"Stunning dream based adventure rpg"

As far as Rpg's went at the time this gem came to light, the buzz words on everyone's lips were 'final fantasy 7', and deservedly so. But while that title took rpg's in a much more modern/futuristic setting with issues such as GM crops and Terrorism forming the story's backbone, this adventure piece harks all the way back to the legendary titles such as 'zelda' and (more particularly) Genesis cult classic 'Landstalker'

The game is wonderfully animated, it looks like it could have been a hit in the early 90's, yet it is designed to be a lot more lush and striking. There is hardly any sense of the game looking blocky and the characters have very well drawn ident faces for when they speak, which is a nice touch.

As far as game plot goes this is one of the most inventive and yet strikingly simple ones of the time. Your main plot exploit is based off Alundra, the hero and title character, being a member of an elf tribe that possess the ability to enter people's minds as they sleep. And you are drawn to the land of Inoa where people have been reportedly dying in their sleep from illnesses and more.

Having been communicated with by the guardians you learn early on of an ancient god who has been shunned by his worshippers and is using their own minds as a way to trap them and generate the fear required to bring his powers back to the surface. Your goal is simple, stop the people dying and find a way to combat the evil.

What makes this rather generic sounding plot so inventive? Well, the gameplay has you actually entering the minds of people, at which point you are transported to often bewildering and surreal landscapes, where the villagers are trapping themselves as they seek to escape whatever evil has guided them forthwith. Indeed two memorable dreamworlds deal with issues of split personality syndrome and the possibility of dreams being shared amongst other people.

The control is very simple and as such easy to master, it involves the classic adventure styling of jumping, slashing and pushing to make things happen. Occasionally you'll use items, when it comes to an item that needs to be used in the main game, you'll see Alundra hoist it over his head and then you have to throw said item.

Like any adventure game of this nature there are times when it seems needlessly challenging, such as the dreaded jump across nine blocks, but if you fall you have to go back quite a way and come back the long way around. This does make the game challenging, but ultimately, at times needlessly frustrating.

The puzzles are nicely balanced, with them either being very obvious or mind boggling. Often they'll rely on you pushing blocks to activate switches and in doing so this game has a reverse puzzle system, often you know what to do, but getting it to work can be a royal pain, this however does not detract from the fun, provided you are patient enough to persevere.

The sound is excellent with good sound effects and some exquisite music (the score for the final location is simply awesome) and the locales vary deeply, from classic walled dungeons to deserts and even a volcano.

This game is one that is not as grandiose as the final fantasy titles but it is very fun and is surprisingly long for an adventure style rpg (around 25 hours is a good par time for a first play through), which usually last around half the time this title will take. Finding all the secrets and any extra quests will rack up even more hours.

This game can be picked up cheaply these days and is worth investing in, particularly if you are a graduate of titles such as zelda, landstalker and story of thor. It might look old school, and it may even play it, but this game is one to not be overlooked.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/21/07

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