The 32/64-bit era was when things really began to heat up for the first time. The vigorous but cozy rivalry between Nintendo and Sega gave way to an apocalyptic, gore-drenched melee as Sony stepped into the ring to turn the industry on its head, before piledriving its unsuspecting face straight into the canvas.
The PlayStation made games a cool, adult medium, had moresoftware than Phil Harrison now has defunct follicles, and used CDs with extreme prejudice to provide an FMV-soaked, multimedia sensory overload that consoles had only dreamed of before. The Nintendo 64 changed gaming forever with Super Mario 64, did it again with the use of an analogue controller as standard, and then did it again by making modern FPS really work on a console for the first time with Goldeneye. Its anti-aliasing made its games look great, but its reliance on cartridges meant that there were less of them, and both soundtracks and cut-scenes lagged seriously behind.
The Saturn stunned everyone with its rushed early release at E3 1995, and while it failed at 3D in comparison to the other two, it did 2D games amazingly well and had a glorious line-up of Sega arcade conversions. And although the N64 gets all the credit, the Saturnwas the first console to have analogue controlwith its specialised NiGHTS pad. Itsstandard controller still has the best d-pad since the SNES.
But how would a fanboy argue it?
So, a mixed bag again then, whichever way you look at it. Time for the Doom test...
The Saturn version of Doom thought frame-rates were just something that happened to other people:
The PS1 version was exactly the same as the PS1 version you saw on the previous page. Here it is again in case you've already forgotten it:
The N64 had a whole new Doom, built from the ground up with redesigned, rendered sprites and a terrifying ambient soundtrack: