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Category: Games
Sub-Category: RPG
Platform: Nintendo
License: Proprietary
Interface: GUI
Wikipedia: Crystalis
First release: April 13, 1990

Crystalis – an action role-playing adventure video game produced by SNK for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Crystalis was originally spawned by SNK for Nintendo’s 8-bit NES console. One of the platform’s most action-oriented RPGs, the game put you in the role of a young hero recently thawed out of a cryogenic slumber, the story being that his world was torn asunder some years ago by technology gone awry. Having since relinquished the lure of technology for the ecological soundness of magic, the citizens of the world were able to reestablish some semblance of civilization.

Technology, though, had by no means been stripped from the world, and the evil wizard Dragonia began to dabble in its uses, quickly becoming a formidable threat to the world’s newfound peace. Enter the hero: Destined to save the world from the corrosive power of technology, you must enlist the aid of four benevolent magicians, collect the four elemental swords forged by them for use during such a threat, and eventually re-form them into the mystical uber-blade Crystalis – the one weapon with the power to put an end to any and all threats technological.

The gameplay can be written off as your standard action-RPG fare. There is a large world to explore (compete with dungeons, towns, and chatty folk), there are items and spells to collect, and there are hordes of enemies to defeat in a real-time battle system. During its initial release a decade ago, however, Crystalis was anything but standard. True, many of the elements had previously been seen in prior games (The Legend of Zelda, most notably), but Crystalis’ sheer depth – and the quality of its presentation – was without peer, and it is still regarded as a milestone title in the genre.

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