Saturn vs. PlayStation

For discussion of Lunar: Eternal Blue, the remake of Lunar 2 for Saturn/Playstation and all its translations
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Quantam
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Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by Quantam »

How large are the differences between the Saturn and PlayStation versions of EBC? I ask because I heard that for SSS the PlayStation version was called SSSC because it included material that wasn't in the Saturn version. Is this also true for EBC, or are they more on parity? Which of the two is considered the better version?

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Alunissage
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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by Alunissage »

"Better" depends on what your criteria are, of course. The Saturn game has much better sound quality, poorer video. The PlayStation game, as with SSS/SSSC, has more bromides and several additional optional dungeons in the epilogue. And, of course, only the PlayStation game was released in English.

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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by wittischism »

Overworld and 2d backgrounds are more vibrant in the Saturn version. I played both side by side years ago. One thing I remember was either the lava or waves in dungeon environments was more animated in the Saturn version.

The main thing I remember that is better in the PlayStation version is the cut scene video quality.

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Kizyr
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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by Kizyr »

I'm not sure how true this is, but one often-cited thing about the Saturn is that it was designed for 2D graphics and arcade ports of existing Sega properties, while Playstation was designed more for 3D. That's often given as a reason why Saturn didn't make it when games started going much more 3D and things like sprite rendering were less important. That would explain some of the better look of the Saturn version since, well, Lunar is still a 2D game.

I'm honestly not sure how much of this is really accurate, and how much is just analysis after-the-fact looking for justifications. There was a lot during those console war eras that got tossed around as factoids that weren't really accurate (or more commonly just didn't matter).

That's not to say the Saturn version didn't look better, or sound better (I think it certainly did), but that it often got chalked up to the relative strengths/weaknesses of each console, and that's the part I'm not so sure about anymore.
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Alunissage
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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by Alunissage »

That's what I've heard as well... that the Saturn was designed to do 2D stuff and then late in development someone decided it had to do 3D because that was the wave of the future, and really pushed for 3D games on it.

I feel like the White Dragon Cave may have been more animated in the background in some version I recently played, which I think must've been the Saturn one. Will have to check.

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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by Imperial Knight »

I'm no hardware expert, but that's basically my understanding. The Saturn had very impressive 2D capabilities, with a processor dedicated to the background layers and another dedicated to "foreground" (e.g. sprites). The extent to which the 3D graphics were or weren't an emphasis I'm not entirely clear on, but I know a common criticism of 3D graphics on Saturn was its use of quadrilaterals rather than triangles.

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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by AkagisWhiteComet »

Keep in mind in Japan both the Saturn versions of the game came before the Playstation versions. For SSS in particular it was not given the moniker 'Complete' until the later "MPEG" release came some time later. The MPEG version featured video of very good quality that rivals the PS port, but the immediate issue being you needed a Saturn MPEG cart to utilize the features. I'm making an assumption that even in the Japanese market not a lot of individuals splurged for the MPEG cart unless they were playing something like a fighting game that required it. Nowadays most devices such as the Action Replay cart feature MPEG features built-in.

Most Japanese market Saturn games that featured a lot of FMV simply added discs. You see this quite a lot in the various visual novels that released on the console that never made their way state-side. If it wasn't FMVs necessitating discs it was likely tons of spoken dialogue. Unlike SSS, EB wasn't given an "MPEG" or similar version in Japan and simply shipped with two game discs, whereas both the initial release and later MPEG release of SSS had one disc only.

I like to collect Saturn titles that did not make their way to the US. My relative understanding of the hardware as well is that quads on the Saturn were almost always more difficult to draw than the triangles on the PS1. The immediate reason being in a quad you have four reference points to draw, whereas a triangle you only have three. Creating a 'square' (it doesn't have to be a literal square or rectangle, but rather just have four points) on the PS1 simply resulted in mashing two triangles together, whereas a quad couldn't effectively split itself in the same manner. Drawing two triangles with three points each was faster than a four-point quad. Advantages are however that 2D games - something the Saturn did very well - look incredibly good, and the console does a very good job at handling scaling or movement of such objects. (The worst thing I personally deal with is trying to read modified or compound hiragana and katakana, which as I don't have perfect vision I sometimes have difficulty seeing with stretched text).

The relative downside to the PS1's triangles is the textures often were not stable to one another. If you play 3D games side by side on both consoles, such as Tomb Raider or Destruction Derby for early examples, you'll often notice PS1 textures tend to "jump" or shake especially if they're incredibly close to the camera or field of view or focus. It's because when the triangles are drawn an adjacent shape often attempts to reference points on another drawn triangle. As the Saturn draws quads you don't see this same sort of texture jump in 3D games. Conversely however in Saturn -specific games they cannot produce some of the more detail modeling that PS1 games could, which is why games with more dynamic 3D models such as racing games and action titles featured rather blocky or lesser detailed models than something that would appear on a PS1.

