The Best Sega Saturn Exclusive Games - Top 10 Saturn Exclusives Ranked!

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

Clockwork Knight Sega Saturn screenshot

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.

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9. Shining Force III

Shining Force III Sega Saturn screenshot

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.

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8. Dark Savior

Dark Savior Sega Saturn screenshot

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.

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7. Burning Rangers

Burning Rangers Sega Saturn screenshot

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.

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6. The Legend of Oasis

Legend of Oasis Sega Saturn screenshot

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.

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5. Shinobi Legions/Shinobi X

Shinobi Legions/Shinobi X Sega Saturn screenshot

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.

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4. Deep Fear

Deep Fear Sega Saturn screenshot

Deep Fear is a survival horror game released exclusively for the Sega Saturn. The game is extremely similar to the early Resident Evil titles, with prerendered backgrounds and fixed camera angles, tank controls, and a focus on exploration that requires finding keys to open new areas. It does feature some unique twists to the formula that make this more than just a typical Resident Evil clone, with the need to constantly monitor the air level as the underwater environments you explore slowly run out of oxygen, adding to the tension. This is also probably the first survival horror game that allowed you to move and shoot at the same time, which definitely improves the combat system when you fight enemies. If you're a fan of old-school horror games like this, you'll definitely enjoy Deep Fear for its atmosphere, story, and cheesy voice acting. This was the last Saturn game released in Europe, and it was never released in North America.

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3. Magic Knight Rayearth

Magic Knight Rayearth Sega Saturn screenshot

The last Sega Saturn release in North America, Magic Knight Rayearth is a charming 2D action-RPG very much in the same vein as The Legend of Zelda and Secret of Mana series of games. It's based on the anime and manga series of the same name, and features an endearing, silly lighthearted story, characters, and atmosphere, where you take control of 3 schoolgirls just trying to get back home after being transported to another world, each with their own unique abilities. The game features classic overhead 2D action-RPG gameplay, where you'll explore the world to progress through the game, fighting whatever enemies that get in your way along the journey. You can switch between the 3 main characters on the fly, providing an extra bit of depth and strategy to the gameplay, It's a fun, polished, and whimsical adventure that combines tons of charm with well-done, action-based J-RPG gameplay. If you like action-RPGs, Magic Knight Rayearth is definitely a stand out in the Saturn's library - Just be prepared to pay a very high price if you want to own a legitimate physical copy, as the game's rarity and reputation have made it an extremely valuable collector's item for Saturn fans.

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2. Panzer Dragoon Saga

Panzer Dragoon Saga Sega Saturn screenshot

The best J-RPG on the Sega Saturn, Panzer Dragoon Saga is a legendary masterpiece of game design. Developer Team Andromeda did a fantastic job of world-building throughout the entire Panzer Dragoon series, and the shift of focus to open-world exploration for this RPG allowed them to flesh out this part of the game even further. You'll get to travers gorgeous, intricately designed environments as you make your way through this epic adventure, all gloriously rendered in some of the most stunning graphics seen on the system. Panzer Dragoon Saga also offers some fresh and unique features for the RPG genre, including a more action-oriented turn-based battle system where you must constantly change positions during battles to gain the advantage when attacking and also to evade oncoming attacks. The story and presentation are also phenomenal, of course, rounding out what is definitely one of the console's best games. It's just too difficult to describe how incredible Panzer Dragoon Saga is in one short paragraph. Of course, this reputation as a Sega Saturn exclusive gem, along with its rarity, makes this one of the most expensive video games ever - It'll cost you around a grand for a complete in box North American copy of the game.

1. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei

Panzer Dragoon II Zwei Sega Saturn screenshot

Most likely the finest rail shooter ever made, Panzer Dragoon II Zwei earns my number 1 spot on this list as the best Sega Saturn exclusive. Everything from the game's atmosphere and incredible aesthetics to the fluid and addictive gameplay, is just total perfection. This was a big-budget AAA game developed specifically with the Saturn's strengths in mind, and it shows. The game has some of the best art direction in a 5th generation console game, with stunning worlds full of set pieces and special effects, and well-designed character and enemy models. And then there's the game's phenomenal soundtrack as well, featuring some of the most memorable video game music of all time. But Panzer Dragoon II Zwei isn't just about its presentation, as the game backs all of this up with an amazing 3D rail shooter experience that will leave you asking "Star Fox. who?" This is not just one of the best Sega Saturn games, it's one of the best video games of all time, period.

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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What Horror Games Are On The Sega Genesis/Mega Drive? The Complete List of Genesis Survival Horror Games!

