Albert Odyssey

Gameplayers September 1997

We all know that the Lunar series was the only saving grace of the Sega CD. And since then, the company responsible, Working Designs, has attracted a growing loyal fanbase of rabid import RPG enthusiasts whose only dream is for the company to grab licensing for smaller Japanese RPGs so it can translate them into English to feed their needs. Working Designs has only departed from the RPG format twice, (for Iron Storm and Raystorm), but for Albert Odyssey, it returns to its roots to deliver a fairly standard RPG.

The game follows the legacy of a trio of powerful siblings and their eternal struggle against one another continuing from the distant past. Your main character, Pike, has inherited a magical blade that contains the soul of cirrus, the sister from the ancient trio. Together with an assorted band of travelers, Pike must find and prevent the evil Radoria Empire (headed by the evil brother of the trio) from destroying the world. It's a solid enough story, and if Working Designs is famous for anything, it's the Americanization of the dialogue and text of an RPG to make a game more involving and humorous. Happily, the game's heavy handed dose of current events references don't take anything away from gameplay. But somethig seems stangely amiss in Albert Odyssey.

The graphics appear nice enough in and around town, but they fail to showcase any of the 32-bit power. Subtle detailing and rich colors are beautiful things, but Albert Odyssey keeps them limited to towns. Combat graphics and the landscapes when you're traveling on the map are disappointingly bland, lacking any visual depth. Neither of these elements need be death knells for a game, but when coupled with painfully sluggish load times, you've got a real recipe for a last-nail-in-the-coffin situation, which is a bummer, because you want this game to do so well when you first begin to play it.

But Working Designs makes a truly valiant effort to strengthen the story and character development, which is more than enough to make the game worth playing. So even with all the lackluster magic spells and uninspired enemy interactions, minute little joys, like silly character expressions, a cool soundtrack, and individual sound effects during combat, will make you feel that playing Albert Odyssey is indeed a worthwhile venture and will probably even keep you coming back for more.

OVERALL SCORE: 7.0/10

AUDIO & VIDEO

Graphics 6/10

Music 8/10

Sound Effects 9/10

GAMEPLAY

Interaction 7/10

Balance 5/10

Depth 8/10

SPECIAL

Extras 8/10

Presentation 10/10

Innovation 6/10