I expected good things from this RPG. Its cover art is very nice, after all. And as for the game itself, well, I'd never read any negative reports on it. I guess I'll be the first to deliver one: Alnam disappointed me. It's merely okay on the whole--and even rather bad at times.
The cinemas are presented in solid style, at least, though the character designs are kind of hit-or-miss: most of the girls are cool, but most of the guys are lame. The in-game visuals don't fare as well as the anime stuff, as they're dark and drab and often ugly (except for... the water; some of the water looks really nice). Everything is small and indistinct; at times, I just barely noticed that there was a townsperson standing nearby.
What almost manages to save this game (which is actually deplorable in so many respects) is a very good battle system. In fact, the ballyhooed Emerald Dragon could've learned a thing or two from Alnam's combat. You view the slugfests from an overhead perspective, as you do in ED, and you're given "move points," various amounts of which are spent each time you perform an action. The options at your disposal are quite cool and range from animal transformations to tag-team techniques. Strategy obviously plays a role here; but unlike the later-stage scrums in ED, Alnam's fights play out extremely quickly. Your characters achieve level-ups quite often, especially during stretches when you have a good magic user in your band. Unfortunately, the graphics mess things up a bit, as the battle terrain is usually dull and the tiny enemies are rather ugly and get palette swapped around at a ridiculously early point in the quest.
Sadly, as much as Right Stuff did right with combat, they left me with far more to mention on the negative side of things. Long cinemas and ugly graphics don't tell the whole sad story. Dungeon designs are boring and uninspired, town layouts are annoyingly tortuous, and the random-encounter rate is high. It's somewhat convenient for those who don't know Japanese that the quest is a straightforward one, as you often can't leave or enter towns until you've hit the right trigger or discovered the correct course to take; but then again, this can be extremely annoying when you stop at a previously visited town to buy something only for some jackass to bar you from entering. I really can't see Alnam being much of a winner for anyone, unless somebody is looking for an RPG in which leveling up is the most enjoyable part.