Dark Savior (1996) - Sega Saturn

anyone remember this strange isometric platformer RPG from sega saturn?


it took me years to remember the name of this fever dream of a game.
I never owned a Saturn but my friend did.
I watched him play this game and it always stuck with me because of how dynamic the branching paths were.

There is an early game timed section of 5 mins that determines which scenario you will play.
5 pretty distinctly different scenarios in total.

the battles went into a crazy isometric 1v1 fighting system. during some fights, the player can capture his opponent, allowing the player to control that opponent in future matches. The player cannot capture an opponent when using a previously captured character.

literally pokemans

according to wiki this game is hardcore.
the TRUE ending requires doing all the things within a time limit and without the aid of save points.
_This is also the only scenario where the source of the game's name, Dark Savior, becomes apparent._

Seems that this game is in the zeitgeist


@UnparalleledDev#26890 a personal favorite game for me definitely.

Wow I‘ve never heard of this before and it looks awesome. I’m a huge fan of 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds, plus the gameplay mechanics looks fun and varied.

Thanks for injecting this into my brainosphere! Definitely gonna be checking it out.

Only recently, where I finally got my hands on a Saturn flashcart/ODE… And upon spending hours and days thoroughly peepin the entire Japanese and English library, Dark Savior was placed right on the root of my ODE storage device, along with the rest of the games I‘m interested in… Not much else to say, sorry lol. I’ll get back to you when I get around to playing it…. heh. It is in the realm of the type of games I enjoy though.

word is it's a sort-of sequel to landstalker

I remember reading about this game in a magazine in 1997, at a tender age, and being deeply fascinated by how it looked. Still have yet to even see a Saturn, let alone play this, but one day I will.

Kat Koller did an excellent overview and analysis of Dark Savior this year. It goes into good depth about the game‘s scenario system and how that gets used for plot twists later on, particularly in a meta-commentary sense. The game’s quite fun without the crazy story shenanigans it pulls, but it adds a lot to what's otherwise a somewhat jank successor to Landstalker.

Fun fact: the game's script writer, [Toshio Terada](https://vgmdb.net/artist/4853), is a prolific TV drama writer for Japanese networks. I'm not sure exactly what he did for the game itself, but he's a lyricist and writer for the game's CD dramas which go into further depth re: plot events and backstories. It seems this was the first and last time he worked on a game, which I can believe since it didn't exactly sell great or lead to many prospects for Climax Entertainment.

The game also looks positively _gorgeous_ when you raise its internal resolution in an emulator like Kronos or Yaba Sanshiro: https://youtu.be/zRmiYQxPpg4?t=115

Whoever made the textures and models deserves kudos for future-proofing the game so well. It's just a shame it'll likely never get re-released unless M2 takes up the mantle.

There was a really good article about this game like two years ago on one of the big sites (I think!) but I can‘t find it now. It really inspired me to pick the game back up, because the parallel system is more than just 5 different stories, it’s 5 different facets of one metanarrative masquerading as 5 different stories. It's got that amazing 2D/3D mix, optional monster catching, odd music, weird platforming, and a whole lot of mystery and obtuseness.

Put that all together and it's definitely one of the most insert credit games of all time. Of course pursuant to that it's also quite difficult, and knowing about the 5 parallels makes me want to "do it right," which causes some odd stress and ultimately means I haven't ever finished the game, not once, but I have started it and played the first hour about 10 times since 1999 or whenever I got it. I really need to get back into it and really try to complete a full playthrough, but after your second time accidentally falling into some go and getting warped back to the entrance of a dungeon with less health (health being pretty scarce in this game) it's like... is this a game I have time for?

I'd really like to!!

Tried this game a few years ago. I got a couple hours in, died some, and wrote it off thinking I had seen what I needed to see out of it. Glad to be wrong! Don‘t think I’ll boot it back up, but hearing about the branching story has piqued my read about/youtube playthrough interest.

@PasokonDeacon#26943 nice find. oh god i remember that opening scene, watching it over and over.

vaguely recall my friend and I realizing there's more to the game than _Parallel V: Marathon of Death_ the purgatory tournament but it didn't matter bc upon resetting, that heckin timed section on the ship was so labyrinthine and isometric movement/ platforming so jank, the game felt impossible. We did have fun capturing monsters and battling with them. the world building/ scenario design was so interesting it stuck with me for 25 years. I really should play this overly ambitious mess of a game.


@exodus#26948 is this a game I have time for?

the answer Yes, real hardware aside, save state scumming was made for games like Dark Savior

Unfortunately the likelihood of my setting up an emulator and downloading a rom is much lower than my playing through on hardware, though I do reckon that would be a nicer way to play!

I still have this mental block of emulation being fiddly and annoying to set up and combined with my reticence toward playing games on pc in general it might take a while to get over. But maaaaybe some day!?