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SummaryDo You Have Albert Odyssey In A Can?
The GoodAlbert Odyssey: The Legend Of Eldean, was released in 1996. A spin off of the franchise of the same name, the game was originally intended to be a SNES game. It is also one of the few traditional RPGS for the Sega Saturn, with Shining In The Holy Ark, as the only other one that comes to mind. As most others are either action/RPGS, Dark Savior, Legend of Oasis. Or Strategy/RPGS, Shining Force III, Dragon Force.
Many years ago in the land of Fargasta, the evil dragon-god Vlag terrorized the world. Three siblings, the Eldeans, had the courage to do battle with Vlag. The trio overcame the dark dragon, but alas, the dragons blood spilled on the heroes, forcing the oldest brother, Radoria, to become evil, and he claimed the wicked sword, The Madriker, forged from the soul of Vlag, for himself. The remaining two, Estan, and Cirrus had to destroy their older brother, to do so the youngest of the three Cirrus, became the Holy Sword Of Eldean. The only one that could combat the evil of The Madriker. The two brothers clashed at the end of the long battle, it would be the elder brother that fell. After his defeat the very world shook, after the tremors subsided, the bold and the curious alike approached the battleground, but there was no trace of the Eldean clan, Centuries passed and the legend of the Eldean siblings was forgotten.
Pike is a young man living in The Harpy Forest, when he was just an infant, his home was burned down and his parents slain, he was found by the beautiful Laia, a harpy and raised as her younger brother, the magical blade Cirrus was found as well, and given to Pike, as it was given to his father, the only link between Pike and his parents. A bit of an outcast in Harpy Forest being that he is the only human, Pike’s life is changed when one fateful day a man riding a dragon named, Belnard comes to seize one of Radoria’s power crystals, that happens to be held in the Harpy forest. While attempting to stop him, Laia is turned to stone, and now with Cirrus in hand, Pike sets out to find a way to save his sister. Little does he know that his quest will take him across the world, and Pike will become the greatest hero ever known, surpassing even the legendary Albert.
“You are extremely weird, but I think I love you.”-Pike, Albert Odyssey-
Over the course of the game, Pike will meet many allies and make many enemies. And the Legend Of Eldean will come full circle. There are also many references to the Legendary hero Albert. The story is well done and while not 100% original there are many fresh ideas to keep it from getting too stale. The characters are all well designed and interesting in there own ways. They may look familiar to Lunar veterans as they were designed by the same people. From the heroic Pike, to the goofy apprentice mage Kia, the characters all develop well, and have personality traits that show. For instance Pike’s love interest the lovely Eka, has quite the acid tongue and is not afraid to mouth off to the game’s villains.
The game is also very funny. With lots of laugh out loud moments. From they silly lines to the expressions that the characters make. Great stuff. The translation is excellent as we have come to expect from Working Designs. I dare say this is one of their best translations. Gameplay has all the trappings of the traditional JRPG. You explore the over world, visit towns, chat with NPCS, many of whom have very funny things to say. You traverse dungeons, fight in turn based combat, and do battle with bosses. In battle all the characters have unique spells and abilities. Pike is very proficient with Lightning based magic, Kia, is fire and other elementals, Eka healing an water magic’s, with Gryzz has special breath skills, fire, ice, and the very useful healing. Never will two party members have all the same magic spells. Thus avoiding one of my many pet peeves of RPGS bland characters that are interchangeable because they are all the same. Turn based battles flow smoothly, with boss battles being the best, as the require more skill and bit of strategy.
Graphically, I must say the Albert Odyssey, is one of the most gorgeous 2D RPGS I have every seen. The only other 32-Bit RPG that even comes close to this is aesthestics is Arc The Lad Collection. The towns and dungeons are big and colorful. And all the towns have a unique look. The battle back rounds are very pretty as well, this is 2D eye candy. The characters are represented by large well detailed sprites. They are in fact so detailed that you can actually see the color of their eyes, not just black slits like so many RPGS. The monsters designs are great as well, and some are very silly looking especially when they are defeated, one monster cries for example.
There are also some partial 3D effects. Most notably the over world map. It is true 3D not to be confused with SNES FX-Chip flat “3D”. Some objects are rendered in 3D as well. The animations are very high quality as well. And the spell effects look great, the higher power the spell the better they tend to look.
Simply put the score in Albert Odyssey, is one of the best I have ever heard. The music somehow manages to be sweeping and epic, without being over the top or pretentious. Particularly the heroic main theme as well as the beautiful over world theme. This is thanks largely to the superior sound chip of the Sega Saturn, as well as the CD format.
And the sound effects are up to par as well. From the clashing of blades to the cries of enemies and allies alike.
The BadThe load times in and out of battle are excessive, and for the US release they were reduced! Shessh! It takes about 30 seconds to load in and out of battle. Compounded by the fact that you get attacked like every 30-40 seconds, what is this Final Fantasy?
The dungeons are large but tend to be generic in design. With the exception of the final dungeon which is way to complex for it’s good. The three end bosses are easier to defeat than it is to find your way in that place. Think of Phantasy Star II’s dungeons on crack and you will get an idea of how difficult the final one is. Hell at least it looks cool.
The game is short, about 30 hours. However not all gamers will see this as a bad thing I’m sure.