One of the best consoles I never had as a child was the Sega Saturn. By that point, I was using my Nintendo 64 and the brand new Playstation. But I still lusted after the Saturn console -- and I especially lusted after one game in particular; Magic Knight Rayearth. The action RPG game came out in North America in 1998 (three years after its Japanese release, which we'll get to later). I was obsessed with all things anime and manga, and I was a fan of Magic Knight Rayearth. I even held the game in my hands at a local Costco. But alas, it was not meant to be.

A rare video game?

The North American version of Magic Knight Rayearth is considered a rare game. This was the last game released for the Sega Saturn in this market, put out almost like a swan song by Working Design. They made good on their promise to fans to bring this former Super Famicom turned Sega Saturn game to English speaking audiences. While I have not personally played this version of the game, I have played the Japanese version. In short, this game was breathtaking.

If this had been marketed better, and the Sega Saturn wasn't going toe to toe with Playstation and the N64, this could have been Sega Saturn's Final Fantasy. The playthroughs I've seen of the English version is just as visually stunning, but the translations are a little off. If you're familiar with the anime and manga, the language coming out of our three protagonists' mouths may shock you -- but it won't take away from enjoying the game. The 2D graphics are delightful. Each character is represented extremely well, and the anime cut scenes are a nice addition. The game time is pretty short too. You can easily finish this game in two days.

How much will this set you back?

I've been following the market for the North American Magic Knight Rayearth game for a few years. Expect to pay over $600 for a complete copy -- sometimes you can find the individual disks of the three disk game, but those will set you back $300+. On the flip side, the Japanese version can be found for under $50 with shipping.

Aside from being the last Sega Saturn game released stateside, this game took Working Design 3 years to develop. This was due to a number of issues, including a full hard disk crash of the game, causing files to be lost. There were also copyright issues with using the names due to whoever was holding the anime license at that time.

If I had a time machine, I would absolutely go back and buy every copy that was in Costco at that time. Aside from being a fan, this game commands serious money. If you do get your hands on a copy for a steal, you can absolutely flip it for more. This is a game I would consider investing in -- that is if I wasn't already collecting expensive Golden Age comics. At worst you'll break even on it, but you won't lose money. Good luck and happy hunting.

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