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Hackers Have Cracked Open A Sega Saturn Emulator Inside A Commercial Switch Release

If you’re a fan of retro shooters, you’ll no doubt be aware that last week saw the arrival of Cotton 2, Cotton Boomerang and Guardian Force on Switch – three games by the Japanese company Success which were originally available on the 32-bit Sega Saturn console.

City Connection – which handled the ports – has created an emulator by the name of ZebraEngine, and it turns out that it’s very capable. It hasn’t taken long for hackers to find out just how capable it is, as they’ve dug into the code and worked out how to force Saturn ROMs into the emulator.

While some of the games tested suffer from input lag – a problem which is also present in the Cotton games and Guardian Force, and is something City Connection is looking into – many run perfectly, which is quite surprising when you consider how much of a pain the Saturn is to emulate, even on relatively powerful systems. In fact, performance outstrips both Yaba Sanshiro and RetroArch’s Yabause core, both of which are available on Switch consoles that are running custom firmware.

According to Kotaku, ZebraEngine appears to be based on SSF, a closed-source emulator that started development more than two decades ago.

What makes this exciting is that a commercial Saturn emulator now exists for Switch, which could pave the way for collections of classic Saturn games, should City Connection choose to licence it out. Sega’s console may have lost out to the PlayStation and N64 back in the day, but it’s home to some truly fantastic titles, such as Radiant Silvergun, Guardian Heroes, Sega Rally, Panzer Dragoon Saga and many, many more.

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