Myself I feel I would rather play the Playstation version, simply for it's ease of accessibility. You can play both on a PS1 or PS2 (I have a handful of PS2s lying around, as I like to play imports on that console as well), and you have the relative luxury of saving to a memory card. For the Saturn, you would need to ensure that the console's battery still has juice, they tend to die off relatively quickly, and frequently back up saved data to a backup cart or Action Replay. A dead battery would require you to replace, pull saved data from the backup through the Saturn Bios function, then remember to perform backups BACK to the cart once you progress.

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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by Shinto-Cetra »

AkagisWhiteComet wrote: Myself I feel I would rather play the Playstation version, simply for it's ease of accessibility. You can play both on a PS1 or PS2 (I have a handful of PS2s lying around, as I like to play imports on that console as well), and you have the relative luxury of saving to a memory card. For the Saturn, you would need to ensure that the console's battery still has juice, they tend to die off relatively quickly, and frequently back up saved data to a backup cart or Action Replay. A dead battery would require you to replace, pull saved data from the backup through the Saturn Bios function, then remember to perform backups BACK to the cart once you progress.
AR carts are not a good solution anymore. My Saturn setup has a modchip, region free BIOS, and an official memory cart, though I can understand that soldering can intimidate people, and it can be difficult to find a 3rd party to do it. However, with the rise of Fernir and the Satiator (neither of which use the memory cart slot) and their ease of use compared to modchips/BIOS mods, I think AR carts are on their way out in terms of being *the* plug and play Saturn modification (unless it's PSKai patched.) The setups I ilsted will play backups/imports, and with an official memory cart, the battery issue becomes meaningless (unless you want your Saturn clock to be right), and saving is much simpler.

Low Score Boy does an amazing graphical analysis of the Saturn. The first video is more on video effects and the processors that enable them, the second details the FMV capabilities of the Saturn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_OchOV_WDg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev7x8MwLq2A (by his own admission he has a heavy Taiwanese accent, so turn on the subtitles.) Since the PS1 was the main rival to the Saturn, it compares their capabilities too.

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Kizyr
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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by Kizyr »

AkagisWhiteComet wrote:My relative understanding of the hardware as well is that quads on the Saturn were almost always more difficult to draw than the triangles on the PS1. ...
Thanks for this context! Now that we're so far removed from console wars (or at least, way past my ability to care about them) knowing about the actual technical/technological differences are really fascinating. Especially sussing out what's true versus what was just rumor.
AkagisWhiteComet wrote:For the Saturn, you would need to ensure that the console's battery still has juice, they tend to die off relatively quickly, and frequently back up saved data to a backup cart or Action Replay. A dead battery would require you to replace, pull saved data from the backup through the Saturn Bios function, then remember to perform backups BACK to the cart once you progress.
Yeah this is true. The lithium battery that the Saturn has is a relatively rare one, and if you can't replace that you can only save via a memory cart, and if you're playing imports on a US Saturn then that slot may already be taken up -- and import games that require an external save cartridge (e.g., Shining Force III) aren't possible. I actually found it easier to just buy a Japanese Saturn.
Shinto-Cetra wrote:AR carts are not a good solution anymore. My Saturn setup has a modchip, region free BIOS, and an official memory cart, though I can understand that soldering can intimidate people, and it can be difficult to find a 3rd party to do it.
Yeah for all these reasons I just up and bought a Japanese Saturn. Got it for just $50 and made it so much easier than mucking about attempting to modify my first-generation US Saturn.
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DevNall
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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by DevNall »

So I was watching a play through of the beginning of the Saturn and US PSX release recently, and there are definitely graphical enhancements specific to the US release. For instance, in the opening Dungeon Ruins, there are candles present and other visual changes from the PSX version. When you exit, there are small plants growing and a few other changes, plus wind visibly blowing in the PSX release but not the Saturn release.

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EDIT: Also I think Hiro makes one diversion during his run through the dungeon in the PSX version.

Are there more changes like this throughout the PSX release? Or was this a WD enhancement?

(Aspect ratio/resolution is not consistent between the two playthroughs. Sorry about that.)

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Alunissage
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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by Alunissage »

Really, really unlikely to be a WD change. I'll try to remember to play the beginning of the Japanese PSX game and find out. Though wasn't it available for download a few years ago? Or I can squint at the screenshots in the Japanese guides, though the pictures in the Dragon Ruins are pretty dark.

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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by DevNall »

Alunissage wrote: Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:45 pm Really, really unlikely to be a WD change. I'll try to remember to play the beginning of the Japanese PSX game and find out. Though wasn't it available for download a few years ago? Or I can squint at the screenshots in the Japanese guides, though the pictures in the Dragon Ruins are pretty dark.
I found a playthrough of the Japanese PSX release, and it looks like the US one. However, I didn't see any obvious changes in the several minutes of the game after that.

But I wonder if there are more.

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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by DevNall »

Also seems like the sand blowing in the desert is missing too in the Saturn version.

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Re: Saturn vs. PlayStation

Post by ShugoHanasaki »

PSX version all the way (^.^)
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