There’s nothing like a good action/RPG hybrid to close out the year, and December 31st, 1997 saw the US release of this adventure on the original Playstation by Working Designs, the now-defunct purveyors of Japanese awesome. As the titular silent protagonist, you alone have the power to enter the dreams of others and do battle with the evil found there. Generally this means a lot of maze navigation, puzzle solving, and monster bashing, so it shares some similarities with a certain rival game series starring a sword-wielding elf from that other big game company.
But while the action and the look may be similar, make no mistake, Alundra was its own entity and if some of Zelda’s puzzles irritated you, make sure you shave your head and have a FAQ handy before you start down this game’s dark path. Alundra contains some utterly wicked examples of programmers just screwing whole-heartedly with their intended audience. It also contains a massive, twisting and dark storyline that was relatively bold by late-90s standards. Bad things happen to good people in Alundra, even when you do your best as a hero. Sounds a bit like real life, doesn’t it?
But maybe the best thing about Alundra is that you don’t need to hop on eBay to track down a copy of it. Fire up your PS3, hop on the Playstation Store, and lo and behold, it’s right there for sale as a PSone Classic. Gamers of all stripes can enjoy this trip back through time, though hardcore RPG enthusiasts and adventuring gurus will get the most bang for their buck out of this baby. Time travel may not be possible (yet), but video games offer the next best thing. Alundra’s beautiful soundtrack, detailed storyline, and devotion to driving you into your own personal Arkham Asylum with its difficulty offer hours of play for those willing to take up the challenge.
And just because we love you, here’s a nice big magazine ad (man, remember gaming magazines…?) to bring home the retro bacon: