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Video Game / Saiyuki: Journey West

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Saiyuki: Journey West is a 2001 Playstation Strategy RPG by Koei, based on Journey to the West and heavily inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics.

You play as the monk Sanzo (Xuanzang, though you can choose Sanzo's gender) on an adventure loosely inspired by Journey to the West.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: In the original story, Xuanzang was a non-action guy who got kidnapped a lot. This game's version of Sanzo, while still the physically weakest member of the party and lacking the Super Mode transformations the others have, compensates by being able to summon giant floating Bodhisattvas and use their attacks (like, for instance, summoning a giant sword the size of the battlefield to cut an enemy in half.)
  • Adaptational Heroism: All the main characters are much more heroic from the start than their counterparts in the original story.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Some towns are very, very rough on people who can turn into giant nearly-invulnerable supermonsters. Also, bandits have a curious propensity to attack your group even though by the end of the game it can include multiple gods.
  • Canon Foreigner: The game added or replaced a few characters.
    • The dragon-princess Shu Ryorin is only very loosely based on Yulong, the dragon who serves as Xuanzang's horse in the original, and draws more directly on Longnü, an unrelated figure from Buddhism and Chinese mythology.
    • Lady Kikka was entirely invented for the game.
  • The Chick: Sanzo (Xuanzang), who remains The Heart of the group and in this version can actually be a chick. On the other hand, it's downplayed compared to the original; Sanzo gets several moments of awesome and generally comes across as a bit less naive.
  • The Cynic: Sha Gojo takes a very dim view of humanity on account of being outcast as a monster.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The usual way of recruiting the optional party members, but most prevalent with Lady Tessen and Lord Taurus.
  • Fantastic Racism: Weres, people who can turn into monsters, are feared by the rest of society. Sha Gojo has experienced this effect far too often.
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  • Gender Flip: You can choose to have Sanzo be female, flipping her gender from Xuanzang's in the original story. Since Xuanzang was already essentially an Unbuilt Trope version of The Chick, it doesn't change very much, thematically speaking.
  • Gratuitous English: The intro video's song (unlike the rest of the game) is undubbed and mostly in Japanese, but its chorus is nonetheless a somewhat Narmy repeat of "Magic soul Goku! Magic soul Goku!" over and over, in English.
  • Guardian Entity: The Guardians, unsurprisingly, are this, summoned to float over Sanzo's head, providing bonuses to nearby allies as well as a special attack.
  • Killer Gorilla: Son Goku's Were form is a Killer Gorilla that, especially in the opening cinematic, almost qualifies as a (recursive!) Shout-Out to Dragon Ball Z.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Were forms of So Kinrei and So Ginrei are giant robotic ogres, which make use of lasers and guns in their attacks.
  • Mr. Exposition: Son Goku generally serves this role when it comes to the supernatural on account of being the most worldly member of the party and the one who knows the most about celestial politics.
  • Mugging the Monster: Bandits have a somewhat unfortunate tendency to try to waylay your party when you're doing delivery mission sidequests, and never seem to run away, even though your group can contain multiple highly-recognizable gods, has members who can turn into dragons or Kaiju-level giant apes, and can summon angry floating Bodhisattvas to murder your enemies with swords. Some of the dialog at the start of such encounters lampshades how unfortunate the bandits were to choose you as a target.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: When you want to have one of your characters transform into their Super Mode, you have to spend points off your transformation meter, which cannot be refilled in battle, to perform any of their attacks; run out, and they turn back to normal. When you fight an enemy who transforms, of course, they'll transform at the start of battle, spam their strongest attacks for free, and remain in their Super Mode for the entire fight.
  • One Degree of Separation: Chin Genshi is both Lady Kikka's grandfather and Cho Hakkai's mentor.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Each piece of Emperor equipment can only be found on one unrevisitable boss stage. If you miss even one of them (aside from the last, which for some reason isn't necessary), you also miss out on Sanzo's best summon. And the later ones don't even appear in the first place if you fail to get the Emperor's Helm and then take it to the blacksmith in Yuimen.
    • Leave an area without mastering all of its dojos, and you'll never be able to get the strength-increasing Gallant Ale.
    • Likewise, leave an area without finding all its ingredients (which can only be found by visiting shops), and you'll miss out on Chef's Paradise, a spell for Cho Hakkai.
    • All of the optional characters can be missed by progressing past the Point of No Return for the chapter they're recruited in. Also, some of them can be lost without any indication of why just by doing levels in a weird order (basically, whenever the path branches, always play up to the point it rejoins itself before you go back to explore the other branch.)
  • Powers as Programs: Elemental spells are kept in scrolls, and by just equipping the right scroll, any character can cast any spell as long as their rating in the correct element is high enough.
  • Prince Charming Wannabe: Prince Reikan, the intended of the Rebellious Princess Shu Ryorin as below, whom she sees as a Stalker with a Crush. If he is beaten and both Sanzo and Ryorin are truthful with him, he'll continue his devotion by joining the party.
  • Rebellious Princess: Shu Ryorin, who fled home to avoid an Arranged Marriage.
  • Sixth Ranger: Lady Kikka, who the only member of the main party with absolutely no grounding in the original story or Chinese mythology whatsoever, is also the last one you recruit by a significant margin.
  • The Smart Guy: Sha Gojo (Sha Wujing), who in this version is an intellectual human cursed with a monstrous transformation ability.
  • Summon Magic: Sanzo can summon Buddhist Guardians, who float overhead and provide a persistent bonus to your entire party for three turns, in addition to giving Sanzo a free special attack based on their abilities for the duration. There is one Guardian for each of the five elements in the system, as well as one more that is Sanzo's best summon.
  • Super Mode: Every main character except Sanzo has the ability to transform into a giant Kaiju form in combat, though only one member of your party can transform at once.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Each character has an element in the Chinese five-element system, which determines which spells they're best at, which they're strong against, and which they're weak against.