Alundra

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Alundra
Alundra.jpg
Developer(s)Matrix Software
Publisher(s)
Director(s)Yasuhiro Ohori
Producer(s)Takahiro Kaneko
Hideaki Kikukawa
Akira Sato
Designer(s)Yasunaga Oyama
Writer(s)Ichiro Tezuka
Composer(s)Kōhei Tanaka
Platform(s)PlayStation
Release
Genre(s)Action-adventure
Mode(s)Single-player

Alundra (アランドラ, Arandora), released in Europe as The Adventures of Alundra, is an action-adventure video game developed by Matrix Software for the PlayStation, originally released in 1997.[2]

The game's protagonist is a young man named Alundra, who learns that he has the power to enter people's dreams. He is shipwrecked on an island, near the village of Inoa, where locals have been suffering from recurring nightmares that sometimes cause death. With his dream walking ability, Alundra proceeds to try to help the locals. The narrative becomes gradually darker and more twisted as the game progresses, dealing with mature themes such as death, clinical depression,[4] fate, religion, and the essence of human existence.[5]

The gameplay involves extensive exploration of the island and various dungeons, with an emphasis on challenging puzzle solving, real-time action combat, and platforming,[6] as well as interaction with non-player characters in the village of Inoa. The main gameplay innovation is a dream walking mechanic, where Alundra can enter people's dreams, with each of the dream levels having its own unique twist based upon the dreamer's personality and traits.[4]

Upon release, Alundra earned critical acclaim as well as some initial commercial success. It was praised for its well-written story and characterization, smooth game mechanics and platforming, challenging gameplay and puzzles,[6] and expansive overworld exploration. A sequel entitled Alundra 2: A New Legend Begins, which has very little in common with the original Alundra, was released in 1999.

Gameplay[edit]

The gameplay style is top-down action-adventure, with a heavy emphasis on puzzle solving.[7] A range of terrain and surfaces affect the player character, from sand, which causes the player character to move more slowly, to lava, which damages the player character. Upgrades throughout the game can help the player overcome many of these obstacles, encouraging exploration.

Plot[edit]

Alundra, the silent protagonist and player character, is an elf from the clan of Elna, the Dreamwalkers. He set out for a place called Inoa because of a recurring dream in which a mysterious figure who calls Alundra "Releaser" tells him that he must save the villagers from the evil of Melzas. The ship carrying Alundra is caught in a storm and is broken in half, leaving most of the crew dead and Alundra drifting unconscious.

Alundra is next seen washed ashore to an unknown beach, where a man named Jess finds and rescues him. Jess carries Alundra to his house at the village of Inoa and lets him sleep in his guest room. In the village, Alundra discovers he is a Dreamwalker, which means he has an ability to enter other peoples' dreams, and helps the villagers get rid of the nightmares that have been possessing them. Since Alundra's arrival, bad things begin to happen in the village, with various villagers being murdered in their dreams, which leaves them dead outside of their dreams as well. Some of the villagers eventually start blaming Alundra for what is happening.

Another dreamwalker, Meia, from the clan Elna arrives to the city and helps Alundra fight off the nightmares of the villagers. Later in the game, it is revealed that the demon, Melzas, has disguised himself as a god, and he is the source of all the nightmares of the village. His goal is to make the villagers pray for their god, and thus make Melzas himself gain power from their prayers. Ronan, the priest of the village, was also on the side of Melzas and helped him to deceive the villagers, and keep them praying for Melzas, the false god. Once Alundra discovers the truth, he gathers the information and items needed to access Melzas' palace to defeat the demon. After Melzas is destroyed, Alundra and Meia bid farewell to the villagers and depart together, before going their separate ways.

Development[edit]

Alundra is considered a spiritual sequel to Climax Entertainment's Landstalker on the Sega Genesis,[8] particularly because several members of the game's programming and design team had worked on Landstalker.[9] Alundra producer Yasuhiro Ohori previously worked on Landstalker, while map designer Kenji Orihara previously worked on the Shining Force series.[10]

The game began development before the PlayStation launched in 1994 and took three years to complete. It originally began development as an action role-playing game. According to Ohori, the team decided there would be "no experience points" but instead "the player accumulates experience" themselves so that by "the end of the game, even someone who sucked at the outset will find they’ve gotten way better at the action."[11]

Alundra's game world contains over 7,000 screens.[10] The music for Alundra was composed by Kohei Tanaka.[12]

Release[edit]

The game was published by Sony in Japan, Working Designs in North America, and Psygnosis in Europe.

