Saint Seiya: Ougon Densetsu ("Gold Legend") is a platformer-slash-RPG game developed by TOSE and published by Bandai, released in 1987 for the NES, and the very first game based on the Saint Seiya manga/anime. It implements a rather primitive (and sloppy) RPG system with platforming sections, where the player (using Pegasus Seiya) moves around the city, talking to NPC or throwing punches at mooks and gaining experience which can be distributed across several stats which determines strength, defense and Cosmo. When fighting bosses, the game switches to turn-based combat: here the player assigns an amount of strength to each stat and selects an attack and defense option, then watches as the attack animations play out.
The game follows the first story arc of the anime, albeit very haphazardly: throwing several characters away and including clones of the same enemy saints to pad its length out. It also ran out of material to adapt half-way through the Twelve Temples arc, leaving most of the latter Gold Saints out and heavily changing the ending.
The game received a sequel in 1988 for the same system, Saint Seiya: Ougon Densetsu Kanketsu Hen ("Gold Legend Finish Arc"), which went for a more simplified/streamlined gameplay: platforming sections are now much more straightforward and simple "left-to-right" ordeals, while turn-based elements were reduced to a single "Sevensenses" bar the player fills up by punching mooks, and later distributes among a Saint's "Life" and "Cosmo" before each boss fight. The boss fights are simply "pick up an attack" and "hope you can evade damage", with the many character stats and leveling up from the first game removed entirely. The game focus exclusively on the "Twelve Temples" part of the first arc, now adapted in its entirety and much more faithfully since that arc of the manga was finished, even encouraging the player to reproduce the battles as seen in the manga/anime.
Finally, a Remake combining both games was released in 2003 for the WonderSwan Color, titled Saint Seiya: Ougon Densetsu Hen Perfect Edition, taking and updating the combat system of the first game with a very welcome set of new graphics and cutscenes.
The first game contains examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The game follows very loosely on the original plot, placing enemies and battles in random unrelated locations or doing bizarre stuff like Seiya fighting Docrates atop trees or some of the deceased Silver Saints coming back for a 2nd round at the Sanctuary.
- Adapted Out: The 5 secondary Bronze Saints, Mu, Kiki, Shunrei and all Filler characters save Docrates are not present.
- Armor Is Useless: Averted. Seiya can remove his armor during the game wand walk in his civilian clothes, but using it enhances his attack and defense. As a negative, though, it drains Cosmo every step he takes.
- Assist Character: Pretty much sums up the other main characters' role in this game: they can be switched in during boss battles, though there's no much difference and one can win the whole game with Seiya alone.
- Canon Foreigner: The Shadow Saint was created specifically for this game.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: You have to recover the pieces of the Sagittarius Gold Cloth from the Black Saints, just like in the manga/anime.
- Gecko Ending: Due to both manga and anime being still unfinished, the game staff made-up an ending, which includes Pope Ares not being Gemini Saga, but an Obviously Evil saint with a skull-themed "Shadow Cloth" named simply the "Shadow Saint".
- Guide Dang It!: The game can be quite hard to follow, as one needs to go through certain areas and doors to find the next enemy, and there's practically no directions in-game.
- Golden Super Mode: When the Cosmos is increased to Max, Seiya's armor turns gold and he does even more damage.
- Palette Swap: The Black Saints use the same sprites as the Bronze Saints, only swapped black.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Seiya's Pegasus Meteor Fist as usual. In-game it is represented as a flurry of punches aimed at the screen.
- Recurring Boss: Docrates is fought three times in the course of the game. Misty, Babel and the Gemini Cloth are fought a second time as well.
- Training Boss:
- Trauma Inn: Talking with either Miho (at the orphanage) or Saori (at her mansion) restores Seiya's stats.
- Warm-Up Boss: Marin (Seiya's mentor) at the beginning serves as a tutorial for the game's mechanics, and is almost a Training Boss where you can be defeated. Cassios and Shaina, being the following two bosses and wearing no Cloth, are also much easier to damage than the rest of the fully-clothed bosses.
The sequel contains examples of:
- Another Dimension: The signature attack of the Gemini Saint, who sends his enemies to another dimension (or in this case, a second "extra stage"). Two other Gold Saints (Deathmask and Shaka) also send the player to an "extra stage" set in alternate worlds (the gates of Hell and the Six Hells of Buddhism respectively).
- Badass Arm-Fold: Taurus Aldebaran's initial sprite pose. He loses it after being damaged enough.
- Blade on a Stick: One of the few Mook types throw spears at the player.
- Bottomless Pits: Present in all stage sections. The Gemini Temple's extra stage is the worst offender, as two thirds of it is basically one giant pit with small platforms scattered above. It's somewhat mitigated in that, instead of instant death, falling off them results in the playable character at the time taking some damage and being sent back to the start of the stage to do over.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Leo Aeolia is held under the power of the Pope's Imperial Phantasm Punch, which turns him into a sadistic monster, and can only be released by seeing someone die in front of him. In-game, this was translated as him being impossible to damage until Seiya was defeated, at which point Cassios comes up and promptly dies, making Aeolia defeatable.
- But Thou Must!: The fights in the Leo, Capricorn and Aquarius Temples must follow the manga/anime canon, as these bosses are invincible otherwise. Strangely averted with the final temple, Pisces, which leads to an Unwinnable situation (read below).
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each Saint has a similar sprite but different colors and skills:
- Seiya - White/Red, his attack goes through enemies.
- Shiryu - Green/Black, his attack is faster than the others.
- Hyoga - White/Blue, his attack is stronger than the others.
