Lather, rinse, repeat is a mantra that should be kept firmly pasted to the back of shampoo bottles. It’s got no place outside of a bathroom, and certainly no place in a Japanese 3D fighter – but alas Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers appears to have been built with Herbal Essences in mind.
All its problems are combat-related. A limited repertoire of moves means hours of endlessly stringing together the same two or three combos: dash in to attack, land five hits, knock opponent to opposite end of the arena. Lather, rinse, repeat. Then, with a flick of R1, flt around your opponent and engage a string of counter blows at any time. Or, more accurately, shuffle round the ring waiting for the witless CPU to make a move – like some kind of psychotic pre-pubescent desperately hoping for a school dance partner – just so you can dodge round the back and give them a good slap (on that note I’m sorry for Whitley Bay, Zack.)
Still, a good narrative could have saved Saint Seiya from bargain bin oblivion – after all, it’s based on one of the most popular manga series of all time. So it’s with a sad and shaking head that I say: “Alas, the plot is also a bit pantaloons.” Over 50 characters and three confusing story modes mean that this is a title that can only really be enjoyed by hardcore fans of the original 80’s series.
It all adds up to a game that’s definitely for specialist tastes – something WH Smith would keep behind the counter and you’d have to ask for. And when the cashier gives you a look of scathing disapproval for doing so, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
First published in issue #093 Official PlayStation Magazine UK