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Crystalis |LTTP| God Slayer Incarnate

Maiden Voyage

Gold™ Member



ABOUT​

Releases: NES: April 13, 1990; GBC: June 26, 2000; SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Switch, PS4, XB1, Steam): Various 2019
Genre: Action RPG
Players: 1 player
ESRB Rating: Teen


TRAILER




INITIAL THOUGHTS​

Intro​

The late 80s and early 90s were a hell of a time to be a kid--Video games were radical dude. They were also brutally difficult, meant to curb rentals and increase purchases. Somehow, I missed out on a true gem in the era, Crystalis (God Slayer in Japan). Made by SNK for the NES and later released on the GameBoy Color, albeit with some alterations (more here). It was also packaged as part of the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection for newer hardware.

Gameplay​

The gameplay is somewhat ahead of its time, making it surprisingly enjoyable in the present day. There is a nice blend between action & RPG. The standard RPG elements are there: you battle enemies on screen and gain experience points to level up your stats; Gear can be bought and sold to help said stats; Combat is a bit finicky but for the era of NES, it's remarkably good. Some 'points' are lost as swapping between swords to damage different enemy types is a bit cumbersome, but... Pacing done quite well as the player movement is fast and enemies can be farmed or avoided entirely as needed. Boss fights, so far (2 down as of this writing) are engaging and varied. Overall, the game difficult is quite enjoyable and relatively easy. I've died a few times (poison is a harsh ailment) but the game 'autosaves' your progress from the last village you depart. You do need to hard save as well for when you close out the game, so keep that in mind if you decide to play.

Length​

Judging from the How Long to Beat page for Crystalis, I am looking at between 9 and 11 hours to complete the game. As an older (and less radical) dude, I approve of the short duration even if a younger me would have been totally bummed.

Visuals​

Visually, the game looks pretty good for a NES title. The areas are somewhat varied, open, and well spaced. I have no complaints in this department, especially for the era.


Soundtrack​

Audio-wise, ehh... I'm not much of a fan. I'm not really a fan of many game soundtracks though, so take it for what it is. Here's probably the best song from the game, from my limited play time.



FINAL THOUGHTS​

A few days later and I've just wrapped up the game. What a great experience all around. Even the music grew on me.
The gameplay difficulty spikes at a certain point but is never unmanageable. Once you get the bracelet for the water sword the game becomes entirely trivial, as demonstrated here. This becomes even more severe once you unlock the bracelet for the final elemental sword, Thunder. I can image the labyrinthine paths of the Goa Fortress would have been an absolute nightmare before the internet. In many ways, I wish I had been able to experience that myself. But, I opted to follow a guide when possible and would honestly recommend the same to anyone wanting to play today.
The last bit, while on the floating tower, is quite gorgeous and wildly different from the levels prior. The whole thing is chock full of variety (hardware limitations notwithstanding).
Give Retro Achievements a try if you're playing on RetroArch (and do say hello 👋 in the dedicated community thread). I played on 'hardcore' mode and had no major difficulties getting all the achievements. The save state functionality is disabled, but the game is quite generous about auto soft saving. Be sure to save when in towns, as I am pretty certain the soft saves won't survive a power off.




In closing: There's not much to lose by giving this game a shot in 2022: it's short, enjoyable, and entertaining. I'd easily give it a 10/10 given the hardware and time it was released. I still give it a solid 10 when playing today.

SHOUTOUT​

I also want to give a huge shout out to jshackles jshackles for recommending this game to me. Also many props for creating so many wonderful threads, including the RA thread.


⚔️🛡️
 
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NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
Crystalis has always intrigued me, but I somehow never sat down to play it.


Fantastic game, and along with Startropics and Willow, better than the original Legend Of Zelda tbh
Star Tropics sucks.
A 1990 game with 1987 graphics, with a main gimmick that gets old in the space of two dungeons, awkward controls, unfair traps, and terrible difficulty balancing. The original Zelda plays so much better, it’s not even funny.
 

jshackles

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the capability to make the world's first enhanced store. Steam will be that store. Better than it was before.
Awesome game, one I keep going back to again and again - it usually gets a replay every couple of years.

