Saiyuki: Journey West

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Saiyuki: Journey West
Saiyuki Journey West cover.jpg
Developer(s) Koei
Publisher(s) Koei
Director(s) Minoru Honda
Designer(s) Minoru Honda
Artist(s) Akihiro Yamada (Main Character Design)
Platform(s) Sony PlayStation
PlayStation Network
Release date(s)
  • JP November 11, 1999
  • NA August 13, 2001
PlayStation Network
  • NA February 15, 2011
Genre(s) Tactical role-playing game
Mode(s) Single player

Saiyuki: Journey West is a tactical role-playing video game released for the Sony PlayStation by Koei. It is based loosely on the Chinese novel Journey to the West. The game's Japanese title is simply Saiyūki (西遊記), which is the Japanese name Journey to the West.

It follows the basic outline of the plot of the novel, in which the main character, a Buddhist practitioner named Sanzo, travels from China to India on a religious mission and has a variety of adventures along the way. The game also features several other characters from the novel, including Son Goku, the monkey king. In contrast to other renditions of the story, the game allows Sanzo to be played as either a male or a female character at the player's choice.

A gameplay twist is that every character except Sanzo can transform into a monstrous form for a limited time. Instead of transforming, Sanzo has access to summon spells that each boost the party's stats in different ways for a number of rounds and allows him/her to use an extra spell at will. Furthermore, each character has a native element that powers their spells and weakens them to opposing elements.

The game softens the original story, with most of the heroes' negative characteristics removed, and most of the villains surviving at the end.

The game's plot are heavily based between Buddhism and Hinduism. Buddhism is the main religion in this game where Sanzo and his party member must save Buddha, while gods from Hinduism are the main antagonists.


Main characters[edit]

Characters in recruiting order, consists of six main characters and six optional characters. Excluding Sanzo, the main characters have six WereAttacks (optional characters have only three), and they are all the exact nature of his/her element. The WereAttacks can be obtained during fights (except Dojo) by raising the Were Gauge level.

  • Sanzo - Portrays the righteous Buddhist monk, based on Xuanzang. His/her element is Wood. Although the player can choose either gender, the original Xuanzang is a male and thus usually depicted in the game also as male (in the game cover and in the opening). He/she has the ability to summon Guardians in the battle.
  • Son Goku - Portrays the rebellious Monkey King, Sun Wukong. His monster form is a giant fire-breathing ape, and his element is Fire. His starter magics are Cloud (to transport himself with difficult terrains) and Firedart (firework-like attack hits single enemy).
  • Cho Hakkai - Portrays the lustful pig demon, Zhu Bajie, here rendered as childlike and food-obsessed, with an overall goal of becoming a great chef. His affiliation is Earth. He transforms into a monstrous humanoid boar. His starter magics are Rake (attack 3 squares of enemies within 8 squares of his range with his rake) and Rockdrop (small boulder falls from sky hits single enemy).
  • Shu Ryorin - Haughty but kindhearted daughter of the King of the Eastern Dragons, on the run from her father and a forced marriage. She fights the party before joining, because she thought her father had sent them to capture her. Her monster form is a powerful bronze dragon, and she is consequently aligned with Metal. Based on Longnü. Her starter magic are Double Pierce (attack 2 squares in front of her with her sword) and Ironskin (increases her defense)
  • Sha Gojo - Portrays the man-eating sand demon, Sha Wujing, here an intellectual human cursed with a monstrous fishman alternate form. He's ashamed of his monstrous nature, and at first rejects the party's help before Sanzo (and his/her refusal to see his/her friends as mere "monsters") convinces him to join. His element is Water. His starter magic is Water Blade (small icicles erupts from below hits ingle enemy), and Water Meld (automatic healing when he is in water).
  • Lady Kikka - A dryad-like spirit who is found trapped in her tree. Her monster form is a giant humanoid butterfly. Like Sanzo, her element is Wood. Lady Kikka is not based on any actual character from the novel, but is made up for this game. Her starter magic are Heartseeker (attacks single enemy with her bow and arrow and has a chance to charm the enemy), Heal (to rise HP) and cure (to cure any ill effects on allies)

