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LINDA Cube (Linda 3) - Weird Horror RPG for PS1, Saturn, and PC Engine

linda cube linda3 cubed ps1 saturn pce pc engine cd rpg jrpg game horror


Release Date: 13th October 1995
Original Platform: PC Engine CD
Ports: PS1 (1997), Sega Saturn (1998)
Developers: Alfa system \ Mars

When "Linda Cube" first came out in Japan, gaming magazines described this project with the phrase "Madness that cannot be expressed in words".

Indeed, such level of insanity is rarely found in video games. So "Linda Cube” even took an honorable place in our ranking list of the weirdest horror games.

And recently, this strange game was finally translated into English. On this occasion, let's dedicate a detailed article to it and look into all this madness.

Evolution of Linda Cube

Linda Cube was originally released in 1995 for the PC Engine CD console. The game was developed for a long time over several years, and by the time of release it already looked graphically outdated. But nevertheless, it immediately attracted the attention of gamers thanks to its bizarre style and unusual gameplay.

In 1997, a remake was released for PlayStation 1. With completely redone graphics, new gameplay features, and creepy anime cutscenes. This version was released under the title "Linda Cube Again". It was very popular in Japan and is considered one of the best video games on the PS1.

In 1998, a port of the remake was released for the Sega Saturn with minor bonuses and additions. This version was called "Linda Cube: Perfect Edition".

All three versions were officially released only in Japan. But in 2024, fans created an English translation patch for the PS1 remake.

This review will focus mainly on the PS1 version. Maybe later I will also write an additional article about the differences in other versions of the game.


The events of "Linda Cube" take place on a planet called "Neo Kenya", which is doomed to destruction. A giant asteroid called "The Grim Reaper" is approaching the planet. According to scientists, in 8 years there will be an inevitable collision, and all life on the planet will be completely destroyed.

It would seem that there is no hope, but suddenly a strange event occurs. A huge wooden "Ark” falls from the sky. And also several stone slabs with instructions engraved on them: people must bring "a pair of each creature” into the Ark, and then fly into space on it.

This is a message to humanity from "God". And this is the only opportunity to save living beings on the planet.

Our main characters are the young hunter Ken and his girlfriend Linda. They have a difficult task ahead of them: in eight years, they need to catch all types of animals (both male and female) and deliver them to the Ark.

As they travel around the planet, Ken and Linda will be dragged into some strange events and meet many eccentric characters. The adventures begin quite cheerfully and carefree - but gradually the story takes a creepy and bloody turn.

Unusual features of the game

Now let's figure out what the main features of "Linda Cube" are and what makes it such a strange game.

1) High degree of insanity. This game is imbued with madness on all levels - it manifests itself in the story, in the designs of the monsters, in the dialogues, and even in the bizarre gameplay ideas. The developers gave full rein to their wild imagination.

2) An exotic mixture of genres. The game combines elements of fantasy RPG, psychological horror, romance, black comedy, and science fiction.

3) A strong romantic element and the presence of a heroine that players can gradually fall in love with. It's reminiscent of visual novels like "Saya no Uta" or "Kara no Shoujo". But for an RPG game, such an idea seems rather outlandish.

4) Interesting story and lore. The developers came up with a whole world with its own history and mythology. And even after completing the game, there are still many secrets and mysteries that players must ponder on their own.

5) The developers creatively use Christian mythology and biblical motifs. And the theme of "Christmas" is used in a particularly strange and creepy way - that's why "Linda Cube" even made it onto our list of the best Christmas horror games.

6) The game also pays a lot of attention to the topic of sex. But it doesn't have any cringey "hentai" scenes.

7) It’s quite fun to talk with NPCs in this game. You can often hear interesting reflections about life, about society, and about relationships. It seems that the developers wanted to share their thoughts and feelings with us through these text messages.

8) In "Linda Cube", you cannot save the world - the planet is doomed to destruction in any case. We can only save ourselves and a few animals. And this feeling of the inevitably approaching Apocalypse helps create an unusual atmosphere in the game.

9) Monster hunting. Here you can find 120 types of strange creatures (that's 240 different monsters, if you count male and female types) - and the developers came up with an unusual design for each creature.

10) Psychotraumatic anime cutscenes. The game has a lot of very creepy cutscenes that leave a shocking impression.

11) Another unusual feature of "Linda Cube” is the presence of three different scenarios. Each of them is a separate story. In many ways, this is reminiscent of the so-called "story arcs" in some visual novels like "Higurashi no Naku koro ni". But it's very strange to see such idea in an RPG game.

Gameplay and interesting ideas

The game is made in the format of a two-dimensional JRPG with a top-down view. But "Linda Cube" is very different from other role-playing games of the time. There are a lot of cool ideas and innovative gameplay mechanics here.

