Working Designs is best known for their efforts in translating traditional RPGs and more recently, shooting titles. Although Working Designs is also best known for delays in games, it does not stop consumers from purchasing their products. Magic Knight Rayearth is one example. Dated back in 1996, the game suffers well over 2 years of delays. As the last Saturn game in America, this game delivers everything that RPG gamers want. If the Saturn must die in America, then let it die with a BOOM!
Magic Knight Rayearth is based on the popular anime/manga series in Japan. The story begins with three teenage girls, Umi, Fuu and Hikaru that suddenly transported form present day Tokyo to the fantasy world of Cefiro. These three girls must become the Magic Knights, the mystical saviors, to guide Cefiro away from the hands of evil. Players take control of the three girls in this action-RPG and guide them in their quest to explore towns and dungeons and face the enemy of darkness.
Although this game is nearly three years old, the graphic in this game is somewhat the best quality on Sega Saturn. Characters are well animated with many frames of animation. The anime cut scenes are beautiful and smooth as well as the full opening intro from the TV series. All the background images are colorful and seems to fit the plot of that part of the game. Most characters have facial portrait and will have different expressions depending on their current actions and feelings. The colorful graphic in this game is very impressive and could easily beat any of today's standard RPG games.
What makes a game great? Other than the visual part, the sound system is also a very important role in creating the atmosphere of a game. This game has the music that is one of the best in any traditional RPGs and it fits the action perfectly. The voice system is an addition to game play. Each character will have their own voice and they'll speak out their texts. That's right! They speak out their texts! The voices in the game are somewhat Working Designs quality. Some might argue that the opening title song are not up to their standard, but I personally thinks that it's as best as anyone could do. There's a big difference between Japanese and English wording tone.
Game play wise, the game delivers all that from a traditional RPG point of view. The idea of switching characters is unique and players get to learn each character's own special skills. Although the three main characters are not truly balanced in terms of magical power, one might beat the game using only one of the three characters. Likewise, the game lacks in depth of game play. Average players could pass through this game in a breeze. There isn't much challenge in its puzzles and the game is really short.
Anime fans of the series will be impressed by this game with new anime cut scenes and watching their favorite Magic Knight Rayearth character in action. Working Designs really put a lot of efforts into the last Saturn title. Is it worth the purchase? I'd say yes. WD has been working on this game for 2 years now, it has to be good!!!!!!
Review By: Vincent Lo