Saiyuki: Journey West by Koei
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Judging from the reviews from various sites this has to be one of the best games based on Journey to the West and probably even the best so far. From what I've heard about it, it has an amazing storyline, interesting and highly engaging characterization and character interaction, as well as very enjoyable tactical game play. Saiyuki: Journey West is a turn-based strategy RPG where you get to control your characters on a map to fight enemies. The story begins you playing as Sanzo (Tang San Zhang/Xuan Zang) starting out on your journey to gather your companions to reach the Thunderclap Monastery. As the game progresses, you'll acquire characters such as Son Goku (the Monkey King), Cho Hakkai (the pig), Sha Gojyo (Sha Wu Jing), a girl dragon called Ryorin (probably based on Yu Long, the Jade Dragon), and many more! You'll mostly be using the main characters only though. Everyone has their own unique personalities as in the novel and also special abilities, like Gojyo can recover his HP by staying in the water. An interesting aspect of the game play is the were-gauge. Every character has a were-form that they can change into (for example Cho Hakkai's were-form is the Roaring Boar). But this can only happen when the were-gauge is full. Basically once they change into their were-form they become much more powerful and gain unique powers and abilities. Once the were-gauge reaches zero they revert to their original form. The were-gauge is quite small in the beginning but grows as you gain experience. From what I've heard, this game is absolutely fantastic. If you like Journey to the West, even just a little, you should definitely play this game.
'Each character is given several expressions to accompany and emphasize their dialogue, and their designs are well-executed to reflect their character; the self-serving, mischievious Monkey King Son Goku, the innocent and earnest monk Sanzo, the haughty Daughter of the Dragon, and so on. The characters do not just focus exclusively on the plotline, but often banter amongst each other, giving us insights into what they are like and how they get along during their travels. There's nothing tremendously deep or literary about these characters, but for a video game they're amazingly well executed. When I'm playing, I'm looking forward to each interaction and wondering what I'm going to learn about the characters.'
'The combat is fun, which is good, because tactical RPG's are all about the combat. It is also a little innovative, mainly in the fact that members of your party can transform into Weres, giant monsters with more hit points and a variety of special attacks.'
'The plot is actually very good, especially for a tactical RPG. It is linear, but very interesting. It is based on a Chinese myth, the same one which spawned Dragon Ball Z (although it is similar in Goku's name only). It is cool, without having a fancy presentation. Saiyuki also has a very good cast of characters, including the main enemies.'
'Interesting characters, good story, fun gameplay and a pretty good class system.'
(Reviews taken from this page about Saiyuki: Journey West in www.amazon.com)
Click here to buy Saiyuki: Journey West!
The Monkey King: The Legend Begins
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Yay! Finally Wu Kong has made his way into the Wii console! One wonders how many gods he had to threaten and bribe to ensure himself a spot on the Wii. Unluckily he has had to share his time in the limelight with someone called Mei Mei, who is a cute, pigtailed generic Chinese girl with the customary buns for cheeks. Seriously though, I love the character design of all the characters, including Wu Kong. They're all of the super deformed variety (don't be fooled by the box art), and UBER CUTE. Seriously. If they make plushies of the characters they'll be selling better than Pikachu plushies, trust me. The only thing that bugs me about Wu Kong is his face. Why a white face? Do monkeys have white faces? Last time I checked, no. But yeah, since his face is still very cute and pretty and pinchable and huggable, I forgive them. And I've just realized I haven't explained what type of game it is yet.
Basically it's a classic side-scroller shooter. You get to control either Wu Kong or Mei Mei on a cloud (and if you're here reading this website, presumably you're an avid Wu Kong fan and will choose him every time you play leaving Mei Mei to sulk in the shadows) and blast down enemies that come at you from the right side of the screen. Supposedly the innovative part of this game is that you can tilt the Wii controller to either side to control the angle of the screen and the speed at which it scrolls. As a casual gamer I don't really play a lot of shooters and so am unable to appreciate the absolute glory of this feature. Apparently, according to www.amazon.com's page on Monkey King: The Legend Begins, this allows 'players to dodge and move in a way never seen before'. Hah. Like I care. All I want to see is cute cute little Wu Kong kicking ass and destroying monsters like crazy. Speaking of monsters you get to fight Wu Jing in the form of a kappa boss, and the attacks are simply exquisite, exquisite I tell you! Super shiny sharp crescents of all sizes slicing through the screen (check out the alliteration XD). And that brings me to what I consider the winning point of the game.
No, let me rephrase that.
The Graphics (with a capital G).
Words cannot describe how beautiful and wonderful the graphics are. The backgrounds are beautiful in a smoky, soft way, like they're secretly made out of candy floss and will dissolve at a touch. The textures are amazing. The water shines with a quiet sheen that is just exquisite to look at. The attacks are cute and beautiful and the monsters and demons are cute as well! The bosses are always rendered with a lot of care and attention, and basically the whole thing can be summed up with: cute characters, beautiful supporting graphics.
And there's more! Apart from the normal mode, there's also a two-player mode where you can use both Wu Kong and Mei Mei at the same time! (Finally we find out the reason for Mei Mei being there and not Ba Jie or Wu Jing... neither of them are particularly cute or aesthetically pleasing and your friends will presumably not be pleased if you stick them with a perverted, greedy pig while you control the coolest monkey in the world.) And more! There's even a story mode which will let you follow the adventures of Sun Wu Kong on his quest to become a god... or something like that. Apparently Heaven has been overrun by demons and you have to protect your land or something. Doesn't sound like it's the original story to me, but hopefully they don't mangle the characterization too much. And hey, we all need a bit of fresh plot from time to time eh?
Just for including a really cute Wu Kong, I give this game 5 peaches out of 5. Heh.
