Cidolfas's RPG Reviews: Alundra (PSX)
You Are: Alundra, your typical mute protagonist who has an unusual ability to enter people's dreams.
Your Goal Is: To beat Melzas, evil demon guy. But before you can do that, you have to unseal him from his sunken temple which a thoughtful set of elders imprisoned him in long ago. To do that, you need seven crests. You know the drill.
General System: Alundra consists of puzzles and fighting baddies. The baddies are usually pretty simple to beat, and often there's no real reason to do so at all, since you only get money (which is mostly useless) and health (which you wouldn't need if you didn't fight). No experience. The puzzles, on the other hand, can be fiendishly difficult, especially given the horrible jumps in some of them. If you can get through this game without an FAQ and without hurling the controller against a wall, you're much better than most. I enjoyed this game much more on an emulator with a savestate button. 8-) In other news, there's quite a bit of exploration, but not too many items to collect, oddly enough. It's almost impossible to collect all the Gilded Falcons you need to trade in for cool swag, so there isn't much impetus to go spelunking around.
Battle System: Your generic Zelda-style walk-around-kill-enemies. You get several different weapons, which is nice. There are items and gold to collect, but since you can only carry one of most types of item, you're going to have a huge surplus of cash by the end of the game. Play control could use a bit of tweaking, though (often I'd try to walk around a pillar only to have it pushed to the other side of the screen and have to start all over again).
Graphics: Cool and clear; not exactly what you'd expect from a PSX game, but the characters are large and at least minimally animated, and you can usually tell where you are and what you want to do.
Music: Nice but unmemorable. A few good tunes, quite a few annoying ones.
Story: Almost nonexistent. There's exactly one village, and while talking to people is usually fun, with Working Designs' characteristically goofy text, storywise it's just one attack after another with different people dying. There are some twists, but no real tension.
Challenge: Very Hard
Length: About 30 hours
My Thoughts: Like I said, playing this with savestates is much more fun than without them. This is one game that'll really make you tear your hair out if you try playing it conventionally. But man, did I ever feel accomplished when I finally finished it. 8p The text is fun to read (much more than in most RPGs), so I think there's enough in there to keep you going. It may be a good idea to take frequent breaks to ease your mind and fingers, though.
Overall Rating: 7/10