Working Designs has finally
released Magic Knight Rayearth for the Sega
Saturn. If you aren't familiar with the Magic Knight
Rayearth anime and manga, check out the description
in our Theme Guide. For those of you who are familiar with
CLAMP's wonderful series, you are going to drench yourself in
drool over this game.
Magic Knight Rayearth is an Action/RPG which
follows the story of Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu all the way from their
meeting at Tokyo Tower until their return at the end of their
adventures in Cephiro. All the characters you loved are there,
from Clef and Presea to Ascot and Alcione.
The artwork is absolutely, mouth-wateringly, drawer-droppingly
gorgeous. It's packed with animated sequences from the original
anime as well as a large number of beautiful still shots used as
backdrops in the opening menus. Remember the little "Who will
it be this week?" roulette wheel thingy at the end of each
of the episodes? All the pictures from that wheel thingy are in
the game! You get a different one each time you go to the
Load Game menu. And the entire opening animation from
the anime is there. The lyrics have been translated into English
(they couldn't get the licensing rights to use the original
Japanese lyrics) and they did a pretty good job of capturing the
spirit of the original lyrics. There's a large amount of
voice-acting throughout the game and, when main characters talk,
you get a close-up picture of them over their dialogue box. But
not just one picture. Rather, there are loads of pictures of
every character for a whole range of facial expressions and
emotive reactions, many in that goofy SD style that appeared in
the slapstick moments of the anime and manga.
The game is moderately challenging with an emphasis on
puzzle-solving. You can control any one of the three girls at a
time, switching between them as the situation calls for it.
You'll need a decent amount of hand-eye coordination since the
fighting all takes place in real-time in the same manner as the
fighting in games like Alundra or Zelda:
A Link to the Past.
But why release a game for a practically dead system like the
Sega Saturn? It's like this... When Working Designs first began
work to bring this wonderful game to the western world, the
Saturn wasn't dead. Frankly, the Saturn is still a great system,
it just suffers from some very foolish management in America.
Anyway, Working Designs started work on Magic Knight
Rayearth way back in 1995. But, along the way, they ran
into problems. Some of data for the original Japanese game was
lost in a hard drive crash and had to be constructed. There were
lots of really frustrating licensing rights to sort out. And
there was the problem created by an American company that wanted
to put Rayearth on television but change all the character names
because they thought foreigny-sounding names wouldn't sell. (The
same kind of idiocy that renamed Sailor Moon's
Usagi to Serena.) But Working Designs fought hard to keep the
original Japanese names in the game and, although they won in the
end, the Saturn market had died by the time the legal battle was
over. But Working Designs is loyal to its fans and they finished
work on Rayearth all the same. They're going to
lose money on this one simply because of the poor Saturn market
but they knew how much we wanted this one and they gave it to us
even at the risk of their own budget. That kind of honor and
loyalty is a rare and wonderful treasure. It's the kind of act
that truly earns the loyalty of the fans.
Magic Knight Rayearth has only been released in
a limited, one-time press. Get it now!