Review by Walker Boh Ohmsford
Reviewed: 03/11/01 | Updated: 01/17/04
It's not a horrible game by any means, but it doesn't live up to the original.
I was a big fan of the original NES installment of Crystalis the moment I played it. The story, gameplay and music were all excellent. So when I heard that there was going to be a remake of Crystalis for the Game Boy Color, I made the slight error in judgement of going out and buying it. While not horribly disappointed with the game I did notice some new things that might have been better off being left out, as well as some changes that might have been better left unmade. Read on and I'll go into more detail.
Gameplay 9-10. It basically remains true to the original, except that enemies seem to do way more damage to you than they ever did in the original. You can only get hit a few times and you're dead. This doesn't happen so much in the first area of the game, but after you defeat the vampire and proceed to the next area, you have to watch out. Even when your armor and shield are up to date for the area you're in, it's like you didn't bother to buy the stuff at all but just went ahead and tried to brave the savage wilderness. It's also even tougher to heal up than it was in the original. The heal spell only restores like 4 HP, even at later levels, whereas it seemed a lot easier to stay alive in the NES version. You still had to watch your step, but you weren't practically knocking on death's door all the time. Other than that though, the gameplay seems very close to the original apart from a few events in the storyline and the placement of a few event items. For instance, the Alarm Flute, which in the NES version you simply had to buy from the tool shop, is now located in a cave that as far as I know wasn't there in the NES version.
Control 10-10. This, at least, remains the same for the most part as it was in the NES version. B still attacks (and you still have to hold it down to perform charged attacks), A still uses magic (and now items as well). Select still brings up the main menu. One irritating thing that was present in the NES version was corrected here to a certain extent. THere There are now separate menus for weapons, armor and shields and items. Only problem is, there's no menu for Accessories, which would hold such items as the Rabbit Boots and Gas Mask, freeing up two spaces in your item menu for those precious Medical and Antidote Herbs and Fruits of Power. Whereas in the NES version you had to press Select then Start to access the system menu (y'know, save and stuff), you now just have to press Start. So the controls have been refined a little bit, but they're largely unchanged.
Audio 8-10. This is my biggest complaint with this game. While good in itself, the new music and SFX are nothing like the original. Who could forget the classic theme of the overworld from the NES version? This new song, while good, isn't nearly so catchy. The same goes for the SFX. I miss classic bleep when a villager talks to you, or the slashing sound of your sword slicing through an enemy, or the powerup noise your sword makes when you hold down the button. Again, these new SFX are good but don't quite cut the cracker.
Story 10-10. Mercifully, the story remains largely unchanged save for a few name changes. Draygon is Dragonia? They shoulda left it the same. Fortunately, beyond that the story is unchanged. Draygon plans to combine his abilities of sorcery with the forbidden art of science, creating a floating tower and a computer that will destroy all who oppose his proposed plan to rule the world. After stripping his four greatest enemies of much of their magical power and scattering the weapons that could destroy him, he believed himself secure. But he either had forgotten or disbelieved a great prophecy that proclaimed thus: in the world's darkest hour, a champion would awaken to challenge Draygon's evil empire. You are that champion, criogenically frozen since the time of the last war, awakened once again to challenge the evil that spreads across the land.
Overall 8-10. A good game, but it doesn't quite live up to the masterpiece that was the original. Don't avoid this game entirely, but don't rush in thinking you're gonna find everything you remembered from the NES version. Much of it remains, but much of it is also gone. Give this game a try before buying it. Oh, and one thing I kinda liked about this game is that when you acquire one of the four swords, there's digitized human speach that says the name of the sword. S'pose I shoulda said that in the audio section, but oh well. It got said. Anyway, try this game before buying it if you can. You may find it to be as good as the original, and then again you may not.
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