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Hackers cracked a commercial Switch version of a Sega Saturn emulator

If you’re a fan of retro shooters, you no doubt know that last week saw the launch of Cotton 2, Cotton boomerang and Guardian on Switch – three games from the Japanese company Success that were originally available on the 32-bit Sega Saturn console.

City Connection – which manages the ports – made an emulator called the ZebraEngine, and it turns out to be very powerful. It didn’t take long for hackers to figure out how powerful it is since they dug into the code and figured out how to force Saturn ROMs into the emulator.

While some of the games we tested suffered from input lag – an issue that is also present with the Cotton games and Guardian Force and that City Connection is investigating – many run perfectly, which is quite surprising considering how painful it is is Saturn should also be modeled on relatively powerful systems. In fact, the performance outperforms both the Yaba Sanshiro and RetroArch’s Yabause core, both of which are available on Switch consoles with custom firmware.

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

The exciting thing is that there is now a commercial Saturn emulator for Switch that could pave the way for collections of classic Saturn games should City Connection license it. Sega’s console may have lost to the PlayStation and N64 before, but it is home to some really fantastic titles such as: Radiant Silvergun, Guardian Heroes, Sega Rally, Panzer Dragoon Saga and many, many more.

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