Based on the 1992 anime, KO Seiki BEAST: Sanjuushi is set in a future where two super computers, Gaia and Uranus have split the Earth in two at the equator. The Gaia-controlled Northern half stayed in regular orbit and the people evolved into shapeshifting Beasts. The Southern half controlled by the Uranus computer was banished to a parallel dimension. These people remained human, but are ruled by the power hungry Czar Master. The humans seek the power of the North’s “Gaia Network” to unify the planet, and cleanse it of the freakish Beasts.
Tiger Beast Wan Dabadabadatta, Mermaid Mei Mah and Bado Mint of the Bird clan make up the Three Beast Warriors. With the power of their stone totems called “Jinn” these three can call upon mechanized Beast Lords; Chirei-Oh the panther, Kairei-Oh a colossus and Kurei-Oh the phoenix. These three form the gestalt of Jinrei-Oh, the Master Lord. Wan, Mei and Bado are the only masters, but they have a fourth friend named Mekken Mannen, a chubby Turtle Beast.
The story begins with the imprisonment of all four beasts and subsequent release by Dr. Password and his granddaughter Yuuni Charm Password. Though human and once in the service of the Czar, they are sympathetic to the beasts’ plight and seek to aid them in unlocking the power of Gaia for the good of all. Yuuni even has a mysterious psychic link to the sentient Gaia computer.
Hounded by the Czar’s henchmen V-Darn, his female counterpart V-Sion and their lackey demon Akumako, the good guys set out to learn the power of their Jinn’s, reboot Gaia and stop the evil Czar.
One can tell this game was made for fans of the series. I knew nothing of the show before I played this and when I got to searching for the background story in English, I could pick out every story point in the game.
The game characters talk in text A LOT! I can read Katakana and some Hiragana but it got to the point where I would cringe to talk to someone because of the constant yacking. If you are a fan and can read Japanese – you’d love it.
Graphics get the job done, but even for a game made in 1994 they are a bit bland, not bad, but nothing astounding like Magicoal, Ys IV or Legend of Xanadu II – maybe on par with Xanadu I. Music is that fun ol’ PC Engine synth with lots of slap bass and catchy repetitive tunes. Cut scenes are colorful and well animated, but average for CD games of that day. The character screens just have words for the different items, weapons or selections (in Japanese of course) and I would have liked icons or images.
Fighting is your basic walk on the overhead map and go to a fight screen every six or seven steps. Fights consist of a sparse screen bordered by 5 gradients of a color (I’ve seen this in other Pack-In-Video RPGs), monsters in the background, the current active character in the foreground and the usual fight, magic (beast attack), item, run away. Absolutely nothing to write home about here and the fact that you fight every couple of seconds when walking around, you’ll find yourself just mashing buttons to get through it.
All in all, it is a great novelty and worth a play if you have nothing else to do or of course if you are a fan. I personally am not going to rush out and find the OVA’s based on my experience with this, but you might!
W. Eric Myers