The main six characters above are mandatory to recruit, thus creating a five-elements circle from Chinese elements. The characters below are optional characters who can be obtained through some circumstances. The optional characters' WereAttacks only number three, and their attacks are usually a combination of two of their own element and another attack is the element of another one entirely. For example, two of Lady Tessen's WereAttacks are Fire element, and another one is Water element. Two of Lord Taurus's WereAttacks are Earth element, and another one is Fire element.

  • So Kinrei and So Ginrei - Twin girls accidentally transformed into monsters during the course of the story. Their monster forms are identical giant humanoid golems with oddly technological attacks (including missiles and lasers), with Kinrei turning into a yellow golem and Ginrei a blue golem. Their elements are Metal, and are a few of characters (along with Genshi) who don't take Wereforms as animals. Players can obtain Kinrei and Ginrei by fighting them with a limited amount of time when facing them. They have special attack when Kinrei faces the enemy, and Ginrei attacks with her arrow (but not Heartseeker spell) to doubles the damage.
  • Chin Genshi - Grandfather of Lady Kikka, and formal teacher of Cho Hakkai. He may or may not join the party, depending on Sanzo's actions. Like his granddaughter, his element is Wood, and he transforms into a tree-like form (who along with Kinrei and Ginrei is one of a few characters who doesn't change into an animal). Players will obtain him if Sanzo forbids Goku to take his Angel Fruit, and says that Goku and the others are considered as friends rather than just depending on them. His starter magic are Magic Sink (sap single enemy's MP), Heal, Cure, and automatically restore his own MP by 10.
  • Reikan - Ryorin's fiancé, who is trying to get her back. Starts out as an enemy, and will only join the group if the Sanzo says the right things to him during previous meetings. His element is Water, and he transforms into a turtle demon. Players will get him if Sanzo chooses "No" on both gender versions when the group confronts him for the first time (Ryorin tells a lie that Sanzo is her boyfriend if Sanzo is male, and asks Sanzo if Reikan is annoying if Sanzo is female). His starter magic is Ice Blades which is similar to Water Blade but has the chance to numb single enemy.
  • Taurus and Tessen - Portrays the Ox-Demon-King and Jade-Faced Princess from the novel. They start out seemingly as the main villains (though neither are really shown to be truly evil, just petty and bad-tempered), before plot developments cause them to reform and join Sanzo's side. Their monster forms are a minotaur-like bull demon and a humanoid scorpion respectively, and their elements are Earth and Fire. Players will get them if they complete both roads in Chapter 2 (North and South) and back and forth for the first branched road, and South and North and back and forth for the second branched road. Taurus' starter magic are Levitate (to levitate himself but no effects on his own movement, useful to raise his XP points) and Meteor (developed version of Rockdrop). Tessen's starter magic are Blaze Dart (explosion on single enemy) and Fire Fan (Tornado of flames on a group of enemies).

Other characters[edit]

  • Lady Kannon, Guan Yin, bodhisattva who guides Sanzo throughout the Journey.
  • Sei Obou, Xi Wangmu, is a female summon Guardian. Her element is Wood, and her attack, Charmblade, can possibly charm the enemy. Her special status is healing party members' HP based on range from Sanzo for each turn.
  • Hei Reiko, Huang Tianhua, is a male summon Guardian. His element is Metal. His special status is raising party members' physical defense.
  • Nata Taishi, Ne Zha, is a male summon Guardian. His element is Fire. His special status is raising party members' physical offense.
  • Kano Usenko, Yun Xiao, is a female summon Guardian. Her element is Earth. Her special status is raising party members' MP based on range from Sanzo for each turn.