1) Full openworld. The developers place almost no restrictions on our movement. From the very beginning, you can go wherever you want and visit any city.

2) Throughout the game, we will not only have to fight enemies - but also hunt monsters. The hunting system is deeply thought out and very addictive. It's kind of like a mix between "Pokemon" and "Monster Hunter". But it's important to note that "Linda Cube" came out earlier than both of these games.

3) Some monsters can be tamed and then used in battle as allies. For example - dogs, wolves, dolphins, eagles, snakes, and elephants. Moreover, each animal has its own temper. If an animal is timid, it can run away right in the middle of a fight.

4) The game has an unusual crafting system. You can create weapons or armor from captured monsters. Or you can butcher the captured animals for meat (meat serves as a healing item).

5) The time limit and the approach of the Apocalypse. We only have 8 years to catch all the animals and escape from the planet. And the planet itself will gradually change over time. Cities will gradually become empty - and in the end there will be no people left there at all. Those empty ghost towns at the end look quite creepy.

6) The game also has a unique system of changing seasons (summer, autumn, winter, spring) and weather (rain, snow). Some monsters only appear in winter, and some can only be found in certain weather. Male monsters also become stronger and more aggressive during the mating season.

7) Unlike most other JRPGs, there are no "random battles" in Linda Cube. We can clearly see all enemies nearby. And the battle will begin only if the monster can run up to us. This is a very good feature because I hate the annoying "random battles" in most JRPGs.

8) The game also has some light stealth elements. You can distract the monsters and sneak through unnoticed without engaging in battle. Or we can sneak up on the monster from behind, and then in battle we will have the opportunity to strike first. It's also a cool feature.

9) The developers also came up with an unusual idea for the combat system. During the battle, enemies can attack us from 4 different sides: left, right, front, or behind. The position of the monster affects various factors - for example, the amount of damage from its attacks. And if we are surrounded on all 4 sides, then we cannot escape from the battle.

10) Leveling up in the game is carried out not so much through battles, but through catching animals. Every time we bring a new creature to the Ark, our characters receive a bonus for their stats. For example, "+3 hit points, +2 attack, and +1 speed". This is also a rather unusual idea.

Overall, I liked the gameplay. The process of catching monsters is really enjoyable here. And it’s interesting to learn all sorts of unusual gameplay mechanics. Therefore, in my opinion, "Linda Cube" is one of the best JRPG games in terms of gameplay.

Sex and Violence

The game is intended for an adult audience. And it even received an age rating of "18+" in Japan. There are no explicit hentai scenes in the game, but there are a lot of dialogue and jokes about sex.

Even the designs of some monsters have some unexpected sexual overtones. By the way, "Linda Cube" was one of the first horror games with "Freudian" monster designs (several years later, other Japanese horror games would begin to use a similar idea - for example, Silent Hill 2 and Germs). But unfortunately, some of the crazier designs were censored in the PS1 remake.

(monsters from the PCE version)

Moreover, the theme of sex in the game is not just fan service. This is actually an important part of the game's concept.

The key theme of the game is "REPRODUCTION". Therefore, the game pays a lot of attention to everything connected with this: love, sex, marriage, kinship, the birth of children, the survival of the species. And all this is mixed with biblical motifs about "Noah's Ark”.

In my opinion, this is an interesting idea. It's extremely rare to see something like this in video games. And in this sense, "Linda Cube" is a very unique project.

Besides sexual themes, the game also has a lot of shocking content. There are scenes with brutal murders, suicides, body horror, and other scary things. At that time, it was absolutely unthinkable for a console RPG game. And even now, some scenes are quite impressive in their level of violence and insanity (especially in the remake).

It is also worth noting that the game has a strange fetish for eating pet animals. Absolutely any animal in the game can be used for meat and eaten. Even a dog or cat. And when the game persistently invites you to try some fried dog meat (which is sold in stores and lies in refrigerators), it can be quite creepy.

By the way, initially the creators planned to go even further and wanted to add elements of cannibalism to the game. In the game files on the disk, Japanese hackers discovered an item called "human meat" that can be eaten or fed to our girlfriend Linda. All fans of "Saya no Uta" would probably be excited to try such a feature. But at the last moment, the developers decided to abandon cannibalism and removed the "human meat” item from the game.

Scenarios and Impressions

The game is divided into three different scenarios. Each of them represents a separate story. I will briefly describe my impressions of each scenario:

1) The first scenario is called "Merry XMAS". It takes about 10-15 hours to complete. This scenario starts out like a fun comedy - but gradually turns into a psychological horror with bloody murders and shocking scenes in the spirit of "Higurashi no Naku koro ni" and "Cartagra". It leaves a strong and almost traumatic impression. You will probably remember this story every time when you see a red Santa Claus outfit or hear a Christmas music somewhere.

