CGR Undertow – MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH review for Sega Saturn


I realize I didn�t do a Strange Anime License
Friday last week, and for that I apologize. I was in negotiations, y�see, with friend-of-the-show
Jeanie in PA. And these negotiations were fruitful. I�ve managed to score some time
with a very, VERY Strange Anime License, one that actually saw a US release, one that has
the distinction of being the very last Saturn game brought over to these shores. Yes, it�s
the CLAMPtacular Magic Knight Rayearth, featuring the translation efforts of none other than
Working Designs, and a dub cast that bears no intersection whatsoever to the actual Media
Blasters dub. C�mon. It�s 1998. What were you expecting? I�ll tell ya what you weren�t
expecting. SECRET OF MANA. Or a very reasonable facsimile, as it were.
One moment, Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu were chasing a dog around the observation deck at Tokyo
Tower, the next moment they�re blown into a fantasy world under siege by evil forces
and informed that they�re the destined saviors, stop me if you�ve heard THIS one before.
After about a good half hour of plot exposition – well-voiced and entertaining plot exposition,
mind, but still a good half hour of it – you three girls (swappable by the L and R buttons)
set off on a quest to reawaken the machines that… um… will stop the bad guys via means
that no one really seems to understand. All you can tell is that you�re supposed to
find Mokona – unsure of what a �Mokona� actually is – and have the local super-blacksmith
forge you a set of freakin� awesome weapons that level up via plot rather than some arbitrary
system of experience points. For an Action RPG (as it says on the freakin�
box), Rayearth certainly plays the Action element rather heavy, with little-to-no number-crunching
outside of buying items and whatnot. The order of the day is running, jumping, slashing,
shooting arrows, and flinging spells in real-time, much like the aforementioned Secret of Mana.
But depending on your own proclivities, its simplicity might be a positive or negative.
Yes, the whole experience is very streamlined, but at the price of foregoing obsessive stat-mangling
(which might be your thing). The extent of your control is in how to distribute the occasional
HP and MP bonuses you can find in the field. Outside of that, spell acquisition is entirely
plot-based, level acquisition is entirely plot-based, and enemies drop only restorative
items and cash. It�s much more of an arcade feel, and – were it not for the towns full
of NPCs to interrogate, general setting, and/or aesthetic – barely deserving of being called
an RPG, in my book. Not to say it�s a bad game at all, far from it. It�s just… barely
an RPG. So tell the text on the box to go take a powder; call it a straight-up action
game with towns and chibis and a pretty sweet soundtrack. (Well, save for that strange rendition
of the opening theme, but… hey, folks didn�t know jack about international rights acquisitions
in �98.) Throw in a healthy handful of cutscenes – because why bother with disc-based media
if you don�t get to use pre-produced video – and you�ve got a strange, but fitting
swan song for a strange, but fitting console. With an adorable, rabbit-lookin� mascot…
thing. Bonus.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. It's so funny how Mokona is just sort of a mascot character in the anime, while in the manga it's vastly more important. I won't go into spoilers, but let's just say my girlfriend nearly threw her manga across the room when she was read the manga after having already seen the anime.

  2. Working Designs had such a hell of a time with this game, it was nuts. I hear source control then and even now in some sense isn't a thought in the front of some developers minds. Still a fun game though!

  3. I love this game I got it a year or so ago for under $60.00 a great purchase from Amazon I got it just because I love the manga and anime I wish they did the Super Nintendo version as well its a full blown turn based rpg.

  4. Really wanted to get this game. I'm an action and action-RPG guy so this is right up my ally. So damn hard to get and so damn expensive 🙁

  5. Like with most retro games it's sad the price of Rayearth has become ridiculous in the past year. Everyone should play this game aside from ebay sellers testing their copy before listing it at a stupid price. *rant over

  6. what was TJ talking about at the beginning? do CGR and CGRU really have to negotiate licenses for all the games they review?

  7. Haha Yeah I know what you mean. I love his reviews, cause he reviews the games I like to play… But his tone of voice always makes it sound like, he's something something negative about the game… Even though he is praising or saying he loves the game… It sounds like he's moping about it…. Haha But 'tis a good game he is reviewing by the way.. I wouldn't recommend passing.

  8. this game was so good. I have a modded Saturn and burned this game like 10 years ago. I had no battery to save the game and played 8 hours straight on the weekend!

  9. this anime is very popular in Italy 🙂 this is the italian version of the opening/intro watch?v=eVmzeelwkMM

  10. didnt know it was possible or i havent heard of modded saturns. ive heard of modded ps2's and consoles of that era and newer lol

  11. Magic Knight Rayearth? This the last game for Sega Saturn in the USA, but in Japan continue Sega Saturn. And didn't you know that there is Magic Knight Rayearth 2 in Japan, here in USA is the import game for Sega Saturn for this 21st Century. Even there's the comic book of Magic Knight Rayearth.

  12. If you think its hard to find one copy of this game, try finding one of each disc art variation! I have a Blonde Girl ( at one time two, but traded my mint copy to a retro shop) and Blue Hair Girl ( Mint Condition) version, still can't find the red head or the dude.

  13. So here i'm watching this review, half-interested because I know i'll never be able to afford this one… but then I hear CLAMP.

    I'm all eyes and ears now! Wow! See, this is what makes T.J. awesome!

  14. This game is underrated id compare it more to zelda than secret of mana, as they basically steal the 2 sword attacks from tloz and zalttp, but the game is only 1 player and you get stronger as the story progresses. A very very good zelda ripoff.

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