Sunday, July 21, 2013

Game 15: Crystalis (NES) - Finished!

Let's just stand here and enjoy the view
I'm glad this was a short game. I realized I wasn't having any more fun with it some time in the middle of the last post. There's a diminishing returns of sorts when playing through a game, especially if the variety of activities is limited.

Crystalis as an example, has the player explore overland, dungeons, and towns in order to talk to NPCs and gather the correct items. Combat is simplistic at first, but adds some novelty with charged shots. Magic is more utility than active during fights. So, about midway through it felt like all fights were nearly identical, and I was just going through more of the same until I reached the end.

I'll save the rest of the analysis for the final rating though. When I last left off, I was chasing Draygon. During my escape from the castle I found an area with the Leather Boots, useful for walking safely over poison; Battle Armor, which strangely has no value when I try to sell it; and the Power Ring, which I neglected but increases attack power.
I also remembered I needed flight to get this treasure
Heading south into the desert I found the town of Sahara. The people gave me some info that I was on the right track, and I now had a place to purchase Magic Rings, which fully restore MP. I found the Pyramid Draygon was said to escape to on the other side of town.
Let's really make sure the player has flight
Inside was a maze of corridors; at the very center waited Draygon. He moved so quickly that I game overed the first time I met him.
Well that was quick
After defeating Draygon here, the floor opened up when I picked up the Psycho Armor he dropped. Below I found Azteca wounded. I wasn't sure what he was doing here, but he gave me a Bow of Truth to use on Draygon when I faced him again. (We knew we had to face him again, right?)

North of the Pyramid was a lower entrance. Guarding this passage were two lion statues. Luckily I had already returned the Kirisa Plant to the amazon queen in exchange for the Bow of Moon. These statues are immune to all attacks and have rapid fire shots. I can't remember anyone hinting about these guys or what to do. I wonder how many players were stuck by this without the manual.
About to use the Bow of Sun
The dungeon beyond was devoid of interesting items. More often than not, side passages would only lead to dead ends. Getting to Draygon was more annoying than anything else. A new type of monster was introduced that had a shot that would transform me into a monster. Luckily this would go away when I changed screens, but there was one point where I had to navigate by flight over a pit and the shots would drop me down.

Draygon's final form is unlocked after using the Bow of Truth. Without that it will look like he's taking damage, but I burnt through three magic rings before I gave up. I had actually gone back and forth between this final dungeon and the pyramid as I was unsure which one I should beat first.
The only time Draygon's final form is vulnerable
Taking out Draygon in his final form involved waiting for him to expose his delicate heart. All other attacks clinked off his thick hide. I forgot about using Barrier, and ended up casting magic with the Storm Bracelet. After about ten storms he finally died.

Once I destroyed him Azteca was once again lying injured in his place, this time mortally. Were Azteca and Draygon the same entity?
It sounds like he created Draygon somehow, and they were also linked
I was hoping for a little more motivation from Draygon, but was disappointed when it turned out to be as simple as "because he's pure evil."
Why? Well, you know... evil
Mesia was waiting for me in the Floating Tower. This final area contained guardian robots on each floor, which need to be cleared before the stairs to the next floor appeared. In between each floor there was some exposition, which explained that my character and Mesia were part of the original team of scientists that created the tower. We were frozen, only to awaken to ensure humanity's peace if evil was ever detected.
Oh yeah, and Azteca was an android
On the final floor Mesia forged the four swords into the ultimate sword, Crystalis. I was to drive the sword into the core of the DYNA, computer controlling the tower. This final battle was a bit anticlimactic.
Crystalis shoots a giant ball of death
I ended the game having prepared for a huge final confrontation, had 3 magic rings in stock. What followed was a nice cinematic (well for the NES) credits and the ending screen at the top.
Yay for dolphins
We're left with a final congratulatory message encouraging us to follow a peaceful path for humanity's sake.
not evil, evil bad
Disappointment aside I think it's a good game; just not as great as I remembered. I recall the story as something much more interesting, and the final battle let me down. Time to wrap this up with the final rating next post and move on... I hope I'm not misremembering Dungeon Magic as well.

Session Time: 1h23m (Final Time: 7h45m)


  1. Great set of write-ups. This is a game I remember quite fondly myself, and still have sitting around in my game collection - I just haven't touched it in a couple of decades. Often I find when I go back to these older RPG's, it seems like the stories aren't quite up to what I remember them being. In a lot of ways the newer titles out there can tell a story in more sophisticated ways (not necessarily a better story, just more techniques for telling it with fully voiced audio and things like that).

    Glad you enjoyed it, though obviously wish it hadn't disappointed you a bit either. Good luck with Dungeon Magic!

    1. Thanks. I think it has to do with nostalgia, and not knowing any better. I mean nearly everything is a new experience when a kid, so there isn't anything better to compare it to. Couple that with a limited game selection and games like Drakkhen and Lagoon will seem like good games (personal experience).

    2. I played Drakkhen on the SNES as an adult, but RPGs were relatively new to me then, and I had way more fun with it than I should have. Same for Beyond the Beyond, which was my first introduction to narrative-driven JRPGs - I will always love it far more than it deserves.

    3. Good to know those games have their fans. I'm strangely looking forward to getting through Beyond the Beyond since it was a game I played when it first came out, liked it, but never bothered to go back to it after getting the ship. I seem to have a problem with games that suddenly explode with possibilities.

  2. Sounds very much like how I remember on gameboy: Combat got bland, and there wasn't really much else to the game. I think I got bored when just leaving a tunnel, and was fighting tigrepeople or somesuch? Sound framiliar?

    1. Tiger people are at the beginning. If they were throwing axes then that's probably the second area. If you couldn't stand the combat that early in the game though, then you're probably better off moving on; combat doesn't change all that much of the course of the game. The different charge attacks are cosmetic.

  3. I will forever remember this game because I could not hurt Draygon (I think that was the boss) and two calls to the Nintendo help line were no good. So I actually wrote a letter to Nintendo Power and it got published, and they gave the proper answer -- that you need a power bracelet, I think? My memory is a little hazy since this was over 25 years ago, but it was something along those lines.

    1. Nintendo Power was probably the main reason most kids beat a lot of Nintendo games. Yeah, you need the power bracelet to defeat his final form.