Click here to buy The Monkey King: The Legend Begins!
Monkey Magic is a side-scrolling platform game for the PlayStation based on the animated series of the same name, which is based on Journey to the West. It is extremely cheap (I think about $4 at the cheapest), because like the show, it had basically no advertising and no support and so was condemned to obscurity. Which it doesn't deserve. From various reviews, I gather that the game play is highly engaging and complex, some reviewers even going so far as to say that it is one of the Playstation's best platform games. You get to play as Kongo from the series and while you are quite weak at first, you can gain various powers and spells as you proceed through the game, which then can be used in a variety of ways to create many different effects. It is said to be an extremely fun action RPG. While it might not be as amazing as they claim, it still seems to be quite a decent platform game. Since it's so cheap anyway, why don't you try it out? Anything Monkey King related is bound to be good anyway. XD
Click here to buy Monkey Magic!
Xi You Ji Online a.k.a Xi You Fu Mo Lu (Westward Journey Demon Vanquishing Chronicles)
This is a fun-filled MMORPG based on Journey to the West. You have five characters to choose from, San Zang (his element is Wood), Wu Kong (Fire - obviously XD), Ba Jie (Earth), Wu Jing (Water), Xiao Long Nu or Little Dragon Girl, obviously a female version of the White Dragon Horse (her element is Metal). The elements of the characters are extremely important in gameplay, following the ancient rules of Wu Xing Xiang Ke and Wu Xing Xiang Sheng. Metal is strong against Wood, Wood is strong against Earth, Earth is strong against Water, Water is strong against Fire, and Fire is strong against Metal. Which means players have to take into account their characters' elements and the elements of the demons they face in order to win. For example, if your opponent is the Red Child, Hong Hai Er, who has devastating fire attacks, evidently using Wu Jing, who is of the Water element, would be more effective than using Wu Kong who is of the Fire element, even though he has more power.
In addition to having different elements, the characters all have different abilities and powers. San Zang is the equivalent of a mage in fantasy RPG. He has awesome aggressive magical attacks, but needs to have enough mana to be used easily. Wu Kong is an easy character to use, with high strength, power and accuracy. However, his items and armour are hard to get. Xiao Long Nu is an archer, with magical attacks to enhance her archery skills. However, she lacks in power. Ba Jie is good for both attack and defense, has high HP, but low accuracy and intelligence. Wu Jing is an ultra-defensive character, extremely strong defensive spells, but lacks in power and attacks. Has magic attacks to make up for the lack of strength and power, however it will be hard to make it on his own. Is extremely useful in groups, though.
To know more about this game and to play it, go here. It has screencaps from the game.
Xi You Ji 2000
A popular MUD that has been around since.... yeah, the year 2000. ^o^ I played it when I was 10, and I really, really loved it. For those who don't know, a MUD is a kind of text-based MMORPG and you can create you own character and beat up monsters and up levels and just explore the whole rambling world around you. Xi You Ji 2000 is no different. It has a massive map, filled with hundreds of different locations from the book and from the creators' imaginations, including Heaven, Fang Cun Shan where Wu kong studied, the Dragon King Palace (you'll have to walk down there with a water-repelling charm that you can get by..... well if I told you I would be spoiling the fun, yeah? >D), the island where Guan Yin lives (it's actually one of the schools in the MUD, you can become a disciple there and learn awesome skills), Dream Land (it's hard to get in, and even harder to get out), Gao Village (the place where they captured Ba Jie), soldier's barracks, the Moon Palace where Chang Er lives, and much, much more! It's so wonderful!! You not only get to kill demons, there are lots of puzzles and mini-games and quests and mazes and tournaments with demons or gods and other little gimmicks that lie waiting just around the corner! Exploring the game's various gimmicks is a mini-game already! You can even get married or have a pet in there~ There are also countless items that you can sell and buy and pick up from the ground and even STEAL! Yes, there is a skill called 'miao shou kong kong', which is basically the art of stealing, and you can try to steal items from NPCs. They'll attack you if you fail though. >D There are all sorts of wacky weapons, you can even attack with a chicken bone! The NPCs and demons are equally varied and colourful. You can even fight with a chicken or a dog and make the chicken into chicken soup! >D I was nearly killed by a chicken once, I recall. It was scary. >D The skills and magical powers are also very cool and the higher level you get, the cooler the skills you are able to learn, for example the Somersault Cloud! Sadly, I was never able to get a level high enough to be able to learn that skill. I would stand in the city square and watch all those cool characters flying in and flying out like it was nobody's business~ Gah. You can even defect from your original school and join other schools in order to learn a wider variety of skills! This game is plain AWESOME! But it's all in Chinese though. >D You have a choice of traditional chinese or simplified chinese characters.
To play Xi You Ji 2000, go here.
Westward Journey Online II (Da Hua Xi You)
This is another MMORPG based on Journey to the West. Again, all in Chinese.
Click here to go to the official website.
Monkey King Chinese Chess Xiangqi Set
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This is awesome. A Chinese Chess set with an all Xiyouji cast! The red side features Wu Kong, San Zang, Ba Jie, Wu Jing, and other good guys, whereas the blue side consists exclusively of demons. How cool is it? You can experience for yourself the thrill of controlling Wu Kong and the rest to beat up the demons and protect San Zang! It is a bit disappointing though, that Wu Kong's only a shi, same as Ba Jie, with a very limited range of movement. It is appropriate though, that he's one of the two shi protecting San Zang. With him being so devoted to San Zang and all.
Anyway I'd buy this if only for the sheer awesomeness of owning Xiyouji characters chess pieces. Especially Wu Kong. XD
Click here for more pictures of the chess set!
If you have any comments or info about games based on Xi You Ji, just e-mail me.
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