Retro Head2Head

“Face Your Fear in this Retro Deathmatch!”

Capcom 1 Disc 1 Disc Capcom
Survival Horror Stereo Stereo Survival Horror
Release: 03/30/96 7 Sec 12 Sec Release: 08/31/97
ESRB: Mature
NA NA ESRB: Mature

Retro Head2Head Resident Evil: In this Retro deathmatch we bring you two titans from the 32 Bit era, Resident Evil for the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn.

Welcome to this special Halloween Retro Head2Head! In this Retro Head2Head we bring you a battle between two Survival Horror giants, Capcom’s one and only Resident Evil. The two systems battling it out are the original Playstation (where the classic made its debut), and the Sega Saturn (a system known for its difficulties in programming 3D). This one should be easy…so you think! Enter our mansion of horrors to see which version walks out alive.


How we captured: All the Rollover pics you see have been captured using S-Video cables for both systems and our capture device set to default to ensure an equal and level playing ground. The original game for the Playstation was released in March of 1996 while the Saturn version didn’t make it out until August, 1997.

Graphics/Sound: Many of us on the staff thought this would be an easy category for the Playstation to win. Much to our surprise, the Saturn version is the one which actually looks the best…in most instances that is. The game’s graphics consist of 3D polygonal characters and objects superimposed over pre-rendered backdrops, so both versions backgrounds looked about the same. As for the character models, the Sega Saturn version got a complete overhaul by boosting the polygon count by almost double. The Saturn version also re-skinned all of the textures on character models as well as some of the enemies. At our default capture setting, color also seems to be richer and slightly more vibrant on Sega’s machine. This might be due to the fact that Capcom had an extra year to get their 3D programming correct, not to mention the company loved working with Sega’s system – developing near-perfect arcade ports of their 2D library on the Saturn.

Unfortunately the Saturn still losses in the graphics department, let us explain. Before the introduction of in-game cinematics that most of today’s games have, games in this era told their stories with pre-rendered cut-scene videos or simply FMV (Full Motion Video). All of the Saturn FMV’s were displayed a slightly smaller screen and a lower resolution throughout, also the Saturn FMV’s displayed some nasty artifact/pixelation when compared to the crisper PlayStation videos.  Furthermore, any scene involving water or a fire didn’t look nearly as good as it did on Sony’s Machine. 3D transparency seemed to be nearly impossible on the Saturn and any scene featuring a transparent effect just couldn’t match the Playstation’s visuals. As for the sound, both versions sounded as spooky as ever, and during our capture time we couldn’t tell the difference between the two.


Performance/Controls: Because Resident Evil had pre-determined camera angles, having a responsive controller was very important, and remember this was before Sony’s introduction of the analog controller, so using the D-Pad was kinda tricky. Luckily, besides the slightly different button layouts between the two controllers, both consoles D-Pad response times were identical. On the performance side both versions had zero screen tearing and no slow down during gameplay, ending this category in a tie.

Loading: This category is one the PS1 wins hands down. Opening doors took an average 7 seconds on Sony’s system. The Saturn’s average load time when opening a door was around 12 seconds – nearly double the time. Even when picking up a clip or flipping through a book in game, the Saturn just takes longer. Here are a few sample times from our original capture.

PS1: 1st Load 1:57 – 2:04  2nd Load 2:23 – 2:30 3rd Load 3:51 – 3:58  4th Load 4:10 – 4:17

SAT: 1st Load 2:00 – 2:13  2nd Load 2:34 – 2:46  3rd Load 4:16 – 4:27  4th Load 4:42 – 4:52

Roll over the image to see the Differences. Notice the “beefier” look the characters have in the Saturn version.

Roll over the image to see the differences. Notice the Clock looks better on the PS1.

Roll over the image to see the differences. FMV was displayed in a smaller screen on the Saturn.

Roll over the image to see the differences

Roll over the image to see the differences

Roll over the image to see the differences

More Rollovers, Conclusion, Technical Score, and Staff Choice on Page 2>>>

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