Review Information
Reviewer Name: Krooper13
Game Difficulty: Medium
Difficulty Options: True
Game Information
Full Title: Sagaia
Year Released: 1992
Game Type: Shooting
Max Players: 1

"Darius, a peaceful planet just like Earth was all but destroyed some time ago by an unknown enemy." Hardly Shakespeare, but it sets the scene up perfectly for this genre of game, your good, they're evil! So off you set on a journey through the Solar System taking on legions of various enemy ships and some tricky boss battles.
Sagaia takes the highly successful formula of R-Type and builds upon it; power ups, countless enemy ship types and a great variety of bosses.

But don't just write this game off as an average R-type clone, Taito has done far more than just mimic the arcade hit. Each level surprises you with new types of enemy and thus more ways to die. The game boasts a superb learning curve which ensures when you finally succumb to enemy fire that you feel it was your fault and not the games, thus ensuring that you come back for more. As with most games in this genre power-ups are essential and should you die on a latter level it is near impossible to survive without the higher levels of shields and fire you have become used to.

One of the undoubted highlights of the game is the bosses, which are all based upon sea creatures, the sheer variety of bosses ensures that you really have to think about how to kill them, each one needing a different place to aim to kill them, and in most cases when you think that you have defeated the boss they merely provide you with a harder challenge.
From the game's outset you can see this game has one of the highest standards of graphics on the Master System. The opening level over the Sun sees you flying over flames and heat effects which are simply sublime, which in my humble opinion is the best looking level of any game on the Master System. The subsequent levels are also of a very high standard, but simply don't live up to the opening level. This is not to say that they are in any way poor, quite the opposite all of them look fantastic, just never quite as good as the first level.

The ships themselves are fairly standard, looking a little too similar to the R-Type vessel, but the power-ups, especially the shields and the latter levels of forward fire do look quite beautiful, with a shimmering effect that really sets them off against the background.
Sound & Music
The 8-bit era rarely produced anything particularly wonderful in the way of music for games and unfortunately Sagaia is no exception. All of the sound effects are standard blasts and bleeps as you would expect of a space shooting game. The in game music is tolerable and adequate, but in no way does it stand out as the game's best features.

To be fair there is nothing wrong with the sound and music, and compared to some of the other Master System titles this is good game in this respect, it just does not meet the high standards set in the other areas of the game.
The controls on Sagaia are quite simply superb. There are no bugs or glitches and the controls always respond quickly and do what you have intended, if you miss it is very much your fault rather than the games.

The speed of the ships are set up so they are responsive and agile which complements the gameplay very well. The "A" fire "B" Bomb set up is perfect, thus ensuring that anyone who wants to just play without reading the manual can do so with ease.
Replay Value
Music & Sound
Replay Value
The games difficulty is set very well and when you die you normally feel that it was your fault and that you can manage to get past this part again on another try. However due to the game's nature you do need the power-ups to succeed on the latter levels, so it can be very frustrating if you do get hit, as in effect you will have to start again.

The game also has the superbly implemented feature of different pathways on most levels. As the game has no save feature this makes sure that the game is not too long whilst including more levels than the average Master System game. These are selectable at the start of the level and mean that certain levels have two entirely different zones, the final level on Jupiter has 3 paths, so there are 3 different ways to complete the game, this coupled with the difficulty mean that to do everything on the game will take most players a good while.

But the real reason to come back to this game is it's simply one of the finest titles on the Master System.
Sagaia does simply have too many shared features with R-Type to ever be the best loved game of it's genre, but it is simply a superb title. It still remains one of my favourite games after well over 10 years of playing it and I can highly recommend to anyone who likes shooting games.
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