An adventure-style console RPG, like Zelda
or Secret of Mana
, the kind where instead of fighting monsters through the use of menus, (as in Final Fantasy
), you run around in real time and whack the monsters yourself.
Crystalis is an old game for the original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System, but its popularity was lasting enough that when a port was made for the Gameboy Color, a lot of people were pretty excited.
Crystalis may seem to have a simple plot by today's standards. Games in the 8-bit days were never very wordy, which left the player with a lot of room for interpretation and filling in the gaps in information themself. This wasn't always bad. Crystalis definitely created an intriguing setting for the player to imagine.
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. After the previous culture, one of high technology, destroyed itself in war, the earth's axis shifted and all the surviving creatures were mutated. (Back in the day, October 10th, 1997 seemed like a far enough off date to label "The End Day". I had a little celebration when this day actually came by dusting off my cartridge)
This led to the creation of monsters, but also the discovery of magic. A new society was created using magic and shunning technology. But the empire of Dragonia is seeking to dominate the world through technology again, and is trying to capture the power of a mysterious floating tower.
Besides the story, Crystalis was just fun to play. You get only 4 main swords in the course of the game, with different elemental powers, that must be changed around depending on the weaknesses of the particular mutants you are fighting. The swords use a unique "charge" system that lets you shoot magical blasts as well. Each area has puzzles to solve, sometimes through the creative use of magic.
The task of mindless leveling is also softened a bit by the fact there are only 16 levels in the whole game. It does take a long while to earn those last levels though, and those who pick up an old copy of Crystalis should be warned, if you can't seem to damage a boss at all, it's because your level isn't high enough. Then there are times at the end when even level 16 doesn't seem like enough... then you have to find other ways to add more power...
One of the greatest things about Crystalis though, was its soundtrack. Well, some of the cave music could get annoying, but the overworld music and especially the music of Shyron fort are still going through my head after all these years. Too bad they didn't keep it in the remake...