Review by Exhuminator
SOLVE THE RIDDLE!
"Light Crusader" is an isometric action-adventure dungeon crawler, developed by Treasure and published by SEGA in 1995. A maniacal wizard has kidnapped villagers, planning to use them to resurrect an ancient demon, to enact his revenge for a queen's dismissal of his amorous advances. The player acts as a knight of the kingdom, whom must travel beneath the kingdom's grounds into a labyrinthine dungeon. There the player must find and murder the wizard before it's all too late. Legions of monsters, endless traps, and grumpy bosses await.
The majority of this experience takes place in a huge six level dungeon. Typically the player must solve many challenging skill based puzzles filling entire rooms, in order to open doors. Some of these puzzles are block and switch, slide and pressure plate, or even music based. While other room puzzles involve lasers, bombs, or even manipulating time itself. On the combat side, it's a simple hack and slash affair. This isn't an RPG, no leveling here. Everything is gear based. The player can buy or find more powerful swords, armor, and gauntlets. And also use and hybridize four magic elements; earth, air, water and fire. The player can combine these to create various spells (think "Jewel Master"). When the player isn't solving puzzles or fighting monsters, they must sometimes perform careful acrobatic jumping over spikes or floating platforms. The occasional town offers plot exposition and shopping.
+Endlessly creative puzzles galore.
+A constantly gratifying sense of exploration.
+Really cool boss designs.
+Impressive graphical and physics programming.
+Amusing snippets of digitized voice acting.
-Solving puzzles sometimes involves infuriatingly finicky item movement.
-Most of this experience is a complete cakewalk, with few exceptions.
-Combat is lackluster to say the least.
-The OST has a few decent tracks, but is mediocre overall.
-The in-game map is useful, but lacks proper legend icons.
"Light Crusader" stands out starkly in Treasure's library. This is a developer known for shallow arcade-like furious action games, generally focusing on shooting things. However, "Light Crusader" is nothing of the sort. Rather it's a slow burn dungeon crawl, full of puzzles and mystery. Honestly "Light Crusader" feels like a game Treasure made explicitly to appeal to western gamers. That would explain why "Light Crusader" was released in the USA before Japan at least. You can still tell this is a Treasure game though. The company's trademark goofy sense of humor shows up fairly often. And of course a lot of the graphical special effects were stuff only Treasure could pull off on the Genesis. I would certainly recommend "Light Crusader" to fans of games like "Landstalker" or "Equinox". Although "Light Crusader" is a more gentle experience than those. This game is not without its surprises though, it keeps you on your toes. If you're a fan of isometric dungeon crawls, don't pass on this one. While I wouldn't call "Light Crusader" a hidden gem, as it's fairly well known, I would call it a wrongfully ignored gem. More gamers should shed light on this crusade.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Light Crusader (US, 05/25/95)
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