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Panzer Dragoon

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When all that silicon juice gets fired up, the Sega Saturn comes close to duplicating the visual and audio razzle-dazzle of a $20,000 coin-operated machine. It’s only when you load Panzer Dragoon that you feel the 32-bit system’s full impact. As a callow youth filling in for a fallen Dragon Rider in the cyborg-infested 31st century, you must fight your way through a coolly surreal universe. (Think Dune meets Fantasia.) From the gorgeous, seven-minute movie-quality intro (which nearly overshadows the game itself), to the lush audio track, to the 360-degree action provided by a rotating point of view, Dragoon immerses you in a lyrical and exhilarating epic. The triumph of Dragoon is that you begin to think of it as a story, not just a game. If the Saturn can deliver more such experiences, then the videogame industry will have truly undergone a transformation. A