Note: I wrote this mini-review back in 2016 just after I finished this game. I never managed to publish this until now, since I felt like I didn't do the game justice with this review, plus I thought it felt too short in expressing the highlights of this game when I played through it. Nevertheless, below were my thoughts after finishing Alundra. Also take note this was also the only review I ever did for one of my playthroughs.
Okay, how should I start this?
So, Alundra is a pretty good game overall. Though it's a Zelda clone, its highest points involve the story itself, which actually make this game an anti-Zelda game, especially when it tackles serious subjects that the Zelda games during that point in time wouldn't cover (1997), such as death, the recurrence of it, mostly. In fact, Alundra starts out with the happy promise (the music by Kohei Tanaka also adds to the emotion, and the pieces are pretty good) that everyone in the village will be saved, but ends up failing, and failing very often.
The villagers themselves also are fleshed out so well that it makes me want to actually save them. In fact, Inoa Village itself could be its own character, in that unlike many other villages in RPGs, which only bring their focus on a few groups of people, the village lives and breathes from its minor characters on down. Opinions ranging from hostile (Chancellor Ronan, Giles) to angry (Myra) to friendly (Bonaire, Sybill, and Jess).
Some of the old-fashioned JRPG tropes are played to the letter here, though. The villain, Melzas himself, nowadays, would be seen as a typical villain, though during the time this game came out, is slightly not that typical in that instead of using an image of darkness, he uses the false identity of a holy deity to wreak havoc on the village. He also manipulates the village very cleverly for his own, destructive ends.
I wouldn't recommend this game, however, for anyone who isn't prepared to take on the puzzles, which can be pretty difficult to solve by themselves, especially the sliding puzzles (for anyone wanting to play this game and fully complete it 100%, good luck!). Other peeves I have is that I wish that the sequel actually had Meia as the protagonist, or that Sybill wasn't killed...especially in the way that she went out...