Later, Alundra was released as a downloadable game on the PSone Classics service for the PlayStation 3.[13]

Reception[edit]

The game had sold 143,114 copies in Japan by the end of 1997.[26] Following its North American release, Working Designs sold over 100,000 copies of the game in North America within a single month in early 1998.[4]

Alundra was well received by critics upon release.[4] It has a score of 86 out of 100 at Metacritic based on 9 reviews, making it the sixth highest-rated PlayStation title of 1997,[15] and held an 84% at GameRankings based on 13 reviews at the time of the site's closure in 2019.[14] Critics hailed the game for its deep and often maddening challenge, particularly the puzzles.[16][18][19][20][27] They said that, while the gameplay is derivative of The Legend of Zelda series and Landstalker, it has enough original elements to stand on its own.[16][18][19][20][27] Next Generation stated that "Working Designs made a smart decision importing Alundra, and any gamer looking for a unique challenge is guaranteed to appreciate it."[20] Jay Boor wrote in IGN, "Never have I been so tested and challenged since the old Genesis adventure title, LandStalker. And Climax has made Alundra twice as hard, twice as challenging, and twice as good as its LandStalker counterpart."[19]

The music was applauded for its strong composition and appropriateness for the tone of the game.[18][19][27] GamePro commented that "the game's heroic battle music will make you feel good about being the fighting savior of tormented sleepy souls."[27] Reviewers for Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) and GameSpot also praised the translation as being noticeably more restrained that Working Designs' earlier projects, in which the humor was often overdone to the point where it compromised the mood.[16][18] GameSpot's Chris Johnston said that "For those who have bagged on WD for its past liberties with American humor, there is little to complain about here. Alundra is maturely written and has a tone and feel that fits the game to a T."[18]

The one significantly criticized element of the game was the graphics. Both Next Generation and GamePro remarked that Alundra looks too much like a "16-bit" game, with GamePro giving it a 4.5 out of 5 for sound, control, and fun factor but a 3.5 out of 5 for graphics.[20][27] GameSpot found that it is sometimes difficult to judge height and depth, forcing the player to proceed by trial and error.[18] EGM's Sushi-X said the color palette is too dominated by "bland greens and tans", though he and the other three members of the review team were overall very impressed with the game's challenging dungeons and puzzles, giving it their "Game on the Month" award.[16]

Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro both selected Alundra as the runner-up for their 1997 Best Role-Playing Game of the Year awards, coming second only to Final Fantasy VII.[24][25]

In 2009, Destructoid's Conrad Zimmerman described Alundra as a "fresh and innovative" game and "one of the finest examples of action/RPG gaming." He particularly praised it for featuring "a plot the likes of which I had never seen before in the genre," the strong "writing and characterizations," and the "clever and challenging puzzles."[6]

Sequel[edit]

The game was followed up by Alundra 2 in 1999. The sequel uses 3D graphics instead of the 2D that the original had.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Alundra Release Information for PlayStation". GameFAQs. Archived from the original on 7 January 2019. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "アランドラ [PS] / ファミ通.com". www.famitsu.com. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Alundra". Computer and Video Games. No. 197 (April 1998). 11 March 1998. pp. 50–3.
  4. ^ a b c d George Reith (17 June 2010). "Awesome Games That Time Forgot: Alundra". Gaming Bolt. Game Revolution. Archived from the original on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Platform Nation's Alundra Review". Archived from the original on 29 October 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Zimmerman, Conrad (20 March 2009). "An RPG Draws Near! Alundra". Destructoid. Archived from the original on 4 November 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Alundra: Another Epic WD RPG". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 101. Ziff Davis. December 1997. p. 70.
  8. ^ a b Nickel, Thomas (21 February 2017). "Zelda? Nein danke! - Abenteuerliche Alternativen – Seite 7 von 12". MANIAC.de (in German). Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Protos: Alundra". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 99. Ziff Davis. October 1997. p. 47.
  10. ^ a b "In the studio" (PDF). Next Generation. No. 29 (May 1997). 15 April 1997. p. 17.
  11. ^ "Alundra – 1997 Developer Interview". Shmuplations. 13 December 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  12. ^ Gach, Ethan (11 March 2020). "Alundra, My Big Beautiful Elven Son, Play Us Some Songs". Kotaku. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  13. ^ "アランドラ". PlayStation.com(Japan). Sony. 10 October 2007. Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2008.
  14. ^ a b "Alundra for PlayStation". GameRankings. Archived from the original on 9 December 2019. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  15. ^ a b c "Alundra for PlayStation Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Ricciardi, John; Boyer, Crispin; Rickards, Kelly; Sushi-X (February 1998). "Review Crew: Alundra". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 103. Ziff Davis. p. 111.
  17. ^ "Alundra - PlayStation - Review". Game Informer. 13 September 1999. Archived from the original on 13 September 1999. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Johnston, Chris (8 January 1998). "Alundra Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 24 April 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ a b c d e Boor, Jay (9 January 1998). "Alundra - PlayStation review". IGN. Archived from the original on 16 February 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  20. ^ a b c d e "Finals". Next Generation. No. 38. Imagine Media. February 1998. p. 110.
  21. ^ Alex (February 1998). "Alundra". PS Extreme. Archived from the original on 17 December 2004. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  22. ^ Ehrle, Oliver (18 April 2019). "Alundra - im Klassik-Test (PS)". MANIAC.de (in German). Archived from the original on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Alundra". Ultra Game Players. January 1998. Archived from the original on 17 December 2004. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  24. ^ a b Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue 104, March 1998, Editors' Choice Awards, page 90.
  25. ^ a b GamePro, issue 118 (July 1998), pages 38-39
  26. ^ "Video game software sales in 1997". Geimin.net. Archived from the original on 28 June 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  27. ^ a b c d e Johnny Ballgame (February 1998). "Alundra". GamePro. No. 113. IDG. p. 120.

External links[edit]