User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

Alundra (PlayStation)

80
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Mentifisto (24)
Written on  :  Mar 16, 2014
Platform  :  PlayStation
Rating  :  3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars

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Summary

Brilliant literary epic, despite the graphics

The Good

The storyline is paramount... it may look and feel like Zelda, but the developers certainly invested more in the design of the story.

It is no typical storyline, do know... it is dark, and despite being fantastic (that is, relies on pure fantasy - the delving into dreams etc.) it also succeeds in combining realism along with the fiction. People die, but they're not statistics like in some FPS... they all have evolving personalities, so the loss of any one of them usually has a personal resonance (although, more often than not the ones Alundra succeeds in saving (from their deadly nightmares) turn out to be not so interesting and deep, which further tugs on the attachments the main character had with those who do die).

I must say that there's a particularly beautiful part of the game (at about the middle of it) where, despite the limited capabilities of the graphics, the 'dungeon' (someone's dream, actually) is almost Elysian, albeit harbouring the most horrid of the dreamer's memories (the designers still ought to be commended for how artistic the game ended up looking; most other games would use the same 'props' in houses and dungeons etc. e.g. - but if one notices it, Alundra's graphics are fairly unique: the last dungeon-castle is especially beautiful, too).

It is almost science fiction, although it still remains, ultimately, a kind of artistic epic. Particularly noteworthy also is the psychology intrinsic in the game and its interesting views on religion.

The Bad

Alundra himself is, unfortunately, not very developed at all beyond his status as a 'Releaser' (most knowledgeable people in the game call him that, although as a concept it's not really fully explained, either), and like some narratives opt for (Serge in Chrono Cross e.g.) he is, at best, a silent protagonist, although other characters sometimes attempt to infer his feelings or thoughts. This, nonetheless, is very much redeemed through the development of the many other characters... so, it could have been a deliberate choice on the part of the game's writers.

The puzzles were also... at times, at least, very difficult indeed, and often made even more difficult due to the minute reliance on graphics (having to push poles just a bit further than what one would reasonably infer is possible with the available graphics, e.g.) - this also might, I assumed, interfere with gamers' enjoyment of the story itself, since puzzles may often stall progress.

The Bottom Line

Certainly a mature video game dabbling in a medley of genres... if the puzzles don't stump gamers, then the platforming might. But the storyline is more than rewarding.