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 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 fairly unusual 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.
- Though not entirely unique; the same mechanic had already been seen in the 3DO game Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Slayer.
- "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.