- Shun - Pink/Green, his chain can hit enemies on the way back.
- Ikki - Blue, his attack has full-screen range.
- Doomsday Clock: The Sanctuary's clock tower appears before each stage, showing stage progression by extinguishing the previous temple's corresponding flame. The game over sequence is simply the clock going off quickly as an ominous song plays.
- Dwindling Party: Much like in the manga/anime, the last three temples will remove one Saint from play as they (almost) die against their enemies.
- Elemental Powers: They don't really factor in gameplay, but still:
- 11th-Hour Superpower: Do the final boss fight correctly, and Seiya gets an enormous boost of Seven Senses from his friends, and the ability to refill his Life/Cosmo every turn, making him almost invincible.
- All Bronze Saints also gain one or two new, ultra-powerful attacks in their final Temple battle before being removed from play, usually after losing the first round.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Enemies/obstacles in the bizarre extra stage from the Gemini Temple include comets, purple blobs, flying triangles, spinning hourglasses, and giant bubbles. None of this appears in the manga or anime, at all.
- Heroic Sacrifice: After Seiya is defeated by Leo Aeolia, Cassios enters into scene and dies for him in order to break Aeolia's mind control, just like in the manga/anime.
- Heroic Second Wind: The advantage of fighting the Goldies with their corresponding Bronze Saint is that, if defeated, they get a second fighting chance after being encouraged by a friend/family member.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Hyoga vs. Camus in the Libra Temple, only accessed if the player uses Hyoga in the Gemini Temple.
- Fighting Aeolia with anyone other than Seiya, or Camus with anyone other than Hyoga makes those bosses this as well, as both require that their respective saints talk to them for them to become vulnerable to attacks.
- In a Single Bound: Shun has the longest and fastest jump in platforming sections. This makes the second-to-last stage, where the player must pick him, much harder than it should be.
- Luck-Based Mission: Blocking in this game (for both sides) depends on the RNG's mood.
- Night of the Living Mooks: Zombies and ghouls are enemies in the Cancer Temple's extra stage.
- No-Sell: Unlike all other Gold Saints, Pope Saga has no "being hit" animation. He just stands there eating damage.
- Old Master: Shiryu's master, Libra Dohko. He appears (in spirit) in his temple to help Shiryu rescue Hyoga, and is the one who brings Shiryu back to health in the Capricorn Temple, while also unlocking his best attack, the Lushan Proud Dragon Lord.
- Optional Party Member: Ikki is only playable for two bosses and one extra stage.
- Promoted to Playable: While Shiryu, Hyoga, Shun and Ikki were sorta-playable in the previous game (they could be switched in during boss fights), in this one they can be individually selected for use at each Gold Temple. They also have unique skills for the platforming sections.
- Puzzle Boss: Some bosses can't be defeated by spamming attacks, and must be talked to in specific moments so they become vulnerable.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Seiya's Pegasus Meteor Fist, which is represented by several comets shot forward. In platforming sections, everyone but Shun can rapid-fire energy punches at enemies.
- Skippable Boss: You can avoid fighting the Gemini Saint if you choose Hyoga, which will instead match him with his master Camus in the Libra Temple, per the anime/manga story.
- Stalked by the Bell: Stay in one spot during platforming sections for too long, and rocks start falling.
- Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: Sagittarius Temple has no boss since Aeolus is long dead and grants a huge boost of Seven Senses...right in time for the game's final three Temples, which have some of the worst platforming stages in the game.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Averted in some boss fights, as using the "Talk" command will only give them a free turn to hit you.
- Temporary Platform: Appear in the form of 3 tiny platforms over pits. A nightmare for some thanks to the "floaty" control scheme... and Shun.
- Timed Mission: The final stage, the Path of Roses, is covered in poisonous roses. This translates to the character's Life draining every second.
- Underground Monkey: Enemies in the stage sections are multi-colored variations of the same three types of mook.
- Unintentionally Unwinnable:
- When you face the final boss with Ikki, you must speak to him, otherwise he'll be immune to any attack, and when Seiya comes back to fight him he'll be unable to damage him at all. Rather jarring considering it's the last boss, and there's no indication in-game of what to do to win.
- You can go outside the canon and beat Pisces Aphrodite with Seiya... which leads to Seiya dying and Shun being the only choice left to cross the Path of Roses (which constantly drains his life). However, the exit at the end of this area (Seiya's mentor) only appears for Seiya, leaving Shun unable to continue until his life drops to 0. Oops.
- Variable-Length Chain: Shun, as usual. In the platformer sections, it works like a boomerang, hitting enemies on the way back.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Cancer Deathmask, the 3rd boss, has an insane amount of advantages, most notably having more Cosmo than Life and aiming at the player's Cosmos with his only attack, which means he does lots of damage for far longer than the others, and you do progressively less as his attack connects. This type of arrangement doesn't even appear with end-game enemies, making him the most frustrating boss in the game.
- Warm-Up Boss: The first boss, Aldebaran, is pretty easy, and talking to him reduces the force of his attack to half too.
"Perfect Edition" contains examples of:
- Cutscene Boss: Several bosses from the first game (Shaina, Cassios, Algol, Ptolemy...) have become this.
- Compressed Adaptation: Even moreso than the original game. Probably wanting to get to the Goldies faster, the game drops all the Black Saints and most Silver Saints save Misty, Jamian, Algol and Ptolemy (though the latter 3 are not properly fought, and simply killed in a cutscene).
- Recurring Boss: While they got rid of all filler recurring bosses from the first game, Docrates' two anime fights remained in there.
- Video Game Remake: Mostly of the first game with the second's take on the Twelve Temples tacked on.