Virtual Hydlide box art
|Developer(s)||Technology and Entertainment Software|
|Publisher(s)||JP/EU Sega  US Atlus|
|Genre(s)||Action RPG, Adventure|
Virtual Hydlide (ヴァーチャルハイドライド Vācharu Haidoraido?) is an action-adventure video game for the Sega Saturn console, developed by T&E Soft. It is a remake of the original Hydlide, the first game in the series, but incorporated full 2.5D graphics.
The player takes on the role of a hero on a quest to defeat an evil demon named Varalys who has turned the princess of Hydlide into three fairies. Before confronting Varalys, the hero must find the fairies and three magical jewels to restore the princess to her regular self.
The game involves typical adventure/RPG fare, in which the player roams the world (the titular Hydlide), searching through dungeons for weapons and armour. Virtual Hydlide however differs by leveling the player character up only after completing certain objectives of the game, whereas most RPGs level the player character up once they have obtained a certain amount of experience points.
A fairly unique aspect of the game[note 1] is the means by which it assures that each new game is different. While randomly generated levels have been used in video game RPGs (where they are known as random dungeons) since the dawn of the genre, the developers of Virtual Hydlide actually designed more than 20 different level maps for each of the seven dungeons, as well as more than 20 different maps for the overworld. When starting a new game, the maps for the dungeons and overworld are randomly selected from their designated level sets. Thus, though every dungeon design was created by a human designer rather than a random level generator, there are more than 25 billion possible game worlds. Moreover, each game world is identified with an alphabetic code which may be entered when starting a new game, allowing players to replay favorite level designs or compete for high scores on identical worlds. However, non-boss enemies do not appear in set locations, and continuously respawn in randomly determined locations.
On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored Virtual Hydlide a 27 out of 40. The game was panned by Western critics, however, for its sub-par graphic system that sometimes went below 5 frames per second, poor enemy artificial intelligence and physics, and lack of story.
The game was however praised for the concept of generating a unique playing world for each new quest.
- Though not entirely unique; the same mechanic had already been seen in the 3DO game Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Slayer.
- "Sega of Japan Saturn Master List for First-Party games; search for "ヴァーチャル ハイドライド"". Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "Virtual Hydlide for SAT". Gamespot.
- "Virtual Hydlide". Moby Games. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
- NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: VIRTUAL HYDLIDE. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.333. Pg.31. 5 May 1995.
- "Virtual Hydlide". Thunderboltgames.com.