2) The second scenario is called "Happy Child". It also takes about 10-15 hours. The style here leans towards Sci-Fi horror similar to Hideo Kojima's "Snatcher". This scenario is slightly weaker than the first one, but it also turned out very interesting thanks to the unexpected plot twists and high degree of insanity.

3) The third scenario ("Astro Ark") is the longest of all. To complete it, you need to collect 100 species of animals, and this can take about 30 hours. And even more if you decide to exceed the plan and catch all the existing monsters (for this, you'll be rewarded with a bonus scene at the ending).

This scenario is very different from the previous two. The first two scenarios were story-driven, but the third episode changed the concept significantly. There is much less plot, fewer cutscenes, less dialogue, and almost no horror elements. Instead, it's all about catching animals and completing side quests.

Therefore, the third scenario turned out to be noticeably weaker. And it looks as if the developers simply did not have time to write a proper story for it. This episode is only worth going through if you like the gameplay and the hunting mechanics. But catching monsters in this game is really fun - so I enjoyed the third scenario even despite the lack of story.

bonus) In addition to the three main scenarios, there is also another bonus scenario called "The Last Year". It is only available in the PS1 and Sega Saturn remake of the game. And it opens only after you complete the three main scenarios.

This is a special challenge with a strict time limit. Here, you need to collect 100 animals not in 8 years - but in only one year. And unfortunately, you won’t get anything interesting as a reward for such a heroic feat. There is no new story information, new cutscenes, or new locations in this scenario. Essentially, "Last Year" is just a bonus mode for the most hardcore monster-hunting fans. So I don't recommend wasting time on this mode unless you're a real monster-hunting maniac.

Graphics and Design

The original version of the game and the remake look quite different in terms of graphics. The original version has very simple graphics, like the old 8-bit games on the Famicom or Sega Master System. The remake for PS1 and Saturn looks much better.

The strong point of the game is its cool designs. The character designs are quite unusual and memorable. The monsters in the game are also very cool. Each monster has its own unique design - the developers were able to create more than 200 strange and surreal images for the creatures. Although some of the more grotesque monsters were censored in the PS1 version.

It's also worth noting that "Linda Cube" has some very impressive concept art and illustrations. A Japanese artist nicknamed "CANNABIS" participated in the development of the game - he created storyboards for the cutscenes, came up with character designs, and also drew illustrations for the game. His art looks really cool and stylish.

linda cube linda3 ps1 saturn pc engine concept art monsters

Music and Voice Acting

Another feature of the game is the large amount of voice acting. All major dialogue and cutscenes are fully voiced, and this was quite innovative for 1995. Back then, JRPG games with voice acting were extremely rare.

Moreover, all characters were performed by professional actors with extensive experience. At that time, each of them already had several dozen voice roles in various anime series. Therefore, the voice acting turned out to be very high-quality.

By the way, many actors also took part in the voice acting of various other Japanese horror games of that era. For example, here you can meet actors from Clock Tower Ghost Head, Dark Hunter, Private EyeDol, Cat the Ripper, Carrier, and some other retro horror games.

The soundtrack in "Linda Cube" is also quite nice. You can hear more than 20 different audio tracks in the game. There are many unusual compositions that highlight the atmosphere. Sometimes you just want to stand still and listen to music. Also, the composers have prepared three beautiful songs with real vocals for the players (you can hear these songs at the end credits). It's a nice addition, and it shows how much work was put into this project.

Pros and Cons of the game


+ High degree of madness.
+ Lots of unusual gameplay mechanics.
+ The monster-hunting system is fun and well designed.
+ Large open world.
+ Interesting story and lore.
+ Memorable characters.
+ Creepy and shocking cutscenes.
+ Over 200 weird monster designs.
+ An unusual reinterpretation of biblical mythology.
+ The game uniquely explores the themes of sex, love, and reproduction.
+ Lots of cool voice acting.
+ Good soundtrack.


- The third scenario turned out to be noticeably weaker than the first two.
- There's nothing new in the "Last Year" bonus scenario.
- The original version for PCE CD has very outdated graphics.
- The craziest monsters were censored in the PS1 remake.

The Verdict:

Linda Cube is one of the most unique video games of the 1990s. And even now, it still remains a one-of-a-kind game due to its spectacular degree of insanity and abundance of strange ideas. Moreover, this is not some unplayable experiment - but the developers really managed to create a cool and innovative RPG with addictive gameplay. It's just a pity that the final third episode turned out to be a bit anticlimatic in terms of story. But the first two scenarios leave a very strong impression.

Linda Cube Trailer

Gameplay Video 
(English PS1 Version)

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Author of the article: SilentPyramid

Publication date: 06.04.2024

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