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Magic Knight Rayearth

Magic Kinght Rayearth
Working Designs
Sega Saturn
1 disc
Best Feature: Anime cut scenes
Worst Feature: Awful loadtime
Buy or Rent?: Rent or Borrow

Maybe it's because I love Working Designs or maybe it's because I'm an anime fan, but whatever the reason I like Magic Knight Rayearth. Note the term like. I hate to say it but there's plenty of things I don't like about this game. But let me break everything down first.

Magic Knight Rayearth is based on a popular anime series of the same name. In the game you play the role of the show's three lead characters: Hikaru, the good-hearted leader. Umi, the Egotistical Snob and Fuu, the intellectual (nerd). Your mission is to save the magical world of Cefiro by rescuing Princess Emerald from the hands of the wicked Sorcerer Zagat.

Gameplay is typical of most Action/RPG titles. You run around and use your weapons to kill enemies. Each girl uses a different weapon: A sword for Hikaru,An epee for Umi and A bow for Fuu. Fuu has an advantage over the others in that her bow has tracking capabilties. Each girl eventually learns three magic attacks. Leveling up is done in a number of ways. Health and magic levels up by finding items similar to the heart containers in Zelda that are scattered throughout Cefiro. Ablities are leveled up by completing missions and finding "mirrors". Everything okay so far? Good.

Now, for the control. It's a bit iffy. You can configure the controller to three different settings, but that's not really necessary. The controls are very responsive. There are however things that I don't like about it. Dashing for instance is done either by charging up with a button or holding in the same direction for a while. Once you start dashing though, the girls tend to glide like they're on ice so you'll have to take care they don't run off of a cliff!

Sound and Music. The game has some great voice acting. It also has some bad voice acting. My favorite voice in the game when it comes to acting has to be Clef. It's just seems so fitting! The music is nice, but it is edited badly in some areas, Actually in alot of the load transitions is where most of the problems occur. It really mars the game in annoying ways.

Graphics and loadtime. The graphics are beautiful in this game. You've probably never seen such a graphically beautiful game on the Saturn. The colors are bright. The characters are cute and the girls on screen pictures (the ones you see when they search or talk) actually change armor as they level up! We all know Saturn has bad video compression, but the anime scenes still look great! Very nice. But, the load time in the game is terrible. Sometimes you can end up with 5 or more seconds of plain black screen! That is almost inexcusable for a game so long in the making!

Bottomline: If you're a Working Designs or anime fan, get this game. It's full of the trade mark WD humor, anime cutscenes, voices and those lovebale outakes (if you complete the games' sidequest.) However, if you're just another gamer. Try it out at a friends' house first. This may not be your cup of tea due to loadtime and easy play. You can beat this game within 3 days probably 2. But, I enjoyed it so much I'll probably play it again.

Musica Star

"Magic Knight Rayearth" is a trademark of Kodansha/TMS. Original Game © Sega 1996. English Translation © Working Designs 1997.