`Alundra' sequel tries again, but Flint still fails
Video Game Reviewer
To be completely honest, "Alundra 2: A New Legend Begins" is an unknown game. Not many people have ever heard the name "Alundra," and even less can remember when the original game sat on the shelf.
Nevertheless, Activision has released a sequel to the Playstation game. Those that have played the original "Alundra" will recognize the polygonal environment and the same little blue main character.
"Alundra 2" stars Flint, a swordsman and pirate hunter who eventually becomes the hunted. Flint is aided in his adventures by Princess Alexia, who has just escaped from a sinister ruler named the Baron — the main enemy of Alundra 2.
The Baron's wizard Mephisto has turned the animals of the kingdom of Varuna into evil, mechanical bio-engineered mutants. Flint must battle these monsters in order to free the kingdom from the Baron's control.
As in all true role-playing games (RPGs), Flint develops new techniques as the game progresses. Some techniques are determined by the kind of weapon he carries: in Flint's case, his sword. The stronger Flint becomes, the more powerful magic he can perform.
Throughout the game, Flint collects keys, puzzle pieces and healing herbs ("Resident Evil" rip off, anyone?).
The puzzle pieces will probably serve an important purpose later in the game, but it is all too easy to give into frustation before reaching that point.
Despite progressive techniques, "Alundra 2"is overall an unimpressive and disappointing game.
Those who purchase the game may feel like the eager kid who begs his parents to buy him the new game just because it looks cool, only to discard it after a few minutes of play.
The problems with "Alundra 2" are many. The controls are very awkward and hard to remember.
The camera angles in the "Alundra" sequel make it difficult to determine the distance between your character and the opponent.
In addition to these problems, the polygonal Full Motion Videos (FMVs) are boring and useless. Although they tell the story and give some background information for the game, some last even longer than the introduction.
One positive addition is the extra graphics that programmers at Contrail and Activision decided to put in the picture. Some are still annoying, though.
One scene requires constant changing of the camera angle because of an obtrusive air duct. The air duct stretches across the screen, blocking the action and potentially costing players healing herbs.
However, these healing herbs may not be as valuable as the game suggests. The American version of the game has two difficulty levels: easy and regular. In the easy level, the evil bosses can beat Flint with just a few hits, while it can take the hero ten to twenty hits to defeat the bad guys.
So while the healing herbs come in handy, the bosses can also steal the whole supply, leaving Flint helpless.
With the added problem of awkward controls, beating even three of the bosses is difficult, and the fourth is nearly impossible.
Overall, "Alundra 2" can be compared to "Mega Man Legends," though it is signifcantly less enjoyable. In fact all of "Alundra 2" is somewhat boring.
The FMVs are no longer exciting as the videos are already a staple in the Playstation Final Fantasies and in numerous Playstation titles.
The characters' voices are a nice addition, but in choosing voices over graphics, programmers have taken away from the visual effects. The voices sound like the corny voices on anime shows and the language is just as cheesy.
If "Alundra 2" can be summed up in three words, they would be : corny, corny, corny.
All Scene Stories for Wednesday, September 27, 2000