8Jiro Shingun, Yang Jian, is a male summon Guardian. His element is Water. His special status is levitating Sanzo, makes his movement added for a few squares.

  • Kyuten Raitei, Wen Zhong is a male summon Guardian. His element is non-elemental. His special status is a combination of all the other Guardians' powers, which makes him the strongest Guardian. He is also the only optional Guardian, whose items players must collect during the journey in order to earn his power (Emperor Helmet: in a treasure box during first fight with Mahoraga; Emperor Armor: in a treasure box during first fight with Tigra in Biku; Emperor Band: in a treasure box during fight with Master Ko beside the hut; Emperor Soul: in a treasure box behind Taurus' chair during fight with Taurus - must go out from Chemist in Pine City first to trigger a scene for the 4th Emperor's part).


The main antagonists from this game is also known as "Devil Eight" which main purpose is to rule over heaven and create a new world of destruction and chaos.

  • Asura - The leader of the Devil 8. His true form is when he joins with Pit, which is the devil with 3 faces and 6 arms. His personality and traits are heavily based from both Buddhism and Hinduism version of Asura, with destructive and cruel traits. As the leader of Devil 8, He is very evil and strong that he wants to rule the heaven wherein Sanzo and his party members should stop him. His element before he changes is Metal, and when he shows his true form he has no element.
  • Deva - Asura's most loyal friend. Unlike Asura, Deva is very kind and a noble at heart, while he joins the Devil 8 just because he is close to Asura. His personality and traits are based from both Buddhism and Hinduism version of Deva with kind heart, and caring traits. He is very handsome with tattoo on his face and he wears golden headband and blue cape. His element is Water, and his true Devil form is somewhat like blue Samurai with centipede legs on his back.
  • Garda - Heavily gets her physical appearance from Buddhism and Hinduism version of Garuda, Garda is Asura's most loyal assistant and Asura's adopted daughter. Unlike the real Garuda which is male, Garda is female who looks like a teenage girl with short light silver hair with red strands, Romanian armor and red wings on her back. Her true Devil form is a giant fire bird, with her element is Fire.
  • Nagini - A member of Devil 8, she is the 2nd kindest character amongst Devil 8. She is the chief leader of dragon race and joins Devil 8 only to protect the dragons from being destroyed by Asura. Her name is based on Buddhism and Hinduism deity which has upper body of a human, and lower body of a giant snake. She is a very beautiful woman with brown hair tied up on her hair with dragon-related adornments, and wears protective gladiator-like armor with the same adornments. Her true form is flying dragon like Ryorin, with the only exception that her element is fire.
  • Yaksa - The most arrogant member of Devil 8, he takes form of satyr with bat wings and black skin. His appearance as satyr is heavily based from Buddhism and Hinduism version of Yaksa which is the spirit of nature. Unlike the original spirit's benevolent and nurturing traits, Yaksa is very boastful and arrogant. His element is Earth, and his true Devil form is large satyr with bat wings and single horn protruding from the middle of his forehead.
  • Vala - Former god of music, he is a very handsome muscular man with blue hair and pearl headband, and clothes from silver thin fabric. The husband of Apsara, he has charismatic charm and acts like a gentleman, although his true personality is sadistic. His element is Metal, and his true Devil form is a giant black rat.
  • Apsara - A young and elegant woman, she was the goddess of song. She looks elegant and childish but her true nature is as sadistic as her husband. Her name derives from Buddhism and Hinduism version of Apsara which is a very beautiful deity. Her element is wood, and her true Devil form is giant woman with lower abdomen of spider.
  • Mahoraga - A young male who covers his lower face with snake adorned mask, he is the first Devil 8 the main characters face, and considered as the weakest member. He has long green hair, wear body fit suits and baggy pants. He despises Nagini a lot. His element is Water, and his true form is giant flying red serpent with wings.


On release, Famitsu magazine scored the game a 31 out of 40.[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ プレイステーション - 西遊記. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.22. 30 June 2006.

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