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Bug! – Sega Saturn

Bug! – Sega Saturn

Bug!_CoverartPlatform: Sega Saturn

Developer: Realtime Associates

Publisher: Sega

Release Date (NA): May 11, 1995

Genre: Platformer

Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10

Reviewed by Nerdberry

Stop! Put the magnifying lens down! Before you think about burning a hole in this loveable green bug’s face, let’s maybe consider how he would feel about that. Our eponymous hero, Bug, is out and about trying to better his life and you want to take that away from him with the power of the sun?! I don’t think so, partner. Bug is one hell of a fighter and he’s a force to be reckoned with. After all, he can claim to have hit the 3D Platforming World before a few other big names. Before Super Mario 64… Before Crash Bandicoot… Before Sonic Adventure… There was one, and his name was…………….. BUG!

Bug Snow Flea

“Meet BUG! the gnat-brained action hero with a little talent, a bit of style and a big dose of ego. This is his big break – a starring role in a major motion interactive game.

It’s Bug in his first starring role as… Bug.

Talk about drama…

Talk about emotion…

Talk about bug juice… this daring-doer powers up with it!

In today’s full-length feature, our hero is up to his antennae in trouble when an insect-noshing arachnid puts the sting on his pals. Queen Cadavra, the hard-hearted web widow, just adores show-biz bugs… as snacks. She’s netted all the tastiest ones (meaning Bug’s pals) as pantry fodder. Imagine munching a mouthful of weevils. Yecchh! This boll buster has NOOOO taste.

Now it’s bug to the rescue as our intrepid thespian butt-bounces his way through pest-plagued Bug Island to save his buddies… and achieve superstardom!” *

Bug Insectia Saturn

Talk about an interesting story. Loaded with cheesy lines and reviews from fake magazines BUG Illustrated (Quoted as saying about the game “I thought he stunk but my ant liked him.”) and Worm Digest (Quoted as saying about the game “Straight from the pooch’s back to you. A flea-blown actor takes the role of the baddest superhero on Sega Saturn… But can he act?”), Bug! is an incomparable platforming title. Advertised as a 3D game in a 3D environment, there’s more to the story than we really know.

Bug! may be a 3D game, but it utilizes a very limited landscape for you to navigate our little green hero. He does not have complete freedom to go anywhere he wants such as in games like, say, Super Mario 64, as he is forced to maneuver along pathways that are already laid out for him. This isn’t a bad thing by ANY means, but one should be aware of the level design before they come into Bug! thinking they will have the complete freedom to roam where they please. I, for one, actually like the small pathways. They are most reminiscent of traditional 2D platforming games of the past except now we can go forwards, backwards, left, and right. This 2D/3D crossover may be the one thing keeping Bug! from aging too fast.

Bug Sega Saturn 2

Bug! prides itself on its visual presentation. With fabulously rendered 3D characters in real-time 3D scenarios, varied colors of bright green, blue, red, and more that just pop out of the screen, and a masterfully constructed floating island to play on, why wouldn’t they? Bug! was designed to be taken seriously, but not designed as a serious game. It’s supposed to be goofy, campy, and cheesy, and if you can’t suspend all disbelief, then your childhood AND the mid-90s were probably tough times for you.

As unique as Bug! is in its appearance, story, concept, and gameplay, it does borrow some elements from the Mario series, but that is in no way an accusation of Bug! being unoriginal. Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System was such a revolutionary game, ushering in quite a few standards that one would EXPECT from ANY platforming game. A few of these particular elements are jumping on an enemy’s head to kill them and collecting coins (or in the case of Bug!, blue crystals). Without the ability to jump on an enemy’s head to kill them, it just wouldn’t feel like a platforming game and it would instead drive away an audience who grew up playing Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, and 3 or any of the other copycat platforming games out there. Plus, Bug! has plenty to offer in variety that makes it a one-of-a-kind game.

Bug Sega Saturn

In Bug! there are 18 total stages (scenes) broken up into six worlds (acts). Each stage is loaded with a variety of bugs, traps, moving platforms, bees, power-ups, crystals, and all other sorts of strange contraptions. One of the great things about Bug! is that it’s not entirely linear. There is a variety of different directions you can go to ultimately take you to the end of any stage. You will sometimes need to find a pull-switch or a lever in order to move an obstacle so you can gain access to power-ups, crystals, or just to get to the next part of the stage!

In any level there is a variety of power-ups that boost performance, boost your life meter (aka Bug Juice), give you some much-needed increased attacking power, or can even be a surprise!!!

