Resident Evil - Playstation vs Saturn

Let me begin by saying that my introduction to the Resident Evil series began with the Sega Saturn port of RE1. It really changed the way I looked at games at the time. Recently I've been getting back into the series, reading into it, trying to grasp the storyline, become familiar with all the weapons and enemies, etc. Something I've noticed during a lot of my online studying of the games, is that the Saturn RE1 takes a lot of unjust trash talk. Everywhere I looked I saw phrases like "It looks nasty", "It's slow", and my personal favorite "OMGROFL SATURN GOT PWNED SONY4LIFE!". My main complaint about this is they never explain why they say that. No details. Nothing. Maybe they are correct. We're here to find out.

This leads me to believe that none of these people even played the Saturn version, or that the initial shine of the game in their minds had already worn dull, so they were just disappointed that it turned out to be...just the same game. I mean they DID play through the game on Playstation about a year before it hit the Saturn. So I'm here to place both versions in a head to head match up. I'll try to cover all aspects of the game and give an unbiased conclusion, with visual representation of course.

Also note that there is a Windows PC version of Resident Evil. I have never been able to try it myself, so I will not be covering it here. I have read that it is mostly the same as the PS1 Director's Cut, except that it has 2 bonus weapons, and I'm told the intro FMV is uncut and in full color, unlike all other USA versions of the game.

Playstation Exclusives Saturn Exclusives

Setup

The way I see things, you can either get the last version of RE1 they made for PS1, which is Resident Evil: Director's Cut - Dual Shock Edition (With the green Greatest Hits tag), or you can get the only version they made for the Saturn, a port of the first version from PS1. I mean if you're ganna get the game, you might as well get the final version they made for your system, right? I guess that's debatable, but I'm simplifying this feature to just these 2 versions.

Both my PS1 and my Saturn were equipped with S-Video cords, to ensure fair and good quality image comparisons. I did not rely on any emulation for these screenshots, because as we all know, PS1 has been mostly emulated, while Saturn emulation is still very rough. I did rely on Adobe Photoshop's auto-contrast feature though, so that the graphics would be shown much better. Just keep in mind that both games show relatively identical brightness and contrast themselves, despite what these screenshots may indicate.

Categories

This is where I examine the different areas of each version. I will state the winner to the right of the subject, after the "~" sign.

Backgrounds ~ Saturn
It has come to my attention that the Saturn may have an edge over the Playstation in this area. Initially, I assumed that my Saturn S-Video cable was a little wierd because all the Saturn backgrounds seemed to have stronger color. Just this once, I decided to use emulation to verify. Not only does it seem true, but it also seems like the Saturn backgrounds have a higher color count than the Playstation ones. You can see an emulated comparison shot of this for Saturn and Playstation. Below, you will find comparison shots coming from the actual console hardware.

3D Models ~ Saturn
At first I thought PS1 had the lead in this area, but I've been looking closely at the character models, and while both systems would seem to have roughly the same ammount of polygons, Saturn's characters do appear to have an overall better shape to them. Perhaps Capcom was a bit more experienced in 3D construction 1 year later, or perhaps Saturn's 3D architecture doesn't have the severe clipping which you can clearly see in the joints of the characters on PS1. So in terms of overall shape, I am going to have to give it to Saturn. I wish I could find a model viewer app for both games in order to prove all this, but for now the screenshots will do. You be the judge.

Textures ~ Saturn
It seems pretty much all 3D models on Saturn are re-textured, for better or for worse. For instance, in my opinion, the characters have much better texture on Saturn. Much more depth to them, and I think that more then makes up for slightly blockier models. PS1 tends to do away with texture on certain areas like skin, and substitute with bland color shading. However, a few objects seem to look nasty on Saturn, like the clock in the dining room.

Lighting ~ Playstation
PS1 seems to have better lighting on 3D models. In fact I am having a hard time seeing if Saturn even has a light engine, or if it's just faked on the textures themselves.

Transparency ~ Playstation
Saturn has always had trouble doing transparency and this game is no exception. All the smoke, fire, water, or glass in this will look quite odd, like a speckled pattern. And on regular TV's, this tends to come across with a rainbow color. PS1 can handle it however. It's like you would expect. You can see through things you are meant to see through, and it doesn't look odd.

Full Motion Video Quality ~ Playstation
PS1 wins this by quite a bit. Saturn always struggled handling FMVs, especially full screen ones. Saturn plays the videos at the same frame rate, however there are many more jagged artifacts on screen.

Music ~ Draw
100% different. No doubt about it. Between these 2 versions of the game, I don't think there is a single song that's the same. When Capcom put out the Dual Shock version of Director's Cut on PS1, they replaced the entire soundtrack with a newly recorded one. It has no relation to the old tunes. It's like a completely different take on the atmosphere of the game. Most people absolutely hate the new OST, but it has kind of grown on me. I actually think it accompanies the cheesiness of the actors well. It also has higher production value than the old album. But when it comes to catchy and memorable tracks, it falls flat. I recommend you listen to both thoroughly. I can't chose.

