Welcome to the dark and twisted world of horror gaming on the Sega Saturn! While the Sony PlayStation was the definitive platform for horror gaming enthusiasts in the 32-bit era, the Saturn had its fair share of horror-themed games as well. From atmospheric first-person shooters to eerie point-and-click adventures, the Sega Saturn has plenty of survival horror and horror-adjacent games that will leave you on the edge of your seat. In the following list we explore all of the horror games available for the Sega Saturn, in no particular order.
The Sega Saturn got its very own custom port of the seminal survival horror classic Resident Evil. The original game in the series is one of the greatest and most iconic horror games ever made, and the Saturn version is a very solid port with a decent amount of content that is still exclusive to this version of the game - you get the Battle Game mode, new costumes, enemies, and some graphical tweaks that are only seen in the Saturn version. The game itself is one of the best horror games ever created, helping to spawn the entire genre of "survival horror". Resident Evil sees you exploring the Spencer Mansion, which just so happens to be full of zombies and other terrifying creatures. You'll be forced to solve puzzles and fight off all sorts of enemies while conserving ammo and healing items as you attempt to escape the mansion and uncover its dark secrets. A true classic, if you haven't played this yet you owe it to yourself to check it out (and if you have played it, you should probably go ahead and play it again anyway for the nostalgia). The Saturn version has become fairly pricy, but it's worth the cost for the extra content and the collector's value.
D is the first entry in the D series of horror games developed by Warp and closely associated with Sega's consoles, although the original was initially released for the 3DO. Directed by legendary game designer Kenji Eno, the game is a horror adventure that takes elements of point and click adventure games and turns it into an interactive movie. Played from a first-person perspective, you navigate through the environment via prerendered CG cutscenes and solve some puzzles while watching the game's bizarre and horrific story unfold through full motion video sequences. Slow-paced and methodical, the game has a creepy and bizarre plot that is full of twists and turns. D was an important early pioneering title in the horror genre, and it's still a unique and creepy experience. If you're into old-school 32-bit era horror adventure games, D is a must-play as one of the founding fathers in the genre.
Enemy Zero is the spiritual sequel to D. You again play as digital actress Laura on a space station that has been invaded by aliens. The game plays a lot like D with its FMV-based exploration, cutscenes, and puzzle-solving, but it does add some fully 3D exploration segments where you must avoid monsters while traversing the space station. The gameplay features a very unique twist - all of the enemies are invisible, and you'll be guided only by the sound of your radar to run away and fight the monsters that are attempting to murder you. Adding to the already high tension is the fact that you can only attack the enemies at close range, and you die in one hit. With its shocking and well-directed story, phenomenal soundtrack, unique gameplay, and strong production values, this horror classic is an oft-overlooked gem, and the Sega Saturn is the only home console it was ever released on.
Alone in the Dark: One Eyed Jack's Revenge
Alone in the Dark: One Eyed Jack's Revenge (sub-titled Jack is Back in its European release) is a port of the PC horror classic Alone in the Dark 2. The original Alone in the Dark games were the grandfathers of survival horror, and the Sega Saturn port of the second game in the series is a worthwhile horror game for the system. While its clunky by today's standards, the atmosphere still holds up well and provides a pretty creepy experience. Be prepared for a lot of trial and error, as this game is very unforgiving and has plenty of traps that you won't see coming until you memorize them. The Saturn port features slightly upgraded graphics from the PC original, with fully texture-mapped characters and enemies. It runs a lot better than the PS1 and 3DO ports do, although there is a fair amount of freezing as the game loads. If you've never had the pleasure of playing the game, it's definitely a must-play as one of the first survival horror games.
