The balance in the magical world of Cefiro is supported by the prayers of the lovely princess Emerald. When the evil Sage Master imprisoned her, the existence of the entire world was endangered. Using her spiritual powers, the princess contacted three Japanese high-school girls, Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu, turned them into Magic Knights, and summoned them to Cefiro, where their goal is to save her and to restore the balance.
This adaptation of the eponymous manga and anime series is an action game with light role-playing elements, somewhat similar in style to Zelda
games. The protagonists are all the three girls, but the player can controls only one of them at a time. Each one has advantages and disadvantages, as well as different fighting styles: Hikaru uses swords, Umi a rapier, and Fuu a bow. The player advances through the game by exploring the world, talking to non-playable characters, and fighting enemies in real-time combat. There is no experience system; new abilities (among them swimming and jumping) are gained as dictated by the story, and must be used in certain points in order to advance.
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According to Working Designs, Magic Knight Rayearth was their most gruelling, daunting, and toughest translation EVER.
Why? Flashback time...
Working Designs had snapped up the license to translate and publish Rayearth from Sega, and had given it a "pending 1996 release date". But then fate turned against them: Sega of Japan lost about 60% of the main code for the game in a major hard drive crash, causing a massive scramble there to gather the code from elsewhere. Strike number 1. Then, a translation of the anime series for U.S. Saturday morning TV was announced by Nelvana, a Canadian animation studio. Working Designs was going to use the original characters' names in the game; Nelvana insisted that they use their translated names (which I will not mention, for they are HORRIBLE!!! >_<); the two companies ended up in a legal scuffle over this. Strike number 2. THEN, after finally winning the court battle and gathering the data from Sega...the Saturn market had died. Strike 3, yer out! Right? Right??
WRONG!! Working Designs finished the game anyway, and thanks to a new translation from Pioneer, they kept the game the way they wanted. Magic Knight Rayearth was released in December of 1998, 8 months after the Saturn market died, with the original character names, and as the last Saturn game to ever be released in the U.S. A top honor, indeed.
This entry to the MobyGames database was contributed by YID YANG (162353)
on Nov 07, 2010.