The Adventures of Alundra, or just plain Alundra was one of my first “retro” purchases for my then-newly acquired Playstation 1 and it remains one of my most memorable and exciting experiences on the console. Alundra is a rare type of game – an early 2D Playstation 1 game, it closely resembles A Link to the Past with a dose of Final Fantasy. The top-notch localisation of Alundra’s eerie story combined with well-done Zelda-inspired puzzles and mechanics makes for a rewarding adventure. Alundra must’ve seemed an anomaly back in 1997, a throwback game completely out of step with the 3D revolution. The 3D era was just starting and Sony were among 3D’s biggest champions, and here was a 2D game on a Sony platform long before 2D games were old enough to the point they became “cool” again. Returning to it in 2014 though Alundra is a beautiful 2D game, with graphics similar to the best looking late-era Super Nintendo RPGs, such as Tales of Phantasia, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI.
Unlike Alien Hominid (see my previous post), Alundra is not a carbon copy of its biggest influence, Zelda. It borrows much, but it does so selectively, and it adds its own character and charm to create a very different experience with similar mechanics. In particular, its high difficulty, long length and intriguing story distinguish it from the Zelda series. Continue reading
This post came about thanks to an argument with my partner over writing about videogames. Is there a way to speak about games that takes into account its uniqueness as a medium and doesn’t rely on ways of analysing films and books? Previously on this blog I’ve written about Ocarina of Time, and its links with The Arabian Nights and Disney’s Aladdin, but in doing so I was forced to ignore the gameplay of Ocarina of Time, which is by far the dominant way players experience the game. So how can we talk about games as games and not as anything else?
The first two Silent Hill games I see as two major milestones in gaming. Many critics, reviews and fans compare Silent Hill games to films: Jacob’s Ladder and David Lynch films are perhaps the most frequent examples. And they’re not wrong – there are definite links and influences being passed on. But at the same time no film can be seriously compared to Silent Hill (not even the Silent Hill films).
Exhumed/Powerslave is an interesting game, developed by Lobotomy Software, the company that produced Saturn ports of Duke Nukem 3D and Quake. I’m playing the Playstation version of Exhumed, and as I’m only a few levels in, bear in mind that these impressions may not hold up and I might have more to say about it a later stage. For all I know the game could dive off a metaphorical cliff at this point, into a metaphorical sea of poo. Continue reading