Otaku World Reviews:
Magic Knight Rayearth
For the Sega Saturn

Reviewed by Dov Sherman

Magic Knight Rayearth
Action/RPG for the Sega Saturn
published by Working Designs

 * Opening Animation from the Game


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!

Beautiful beyond words
TONS of artwork
Comes with bonus sheet of stickers
True to the original anime