Madou Monogatari I

From Sega Retro

For the Sega Game Gear version, see Madou Monogatari I: 3tsu no Madoukyuu. For the completely unrelated Sega Saturn game in the franchise, see Madou Monogatari.


MadouMonogatariI MDTitleScreen.png

Madou Monogatari I
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: Compile
Original system(s): MSX
Genre: RPG[1][2]

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
¥7,8007,800 T-66023

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Madou Monogatari I (魔導物語 I) is a remake of the first part of Compile's Madou Monogatari 1-2-3 trilogy of RPGs, and was released for the Sega Mega Drive in 1996 exclusively in Japan.

It is the last officially released Mega Drive game in Japan (with the last first party game, Pepenga Pengo, released 3 months earlier), and the only such released in 1996. Out of all the versions of Madou Monogatari I, this is the most different from the others, with a radically different battle system, new characters, and sidequests — however the story and basic gameplay remain (almost) the same.


Arle Nadja is a kindergartener in a magic kindergarten where children learn to become powerful magicians, and she must now complete her final exam by surviving a tower in the kindergarten grounds filled with magic traps that she can overcome by using her magic to gain a better score. Her knowledge and skills will be greatly tested with the puzzles and illusions of fiends that are inside. Not all are illusions though, there may be rivals and friends in this tower, so Arle has to be on the lookout if she wants to pass this test. But she has a dream about encountering a mysterious person in the tower the night before...



Madou Monogatari I takes place in a first-person 3D perspective, switching to a side view in battles. Diverging from other RPGs (and in tune with the rest of the franchise), Madou Monogatari I will only show one statistic numerically — how much gold you have to spend. You are expected to judge how healthy and how much power Arle has from her facial expression on screen, dialogue in battle, the music playing in the background, etc. — for example, the music changes if she either becomes too weak, gets poisoned, or loses too much magic power, and her facial expression shows how strong she is.

The Main Screen

The main screen is split horizontally in two, with the top half being where the game area is and the bottom showing either dialogue or jewels collected in battle (See below). The upper half is split into three parts, with Arle's face on the left and the game screen in the middle, and two things on the right: a compass (which you get from new character Camus upon entering the second floor of the tower for the first time) and a number showing how much gold you have.

Up moves forward, Left and Right turn 90° in that direction, and Down turns around. To go through doors, just hit Up through them. Conversations with NPCs and reading of signs on the tower walls happen automatically when they are encountered; hit A to go to the next screen of dialogue. While not doing anything, hold A to practice spells (see the battle section below), B to go through and use items, C to show a map, and  START  to save (there are two save slots).


The battle system in Madou Monogatari I is drastically different from the battles of the other versions of 1-2-3. Battles take place in a side view where Arle is on the left and the enemy is on the right. Attacks and moves happen in real time, so think fast and use the time between enemy attacks wisely.

To cast a spell, hold A and hit a sequence of D-pad buttons, then release A. The sequence determines which spell is done:

  • Fire: Up Left Down Right Shoots fire at the enemy.
  • Ice Storm: Down Left Up Right Shoots ice at the enemy.
  • Healing: Down Down Up Up Recovers some health. You can use this outside battle too.
  • Diacute: Up Down Left Right Left Makes your next spell more powerful.
  • Bayoen: Right Left Up Right Tries to stun the enemy.
  • Heedon: Right Left Down Right Tries to put the enemy to sleep.
  • Bayohihihi: Left Right Left Right Gives you a temporary shield.
  • Jugem: Right Down Left Up Right Down Sends a magic ball at the enemy — if the spell succeeds, it will contain a very powerful blast that will try to knock the enemy out of the tower.
  • Warp: Up Down Up Teleports Arle to a random floor. This spell also has effect outside battle.
  • Ruipanko: Down Down Up Up Left Left Right Right Triggers a random event, such as a fat man spirit dropping coins on Arle.

All spells except Fire and Ice Storm must be learned while navigating the tower.

B opens a menu to use an item in battle. C tries to run away. Up jumps.  START  pauses the battle, letting you see a summary of spells you have learned.

Once an enemy is defeated, you will get gold and a few jewels on the bottom of the screen. Once the jewel holes on the bottom are all full, you will level up, restoring all health and magic in the process.


Money received from battles can be used to purchase items from shops found in room scattered around the tower. You can hold 9 items in a single item bag and up to three item bags; item bags can be purchased from shops.


Arle's grade on the final exam depends on several sidequests you complete along the way. Aside from completing certain tasks scattered around the tower and collecting three magic items (akin to the three magic items of the other versions, though not required to complete the game), there are also 40 treasure chests and 40 questions to answer. Opening all 40 treasure chests and solving all 40 questions will both reward lots of points. Some questions request an item be placed into a slot; press B to access items and select the item to place it in the slot.


Localised names

Also known as
Language Localised Name English Translation
Japanese 魔導物語 I Sorcery Saga I

Digital manuals

Magazine articles

Main article: Madou Monogatari I/Magazine articles.

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
{{{{{icon}}}|L}} Division by zero.
Based on
0 review
Sega Retro Average 
Publication Version Score
1700 igr dlya Sega (RU)
Famitsu (JP) NTSC-J
Saturn Fan (JP) NTSC-J
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
3 reviews

Madou Monogatari I

Mega Drive, JP
MMI MD JP Box.jpg
MadouMonogatariI MD JP CartTop.jpg
MadouMonogatariI MD JP Cart.jpg
Madoumonogatari md jp manual.pdf

Technical information

Main article: Madou Monogatari I/Technical information.


NEC Retro has more information related to Madou Monogatari 1-2-3
NEC Retro has more information related to Madou Monogatari I: Honou no Sotsuenji
  1. File:MMI MD JP Box.jpg
  2. 2.0 2.1 (Wayback Machine: 2020-07-02 23:21)
  3. 1700 igr dlya Sega, "" (RU; 2001-xx-xx), page 171
  4. Famitsu, "1996-03-29" (JP; 1996-03-15), page 34
  5. Saturn Fan, "1996 No. 10-11" (JP; 1996-04-26), page 90

Madou Monogatari I

MadouMonogatariI MDTitleScreen.png

Main page | Maps | Magazine articles | Reception | Region coding | Technical information

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Madou Monogatari games for Sega systems/licensed by Sega
Sega Game Gear
Madou Monogatari I: 3tsu no Madoukyuu (1993) | Madou Monogatari II: Arle 16-Sai (1994) | Madou Monogatari III: Kyuukyoku Joou-sama (1994) | Madou Monogatari A: Doki Doki Vacation (1995)
Sega Mega Drive
Madou Monogatari I (1996)
Sega Saturn
Madou Monogatari (1998)
i-mode 503i
Madou Monogatari (2005) | Madou Monogatari I (2008) | Madou Monogatari II (2008) | Madou Monogatari III (2009)
Windows PC
Madou Monogatari Kyu-kyoku Taizen: 1-2-3 & A-R-S (2015) | Madou Monogatari Kyu-kyoku Taizen Tsuu: MD & DS (2016) | Madou Monogatari Kyu-kyoku Taizen Sun: SFC & DS with Lady-Bono! (2017) | Madou Monogatari Kyu-kyoku Taizen Yon: GG I-II-III & A (2018) | Madou Monogatari Chou Kyu-kyoku Taizen: Puyo Puyo Iri (2023)