How Panzer Dragoon Made Clever Use of the Saturn's Limited Processing Power

How Panzer Dragoon Made Clever Use of the Saturn's Limited Processing Power

Digital Foundry takes a deep dive into the classic Sega Saturn series.

Panzer Dragoon is one of those beautiful, mysterious game series that seems doomed to remain frozen in half-obscurity because nobody has the resources to re-release its games. That makes breakdowns like Digital Foundry's latest Panzer Dragoon analysis that much more fascinating.

Over the weekend, Digital Foundry's retro-centric program "DF Retro" published a video that deconstructs the Sega Saturn shooters Panzer Dragoon and its sequel, Panzer Dragon Zwei. John Linneman talks about Sega's esteemed history as a manufacturer of arcade shooters, and explores how that history influenced Panzer Dragoon.

It's also fascinating to learn Team Andromeda made clever use of the Saturn's limited processing power. The Saturn was notoriously hard to program for, and most of its games' visuals couldn't quite match what its direct competitor, the PlayStation, offered. Team Andromeda used some interesting tricks to get around the Saturn's shortcomings, plus Panzer Dragoon's sandy, Moebius-inspired world treated players to a visually fascinating adventure that still carries a unique scent.

Linneman also discusses the series' ports and sequels, including the 1996 PC port (which also wound up—with some alterations—as a bonus addition to Panzer Dragoon Orta for the Xbox). There are also glimpses of Panzer Dragoon for the Game Gear, and Panzer Dragoon for (get this) the Tiger R-Zone.

Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei were followed up by Panzer Dragoon Saga, an RPG with a sad history that we explored earlier this year on the Axe of the Blood God podcast. It's unlikely we'll get remakes or re-releases of any Panzer Dragoon games in the foreseeable future, but hey, we can dream.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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