Saint Seiya The Sanctuary

Conker: Live and Reloaded - Review Xbox

Saint Seiya The Sanctuary - Review PS2

Saint Seiya The Sanctuary - Review PS2
Saint Seiya The Sanctuary - Review PS2

Saint Seiya The Sanctuary is a development of the Japanese anime series into a beat ‘em up game for the PS2. But it isn't purely fighting action all the way as the majority of your time will be spent watching clips of the cartoon and elaborate cut-scenes.

You follow a group of young heroes called Seiya, Hyoga, Shiryu and Phoenix as they battle their way through 12 golden palaces to find the cure for a poison arrow that has been fired into the heart of the Goddess Athena. Each palace is guarded by a Knight of the Zodiac who is always very confident that he can crush you as he is all powerful and you are merely bronze level wannabe.

However, in typical anime style, the underdog is able to pull strength when it is most needed to have the power to defeat them. There are ‘bonus' stages between each of the palaces but I have no idea why. I suppose it does show that you are moving on to the next palace by beating you way through a posse of hoods, but they never really try to stop you. It's just a button-bashing walk through with no real control and it definitely doesn't add anything to the gameplay or storyline.

The battles in the palaces change from the 2D anime story into full 3D arenas and it is all very well presented. There are a handful of moves and combos to get to grips with which will allow you to rather too easily defeat your opponent. But if you want to really feel like you're in an anime adventure you'll need to build up you ‘inner-cosmos'. This is the magical energy that flows throughout the Universe and can be harnessed to unleash mighty power (I wander if George Lucas gave permission to rip-off The Force??). This will allow you to perform a variety of special moves and give you a sweet cut scene as you nail the bad guy. There is a get-out clause during a special move when the opponent has chance to turn the power back onto the attacker, which involves some frantic button spanking. I found this to be an easier way of defeating a gold knight as they build up their cosmos quicker and then you can turn it back on them with more force. It's not exactly clear how the inner-cosmos is built up as you fight, it just happens. You can also manually build it up by holding down a couple of buttons but this leaves you very vulnerable so isn't very useful.

At the end of each battle with Pisces, Taurus or one of the other zodiac knights there is a rather long speech along the lines of what you would expect from anime. There are no subtle morals, they lay it all out clear as day that if you are honourable and on the side of good you will be victorious no matter how much more powerful your opponent is. Try telling that to a Jamaican Bobsled team.

The graphics are quality and there can be no argument that it looks good even if the skill required to progress through the game is limited. You have a choice of either French or Japanese for the narration and cartoon sequences, which means us monolingual speaker's have to settle for subtitles. But I personally think it adds to the game hearing gruff Japanese tones rather than poor dubbing.

If you're a fan of Japanese anime then you'll appreciate the game as it holds close to its style and storylines. But if you're looking for a beat ‘em up game then this isn't in the same league as the Tekken series so save your pennies. There certainly isn't a very long-life span to the game and from the 4 hours you'll spend completing it most of that time will be watching the anime.


4.5 out of 10