The Saturn is one of Sega's most underappreciated consoles, and the system still offers a fairly large library of games that remain exclusive to the console. So to highlight some of the best the Saturn has to offer, we've made this list of the Sega Saturn's top 10 best exclusive games! The rankings here are obviously going to be somewhat arbitrary as it comes down to personal preferences more than anything else - all of these are great games for the Saturn that are worthy of consideration, and plenty of excellent Saturn games didn't end up making the cut as there were only ten spots on this list. So with all that in mind, let's take a look at what are, in my opinion, the 10 best Sega Saturn exclusives:
10. Clockwork Knight/Clockwork Knight 2
I'm going to cheat a little bit here and give the #10 spot on this list to both the original Clockwork Knight and its sequel, Clockwork Knight 2. The first game was a launch title for both the North American and European Saturn releases, and it gave Sega fans a nice 2.5D action-platformer with plenty of pizzazz and spectacle thanks to the processing power of the Saturn. It's a fun, traditional platforming game with a cool Toy Story-esque story and characters, and some creative level design and gameplay elements that elevated the game over its 16-bit platforming predecessors. One main criticism is that it's a little short, but that's why the sequel is here on this list as well - Clockwork Knight 2 offers more of the same, and a lot of it, so if you liked the first game, you'll probably want to play the sequel as well.
9. Shining Force III
Shining Force III was one of the last Sega Saturn games released in the west, and the last numbered entry in the Shining Force series definitely helped the system go out with a bang for fans of strategy RPGs. This one features the same tactical battles you know and love from the previous games, while enhancing the presentation with some nice 32-bit 3D graphics and a fantastic CD soundtrack. Featuring an engaging story with plenty of branching paths that enhance the game's replay value, fans of strategy RPGs are definitely going to want to check this one out, although adding it to your collection is going to be quite costly, as it's a highly sought-after late Saturn release that had a low print run.
8. Dark Savior
If you've ever played LandStalker for the Sega Genesis, you have a good idea of what to expect with its spiritual Saturn sequel Dark Savior - it's another 2D overhead isometric action-RPG with a lot of tricky platforming due to the angle of the camera. It's a very fun and rewarding experience once you're able to adjust to the controls, however, with lots of environments to explore and plot twists to unfold. The battle system here is pretty interesting, too, as fights with enemies play more like a fighting game or beat-em-up than your typical action-RPG. Dark Savior also features a lot of branching paths as you progress through the story, offering some extra replay value. If you liked LandStalker or other action-RPG games of this ilk, you'll definitely like this one as well.
7. Burning Rangers
Burning Rangers was the last Sega Saturn game developed by Sonic Team, and one of the last Saturn releases in the west. The game has you playing as a jetpack-toting firefighter of the future as you explore various environments, attempting to put out fires and rescue civilians while encountering a few boss fights along the way. Running on the NiGHTS into Dreams engine, Burning Rangers mixes third-person shooting action and 3D platforming with an emphasis on exploration to provide a pretty unique experience on the Saturn. The graphics, sound, and overall presentation are definitely all top notch for the system, with some nice anime cutscenes and solid voice acting accompanying the game's impressive 3D graphics with lots of colored lighting and transparencies. It's a fun but short game that was very unique in its time, as the focus was on saving people instead of killing enemies. Sonic Team delivered a very well-designed and memorable title for their last effort on the Saturn, and Burning Rangers remains one of the best exclusive games on the platform.
6. The Legend of Oasis
The Legend of Oasis is a great action-RPG that is a bit similar to the 2D Legend of Zelda games, although with a more action-oriented focus. It's a sequel to Beyond Oasis for the Sega Genesis, and it definitely does the series justice as a worthy follow-up to that game. With combat being just as much of a focus as exploration, The Legend of Oasis has a pretty extensive list of moves and combos you can pull off as you fight your way through the game. It's fast, fluid, and fun, and makes the game stand out from the typical action-RPG as you make your way through the various dungeons throughout the game. There's also an elemental system here where you find new creatures you can summon as you progress throughout the game, which can help in combat as well as puzzle solving. If you're looking for a solid and unique action-RPG for the Sega Saturn, you can't go wrong with The Legend of Oasis.
5. Shinobi Legions/Shinobi X
Released as Shinobi Legions in North America and Shinobi X in Europe, this is the Saturn exclusive sequel to the popular Shinobi games that came before for the arcade, Genesis, Master System, and Game Gear. It's a great entry to the series that features the same type of action-platforming gameplay the games were known for with some tweaks and upgrades, along with a fresh new coat of paint for the Saturn. While the game's aesthetic choices are a point of contention for some, I personally love the direction they went with the game here - the digitized graphics have that unmistakable mid-90's vibe, and the delightfully cheesy live action cutscenes provide a super entertaining low-budget ninja B-movie that looks like something you would have seen on some obscure late night cable channel. It looks great, plays well, and offers tons of fun for Sega Saturn owners looking for some classic 2D arcade-style ninja action.
4. Deep Fear
3. Magic Knight Rayearth
2. Panzer Dragoon Saga
1. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei
This was a really hard list to make, as there were many more games that could have definitely made the cut like Saturn Bomberman, Astal, and Fighters Megamix, but we had to make some sacrifices to narrow it down to just 10 games. Obviously there are plenty more Saturn exclusives that are worth your time - see our list of Sega Saturn games that are still exclusive for a comprehensive list of games that you can only play on Sega's 32-bit powerhouse.
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