Alien Trilogy is a first person shooter/survival horror game in the same vein as Doom. The game is loosely based on the first 3 Alien films, taking elements from all of the movies while also expanding upon them. You'll play as Ellen Ripley as she battles hordes of xenomorphs and other hostile creatures on the space colony LV426. If you're familiar with Doom you pretty much know how this game plays - you explore dark environments, flipping switches while trying to survive swarms of aliens that are out to kill you. The game features atmospheric environments, intense action, and a variety of weapons straight out of the films to fend off the relentless alien threat. With its dark and claustrophobic atmosphere, Alien Trilogy is a chilling and suspenseful horror gaming experience on the Sega Saturn.
Duke Nukem 3D
Damn! Those alien bastards are going to pay for shooting up your ride! Duke Nukem 3D for the Saturn is a great port of the classic PC first person shooter. The Saturn version was developed by Lobotomy Software and runs on their custom Saturn Slavedriver engine, and features new lighting effects and an exclusive level, in addition to online Netlink deathmatch online play. Taking plenty of inspiration from classic horror movies like Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, and They Live (to the point where it directly quotes lines from those movies), the game has a distinct grindhouse style with plenty of scantily-clad babes and buckets of blood and gore. A must-have for every Sega Saturn collection.
The House of the Dead
The Sega Saturn got a port of the arcade smash-hit rail shooter The House of the Dead. The first game in the long-running series is one of the best rail shooters of all time, and the Saturn version brought the game home for the first time with a good conversion (albeit not arcade perfect). While the graphics aren't as good as the arcade original, everything else is intact. Featuring some of the best ever bad voice acting that the series has become known for, branching paths, and frantic arcade-style shooting action, The House of the Dead on the Saturn is one of the best lightgun games on the system. As one of the last Saturn releases in the west, it has also become extremely pricy, though.
Hexen is a first-person fantasy horror game that combines first-person shooting action and exploration with some role-playing elements and dark, brooding atmosphere. The game runs on the same engine as Doom, and features a lot of similarities with id's landmark FPS while also offering some unique twists on the formula. Set in a dark medieval world full of horrifying monsters and deadly traps, players can choose one of three different characters to play: a warrior, a mage, and a cleric. Each character has unique abilities and weaponry, offering plenty of replay value with various ways to play through the game. If you're a fan of games like Doom and Alien Trilogy, Hexen offers a macabre and atmospheric gaming experience that seamlessly blends fantasy and horror elements into an excellent old-school first-person adventure.
Quake is a port of id Software's groundbreaking first-person shooter originally released for the PC that introduces players to a Lovecraftian-inspired world of nightmarish creatures and surreal environments. Set in a post-apocalyptic Earth invaded by otherworldly forces, you assume the role of a lone marine tasked with closing the portals that have unleashed unspeakable horrors. So yeah, it's basically Doom but now in full-3D. Lobotomy Software handled the Saturn port and again did a phenomenal job - the game runs very well on Lobotomy's custom Saturn engine, and adds some really nice lighting effects as well. With its cutting-edge 3D graphics, atmospheric soundtrack, and fast-paced gameplay, Quake offers a tense and adrenaline-pumping horror experience on the Sega Saturn.
Corpse Killer is Digital Pictures FMV schlock at its finest. This enhanced port of the Sega CD original offers a B-movie horror vibe combined with simplistic 2D scrolling rail shooter action. It definitely has an '80s Italian jungle zombie movie feel, invoking classics like Lucio Fulci's Zombie and Bruno Mattei's Hell of the Living Dead. The game itself is extremely basic, playing like Lethal Enforcers or Terminator 2: The Arcade Game - Just shoot the zombies as they come at you while the level auto-scrolls to the right. You don't play this one for the gameplay though, you play it for its cheesy live-action cutscenes, and in that sense it totally delivers.
Area 51 is a port of the extremely popular mid-90's arcade staple rail shooter by Midway. This classic lightgun shooter is pure B-movie schlock, and it's awesome! Blast away at hordes of zombie-like aliens as you travel through CG FMV-based levels with your digitized comrades, many of whom are buxom cleavage-baring babes. It's like the aesthetics of Mars Attacks and Duke Nukem 3D combined with the gameplay of something like Virtua Cop or The House of the Dead. If you're into lightgun games, this stands among the best of the genre available on the Sega Saturn.
