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Akira Sato (executive)
Alundra (アランドラ Arandora?), released in Europe as The Adventures of Alundra, is an action-adventure / action RPG video game developed by Matrix Software for the Sony PlayStation and was released in 1997. It was published by Sony in Japan, Working Designs in North America, and Psygnosis in Europe.
It won great critical acclaim for its well-written story, smooth game mechanics, and challenging gameplay. 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 near the village of Inoa and proceeds to try to help the locals, who have been suffering from a terrible curse. The narrative becomes gradually darker and more twisted as the game progresses. There is an emphasis on puzzle solving.
A sequel entitled Alundra 2: A New Legend Begins was released in 1999.
Alundra is considered a spiritual sequel to Climax Entertainment's Landstalker on the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive. In addition to a similar looking main character, the game's development team consisted of former employees of Climax Entertainment. The gameplay style is top-down action-adventure and is known for containing many extremely difficult puzzles, some of which cannot be accessed if the player progresses further in the game, making some items unattainable. It is also known for its music and dark storyline. A range of terrain and surfaces also add variety, from sand, which causes the player to move more slowly, to lava, which damages the player. Upgrades throughout the game can help the player to overcome many of these obstacles, encouraging exploration.
Alundra, the protagonist and player character, is an elf from the clan of Elna, the Dreamwalkers. He comes to 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. Alundra's ship is caught in a storm and he is later found washed ashore unconscious. After arriving, he starts being blamed by the townsfolk for all of the terrible happenings that occur. Alundra is a silent protagonist.
Alundra has drifted to a beach, where a man named Jess finds and rescues him. Jess carries Alundra to his house at village Inoa and lets him sleep in his guest room. In the village, Alundra discovers he is a Dreamwalker and helps the villagers get rid of the nightmares that have been possessing them. Since Alundra's arrival, bad things have started to happen in the village, with various villagers being murdered in their dreams. Some of the people eventually blame Alundra for what is happening. Later in the game, however, 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 gaining power from their prayers. Ronan, the priest of the village, was also on the side of Melzas and helped him to deceive the villagers.
Another dreamwalker, Meia, from the clan Elna arrives to the city and helps Alundra fight off the nightmares of the villagers, while he gathers the information and items needed to access Melzas' palace and eventually kill the demon.
It was published in America by the now-defunct Working Designs.
Alundra was well received upon release. The game had sold 143,114 copies in Japan by the end of 1997. It currently has average scores of 86 out of 100 at Metacritic based on 9 reviews, making it the sixth highest-rated PlayStation title of 1997, and 85.4% at GameRankings based on 13 reviews, making it the highest-rated action-adventure title of 1997.
In January 1998, IGN stated, "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." The review further states that it has "a really cool story," "some great music and graphics that totally suit the game," and concludes that "this game is awesome." 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.
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." In regards to the PSN release, Platform Nation's Julian Montoya said the game "is very enjoyable and definitely worth playing" as well as stating it is a "long, fun, hard, mildly mature and full of personality adventure".
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