Some of the most abundant items are also the most easily accessible, such as blue crystals and hearts. Gathering enough blue crystals provides Bug a chance at playing in the Dragonfly Ring Chase bonus level! One heart provides Bug with one more hit. Sometimes that’s all you need.* There are numerous other life-related power-ups scattered throughout any given stage, yet these are much more challenging to find and are less accessible as well, such as Bug Juice (fully replenishes Bug’s life meter), 1-ups (provides a new life for Bug) and the Clapperboard (gives Bug one more continue).

Bug Juice will replenish Bug's health meter.

Bug Juice will replenish Bug’s health meter.

With a variety of lives, health, and bonus-incentive crystals, it should come as no surprise that Bug! also features some top-notch attacking power-ups such as the bug zapper or spit wads. The bug zapper allows Bug to zap his enemies to death as opposed to having to jump on them. This is an extremely useful tool when trying to kill a jumping grasshopper or when a horde of beetles is charging at you and you want to kill them in succession. Keep in mind that the zapper is designed for close-proximity attacks.

Dragonfly Ring Chase bonus level

Dragonfly Ring Chase bonus level

As cool as the zapper is, the  Crème de la crème are the spit wads. When you see this little floating spit wad power-up, you’ll do anything to get it! The spit wad comes in 4 different colors, each with its own attributes. The green wad fires a single-glob, the red fires a double-glob, the blue provides Bug with rapid-glob fire, and the purple produces bouncing-ricochet-glob fire. This variety of in-game power-ups really adds to the overall gameplay and keeps it interesting and fun. The variety of different spit-wads reminds me of Contra and the variety of different gun types they offered.

Note: There is a surprise power-up shaped like a coin with a star on it. This surprise “power-up” can be a variety of any of the power-ups listed above OR it can be harmful and take away some of your bug juice. So it is highly recommended that you consider your current circumstances before taking this gamble!

Bug Quaria Saturn


You will be wildly pleased with the variety of worlds on Bug Island. There are 6 in all, and each has its own visual style loaded with indigenous insects all set out to kill you. There are stages made of nice greenery, stages underwater, stages in the snow, and more. Each world is loaded with its own details that set it apart from the other stages, which keeps the game visually appealing as you continue your journey. The Bur-r-bs (translation: The Burbs) is my personal favorite stage as it is loaded with real falling snow and the music pairs exceptionally well with the overall appearance.

As with any game, the further you advance, the harder the game gets. Bug! is no exception and one would wonder why such a cutesy game would be so damn hard at times! Without spoiling the game, your final battle is very challenging… In fact, the stage leading up to battling her is possibly more challenging than beating her!* But man, is it exciting when you get there! There’s even a frustrating little maze you have to find your way through at one point.

Overall there is an abundance of replayability in Bug! and this game should not be overlooked by any platforming enthusiast. While I would have to say that Bug! is a very fun game with plenty to offer, it is not without its flaws. Previously I mentioned that Bug! offers enough variety to keep the game interesting, but it can still start to feel somewhat monotonous after a while. While each act has the appearance of being different from each other, they are all still very similar in structure and layout.

Bug The Bur-r-bs

Bug! provides gamers with a simple and solid control scheme (jump, spit, zap, duck) making it an easy pick-up-and-play-anytime kind of game. You won’t need to relearn anything between plays and will certainly be able to enjoy any amount of time spent with Bug. Incredible play mechanics, sprite animations, and plenty of eye-candy will keep Bug! in your memories for a long time. Sometimes a good throwback is all we need. Simplicity is the name of the game here, yet there is a variety of options to keep you entertained for quite some time.

Don’t let anything deter you from buying Bug! at a modest price of around $10-$15 on Amazon as you will not only have a hell of a time yourself, but your friends will be amazed to see this forgotten game on your shelf! And do yourself a favor… spend a few more dollars and get a complete copy! C’mon folks.

Bug! was a very unique game in 1995, and nearly 20 years later, it is still just as unique and fun today! There is a lovable charm within the character of Bug, and it’s difficult to pull yourself away from it. Aiding this charm is the overall appearance of Bug!. Bright and varied colors, goofy cartoonish sound effects, fun and upbeat music, and simple gameplay make Bug! fun, thrilling, and possible for all ages! And don’t forget the sequel to Bug! titled Bug! Too!

Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10

Reviewed by Nerdberry

*Excerpt from the Bug! gaming manual.

**I recommend Action Replay codes! Get your Action Replay on Amazon here! It’s worth every dollar. Action Replay also gives you the ability to play Japanese games on your Sega Saturn!

Written by Nerdberry


What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.


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