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The Top 7... Best ports on inferior systems

In an overly simplistic nutshell, Sega’s Saturn was built primarily with respect to 2D gaming. In comparison, Sony’s PlayStation anticipated the future and was built as a 3D machine. That’s all well and good until it was time to port the fantastic tag-team brawler, X-Men vs Street Fighter to consoles in late 1997 and early 1998. Keep in mind, the PlayStation was already a resounding success and couldn’t even consider the Saturn competition. Could Sony pull off an amazing port? Not in the least.


Above: PlayStation owners saw this more than gameplay

Apparently, the PlayStation couldn’t handle 2D animated sprites with any regularity. Whole frames of animation were dropped, gameplay met with slowdown and there was no tag-team fighting (except with a code and only with the same fighters on either side) - arguably the key feature in the entire goddamn game. This was all due to the PlayStation’s criminally low RAM.


Above: Crap

Even if the Saturn version required the 4MB RAM cart bundled with the game, the saddest part of this story is that X-Men vs Street Fighter was never released in the United States because Sega had already cut its losses with the Saturn. US residents imported the game, which retailers began to stock. So, gamers would’ve rather paid out the ass for a port of an arcade game from Japan to play on a near-discontinued system, rather than play the next best thing. Harsh.


The tale of arguably the most popular puzzle game of all time is a sordid yarn, peppered with more twists than there really should be. In 1985, Soviet mastermind Alexey Pajitnov created Tetris, whose console rights were quickly gobbled up. Tengen - a division of Atari - created an NES version, to which Nintendo said “nuh uh, we totally have those rights.” The Tengen version - which had two-player mode, mind you - was pulled, leaving Nintendo to release their own version. And with only several colors and chip tunes at their disposal, the GameBoy copy surpasses these versions.


Above: The Tengen Tetris version is a rare collectible these days


Above: This is what Nintendo gave us instead. “Thanks”

How come? Well, in addition to being brilliantly packaged with the GameBoy for people on-the-go and endearing itself to adults - thus selling more than 33 million copies - GB Tetris featured two-player multiplayer, something the newly released Nintendo version did not.


Above: Now in monochrome!

Yes, the slight hassle of having two copies of the game, two copies of the gigantic GameBoy system, a link cable and only a smattering of green-tinted colors was still more popular than the closest alternative. Multiplayer games had been around a while before, but Tetris’s popularity certainly opened doors for a new way of thinking about competitive versus modes in games.


Now hold on; we’re not saying the 360 is inferior to the PlayStation 3 overall (the issue is subjective, but we’re willing to say the 360 excels over the PS3 in many key areas), we just mean the 360 underperforms in comparison via hardware and horsepower. With The Orange Box, there are five excellent games (three of which were old at the time of release) being shoehorned onto a disc. So how did five games disappoint on the system that supports the mammoth blu-ray disc’s memory capacity?


Above: The Orange Box when nothing goes wrong

Well, chalk that up to Sony’s uncanny ability to make every system completely irritating to program for. Microsoft’s Xbox systems are generally considered to be like programming for a PC, meaning porting the games to the console are relatively simple tasks. Not only that, but both the Windows and 360 versions were developed and published by Valve, while the development of the PS3 version was outsourced to EA. We’re willing to think EA did the best they could with the code given.


Above: Call us crazy, but we’re not supposed to be under the level

The most commonly cited issues with the PS3 version were pretty terrible frame rate issues throughout each game, sporadic glitches and slow loading times in Portal. A patch was issued to clear some up some of the issues, but we hear some of these problems still persist. No problem is game-breaking and The Orange Box is completely playable if you own a PS3, just be warned about what you’re getting into.

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Top 7

53 comments

  • rezapoc - March 24, 2009 3:18 p.m.

    Don't forget duke nukem on the Saturn when compared to the sanitized N64 version.
  • Awesomeitude1523 - March 3, 2009 5:58 p.m.

    This is just me, but it says in the title that superior ports on INFERIOR systems. I ain't no sony fanboy, but technically they are saying that the PS3 is superior. Just sayin'
  • synthetictwist - February 23, 2009 2:59 a.m.

