Virtual Hydlide box art
|Developer(s)||Technology and Entertainment Software|
|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, published by Sega in Europe and Japan, and Atlus Software in the US. It is a remake of the original Hydlide, the first game in the series, but incorporated full 3D graphics and a player character digitized from a live actor.
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 different game world is generated each time a new game is started. However, instead of traditional random dungeons, 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. A critic for Next Generation gave it two out of five stars, saying that the game is "visually stunning" with its over-the-shoulder viewpoint and fully 3D environments, but suffers from awkward and "more-or-less tedious" gameplay. Tommy Glide of GamePro, in contrast, said the visuals take time to get used to due to confusing camera angles, clunky scrolling, and graininess which makes it hard to spot items. He also criticized the outdated sound effects during combat and the difficulty in judging how distant enemies are. However, he praised the medieval orchestrated soundtrack and said the game "kind of grows on you", concluding that though most gamers would be put off by Virtual Hydlide, some would find it worthwhile for its compelling next generation elements.
- "List of First-Party games for the Sega Saturn; search for "ヴァーチャル ハイドライド"" (in Japanese). Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "Virtual Hydlide". Next Generation. Imagine Media (6): 81. June 1995.
- NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: VIRTUAL HYDLIDE. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.333. Pg.31. 5 May 1995.
- "Virtual Hydlide". Next Generation. Imagine Media (10): 111. October 1995.
- "Virtual Hydlide". GamePro. IDG (87): 128. December 1995.