Crystal Warriors was a turn-based strategy game with some RPG elements, it was released in 1992 by Sega for the Sega Game Gear. The basic premise of the game is 2 armies of up to 9 characters battling against each other. To win you either have to eliminate all opponents, or enter their castle. Losing is when the enemy enters your castle, or if the Princess (Iris) dies. The story is that there are four crystals in the world that provide those in possession unlimited power. Three of the four are in the hands of the evil Emperor Grym of the Jynn empire, but he can’t find the fourth. That’s because it’s in the hands of Princess Iris of the Arliel kingdom. She and a band of warriors must now fight Grym’s armies to regain the crystals, and get rid of him. Outside of the opening and ending credits the plot is nonexistent, and you’re never obstructed by any attempt to progress the story along.
Since Iris is the most important character in the game, she’s also the most powerful. You’ll find yourself basing your attacks using Iris, since she draws the attention of the enemy army. The player movements are made on an overhead world map, but each battle is taken in another screen. The battles are one-on-one, and the fighters have the choices of: attack (melee attack), magic (use a spell), monster, or retreat. Monsters are neutral characters on the maps that attack you, but once beaten they can be called upon later by that character.
The root of the gameplay lies in the elemental properties of characters. There are four elements: Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire. Earth is a neutral element, not specifically weak to any other element. Wind, Water, and Fire are the three with special differences. When two soldiers battle, one element will always have an advantage over the other (except when Earth is involved), meaning that he/she’s attacks and defense will be greater. Broken down the system is: Wind beats Water, Water beats Fire, and Fire beats Wind. A player must pay attention to these elements when engaging the enemy, or his character could be beaten.
After each battle your army is brought to a town, where they heal and can buy equipment or new magic spells. There is also a hotel to save the game. At the hotel you’ll occasionally run into someone who wants to join your army, and there are also a few houses that will provide you with some words of encouragement or fighting tips.
The game basically comes down to fight, heal, fight, heal. Also, since you’re only allowed 9 characters in a battle, you can theoretically win using only a few key characters. This cap circumvents the utility of hiring every fighter offering to join your army. My suggestion is to save your money and hire only 2 characters, Romi and Oryon. They’re both available after level 5, and cost $2,100 and $1,800 respectively. The rest of your money should be spent equipping your party and obtaining new spells.
On each turn you’re given an opportunity to move each character for a limited distance. If placed next to an enemy you can either engage in battle, or end that character’s turn. It’s very important to use these turns properly, as a good offense is vital to success. When attacking you should target a specific enemy for your characters to surround and attack, using as many as necessary to destroy him/her. In the later levels enemy armies have healers, meaning that if the enemy is not entirely destroyed
before your turn ends, the computer will heal its character. Obviously, these healers make for important targets themselves. After engaging the enemy, or after the computer’s turn in complete, you should heal your characters to prepare them for the next wave
Each enemy you destroy gives the victor four experience points, and after 10 experience points your character rises in level (up to level 9). This means that a player must place emphasis on who engages whom in a battle, or who is used to apply the finishing blow since only one character benefits from the kill. While it’s necessary for all characters to gain experience and rise in level, there are 4 key characters to keep in mind. Iris, Eldor, Murak, and Romi. You can beat the game using these four fighters exclusively. Iris especially, since she’s afforded the highest attack and defense ratings and best equipment. Eldor is close behind with his statistics, and the Fire element is the most frequent in the game. Murak and Romi are your two spell casters, who can supply a serious blow with the right spell. With those four attacking and your two healers (Frye and Oryon) following safely behind, you can go win each battle with relatively little difficulty. Having a strong army (in terms of equipment, spells, and character level) both facilitates and improves the game for the player, consequently I suggest winning each battle by destroying all enemies.
The game is very basic, and there are only a few levels and characters available. The Game Gear was a disappointing gaming system, but this game was its sole bright spot. I still occasionally play the game on a emulator, and despite the rudimentary graphics and variability, the game itself is still a good quick fix for any strategy and RPG buff needing some retro gaming fair.
Iris – Earth – Melee Fighter
Dayne – Water - Melee Fighter
Eldor – Fire - Melee Fighter
Ratt – Wind – Melee Fighter
Murak – Earth - Magic Fighter
Frye – Earth – Healer Fighter
Fire - fire enchanted spell
Blaze - stronger fire enchanted spell
Cold - water enchanted spell
Frost - stronger water spell
Flash - wind enchanted spell
Bolt - stronger wind spell
Heal - heal a fellow character
Life - stronger heal spell
Drain - take 1/4th of enemy hit points and gives them to caster
Chant - passes some of caster's magic points to ally
Peace - neutralizes enemy’s magic spells
Sleep - puts enemy to sleep
I replayed this game a bit to help recall some specific details, but I won't pretend to attest to its 100% accuracy. Message me Woburn if you know of any errors I may have, whether grammatical or technical. Feedback is encouraged