Crystalis for the NES

A Retro Review

Crystalis, originally called God Slayer: Haruka Tenkū no Sonata, was released by SNK in 1990.

The story begins in 1997, because that was like so far in the future waaay back then, and war engulfs the world and destroys civilization, but miraculously, someone builds a flying tower. Are you kidding?

Presumably, the game takes place on the flying tower, but honestly, I don't even know.... You, whoever you are, awake from some cryogenic stasis, wander into town, and then the people give you weapons and money, ‘cause, why not, right?

Then, if you can get the windmill running, the wise man will teach you magic, so you fight your way through some Tony the Tigers and blue slimes. 

Then, you walk inside a rectum, find a sleeping guy, wake him up with a flute, and he gives you a key to start the windmill.

Okay, it's a cave....

This is certainly a decent action adventure game with a sort of sci-fantasy touch, but I don’t know; Cyrstalis is hardly a great game. Don’t get me wrong, this is a Nintendo game; a cerebral storyline is hardly a requirement, but there are some basic problems with the game.

The Good

The music is fun. The game’s speed is good. The graphics and animation are okay; I know, I criticized the rectum, but, c’mon. The weapons and equipment are not only versatile but germane to the game’s mechanics.

Some enemies are weak against one element and impervious to another. It becomes imperative to figure out which enemies will fall to which blade. The more you fight, the stronger you can get. The spells vary to some extent, too. It’s fun…to a point.

The Bad

The enemies can be real assholes, especially when you’re fighting a group that is weak to fire and impervious to wind, and then enemies that are impervious to fire join the fray; you have to constantly pause the game, switch weapons, and try to attack. The hit detection also sucks; half the time you’re shooting or stabbing at air while getting straight pummeled.

Nothing in the game is overly difficult, and if you are having trouble, go fight some enemies and gain some levels.

Crystalis is as far from a terrible game as it is from a great game. It’s moderately, and modestly, mediocre. Play it, don’t play it, whatever.

If this was 1990, I’d warn you to go to Blockbuster and rent it for the weekend before buying, but the war from 1997 obviously wiped out all the Blockbusters, so…whatever.

Crystalis gets a flat C in my book.

I really wish there was more to say, but I was underwhelmed. Some people consider Crystalis a cult classic, but lots of cult classics are only considered good, or entertaining, or awesomely terrible by a select few; I am not one of those few. I did learn that there was a remake for the Game Boy Color, and I'll be checking that out because, evidently, many aspects of the game--music, story, graphics--have been changed.

You never know, though; things may well have changed for the worse, in which case I'll be providing a scathing review....

Until next time. Thanks for reading!

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Crystalis for the NES
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