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Old 01-11-2007, 06:33 AM   #1215
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,148
Magic Knight Rayearth
Sega Saturn

The box is shiny, but not embossed!
Working Designs fans riot worldwide!

This is the last game released in the USA for the Sega Saturn, but ironically it was released within the first year of the system launch in Japan. Working Designs wanted to bring the game over, but some data was missing because Bernie Stolar of Sega hated Victor Ireland of Working Designs, so he hid it in a special, secret place. He then used the excuse that a hard drive crashed and that some of the data was corrupt. Victor didn't want Bernie to get the best of him, so he took on the project anyway. Some of the data had to be reprogrammed from scratch here in the USA, and as a result the game does have a lot of bugs and some major slowdown. Slowdown is not allowed in Japan, so logic demands that Victor added it as a special treat for US gamers.

Awesome color and many layers of scrolling and transparency
are used throughout the game. Graphic whores rejoice!

Story: 7/10
To be quite honest, the translation is pretty good. Working Designs didn't go totally overboard with their low-level humor as in past games and for the most part remains enjoyable. They do sneak a few quips in, though. The story itself involves some girls who have to do some stuff in order to accomplish something. It's pretty hokey, and it subtly speaks out against the death penalty, though it certainly never makes a direct reference to it. After you do some stuff, you do more stuff, and keep doing stuff until you are finished. That's pretty much how it goes. There isn't much of an ending story-wise... it's just a few quick words and BAM the credits are rolling. But the story is plenty good enough and it's fun to see how the characters react when they do stuff. And doing stuff is required to progress in this game.

The razor-sharp and winning humor of Working Designs
pops up now and again. The players lose.

Almost a dozen hours will be added to the game due to the amount
of time you will spend rolling on the floor laughing uncontrollably!

Graphics: 8/10
This is your typical 2D RPG, but it looks really, really good. Lots of detail has been provided everywhere. Transparencies are all over the place, multi-layered scrolling is abundant and tons of colors are used. There is some scaling and rotation that will blow your mind! OK maybe not, but it is cool, especially for an RPG. I like how when going up the stairs in a home or some type of building, the new floors fade/dissolve in over the old ones. When you go back down they fade away, no more black screen between floors. This is space-age technology being used here, truly. There is full motion video (FMV) throughout the game, and it is compressed fairly well for the Saturn, except the ending which looks a bit blurry. The characters are drawn with a (surprise!) anime style. Japan does not know how to draw any other way, sorry.

Apparently they do the wild thing like crazy in Rayearth-land.

Sound: 7/10
All of the game music is played by the Saturn sound chips themselves... no streaming music, no CD audio, just music the same way the Genesis and SNES produced their music. But it does sound really good, and many tunes are very enjoyable. There isn't anything that really stands out or will blow your mind, but it is better than adequate. The voices are a bit "trebly" though. Bad recordings, perhaps? Some of the sound effects, such as when fireballs come crashing down, are too loud for the Saturn's preamp to handle and end up being a bit distorted. This doesn't happen too often, fortunately. Then there is fact that towards the very end of the game, the same tune that normally only plays on the overworld map when you switch towns ends up playing for that, the last town, Zagat's palace and whatnot. You keep hearing the tune over and over again, and it's not really a great tune or anything. I blame the missing data for this. A song or two had to have been lost. That makes me sad, and I do not enjoy being sad. Of course since this is Working Designs, there is a horrible song in the game with lyrics by Victor Ireland and sung by the same skank who sings all WD's songs. The lyrics are provided in the instruction manual under the false presumption that anyone would actually care.

The game uses anime. That means the eyeballs of everyone are HUGE.
Anime is supposed to impress you and/or look good... or something.

Gameplay: 7/10
This is an action RPG, kind of like Zelda in many senses. Control is good... very smooth and precise. You run around and talk to people in towns, buy a limited amount of items and run off to dungeons, solve puzzles and beat bosses. You can jump, swim and run like you've got a load of diarrhea ready to burst out and the nearest toilet is far away. Actually there are no toilets in the game, and that is even mentioned. You control three different bitches, and each has their own was of fighting as well as her own magic. One of the whores can shoot arrows which will be required to hit things from a distance. Ingenious, eh? Of course. One thing I like is the ability to move and attack in diagonal directions. I don't think any other Zelda-type games allow this, but what the hell do I know? The puzzles are all pretty easy. There is one puzzle that is almost kind of tough, but it's not required to beat the game, only to get some extra life and magic. Speaking of easy, the whole game is a little on the easy side, I'd say. You may die here and there, but you'll always quickly figure out what the hell you're supposed to have the little wenches do next. Overall it is pretty fun and kept me coming back for the few days it took me to beat it. I'd say it offers a bit under 20 hours of good ol' fashioned fun.

I'm wondering how this kid even knows who Greedo is, and how
he was able to see the Star Wars Special Editions. He doesn't even
live in the same dimension as George Lucas. Lucky kid.

This is definitely a good game to have in your Saturn collection, if a bit short and easy. Trying to collect all of the hidden amulets in the game is a true challenge, though. I couldn't find them all. But the game remains recommended. And maybe Bernie Stolar and Victor Ireland will get together and have the first gay marriage in the game industry! They're made for each other.
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