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A New Street Fighter That's Easy to Love

The new Warriors' Dreams for Sega Saturn rigs packs a lot of punches in a smooth, fast 32-bit sockfest.


Pardon me while I rave a little.

When Sega's Saturn is hot, it's on fire. I sweated through a recent weekend evening with a couple of winners that put the rig through the paces. And even though I've spent a good deal of space dissing Saturn in the past, it has matured nicely.

Consider Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams from Capcom. I may have just found a new favorite fighter--nothing less than a straightforward, rough-and-tumble sockfest that is as smooth and fast as it is nice to look at.

The Street Fighter series has always delivered great play, whether at the arcades or on 16-bit platforms. This was the first 32-bit version I played and Capcom made sure to pull out all the stops.

All next-generation games should look and play this well. Although the 32-bit version carries over the somewhat monotonous straight-on two-dimensional view of the fight, I never seemed to mind too much. Maybe because I was too busy getting my butt kicked to notice.

The fighting is as relentless and fluid as it gets. Within a few rounds I was knocking off combos and kicking some butt of my own. A nice touch is the use of all the buttons on Saturn's joypad, which allows for just the right touch. There's nothing more disappointing than throwing a roundhouse kick when you intend a foot sweep, after all.

Also fun is the ability to taunt opponents. Beat them unconscious, then hurt their feelings. Fortunately, that's about as rough as it gets. Unlike some fighters, the gore level is thankfully low.

Giant characters move seamlessly across the screen and the attention to detail in the constantly shifting backgrounds is astounding. Unlike some games I've played, this Street Fighter has none of the obvious ticks that bother me so much. The testers truly put the screws to this bad boy.

Gungriffon: Altogether different, but just as much fun is yet another first-person Mechwarrior-type shooter. But Gungriffon from Sega is among the most technical I've played so far.

You know the drill: Earth has been ravaged by the effects of global warming and the armies of the world are duking it out for the precious resources that remain. The faction known as the United America Countries develops a mech that is, of course, the last, best hope for survival.

Uninspired story aside, the game delivers incredibly rich and realistic missions that take full advantage of Sega's graphics processors. Sometimes, so much was happening on-screen that it got hard to follow.

That's a problem at first because mastering the mech's movement and artillery take some practice. In fact, I didn't have much fun at first because I kept making too many mistakes. But you have to figure that if piloting some billion-dollar piece of equipment were as easy as noodling around with a joypad, we'd all be Navy pilots running cool missions in our F-14s.

For now, though, driving virtual mechs around hostile zones will have to do. There's plenty of gadgets and big guns to occupy most players for days. On-screen targeting and information is handled efficiently without clouding up the view of play.

All in all, Saturn is growing into quite a nice little rig. For arcade action, it's hard to beat. The gap between it and PlayStation grows smaller and smaller every day.

Staff writer Aaron Curtiss reviews video games every Thursday. To comment on a column or to suggest games for review, send letters to The Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth, 91311. Or send e-mail to

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