With the popularity of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest today, it’s easy to forget that there were other high quality RPGs on the NES. While SNK’s Crystalis was stuck in the shadows of more mainstream franchises, it was nonetheless a very good effort from a studio known primarily for arcade games.

In many ways, I find Crystalis borrows more from the action-adventure genre than from the RPG. Though you can level up as in a traditional RPG, battles take place in real time with you swinging your sword and casting magic spells at enemies around the world map. You can barter and trade with merchants, store medical herbs and accessories in your inventory for later use, and you can swap out swords, armor, and shields by bringing up the equipment panel. Sword choice is a major component of the gameplay as enemies have different elemental weaknesses and immunities. If you stumble upon an enemy who is unfazed by wind spells, then your Sword of Wind will be ineffective and you’ll have to switch to a different weapon. This entails that you spend a lot of time thumbing through the equipment menu to find the right sword for the job, and no, it never stops being tedious, but the snappy gameplay more than makes up for it. You can stab enemies with the B button or launch a powerful magic attack by holding B for a charge shot. Magic spells are mapped to A. You’ll acquire new spells and weapons by completing dungeons, defeating bosses, and doing quests for townspeople, some of whom may have vital information regarding your quest and your purpose. Crystalis is a game that has few flaws but a lot of strengths and is one of the best RPGs on the console. It’s absolutely worth a playthrough.

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Author: wyldephang
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Parent Category: Nintendo
Category: NES