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Saturn Empire

 

What is the Sega Saturn?
The Sega Saturn is a 32-bit video game console developed by Sega Enterprises Ltd.Originally designed to bring the 3D arcade experience into the home environment, the Saturn has proven to be a very capable multi-purpose gaming machine.

History
Released on November 22nd 1994, the Saturn was an instantaneous
success in Japan. 170,000 machines were sold on the first day of
release. Christmas 1994 brought the userbase up to 500,000 (60% more
than the PSX at the time). On average, 17,241 consoles were sold per
day [Source: Edge - April '95 pg. 10]. Over time, five million plus
consoles found their way into Japanese homes, as Sega captured the
second place position in the "console wars", placing them above
their old rival Nintendo in in the next-gen consoles wars.

However, the Saturn began to loose steam and was soon unable to
compete with newcomer Sony. Sony had far deeper pockets and marketing
muscle (their lockup of mega-giant software developer Squaresoft
undoubtedly played no small role in the runaway success of the PSX).
The Saturn lacked hit many titles such a FFVII. In spite of this, or
rather because of it, the Saturn took the lead in other game genres.
2D shooters, fighting games, and hentai titles were all released in
spades. It is these titles which have sparked the interest of import
enthusiasts around the globe, and caused Gamer's Republic editor
(formerly of Gamefan) Dave Halverson to declare the Saturn the finest
2D console ever constructed. While Square and Enix shunned Sega, the
Saturn found allies elsewhere in developers such as Capcom, SNK,
Gamearts, and Treasure.

In May of 1995, Sega sprung a surprise launch of the Saturn in the
US a full six months before the console was supposed to be released.
The early release, coupled with the high initial price tag, has been
described by many as a marketing snafu on Sega's part.

In America, the Saturn managed only lukewarm success as Sony moved to
dominate the market as they had in Japan. Several marketing blunders
had sealed the black console's fate. Nevertheless, the Saturn proved
a respectable system with a very decent library of games. Though
unfortunately, many of the best titles remained behind in Japan,
especially where the RPG genre was concerned.


A brief overview of the Saturn hardware:


CPU
The Saturn is powered by two Hitachi SH2, 32-bit RISC processors.
These particular SH-2 chips run at 28Mhz (versions were developed
which ran as high as 40Mhz), and are capable of processing up to 25
million instructions per second (MIPS) each, for a combined rating
of 50 MIPS (MIPS however, is not a true indication of processor
performance in many cases). Each SH2 comes with an internal 4K RAM
cache in order to speed up processing tasks.

"The SH2 is a small (2 cm square) but fast RISC chip that has been
designed primarily to process graphics. Like all RISC processors,
it's more streamlined that conventional CISC-based chips and carries
out instructions in far fewer clock cycles."

(qtd. in Next Generation)

VIDEO

The Saturn is equipped with dual custom VDP chips for graphics
processing.

The VDP 1 chip is primarily responsible for sprite generation.
Polygon generation is accomplished through manipulation of the
sprite engine. Texture mapping and goruard shading is also handled
by the VDP 1. The VDP1 relies on a dual frame buffer that handles
rotation and stores textures in special 512K cache.

The VDP 2 serves as the Saturn's background processor. Certain
special effects such as texture transparency and playfield rotation
and scrolling (up to five fields at any given time) are handled here.

Both VDP chips have direct access to the both SH2s, as well as
direct memory access (DMA) to both the main and video RAM.

AUDIO

The Saturn Custom Sound Processor (SCSP) is manufactured by Yamaha
and consists of several components.

The SCSP is a multi-function game sound generator LSI that consists
of a PCM sound generator and DAC (Digital Audio Converter). The SCSP
creates processes sound mixes. It contains 32 slot sound generator
and sound effect DSP, 16 channel digital mixer and timer, and an
interrupt controller. The Saturn's audio RAM is connected directly
to the SCSP, and is used to store the sound programs (ie. Cybersound)
or raw waveform samples. The SCSP can support up to 32 channels for
PCM playback, or 8 channels for FM synthesis modulation. Maximum
sample rate for PCM samples is 44.1Khz (CD Quality). The SCSP is
MIDI-compliant, and can be hooked up to external equipment (such
as keyboards).

The 128 step Digital Signal Processor is capable of generating
special effects such as reverberation and different room acoustics.

The entire SCSP is controlled by a single Motorola 68EC000 16-bit
CPU running at 11.3Mhz. The MC68EC000 is essentially the same as
(and compatible with) the M68000 used in the Megadrive and several
other consoles, but without the 8-bit MC6800 interface. The SCSP can
be directly accessed by the MC68EC000 and both SH2s.

The SCSP is a fantastic system limited only by the small amount of
RAM made available to it, and a lack of hardware sample compression.