While the Sega Genesis was more known for it's colorful, fast-paced action games, platformers, arcade ports, and sports games, it also featured a few grittier, horror-themed titles for those looking for a more mature gaming experience. The survival horror genre didn't even really exist during the 16-bit era, but there were still some games available that offered an early look at what was to come in horror gaming, as well as some games with a more cartoonish and light-hearted take on the horror theme. So let's take a look at the complete list of horror games available on the Sega Genesis - I had to be somewhat generous with what classifies as a horror game here for some of these, since there aren't many mature, pure-horror games on the system, but all of these games feature a unique, 16-bit take on the genre with at least some kind of horror theme or aesthetic.

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Horror Games:

Splatterhouse 2

Splatterhouse 2 Sega Genesis screenshot

Namco brought the horror home to the Sega Genesis with Splatterhouse 2, a gory arcade beat-em-up heavily inspired by classic 80's slasher movies. You resume the role of Rick from the first game, who just so happens to bear a strong resemblance to Jason Vorhees from the Friday The 13th series. Although the game is more focused on action than pure horror, all of the usual tropes are here and done very well. The game features tons of gruesome monsters that look straight out of cult horror flicks like The Evil Dead, From Beyond, and The Thing, and the amount of gore in the game was pretty extreme for a console game in 1992. Featuring some appropriately dark and foreboding levels and a haunting soundtrack, Splatterhouse 2 is a masterpiece of 16-bit horror game design.

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Splatterhouse 3

Splatterhouse 2 Sega Genesis screenshot

After the success of the Genesis port of Splatterhouse 2, Namco released a Sega Genesis exclusive sequel called Splatterhouse 3. The game features the same horror theme and storyline as the earlier titles in the series, but mixes things up by adding another dimension to the levels (you can now move up and down in addition to left and right) and a non-linear exploration-based structure where you're free to progress through the level as you see fit. Splatterhouse 3 also upped the production values with numerous cutscenes that were rather impressive for a cartridge-based system at the time. Gore levels are at an all time high here, and the atmosphere is absolutely on point. All in all, this is a great entry to the series and one of the best and most iconic horror titles for the Sega Genesis, definitely the crown jewel of Genesis horror games when it comes to presentation. Definitely a must-own for any serious horror game fan.

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Castlevania Bloodlines

Castlevania Bloodlines Sega Genesis screenshot

The Sega Genesis got its very own exclusive entry in the Castlevania series with this sequel to the NES classics by Konami. The game is a throw-back to the gameplay style of the first three games in the series after the Super Nintendo-exclusive Super Castlevania IV changed the formula a little bit. You'll get to explore creepy environments throughout Europe filled with all of the classic Castlevania baddies (along with some new ones) as you hunt down the vampire Elizabeth Bartley (based on the real life historical figure Elizabeth Bathory) as she attempts to orchestrate World War 1. It's the same classic Castlevania gameplay you know and love, with some incredibly creative and dynamic level design only possible thanks to the blast processing capability of the Sega Genesis. Castlevania Bloodlines is a true classic that shouldn't be missed by anyone.

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Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Zombies Ate My Neighbors Sega Genesis screenshot

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a light-hearted, comedic take on classic horror and sci-fi movies in 16-bit video game form. It's not meant to be scary, just campy B-movie style fun. The game is full of classic enemies like zombies, werewolves, UFOs, giant babies, and chainsaw-wielding guys wearing hockey masks that look like they just wandered off the set of Friday The 13th Part III, and you're tasked with defeating or evading these mutants while exploring a variety of environments while trying to rescue your dim-witted neighbors. It's a fast-paced action-adventure game that utilizes an overhead perspective akin to the 2D Zelda games (ignoring the oddball Adventures of Link), and it's tons of fun. The game also features a 2-player co-op mode so you can share the scares with a friend. Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a timeless classic, and the Sega Genesis port is well worth checking out if you're looking for a more cartoony horror-themed game for the system.

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Ghouls 'n Ghosts

Ghouls 'n Ghosts Sega Genesis screenshot

Sega ported Capcom's hit arcade game to the Sega Genesis as an early release for their just launched 16-bit console. Ghouls 'n Ghosts is a tough-as-nails arcade action platformer that takes place in a medieval Europe overrun by Lucifer's demon horde as your character, the knight Sir Arthur, must fight your way through hellish landscapes in order to rescue your princess. The game features plenty of ghoulish enemies and spooky environments, with some very nice graphics for an early 16-bit game, and a haunting soundtrack to boot. Only hardcore gamers need apply here, as Ghouls 'n Ghosts is extremely unforgiving, but if you can handle the challenge, this is a great platformer with a nice gothic horror atmosphere.

