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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.

Plot[]

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 dons the name "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.

Gameplay[]

Overview[]

Saiyuki: Journey West, plays in a similar manner as Fu-Qi's Fengshen Yanyi, often being considered its spiritual sucessor. 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 destination.

Battles take place on a 3D isometric map with animated 2D sprites, very reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics. 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, containing a variety of different items, ranging from simple consumables to powerful equipment; the latter is often found in hidden or well protected treasure chests. Players can interact with certain parts of the environment, such as dropping log bridges and stepping on elevators. Unlike in Fengshen Yanyi, the ability to shape the land has been removed and it is replaced with a few new features to separate the titles.

Elemental Attributes[]

Each character has one assigned element. This attribute determines the strengths and weaknesses for the individual, as well as their proficiency with spells of a particular elemental attribute for spells and other abilities. 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.

Wereform and Guardians[]

Every party member but Sanzo has the ability to shapeshift into a massive beastial form, dubbed Wereform. Only one Wereform can be active on the field at at a time. The duration of their transformation, in turns, 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 is used for attacks, which guzzles a preset amount of bars from the Were Gauge. Players can earn experience while in this state to level up the Were Gauge to increase its size, as well unlock more powerful abilities.

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, as well total immunity to all negative status effects.

Sanzo's counterpart to the Wereforms is their ability to summon the Guardians they've 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 passive effects to separate one from the other, that affects Sanzo and/or the party.

  • 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 passive effects from all the other Guardians.

Towns and Equipment[]

Towns can be visited during the journey, and each has at least a store, for equipment and spells, and a chemist, for healing 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. By defeating the Dojo Master on the Master Difficulty, the player gets a dojo license; by collecting them all the player is awarded with a special prize.

Characters keep the same weapons throughout the game, but can improve them by visiting blacksmiths found in certain towns. Sanzo is the exception; their staff can only be improved by acquiring Guardians.

Larger cities have Posts, a building that offers part-time jobs and monetary awards. Certain side-quests given by the Posts involve fighting, which the player may use as an 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.

Extras and Localization differences[]

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.

Characters[]

Main Party[]

Optional Party Members[]

Guardians[]

Taurus's Allies[]

Eight Devils[]

Others[]

Related Media[]

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 Song[]

  • Magic Goku
Performed by Yukihide Takekawa from GODIEGO.

Allusions[]

  • 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 Links[]

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