Review by Saikyo Ki
Reviewed: 06/22/01 | Updated: 06/22/01
The embodiment of what a great adventure game should be.
Ah, memories. This is one game I was proud to be addicted to as a kid. If you haven't played this, you are missing out on one of THE best 8 bit games ever made. Crystalis will capture your interest in a heartbeat with it's huge world and fun gameplay.
The whole ''technology is bad and we will eventually destroy ourselves'' theme has been done to death, but this game actually does it well. To sum the beginning up, there is a huge war, big apocalypse, blah blah, and the last humans vow never to use technology again blah blah blah, so the last thing they make is a big tower which watches over everything and everyone and makes sure noone goes back to the evil ways. One person (who just happens to have an army at his command) takes over the tower and tries to combine magic and technology for his evil purposes and you (and your ''partner'') have to stop him.
The plot gets pretty good as the game goes along. One of the best things about the story is that the major (and even some minor) characters have actual substance...they aren't just tip dispensers. Unfortunately, your character himself doesn't get many lines, but the other main characters do.
Nothing short of stellar. Since the game play is looked at with a semi-bird's eye view, you can move your character in any direction. Your quest is to use four legendary swords to defeat the evil army: The Sword of Wind, The Sword of Fire, The Sword of Water and the Sword of Thunder. Throughout your exploration of the world you will find many diverse enemies (not just differently colored versions of enemies you've already met) which have varying strengths and weaknesses (i.e. one of your swords may slay it like it's nothing, another may not work at all). Not only do you use your sword to slash enemies, you can channel energy into them and shoot out long range attacks. As you progress through the game, you will find items that will help you channel more energy into the swords, thus giving you the ability to launch enormous attacks. Not only do your attacks get stronger, you will be able to use attacks on the landscape to find hidden things and progress in the game.
Aside from the use of swords, you also learn a good amount of spells to help you. The cool thing is, they are not only used for combat. You may have to use certain spells to gain access to things you need in friendly places.
There is also a large amount of armor and shields you can buy, as well as the standard healing items. Some items you can buy must be used at certain events in the story.
The only thing about the gameplay that could even be REMOTELY considered as a flaw is the fact that the game world is slightly linear in design (i.e. beat this part of the world to gain access to the next). There are times you will have to backtrack, but those times are few. However, this does not lessen the fun of the game at all. The world is very big, and each ''section'' has plenty of things to do and places to explore.
You level up like in a typical RPG and have stats like in a typical RPG.
Very high quality for the NES. The scenery is nicely detailed and the enemies are large and well animated. If you are trudging through bushes or a swamp, you cannot see the lower half of you. There is some slowdown at times (like when you launch a huge attack with many enemies around), but that is expected...after all, it is the NES. Very nice graphics on the intro as well (when you start the game, not before the title screen).
One flaw is that it is hard to judge how close you can get to an enemy before you get hurt from touching them. Also, when you swing your sword while facing sideways, he tends to swing it high, meaning that hitting enemies this way looks like the laws of physics have gone on a field trip.
Some of the better sounding effects on the NES are in this game! Your sword actually sounds like a sword, for instance. One effect you may not like is the yelp of pain your character emits when damaged. The music is great! Not only do the songs fit the moods of the different scenes in the game, most of them add a feel of suspense, excitement and drama.
One button for the sword, one button for spells, use Select and Start to bring up item/equipment/status/save menus. No complaints here.
Replay Value: 6
Most likely you'll wanna play this game again at least a few times. You don't have to purchase every item in the game to win, and it is very interesting to try out each sword on every enemy. You may even find a surprise or two if you do!
There really isn't much more to say. The only drawback this game has is that once it's over, you'll wish it wasn't. Crystalis is utter adventure game perfection, which is why I give it a 10.
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