Doom has become a staple of these lists, being one of those games that has been released to almost everything even remotely capable of running it. Doom on the Saturn is a port based on the PS1 port (which itself was based on the Atari Jaguar port), and unfortunately the Saturn version is one of the worst ports of the game. It retains the extra levels and moody soundtrack of the PlayStation version, but it just doesn't run all that well. It's still Doom, one of the most iconic first-person shooter horror classics. It's a great game, and the Saturn version is at least somewhat playable, but this one is probably best for the hardcore collectors only - it's cheaper and better on many other platforms.
Creature Shock: Special Edition
Creature Shock is an FMV-based shooter with some horror vibes. It has a story and atmosphere that feel like the Aliens movies, but unfortunately the gameplay is a little lacking. The Saturn version unfortunately doesn't have mouse support, so you're forced to try to hit small moving targets using only the controller. It's still playable and has some creepy atmosphere and cool-looking CG cutscenes, but this is probably only going to appeal to Saturn die-hards who are fans of these mid-90's FMV based games.
The Mansion of Hidden Souls
The Mansion of Hidden Souls is a Saturn-exclusive sequel/remake of the very similarly titled Sega CD exclusive Mansion of Hidden Souls. The game is an FMV-based adventure/walking simulator similar to games like D and The 7th Guest - You navigate through a creepy mansion in first-person via CG FMV cutscenes and solve the occasional puzzle while also talking to the mansion's ghostly inhabitants. Really more of a mystery visual novel than a horror game, the game has a somewhat spooky atmosphere and was marketed as such. This game is definitely not for everyone, but it's certainly a unique title for the Sega Saturn and worth checking out if you can handle slow-paced FMV games like this.
Deep Fear is a Sega Saturn exclusive survival horror game published by Sega late in the system's life in 1998. The game is a pretty standard Resident Evil clone with an extra helping of cheese - it's somewhat similar to Carrier for the Sega Dreamcast with its tanker ship environment and overall aesthetics. It featured a few gameplay mechanics that were unique for the genre at the time, most notably the ability to move and shoot at the same time, as well as having to constantly manage your air supply. Deep Fear is notable for its hilariously awful voice acting (OK, in fairness it's probably not quite as bad in this regard as the original Resident Evil) and cutscenes, as well as its status as being one of the last significant game releases for the Saturn. It was unfortunately never released in North America, but was translated into English for its European release. Because of its rarity and desirability, the European version of the game has become a very expensive collector's item.
Phantasmagoria is a point-and-click horror adventure game by legendary game designer Roberta Williams that is definitely a very unique entry in the genre. You play the role of a woman named Adrienne, a writer who moves into a remote mansion with her husband, only to discover that it holds a dark and sinister past, in a plot that bears more than a little resemblance to The Shining. As Adrienne explores the mansion, you'll solve puzzles as you attempt to uncover the truth behind the haunting events that unfold. The game uses live-action FMV sprites for the characters green-screened on top of pre-rendered Resident Evil-style backgrounds, making it feel like you're playing an interactive horror movie. Phantasmagoria also stands out for its graphic and disturbing scenes that tackle some very mature themes. While the game was only released in Japan, there's a patch that restores its original English voice-acting, making this an import-friendly game for Sega Saturn fans. It's a fantastic point-and-click adventure and well worth seeking out.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
The all-time classic entry of the Castlevania series which birthed the term "Metroidvania" is synonymous with the Sony PlayStation, but Castlevania: Symphony of the Night also received a Japan-exclusive port on the Sega Saturn which, thanks to fans, can now be played via a full English translation patch. It's classic Castlevania gothic horror and platforming action here, mixed with a new non-linear adventure element to the gameplay as you gain new abilities and can backtrack to explore previously unreachable areas. It's a great game, and while the Saturn port isn't 100% perfect, it's still a worthy entry for the Sega Saturn library and includes some Saturn-exclusive bonus content.