MEMORY

The Saturn is equipped with 16 megabits (2 megabytes) of main RAM. 12
megabits of video RAM. And 512K of audio RAM.

CD-ROM DRIVE

The Saturn features a double speed CD-ROM drive manufactured by
JVC-Victor (Some models may have been manufactured by Hitachi or
Sanyo). The drive has an transfer rate of 320K/s, and a 64K data
cache. Drive related functions are controlled via a single Hitachi
SH1 32-bit RISC processor operating at 20Mhz. Refer to section 1.2
for list of compatible media.

BOOT ROM

512K EEPROM. Among other things, the Boot ROM contains the Saturn's
BIOS, as well as system firmware (CD-player and system settings).


There are approximately 245 US Saturn games as of this time:
001 - 3D Baseball
002 - Albert Odyssey: The Legend of Eldean
003 - Alien Trilogy
004 - All-Star Baseball
005 - Alone in the Dark: One-Eyed Jack's Revenge
006 - A.M.O.K.
007 - Andretti Racing
008 - Arcade's Greatest Hits: Atari
009 - Arcade's Greatest Hits: Williams
010 - Area 51
011 - Astal
012 - Baku Baku
013 - Bases Loaded '96
014 - Batman Forever: The Arcade Game
015 - Battle Arena Toshinden Remix
016 - Battle Arena Toshinden Ultimate Revenge Attack
017 - Battle Monsters
018 - Battle Stations
019 - Battlesport
020 - Black Dawn
021 - Black Fire
022 - Blast Chamber
023 - Blazing Dragons
024 - Blazing Heroes
025 - Braindead 13
026 - Breakpoint Tennis
027 - Bubble Bobble: Featuring Rainbow Islands
028 - Bug!
029 - Bug Too!
030 - Burning Rangers
031 - Bust-A-Move-2: Arcade Edition
032 - Bust-A-Move-3
033 - Casper
034 - Center Ring Boxing
035 - Clockwork Knight
036 - Clockwork Knight 2
037 - College Slam
038 - Command and Conquer
039 - Congo
040 - Contra: Legacy of War
041 - Corpse Killer
042 - Courier Crisis
043 - Creature Shock
044 - Crime Wave
045 - Criticom
046 - Croc: Legend of the Gobbos
047 - Crow: City of Angels
048 - Crusader: No Remorse
049 - Crypt Killer
050 - Cyber Speedway
051 - Cyberia
052 - D
053 - Darius Gaiden
054 - Dark Legend
055 - Dark Savior
056 - Darklight Conflict
057 - Daytona USA
058 - Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition
059 - Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Netlink Edition
060 - Decathlete
061 - Defcon 5
062 - Die Hard Arcade
063 - Die Hard Trilogy
064 - Doom
065 - Double Switch
066 - Dragon Force
067 - Dragon Heart: Fire and Steel
068 - Duke Nuke'm 3D
069 - Earthworm Jim 2
070 - Enemy Zero
071 - F1 Challenge
072 - FIFA Soccer '96
073 - FIFA Soccer '97
074 - FIFA World Cup Soccer '98
075 - Fighters Megamix
076 - Fighting Vipers
077 - Frank Thomas' Big Hurt Baseball
078 - Galactic Attack
079 - Galaxy Fight
080 - Gex
081 - Ghen War
082 - Golden Axe: The Duel
083 - Grand Slam '96
084 - Grid Runner
085 - Guardian Heroes
086 - Gun Griffon
087 - Hang-On GP
088 - Heir of Zendor
089 - Herc's Adventures
090 - Hexen
091 - Hi-Octane
092 - Hi Velocity
093 - Highway 2000
094 - Horde, The
095 - House of the Dead, The
096 - Hyper 3D Pinball
097 - Impact Racing
098 - In the Hunt
099 - Incredible Hulk, The
100 - Independence Day
101 - Iron Man/X-O Man-O-War: Heavy Metal
102 - Iron Storm
103 - John Madden '97
104 - John Madden '98
105 - Johnny Bazookatone
106 - Last Bronx
107 - Last Gladiators: Digital Pinball
108 - Legend of Oasis
109 - Loaded
110 - Lost World, The: Jurassic Park 2
111 - Lunacy
112 - Machinehead
113 - Magic Carpet
114 - Magic Knight Rayearth
115 - Mansion of the Hidden Souls
116 - Manx TT Superbike
117 - Marvel Super Heroes
118 - Mass Destruction
119 - Maximum Force
120 - Mech Warrior II
121 - Megaman 8: Anniversary Collector's Edition
122 - Megaman X4
123 - MLBPA: Bottom of the Ninth
124 - Minnesota Fats Pool Legend
125 - Mortal Kombat II
126 - Mortal Kombat Trilogy
127 - Mr. Bones
128 - Myst
129 - Mystaria: The Realms of Lore
130 - Nascar '98
131 - NBA Action
132 - NBA Action '98
