Throwback Thursday - Bug! Sega Saturn: Don't squash this one!
On May 11th, 1995, Sega shocked the world by announcing at E3 that the Sega Saturn console would be released in the United States that day and was already arriving at retailers for immediate distribution. Everyone was floored at the announcement, especially at the price tag ($399.99 for just the base console, no game.) This announcement was purposely done to steal some of the limelight from Sony who was about to announce that their PlayStation console would release that September at $299.99.
Seven titles were available at the Sega Saturn’s launch. In fact, due to the surprise announcement, all were published by Sega. Games like Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA, and Panzer Dragoon were already waiting in stores for consumers to take them home. There was one title that was a new IP that not many had heard of before (with the exception of the Japanese magazine previews) called Bug! This game allowed the player to control a brightly colored green insect that needs to get his big break in Hollywood. Using 3-D effects, Bug! is a platformer, and is notable for having challenging levels that are three-dimensional, providing depth. It isn’t exactly free-roaming like Super Mario 64, but it does allow the player to move in multiple directions throughout the level, which isn’t necessarily linear.
Bug! does have a few flaws, the backgrounds and music are very repetitive, along with the title character’s one-liners that are repeated over and over again as you play. Still, Bug! is one of the best platformers on the Sega Saturn system and provides a decent challenge. For the most part the game still holds up today, and in my opinion was ahead of it’s time. Remember, 32-bit platforming staples like Crash Bandicoot and Super Mario 64 would not hit stores in the United States until over a full year later.
My brother Sean picked this title up as one of the first four titles with his Sega Saturn system. Instantly he and I were both drawn to the 3-D effects and colorful graphics, unlike anything we had seen on our Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. We spent hours on end stomping other evil bugs, collecting gems and power ups, trying to make it to the goal of each level. I definitely have not completed this game, as the difficulty ramps up pretty fast. However, this does not deter me from dusting off the Saturn every once in awhile to watch those antennae bounce around for a bit. Bug! was also eventually released on PC CD-ROM, and spawned a sequel Bug Too! If you get a chance, make sure you check out Bug!, the best insect game ever created for Sega Saturn.