    How does The Orange Box seem lifeless? I think I had a stroke after reading that...
  • damaddok - January 19, 2009 5:09 p.m.

    Why does it seem that the first comment in every article is being deleted? Really. The past 4 articles I read all had deleted comments at the very top. Why? Just because of the "First!"?
  • protospasm - January 17, 2009 1:15 a.m.

    How nostalgic. I argued many times for the SNES version of MK, but knew all along that the 3-button Genesis version was more fun. Oh, the losing side... why did I spend so much time with you!?
  • metalgearps2 - January 16, 2009 9:11 p.m.

    Um, not only is GamesRadar very biast on thier articles about the Xbox 360, but, um, Valve is owned by EA, so, you really can't 'outsource' a game made by Valve to EA (the parent company). Thats why on retail copies of Valve games there is a EA sticker on the top... xD
  • SlightlyBetterName - January 13, 2009 10:25 p.m.

    Yes, this means Shane's gonna be on the next Talkradar. Score.
  • MacGyver1138 - January 13, 2009 9:47 p.m.

    I had a Genesis and I remember my friends who had SNESes coming over to play Mortal Kombat on my system. Unfortunately, MK and Sonic were the only two things I really had that made my SNES friends jealous.
  • Mackster-901 - January 13, 2009 4:54 p.m.

    sega megadrive rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
  • TheHamburglerTouchedMe - January 13, 2009 1:10 p.m.

    i cant see any difference between the dreamcast version of samba and the wii version. :)?
  • derringer83 - January 13, 2009 6:20 a.m.

    at first glance i thought homie_cheese said 'sex on psn'... Unrelated... Other than that I thought this was a very informative article. Thanks for increasing my brain activity.
  • AyJay - January 13, 2009 4:27 a.m.

    i hate double posts
  • super2j - January 13, 2009 4:23 a.m.

    DAmn it phoenix_wings you are a hero. Your whole statement was great, and nice burn with the whole iphone mgs thing, im gunna be rubbing it in the face of my friends for a LLOOOOnnnGG time. I Have to say
  • Musicgeek4 - January 13, 2009 2:42 a.m.

    I have the alladin game for genisis and loved it. It was the first game I stayed up all night to play and finally beat it at 6 in the morning. I also have the tetris for gameboy and still play it. Its a shame hat those games are better than most wii games that come out today
  • homie_cheese_slice - January 13, 2009 2:25 a.m.

    This is totally unrelated to the article, but they should come out w/ gex on psn!
  • phoenix_wings - January 13, 2009 1:55 a.m.

    Good article, except of course the flame-war inciting comment. Hmm, Microsoft has PCs as well as the 360...so who is actually the man in this case? PS3 is better. I play it because I want my stuff to work, not mock me with red lights and its incapability to work. The 360 has better online play than the PS3, but I really don't want to listen to 12-year olds shouting out how big their p3n15 is. I don't want to have to buy half of my game through DLC, and when I do go online, I don't want to have to pay extra for the full online experience. And you might have the Orange Box better-ness, but Konami would first release a MGS for the iPod touch and iPhone before they would release a port for the 360....and those who say "first" without adding anything constructive to say are most definitely retards.
  • Ninja-KiLLR - January 13, 2009 1:53 a.m.

    the orange box was crap some parts were really awsome but over all it seemed kinda life less
  • Defguru7777 - January 13, 2009 1:33 a.m.

    In addition to the points you mentioned, the 360 version of The Orange Box will also get the PC expansions. Take that PS3!! (Not a fanboy, I just like to stick it to the man)
  • NullG7 - January 13, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    The PS3 Xbox 360 thing has been going on too long! They have about the same performance and power, the main thing is prefrence if you like great graphics and some older games (not at the same time go PS3, if you like good online play and constantly evolving and updating games go 360. No point in arguing now pick and be silent my I pick 360 what about you?
  • lymanzaar - January 13, 2009 12:34 a.m.

    in the top 15! awesome. great feature

Showing 1-20 of 53 comments

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