As I mentioned in the Retro Achievements thread, I got this game as a Christmas gift from my mom in 1990. Playing through it the first time, with my brother helping me solve some of the game's puzzles, is a great cherished memory for me. As the game was pretty obscure, there wasn't a lot of info available at the time to draw from - my friends had never heard of it, I don't believe it got a Nintendo Power walkthrough, and I was still a few years out from discovering the Internet. Advancing in the game felt like a huge accomplishment, and beating it even more so.

It's a game that helped (along with Dragon Quest, Faxanadu, and Ultima) foster my love of role playing video games that continues on to this day over 30 years later.
 

Hestar69

Member
My second all time fav game! Also,the only nes game I owned boxed even though I don't have a nes anymore! Shame it never became a series like zelda did(The gb color ports music is AWFUL btw)
 
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Pejo

Member
Anyone else here remember using the 2P controller trick to warp to future towns and sequence break the game?

I fucking loved this game as a kid. Haven't touched it in many years though. Maybe I'll do another playthrough after this current rush of games dies down a bit.
 

Maiden Voyage

Gold™ Member
Anyone else here remember using the 2P controller trick to warp to future towns and sequence break the game?

I fucking loved this game as a kid. Haven't touched it in many years though. Maybe I'll do another playthrough after this current rush of games dies down a bit.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

I won't use this on my playthrough but holy crap, that's kinda cool.
 

Maiden Voyage

Gold™ Member
I beat General Kelbesque, and it seems the game difficulty is starting to ramp up. I think I'm up for the challenge.

I'm onto the waterfall cave now and grinding a bit to get some better equipment, though I will probably head directly to the caves instead of the open world. These red dudes are annoying.



Edit: Got the water sword and now that made quick work of those annoying bastards.
 
Last edited:

Pejo

Member
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

I won't use this on my playthrough but holy crap, that's kinda cool.
I'm sure you could have found this yourself, but here's how you do it:

To warp from one place to another while playing, do this. Press A + B on Controller One while holding A on Controller Two. A screen will appear where you can warp to several different places.
I'm not sure if this changed in a newer release, but I remember on the original NES cart that you couldn't pick where you warp, it would just cycle through. I guess it depends on which version you're playing.
 

Maiden Voyage

Gold™ Member
I grabbed this screen cap from earlier. It's weird because I don't feel like there is that much bloom on the shader preset (CRT Royale) but it comes off as super intense in the cap.


These harpies make for easy EXP & money once you have the water sword.
 
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Maiden Voyage

Gold™ Member
Whelp... I figured out how to break the game and get easy EXP & money.

In the Goa Fields area, you can gather together a bunch of soldiers & a harpie and unleash unholy hell on them via the level 3 water spell. Easy way to grind out to max level pretty quickly.


Also, hilariously there is a village filled with women who hate men.


The game can look pretty good at times (again, the filter is making it bloomy than it looks in motion)
 

Maiden Voyage

Gold™ Member
What an enjoyable experience. I've updated the OP with my final thoughts but am pasting them here as well for convenience to those who have already gone through the thread.



A few days later and I've just wrapped up the game. What a great experience all around. Even the music grew on me.
The gameplay difficulty spikes at a certain point but is never unmanageable. Once you get the bracelet for the water sword the game becomes entirely trivial, as demonstrated here. This becomes even more severe once you unlock the bracelet for the final elemental sword, Thunder. I can image the labyrinthine paths of the Goa Fortress would have been an absolute nightmare before the internet. In many ways, I wish I had been able to experience that myself. But, I opted to follow a guide when possible and would honestly recommend the same to anyone wanting to play today.
The last bit, while on the floating tower, is quite gorgeous and wildly different from the levels prior. The whole thing is chock full of variety (hardware limitations notwithstanding).
Give Retro Achievements a try if you're playing on RetroArch (and do say hello 👋 in the dedicated community thread). I played on 'hardcore' mode and had no major difficulties getting all the achievements. The save state functionality is disabled, but the game is quite generous about auto soft saving. Be sure to save when in towns, as I am pretty certain the soft saves won't survive a power off.




In closing: There's not much to lose by giving this game a shot in 2022: it's short, enjoyable, and entertaining. I'd easily give it a 10/10 given the hardware and time it was released. I still give it a solid 10 when playing today.
 
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jshackles

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the capability to make the world's first enhanced store. Steam will be that store. Better than it was before.
I'm so glad you liked the game, one of my favorites on the NES as well! Really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this, it's interesting to me to see this game through the eyes of someone who hasn't played it a million times like I have.

Cheers 🥂
 
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