Sound Effects ~ Playstation
Sound effects on Saturn are quite weak. In a variety of ways. It can't seem to handle more then maybe 2-3 sounds occurring at once. Like in the cutscene where Barry shoots the head off the zombie, the first shot you don't even hear, because Barry was finishing his line, and maybe the zombie's footstep sound was playing. Other sound effects are weak as well. The fade off is way too steep, based on varying degrees of distance. On Saturn, the sounds fade out of hearing very easily. I had Jill maybe 10 feet from the camera in a hallway and I could barely hear her gun. I'm pretty sure sound quality itself is also downgraded on Saturn. All sound effects are about half as clear as they are on PS1. Overall, the PS1 sounds just seem to be much more sharp and loud. Voice acting seems equal on both systems though.

Door Loading Points ~ Playstation
Saturn's door loading screens tend to have noticeable slowdown and pauses. It seems like when the Saturn emits a disc load noise, the door will stutter for a moment. They might be longer then PS1's due to this. Also noteworthy is that the PS1 doors are displayed in what seems to be 640x480 resolution, while the Saturn doors are running at 320x240. Further, it seems like the actual textures of the doors are worse on Saturn. See all this in the screenshots below.

Saving ~ Saturn
Saving your game is about 50% faster on saturn, due to the use of internal memory rather then memory card.

Documents ~ Playstation
Strangly on Saturn, between every two pages of a document there is about 1 full second of load time. For example, you open the document "Botany Book", read page one, flip to page 2 and read it, and as you flip to page 3 it sits for 1 second. It's not like Saturn doesn't have enough RAM for text files...weird.

Auto-Aim ~ Playstation
Saturn does not have auto-aim. This ups the difficulty quite a bit. Auto-aim was a feature that was first added in the Director's Cut (Non-Dual Shock), which came out a few months after the Saturn port. It really makes all the combat twice as easy. On Saturn, be prepared to miss quite a few shots due to tricky camera angles. Some people are purists and are against the use of auto-aim, but the way I see it, if you don't want to use it, you don't have to. It's optional, and a welcome addition.

Costumes ~ Playstation
PS1 has the default costumes, and 2 exclusives per character. Saturn has the defaults, although re-textured, and 1 exclusive costume per character. Personally, I think the Arrange Mode costumes for PS1 are dull and ugly, but the secret costumes that you get from the costume room are much better. On the Saturn side, I consider Chris's Blue S.T.A.R.S. suit to be the best costume out of both games. The Saturn's secret Jill outfit has an awful color scheme.

Replay Value ~ Playstation
Playstation's Training mode is great for anyone new to the series, and it's Arrange mode offers plenty of reason to beat the game another time. Saturn's Battle Mode is handy if you just want to blast away at zombies for 10 minutes every once in a while, but it certainly won't hold your attention as long as PS1's Arrange Mode will.

Winner

Well if we add up the points, Playstation got 9, Saturn got 4, and 1 area was a draw. It seems the Playstation version was superior after all, but at least now we know why. The Saturn port still has unique features which should interest the most hardcore fans of the series. Considering how many times I beat the Saturn version as a kid, I'd still say it's a quality title for that console.

Comparison Images

If two images are shown side by side in these catagory, the PS1 images will be to the left, and the Saturn images will be to the right.

Let's begin with the title screens.


Next, option screens.


The Beretta. In the Director's Cut, Arrange Mode grants you a more powerful handgun. Saturn only has the original gun.


Chris's default outfit on both systems.


Jill's default outfit on both systems.


Chris's secret costume on both systems.


Jill's secret costume on both systems.


The Dining Room Clock. For some reason it looks god awful on Saturn.


The Door Load Points. The PS1 Doors seem to have better texture and are in higher resolution.


Comparing the background quality with zoomed in shots. Is there a difference? Are Saturn's slightly cleaner?

Miscellaneous Images

Chris's Arrange Mode outfit on PS1.


Jill's Arrange Mode outfit on PS1.


Saturn's inability to do transparencies. Notice the checkered pattern.


The Golden Tyrant, in Saturn's Battle Mode.


Zombie Wesker, in Saturn's Battle Mode.


The "Tick" for Saturn, a Hunter variation. Taken from an emulator. Submitted by Anders.


One of the new camera angles, on the Director's Cut Arrange Mode.


A scene for Jill that is exclusive to the Director's Cut Arrange Mode. Notice the Zombie in the mirror.


Saturn's Battle Mode Ranking Screen.


Battle Mode. Note the timer, measuring how long you take.


The Save File screen on Saturn.

Videos

The PS1 Director's Cut - Dual Shock Intro FMV - It's the USA version, which means it is censored. Notice the drastically different music near the end. This is because the Dual Shock edition has a completely different soundtrack throughout the whole game, whereas the original version, and the regular Director's Cut, use the classic RE music.

The PS1 Director's Cut Non-Dual Shock End Credits - This is included just because it's so cool to see these Fly-By angles from the memorable scenes. Capcom removed it from the Dual Shock version for reasons unknown. The actual credits are not shown because they were not part of the video data. They are overlayed ontop of the video, in the game. Here, you are watching simply the background video.

Music

The following music, which is exclusive to the Saturn version, is included here because it's pretty much impossible to find anywhere else. These tracks are really not that special but perhaps some hardcore fans will appreciate them.

Battle Mode Stage - Plays while you are blasting your way from room to room, except during boss fights.

Battle Mode Completed - After killing the Golden Tyrant, this song plays while the camera circles around the player.

Battle Mode Results - Plays while displaying Battle Mode's high scores.

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