Saiyuki: Journey West
Saiyuki Journey West cover
Developer(s): Fu-Qi
Publisher(s): Koei
Release Date: Flag of Japan: November 11, 1999
Flag of the United States.svg: August 13, 2001
Genre: Tactical role-playing game
Game Modes: Single Player
Ratings: ESRB: Rating US-Everyone
Platform(s): PlayStation

Saiyuki: Journey West is a PlayStation strategy RPG adaption of the Chinese novel, Journey to the West. The Japanese name is Saiyuki (西遊記) which is the Japanese pronunciation of the novel's title. The character designer is Akihiro Yamada.

Due to the open gender of Xuanzang commonly found in Japanese translations of the original novel, the hero can either be male or female. Choosing to play as either gender does not change the overall story, though causes minor alterations to the dialogue.


Genjo, a sixteen year old monk, was raised in Gold Temple without knowing his/her real parents. One day, Genjo had a dream of Lady Kannon, who bestowed a staff to the youth. She told the monk to seek the assistance of divine Guardians and deliver the staff to Thunder Temple in India. Once an Emperor's messenger visits the temple with a similar order, Genjo is appointed as the temple's representative. Donning a proper monk's garb, Genjo is named Sanzo and begins his/her journey with two escorts. Along the way, Sanzo loses his/her guards and frees Goku from his boulder prison. Gaining his/her first companion, Sanzo continues his/her travels while guarding the staff he/she carries from several entities.


The game plays in a similar manner as Fu-Qi's Fengshen Yanyi.

The overworld map is shown in a similar manner and training spots have been adjusted to dojos in select towns. Players now have the choice to select their next location.

Battles take place on a 3D isometric map with animated 2D sprites. Turns are determined by the speed of each character present, and each action is determined by a length of squares.

Treasure boxes can be found on the field and other gimmicks –such as dropping log bridges and stepping on elevators– can now be used. The ability to shape the land has been removed and it is replaced with a few new features to separate the titles.

Elements are assigned to each character. This attribute determines the strengths and weaknesses for the individual, as well as their proficiency with spells of a particular element. The five elements are Fire, Nature, Metal, Earth and Water. Taking advantage of an element's weakness can increase or decrease the damage a party member can deal and may additionally award more experience for each character. The following lists the element chain present in the game.

Earth defeats Water
Water defeats Fire
Fire defeats Metal
Metal defeats Nature
Nature defeats Earth

Every party member but Sanzo has the ability to shapeshift into a larger beast dubbed Wereform. Only one Wereform can be in the field at at a time. The length of their transformation is dictated by the length of the Were Gauge located at the upper left corner of the screen. One bar is needed to transform, and the rest maybe used for attacks which guzzles a preset amount of bars from the Were Gauge. Earn experience while in this state to level up the Were Gauge.

Wereform attacks can destroy certain obstacles which may reveal hidden treasures or new walking paths for characters. Transformed characters cannot be healed through common means but gain a substantial boost in life points and immunity to all negative status.

Sanzo's counterpart to the Wereforms is his/her ability to summon the Guardians he/she has collected during the story. These Guardians require magic points to bring into the field but each comes with their unique, no-cost abilities. Sanzo can only summon one Guardian at a time and each lasts for a maximum of three of Sanzo's turns. Each Guardian has unique combat traits that separate one from the other.

Mother - Nature element, can attack in a two square radius; restores party HP per turn
Warrior - Metal element, can attack in a two square radius; increases physical defense
Fool - Fire element, has a linear attack; increases physical offense
Luna - Earth element, attacks with a bow's range; restores party MP per turn (except for Sanzo's)
Cavalier - Water element, hits in a one square area near Sanzo; increases movement and allows Sanzo to float
Emperor - No element, attacks in a three square radius from Sanzo; grants the traits from all other Guardians

Towns can be visited during the journey, and each has at least a store for equipment and spells and chemist for curative items. Some villages may have a dojo for training sessions marked with beginner, advanced or master difficulty. Dojo sessions are free level grinding, except that Wereforms cannot be used. Defeat the dojo master on master difficulty to get a dojo license; collect all of them to receive a special prize.

Characters keep the same weapons throughout the game and can improve their arsenal by visiting blacksmiths. Sanzo is the exception; his/her staff can only be improved by acquiring Guardians.

Larger cities have Posts, a building that offers part-time jobs and monetary awards. If the player encounters a battle while on these miniature quests, they may use the opportunity to increase their Were Gauge. Posts also offer an optional card mini-game. The player starts by purchasing medals from the dealer. Bet on the card stack with highest single digit number to win. Medals can be exchanged for unique prizes, and each card dealer has their own set of items.

Game extras include Sanzo's diary from the main screen and the bonus section unlocked when the game is cleared once.

The Japanese version has characters speak with limited audio clips during cutscenes and battle. The staff roll movie is different in both languages. Voices are omitted in the English version.


Main PartyEdit

Optional Party MembersEdit


Taurus's AlliesEdit

Eight DevilsEdit


Related MediaEdit

A two volume novelization of the game was authored by Akira Nanao in 1999. The covers of both books were illustrated by the game's illustrator and they can be combined to form one image.

Image SongEdit

  • Magic Goku
Performed by Yukihide Takekawa from GODIEGO.


  • All of the Guardians are characters from Fengshen Yanyi. King Zhou, Huang Feihu and Chi You receive small references in the game. Some of the game's rarest equipment were items used by the characters in the novel.
  • Buddha, Heilong, and other mystical/religious figures in Chinese culture form the names of some the game's equipment. The Eight Devils are all based on Hindu gods.


External LinksEdit

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