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Review By: Jared Black
Developer:   Matrix
Publisher:   Working Designs
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Action/RPG
ESRB:   Teen

Originally, Sony had dubbed this their "Zelda killer". However, Zelda has been delayed like 8 billion times, so we'll never get to see how well Alundra would have done against Link and Co. Personally, I think it would've done quite well.

First off, I'd like to applaud Working Designs for their excellent packaging of the game. A full color manual (rare these days), a map of the land, and a very nice box made this a treat before I even popped the game in. Luckily, the game was MUCH better. Alundra is an action/RPG which was made by the creators of the popular Genesis game Landstalker. I've never played Landstalker before and thus can't really compare the two, so I'll just judge the game on its own merits (which is how it should be, right? :) .

This game is extremely fun. Basically, Alundra is called upon to save everyone in the village of Inoa from their dreams, which are killing them.

Since Alundra is a dream-walker, he can actually enter their dreams and dictate the outcome of them. I don't wanna give away any more of the story, but let me just say that this is one of the best stories ever found in an action/RPG. Sure, the game focuses primarily on action, but it also delivers a great story in the process, something which most action/RPGs fail to do.

As in most action/RPGs, there are a number of weapons and items available to Alundra, and each actually has a use in the game. There is also a wide variety of monsters that attack and defend differently, meaning that there is a lot of strategy involved in this game as well. A great deal of gameplay time is spent just solving puzzles. While there are a lot of hard puzzles in the game, none really are so hard that they can never be figured out. Although I would avoid using a strategy guide or FAQ, this is one game where it's almost a necessity.

However, as great as all of this is, I think perhaps the best part about the game is that it revolves around the plight of one town. You get to know almost every villager's personality, and this "centeredness" allowed the programmers to build a strong streamlined story while keeping the action elements in place. Great job.

The graphics in this game are possibly its only flaw. Alundra looks more like a great SNES game and less like a modern PSX game, but there are occasional uses of the PSX's power. The FMV intro, however, is the best I've seen for a PSX game so far (barely edging out Wild Arms), and the ending is *excellent*. Weak endings are always a let down, so it's great to see an ending as good as this one. Overall, graphic tarts may be turned off, but most sensible gamers won't let the graphics stop them from playing this great game.

They also did a good job in the sound department. The music is a little weird, but it's VERY catchy. You'll likely find yourself humming it when not playing the game. The sound effects are pretty average, but ultimately very functional. Overall, a good job on the audio.

Alundra is a great game. Anyone who loved Landstalker (and to a lesser extent Zelda) should get this game. Despite the antiquated look, you'll be hooked on this in no time.

Overall: 8
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