Review by Shirow

Reviewed: 10/07/01 | Updated: 11/09/02

Seiya, what happened to you?!

More than a decade ago, an anime came out in Japan but this one differed from all the rest due to its differences from what usually characterised these so-called dumb animes. Firstly, for once, there was actually a good plot. Talk about a finding for animes ! Not only that but the plot was one of the most interesting ever made since it featured Greek mythology and stuff borrowed from other stories. This anime was called Saint Seiya, Seiya being the name of the main character who was also the Bronze Saint Pegasus. He was helped in his task of protecting Saori [or Princess Athena if you wish] by 4 other bronze warriors, Dragon Shiryu, Cygnus Hyoga, Andromedus Shun and Phoenix Ikki [Shun’s mysterious brother, and also my favorite character – not just me, just walk about and ask and you’ll see how popular he was !]

There was also all types of other Saints from the strongest Gold Saints with the Sagittarius Gold Cloth as the reason behind the anime since everybody wanted to possess it. But the series just kept bscoming more interesting with each episode with new warriors appearing from the Black Saints [Ikki’s men while he was consumed with vengeance], the battle against the Godly Gold Saints [no pun intended, there warriors are truly Gods], the Asgard Saints who wouldn’t listen to Odin [yes, the Odin !] anymore and the Sea Saints of Poseidon part which was absolutely magnificent because all the Bronze Cloths would turn to Gold and they would become unbeatable. The characters, storyline and non-stop action soon made Saint Seiya very popular, with the anime being translated to Mexican, French, Spanish and dozens of other languages. And yeah, I was a fan too [check Dragon Shiryu’s topic at the Anime Social Board for further details :)]. Now, the game is out on NES, is it any good or is it one of those games that do no favor to the anime [you know what I’m referring to, right ?]

The legend says that when Princess Athena will be in danger…

Saint Seiya is an adventure/RPG game. The adventure part consists of when you need to walk and fight against some soon-to-become-Saints who are not that hard and the game turns to an RPG when you need to show your skills to the bosses which are the other Saints. The plot is just as in the anime with you fighting for the Pegasus Cloth as soon as the game starts and you then need to take on your friends in the tournament before Ikki comes to steal the Sagitarius Cloth. Those who’ve watched the whole Sanctuary saga will know what will happen in the game since it’s just the same except you’re now controlling Seiya.

The adventure part is quite OK, everybody knows how it’s like. You can also put on your Cloth or take it off as you wish once you’ve managed to get it. Of course, you are stronger once you put it on but your Cosmos gets depleted more easily and it’s up to you whether you’ll use it as a protection against the weaker enemies. You can jump and perform all the other actions that are expected from an adventure game.

The RPG part concerns the battles at the end of each stage. Here, you get to see both characters and there are 4 gauges at the bottom as well as your current Hit Points and your Cosmos. You then need to fill these gauges and depending on how much you filled the 4, Seiya will either perform just a regular punch or use of his special attacks which you saw so often in the anime. However, this will deplete his Cosmos and once your Cosmos is too low, you won’t be able to do anything and will surely meet the game over screen just after that.

There are also other new feautures to add more depth to the game. You can thus take your hit points and add them to your stats to make Seiya more powerful and vice-versa. You get more points once you defeat more bosses. And while the game is all about kicks and punches, there are other good things you can do too and secrets. Thus, you have the option to talk to your opponent instead of hitting him right away and this can yield surprising results sometimes. And there’s always that guy who’ll take you wherever you want once the Pegasus Cloth is yours.

…warriors will rise and will put on their Bronze and Gold Clothes once more…

OK, I know the game came out a fairly long time ago but still, that doesn’t explain why the game has such bad graphics. I could understand that the RPG parts are just decent due to the fact that it’s almost impossible to feature 2 characters wearing colorful armors but what about the adventure part ?! While the anime was also known for its excellent designs and backgrounds, the game is just the opposite with very lame graphics. The characters in the adventure part are so badly drawn that I first thought I was playing the wrong game. This doesn’t ressemble Saint Seiya at all !

The backgrounds are that bad too and there seems to be no details but instead, just a few bricks drawn and painted by a 2-year-old kid. The animation sucks too and I really disliked this part of the game. The only thing that made me continue playing the game was the boss battles and I really wanted to finish the game and see what happens at the end. I’m not going to tell you what happens but fans will already have guessed.

At least, the boss RPG battles are better and the characters are decent. It isn’t that difficult to recognize those since they’ve been well-drawn but the actions and moves are not that good though. They seem to have been done too quickly and thus, aren’t really a pleasure to look at. Thankfully, there are some that are excellent with some kick-ass light effects but these only happen near the end of the game and I don’t see you playing up to that point unless that’s the only game you have.

…their destiny is to protect Athena and they have sworn fidelity to her…

The audio capabilities are lame too with weird sound effects in most cases. And by weird, I really mean weird ! Some of the special moves made me laugh too because I simply couldn’t believe that the developers were as dumb as to think these ressembled sound effects. There are some good ones though but the bad ones outweigh the good ones and thus, I didn’t think high of those in general. Another problem is that there is no voice-acting and I truthfully feel that things would have been better if there had been some. I don’t understand Japanese myself but it would have made the audio better with some voices specially during the last moves.

Not much too say about the control since this is just as your usual RPG. The game is in Japanese [and never come out translated !] but it isn’t that hard to understand after a while. The events may still be confusing though and when the characters talk but if you watched the anime, you’ll guess quite easily what is happening in the game. My guess is that the developers realized how crap the game is and never cared to translate it !

This battle has not yet ended…Ayolos…

Saint Seiya is really not worth it EVEN if you’re a fan of the game. There are some good points in the game and the plot is interesting but on the other hand, there are many major flaws which just don’t make the game worth it. Another big problem is that the game is only in Japanese and it’s a pity because this game sure is text-heavy and I really don’t see you spending more than 15 minutes on it. This is a pity because just like Captain Tsubasa, the game would have been excellent and would surely have spawned half a dozen sequels too !

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

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