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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