Saint Seiya has never been released in the UK, so it makes an odd choice for a localisation. Unlike, say, Fist of the North Star, the game has very little exposure over here to capitalise on.
Saint Seiya is set in a universe where the titular Saints fight to protect the reincarnation of the Goddess Athena from other Greek Gods who are intent on attacking the Earth. The series is typical "team" fare, with a distinctive shoujo style.
The game takes place during the "Gold Saints" arc, which proved to be one of the most enduring of the shows run. Our heroes must battle their way through twelve palaces and face off against a zodiac-based boss before moving on.
In any arcade brawler such as this, variety is key. Each level provides you with a different hero (five in all) to control, each with their own attacks. Though you have no control over who you're playing, this does break up the flow quite nicely, allowing you to pull off a nice mix of rather impressive moves.
And you'll need all the impressive skills you can muster, because the bosses are a set of complete gits. Very hard to kill, all requiring different strategies to defeat, it's actually a testament to the game's design team that they were able to make each so memorable. While the Dynasty Warriors style mob fights can drag on, the one-on-one battles are far more entertaining, and it's these encounters you'll want to play the game for.
On a technical level, the game is solid if not spectacular. The graphics represent the Saints well, although their designs are nearly 30 years old now so the presentation is dated before it even starts. Everything runs smoothly enough, and attacks land with satisfying "oomph". The music is functional, but for all I know could be a wonderful update of the classic TV themes - sadly I'm not involved enough in the Seiya world to know.
I've never been a fan of the Seiya aesthetic and as such I've never taken the time to track it down. Seiya fans will, of course, get loads of enjoyment from this completely left-field release, while the rest of us will ikely raise an eyebrow and simply enjoy the brawling action. For said fans, there are some wonderful extras, such as photographs of the huge array of merchandise the series generated to unlock.
The game can also be played 2 player outside of the main story mode, and this makes for some fun teamwork for a while.
Ultimately, Saint Seiya represents its genre as a functional, fun brawler with some odd costume choices and varied gameplay. It's not spectacular, but any fan of the series will coo over the chance to play their hero in a game that entertains while it lasts.
It won't rock your world, despite the glam 80's styling, but Seiya is a solid and unusual brawler that's worth checking out.