Let me start off by saying that I would love this game, no matter what the graphics, storyline or music was like. Why? Well, how would you feel if your favorite type of game, based on one of your favorite anime cartoons, was released in America by your favorite video game company? I think you'd be pretty happy, and I'm ecstatic to say the least.
Magic Knight Rayearth is the story of three girls:sweet, optimistic Hikaru, beautiful, bratty Umi and intelligent, polite Fuu, who go on a field trip to Tokyo Tower with their schools. There, they meet for the first time, and are suddenly transported to a world unlike anything they've seen before. They meet a dwarf-like man named Clef, and he tells them that this is the world of Cefiro, and that the Princess Emerald summoned them to become the Legendary Magic Knights to save Cefiro. At first, they're more or less forced into it, in that they can't leave until they are Magic Knights. But eventually, they fall in love with Cefiro, and want to help in any way possible.
I was really worried that since I've already seen the anime, alot of fun and suspense might be taken away from the storyline. But after playing for a bit, I realized that there are a lot of huge differences between the game and the anime. The basic idea of the storyline is the same, but details like who-fights-who-and-when are almost always drastically different.
MKR is an action/rpg, much like the old 8-bit Zelda, or the Squaresoft classic, Secret of Mana. You can switch between any of the three girls, and each has their own special magic: fire, water and wind. They learn new spells throughout the game, as well as skills that help them get through certain puzzles.
Most of the game's music is taken directly from the anime, which is definitely a good thing. From cheesy anime-pop, to beautiful orchestrated tunes, I haven't heard a single song that I don't like. The voice actors are all descent, though it sounds awkward to me, hearing voices different from the original Japanese. Working Designs did a great job choosing actors, though Fuu's voice irritates me a bit, and Ascott sounds deranged, when he should really just sound like a little boy. The opening song is pretty much exactly the same as the Japanese version, but with an American singer. Originally, they had a different singer, but they changed it when people complained at their website. This caused more delays, but it just shows how much Working Designs really cares about their customers, and will only release the best product possible.
MKR's graphics are the most colorful I've ever seen in a game, and they're gorgeous. The 2D sprites are very crisp looking, especially when you consider that the game was originally released in 1995. The anime scenes sometimes seem cut-off, but the quality of Clamp's art and character designs really make it unnoticeable. 2D graphics and anime-cut scenes...I feel like I'm in heaven.
All of the characters have a lot of depth, and very unique personalities. With the addition of the "diary", you really get to know how the girls feel about their current situation. It really helps to make you care about what happens to them, and that's something I haven't felt in a game in quite a while. Actually, I don't remember ever getting so addicted to a game, except possibly Keio Yugekitai, or Popful Mail.
I'd recommend this game to anyone. Whether or not you like RPGs, whether or not you like anime...whatever. I've never loved a game this much, so I think everyone would love this game. But then again, I'm in love...
*Katie the Web-Mistress*