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Crystalis - Retroview

Zelda Wasn't Alone

By: Desh


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 7
   Music/Sound 6
   Originality 8
   Plot 7
   Localization 6
   Replay Value 7
   Visuals 6
   Difficulty Medium
   Time to Complete

5-15 hours

 
Overall
7
Criteria

Title Screen

   At the height of mankind's technological prowess, a great war breaks out. The world is devastated, and those who survive vow never again to bring forth the dread evil known as "science." Instead, the ancient arts of magic have been rediscovered. It is this world that you, the main character, wake up in.

   Throughout the game, you will face many enemies, and, following tradition, these enemies must be destroyed in the most savage way possible without you getting hurt. For every weapon that you get, there are three built-up levels for the sword to reach by wearing a certain orb or bracelet, and for each of these levels is an attack, from the small pellet of wind to a lightning storm. The only bad part about building up this power, however, is that you must stand still to build it up.

   The mechanics of this game are easy to understand, and the menus are not very confusing. However, it can be very frustrating to use magic when you didn't intend to, or use an item you didn't mean to. But these problems can be solved with a little exploration of the system, and are usually not big.


Time to spend all that hard-earned money
Time to spend all that hard-earned money 

   The music is catchy. That's all there is to it. I've found myself humming the tunes on more than one occasion, especially in intense concentration. Unfortunately, the instruments and sounds that make up the audial experience are not very realistic and sometimes cheesy, even for a Nintendo (like the chinks you here when an attack is ineffective).

   While the idea of a post-apocalyptic world is not a new idea anymore (FFX, for example), it was when this game came out. Find me a game where the weapon system works like it does here, and I'll be amazed (Crystalis for GBC doesn't count). The music is very characteristic of this game and no others. The only re-hashed part of this game is the leveling system by experience, but every game nowadays does that anyway, so its not like it's a bad thing.

   Plot, plot, plot... while not a bad or uninteresting story, it does leave something to be desired. Kensu is the only person in the game who seems to have any personality, and the main character doesn't talk at all. However, there are some twists, turns, and surprises along the way, so it's not very boring.

   I'm not sure if Crystalis came out in Japan first, but I do know that there weren't many grammatical errors in the game, if there were any at all. But, there isn't much to relate to in the game - no references to today's society, or even their own society. It's hard to get drawn into.


"None may pass" - the Black (purple?) Knight
"None may pass" - the Black (purple?) Knight 

   All in all, Crystalis is a fun game, even if you just want to kill something. While there aren't any side quests, per se, there are some items that can be easily overlooked and missed. Put those two together, and you've got a game that's fun over and over again.

   Now comes the slightly disgusting part of the game... the visuals. While the game doesn't freeze or slow very often, and the bosses are well done, the overall color palette is rather unsavory. Putting aside the fact that the main character is a nasty shade of purple, some of the dungeons are very monochromatic and boring, and sometimes annoying. That's not to say ALL the graphics are bad, just some overall schemes.

   Starting out the game can be difficult indeed; it seems that you need to be around level ten before you can even think or defeating the first of Dragonia's finest, and he's early on in the game. However, after that, the game becomes a breeze, as you are almost over-level. However, some key items are hard to find and/or easy to overlook, so that can doom you instantly. Unfortunately, the final boss is one of the easiest bosses in the game...


And that's only the first level shot for that sword...
And that's only the first level shot for that sword... 

   The amount of time to complete the game can vary on the player's skill, and usually not because of item-hunting. There is a bit of game to get through, but it's nothing like the size of, say, Final Fantasy IIIj.

   Overall, Crystalis is a great game for venting. You can even get angry at some of the poor colorations and take it out on some blobs or zombies. The storyline, simplistic as it may be, is at least enjoyable. So, minus a few control issues (and I mean that by controls in the game, not anything personal against you :P), Crystalis can be a load of fun.





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