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Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance Sega Genesis screenshot

Zero Tolerance is a Sega Genesis exclusive first-person shooter developed by Technopop and published by Accolade. The game plays similarly to Wolfenstein 3D and Doom with a bit of System Shock vibes. You play as a 5-person team tasked with eliminating a hostile alien force that has taken over a space station and killed all of its human inhabitants. It's just you against the alien invaders as you explore the space station against the clock before the damaged cooling system fails and destroys the colony. Zero Tolerance was a bit ahead of its time as an early console exclusive FPS and the game features an eerie atmosphere throughout. You get five different playable characters to switch between, and when one dies, they're gone for good. 16-bit Doom, anyone?

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Alien 3

Alien 3 Sega Genesis screenshot

Alien 3 is a side-scrolling action-platforming game loosely based on the movie of the same name. You take on the role of series icon Ellen Ripley as you explore the space prison colony, racing against the clock to save as many humans from the Xenomorphs as you can before time runs out. The game is surprisingly tense and features a great sense of atmosphere and dread that manages to do the franchise justice. If you're a fan of the films, Alien 3 for the Sega Genesis is worth a look.

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Sacred Line: Genesis

Sacred Line Sega Genesis screenshot

Sacred Line: Genesis is an indie game developed by Sasha Darko and published in 2015 for the Sega Genesis by Watermelon. It's one of the more unique games on this list in the context of the Sega Genesis's library as it's a visual novel/graphic text adventure with a horror theme. There are some light pen-and-paper RPG elements as well as you'll occasionally engage in battles with enemies which involve rolling physical dice to determine the outcome of the fight. It's not a very complex game, but it definitely delivers when it comes to the horror atmosphere. If you're looking for something spooky and unique for your Sega Genesis, Sacred Line is definitely worth a look.

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Undeadline Sega Genesis screenshot

Undeadline is a pretty weird action game that plays like a vertically-scrolling shooter, although you control a human character and the levels are all ground-based. While the gameplay may not evoke much of a horror mood, some of the enemies and environments, as well as the overall aesthetics, certainly do. You'll be fighting Jason Vorhees knockoffs, vampires, and other ghoulish creatures in bloodstained haunted houses and cemeteries. The game was only released in Japan, and the official Japanese version of the game has become a highly sought-after collector's item that sells for several hundred dollars, but if you just want to play it there are English-translated reproduction cartridges available that are pretty cheap.

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Haunting Starring Polterguy

Haunting Starring Polterguy Sega Genesis screenshot

Haunting Starring Polterguy is a strange and unique game that's pretty hard to describe. You play as the eponymous Polterguy, who's out for revenge against the boss of the skateboard company who caused his untimely death. It's basically like The Sims, as you assume the role of an invisible character that manipulates the environment to scare the inhabitants of the house you're currently haunting. It's not a scary game, but there are a ton of very creative and sometimes gory traps that you can trigger, all with their own unique animations. It's like a 16-bit version of the plot of Beetlejuice, so if that sounds interesting to you, definitely give Haunting a try.

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Dark Castle

Dark Castle Sega Genesis screenshot

Dark Castle is a puzzle-platformer that's somewhat vaguely horror-themed. You explore a medieval castle infested with the iconic video game villians bats and rats. It's not really horror but has some of the aesthetic, so it makes the list if only for completion's sake. It's not great, but it's also not bad. If you like puzzle-platformers you might want to check it out.

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Alien Storm

Alien Storm Sega Genesis screenshot

Alien Storm is a 2D beat-em-up/run-'n-gun/rail shooter by Sega that was released for the Sega Genesis in 1991. A port of the arcade game, the Genesis/Mega Drive version of the game is a fast-paced action game that's very similar to Golden Axe, albeit with a sci-fi horror aesthetic. It's a campy, sci-fi B-movie type of affair, with entire towns being overrun by aliens, and only your band of gun-toting heroes can put a stop to it. There are some enemies here that look like they came straight out of the Splatterhouse games or the movie From Beyond, and the variety of environments and gameplay styles keeps the game fresh all the way through. If you're looking for some intense beat-em-up action with a light horror theme, Alien Storm offers great arcade action that's well worth your time.

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Scooby-Doo Mystery

Scooby-Doo Mystery Sega Genesis screenshot

Zoinks, Scoob! Looks like we've got another mystery on our hands! Scooby-Doo Mystery is a point-and-click adventure game based on the popular Scooby Doo series, released exclusively for the Sega Genesis (there's a Super Nintendo game with the same name, but it's a completely different game). You'll control Shaggy, alongside your trusty sidekick Scooby Doo, as you attempt to unfold the mystery in two separate scenarios: a hotel haunted by the ghost of a Native American, and a carnival being terrorized by a creepy, evil clown. The game totally nails down the vibes of the show, featuring some fantastic graphics with impressive sprite-scaling and an eerie soundtrack, and while some of the puzzle-solving can be frustratingly obtuse, it's a great game if you're a fan of these old-school point-and-click adventures. Scooby-Dooby-Doo!

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