Crystalis, originally released in Japan as God Slayer: Haruka Tenkū no Sonata, is a 1990 action RPG/action-adventure video game produced by SNK for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Though Crystalis never became a runaway hit, it is now considered a cult classic. The game's initial success prompted a release for the Game Boy Color by Nintendo Software Technology in 2000, which is generally considered more of a remake than a simple port. Many changes were made to the story, music, and other aspects of the game, upsetting fans of the original.
The game begins with a man's awakening from a cryogenic sleep one hundred years after a global nuclear war. Even though he is unable to recall his name or who he was, he begins to discover that he may be the key to save this world from destruction. Aided by four wise sages and a mysterious woman, he rises up against the tyrannical Draygonia Empire to ensure that humanity ultimately has a future.
The gameplay of Crystalis is similar to that of other action RPGs. The world is presented in a top-down perspective so the player can move smoothly in eight directions using the control pad. There are two action buttons; one is used for attacking with a sword, and the secondary button is mapped to a chosen action, such as a magical power or an item from the player's inventory. The start and select buttons bring up the status screen and the inventory menu, respectively. In addition, the player can equip various suits of armor and shields. Defeating monsters allows the player to gain experience points and levels, which boost his health, defense, and attack strength.
The primary means of defeating monsters is through the use of the four swords scattered throughout the game (the fifth sword, Crystalis, is only obtained at the very end). The swords are capable of both normal slashes and powered-up attacks that launch energy projectiles. Each of the four swords is imbued with a distinct elemental power (wind, fire, water, and thunder), making each sword more effective than the others in various situations. The elemental nature of each sword also provides a necessary means of traversing otherwise impassable obstacles; certain barriers succumb to the power blasts of individual swords, and the Sword of Water creates a bridge of ice across some shallow, narrow sections of rivers., also some enemies are immune to certain types of elements and must be killed using their opposite element(Ice creatures are weak against fire). Also some bosses and enemies require a certain level for you to even get a hit on them, even if you use the correct sword.
The method of control is similar to the earlier NES action-adventure game, The Legend of Zelda. The main difference is that the emphasis is much less on puzzle-solving and more on the combat. The player is also not limited to moving in the four cardinal directions, but can also move diagonally, allowing for smoother control. The player can also jump over enemies, and certain enemies can puddle and slide under the sword's reach.
Crystalis takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, one hundred years after a global thermonuclear war has reverted civilization to a primitive, medieval existence populated with fierce mutated creatures. Science and advanced technology have been abandoned, though the old ways of magic have survived. The survivors of the terrible destruction built a floating 'Tower' to prevent any future cataclysms, as its occupants would have the power to govern the world due to the Tower's weapons systems. A man known as Emperor Draygon, however, has revived the forbidden ways of science and combined them with magic. With these skills, he controls the world's last remaining military power and seeks to conquer what's left of the planet by attempting to enter the Tower.
The protagonist awakens with no memory, but, guided by four wise sages, gradually learns that the world is sinking into turmoil due to the Draygonia Empire's destructive influence. Entrusted with the Sword of Wind, he seeks to aid Mesia, another survivor from his time, and to combine the four elemental Swords of Wind, Fire, Water, and Thunder into the legendary sword, Crystalis. Together, they must defeat Draygon before he uses the Tower to achieve his evil ambitions.
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