka Street Fighter Alpha 3. Same game as the PS1/Dreamcast, just on the Saturn. On par with the other ports of the time (aka damn good). Its just REALLY FUCKING EXPENSIVE, as it was released in the twilight of the Saturn in 1999. At this point, the DC was already released in Japan for almost a year and had its own SFZ3 port. Ingrid isn't in this version, fuckhead.
Also available for PS1, DC, PS2, GBA, PSP, Xbone, PS4, Switch, PC
|Suiko Enbu Fuun Saiki||Fighting||Very good Data East fightan based on the Water Margin novel. Fuun Saiki is more of a "Champion Edition" of the original, which brings the bug fixes from Dark Legend, as well as including Mizoguchi and Yungmie from Fighters History as guest characters.|
|Suikoden||RPG||Gather the 108 Stars of Destiny, populate your fort, and wage war against a tyrannical empire in the JRPG that began the revered series. Available in English for the PSOne and on PSN. Ported to the PSP along with its sequel, but it never saw an NA release.|
|Thunder Force Gold Pack 1||Shoot 'em up||Includes Thunder Force II and III.|
|Thunder Force Gold Pack 2||Shoot 'em up||Includes Thunder Force 4 so who gives a fuck what else is on the disc (Thunder Force AC, aka the arcade version of Thunder Force III).|
|Thunder Force V||Shoot 'em up||Easily one of the best shmups ever. Fucking gorgeous 3D and excellent music. Best played on the Saturn as it has less slow down than the Playstation version.|
|Twinkle Star Sprites||Shoot 'em up||CUTENESS OVERWHELMING~! A cast of whimsical characters compete against one another for a single wish from the great Twinkle Star. Mixes the chaotic shmup environment with competitive puzzle elements for a wonderfully potent concoction. While there is single-player, this game was MADE to be played with a friend!
The most complete of all TSS releases. Includes an exclusive character, voice work for EVERYTHING and a Sailor Moon intro (D'AWWW)!
|Vandal Hearts||SRPG||Baddass SRPG that plays more like Shining Force than FFT with rather linear character progression and mission selection. Still fucking good though. Also on PS1|
|Vatlva||Vehicular Combat Game||Fun overhead car battlin' game by Ancient, who would later go on to make Car Battler Joe for the Gameboy Advance. Pick from a selection of wacky characters who drive an equally diverse bunch of matching vehicles and battle it out in top-down arenas.
Story mode is alright, but it's just 1v1 battles against all the characters in the game followed by three bosses. The REAL fun comes in the games battle mode which supports up to six characters and is a blast with friends.
Soundtrack by Yuzo Koshiro and his longtime collaborator Motohiro Kawashima, which like most of their work together isn't for everybody but it suits the offbeat mood of the game perfectly.
|Wachenroder||SRPG||A heavily story-driven steampunk story with music by none other than Ian McDonald of King Crimson. Although it hasn't been translated, there are full translations of the script on the Internet. A must-play for fans of the SPRG.|
|Willy Wombat||Action-Adventure Platformer||not what you think!|
|Wizardry: Llylgamyn Saga||RPG||A vastly improved remake of the original trilogy of the Wizardry series, the grandfather of hair-pulling RPGs. Has English option for 95% of the text, built-in! Use a guide for some of the text not translated.
Also available on PS1, PC, and SNES.
|X-Men vs. Street Fighter||Fighting||This is basically what the title says. It's really fun with in game tag team unlike the Playstation version. Unfortunately, unlike the Playstation version, this one never came out across our shores. Was imported by a few shops back in the day and isn't that hard to find, just a bit expensive ($30-50). Make sure you have an Action Replay 4-in-1.|
|Consoles||3DO - Commodore Amiga CD32 - Capcom CPS Changer - Atari Jaguar - Casio Loopy - SNK Neo Geo CD - Nintendo 64 - NEC PC-FX - Apple Pippin - Bandai Playdia - Sony PlayStation - Sega Saturn|
|Handhelds||Nintendo Game Boy Color - Tiger game.com - SNK Neo Geo Pocket - Tiger R-Zone - Nintendo Virtual Boy|