133 - NBA Jam Extreme
134 - NBA Jam Tournament Edition
135 - NBA Live '97
136 - NBA Live '98
137 - Need For Speed, The
138 - NFL '97
139 - NFL Quarterback Club '96
140 - NFL Quarterback Club '97
141 - NHL '97
142 - NHL '98
143 - NHL All-Star Hockey
144 - NHL All-Star Hockey '98
145 - NHL Break-Away '96
146 - NiGHTS into Dreams...
147 - Nightwarriors: Darkstalker's Revenge
148 - Norse by Norsewest: The Lost Vikings 2
149 - Off-World Interceptor Extreme
150 - Olympic Soccer
151 - Pandemonium
152 - Panzer Dragoon
153 - Panzer Dragoon II Zwei
154 - Panzer Dragoon Saga
155 - Pebble Beach Golf
156 - PGA Tour '97
157 - Powerslave
158 - Primal Rage
159 - Pro Pinball
160 - P.T.O. II: Pacific Theatre of Operations II
161 - Quake
162 - Quarterback Attack
163 - Rampage: World Tour
164 - Rayman
165 - Resident Evil
166 - Revolution-X
167 - Rise 2: Resurrection
168 - Road Rash
169 - Robo Pit
168 - Robotica
169 - Romance of the III Kingdoms IV: Wall of Fire
170 - Saturn Bomberman
171 - Scorcher
172 - Scud: The Disposable Assassin
173 - Sega Ages: Afterburner, Outrun, Space Harrier
174 - Sega Rally Championship plus International Rally
175 - Sega Rally Championship plus International Rally: Netlink Edition
176 - Sega Touring Car Championship
177 - Sega Worldwide Soccer '97
178 - Sega Worldwide Soccer '98
179 - Shanghai Triple Threat
180 - Shell Shock
181 - Shining Force III
182 - Shining the Holy Ark
183 - Shining Wisdom
184 - Shinobi Legions
185 - Shockwave Assault
186 - Sim City 2000
187 - Skeleton Warriors
188 - Sky Target
189 - Slam & Jam '96
190 - Solar Eclipse
191 - Sonic 3D Blast
192 - Sonic Jam
193 - Sonic R
194 - Soviet Strike
195 - Space Hulk
196 - Space Jam
197 - Spot Goes To Hollywood
198 - Star Fighter
199 - Steep Slope Sliders
200 - Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior's Dreams
201 - Street Fighter Alpha 2
202 - Street Fighter Collection
203 - Street Fighter: The Movie
204 - Striker '96
205 - Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
206 - Tempest 2000
207 - Ten Pin Alley
208 - Tetris Plus!
209 - Theme Park
210 - Three Dirty Dwarves
211 - Thunderstrike 2
212 - TNN Motorsports: Hardcore 4x4
213 - Tomb Raider
214 - True Pinball
215 - Tunnel B1
216 - Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
217 - Valora Valley Golf
218 - Virtua Cop
219 - Virtua Cop 2
220 - Virtua Fighter
221 - Virtua Fighter 2
222 - Virtua Fighter Kids
223 - Virtua Fighter Remix
224 - Virtua Racing
225 - Virtual Casino
226 - Virtual Hydlide
227 - Virtual-On: Cyber Troopers
228 - Virtual-On: Cyber Troopers: Netlink Edition
229 - Virtual Open Tennis
230 - VR Golf
231 - VR Soccer
232 - Warcraft 2: The Dark Saga
233 - Wing Arms
234 - Winning Post
235 - Winter Heat
236 - Wipeout
237 - World Cup Golf Pro
238 - World Series Baseball
239 - World Series Baseball II
240 - World Series Baseball '98
241 - Worldwide Soccer: Sega International Victory Goal Edition
242 - Worms
243 - WWF In Your House
244 - WWF Wrestlemenia: The Arcade Game
245 - X-Men: Children of the Atom

It's a crying shame that the Saturn wasn't successful. It had so much more going for it than the Playstation did.
You could play online or surf the net using the netlink cartridge. Two systems could be linked together, and if you were to
buy 2 6-player multitaps up to 12 players could play on certain games.(10 player bomberman is great!!) It even had a
backup battery for internal memory storage. Some people said that there were never any good games for the system.
However, this is not true. NiGHTS, the panzer dragoon series, Shining Force 3, the sonic games, 2 megaman games, and Grandia just to name a few. I have always felt that sega is the most innovative game company of its time and deserves credit for paving the way for online console gameplay.
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