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Dragon Crystal (Sega Master System) artwork

Dragon Crystal (Sega Master System) review

"I’d only recommend this game for hardcore fans of dungeon crawlers or for those looking somewhat obscure 8-bit games that aren’t abhorrently bad."

Dragon? More Like Useless Space Waster
Dragon Crystal is a dungeon crawler through and through. There is a story, but it’s only found in the game manual and doesn’t have any real effect on the experience. In this game, you battle your way through 30 randomized levels trying to find the crystal at the end to finish the game. You start off having a mysterious egg following you around that will eventually turn into a dragon! You’d think it would be pretty darn awesome to have a dragon following you around...but you’d be wrong. Our resident dragon is a total lame-o that does nothing but take up space the entire game...literally...the only thing he’s good for is protecting your rear by taking up that space. No cool flame breathing, no awesome dragon riding...heck, he doesn’t even attack! They could have had a rock following you for all it really matters.

Dragon Crystal (Sega Master System) image

Randomness and Suckiness
30 levels of random, that’s what you get in this game. You get randomized level layouts, randomized enemy spawns, randomized item drops, and even randomized items! Every time you start a new game, everything changes. Every scroll, potion, or rod you pickup has unknown properties and you have to use them to find out what they are. This can actually be dangerous as some items are cursed, give you bad effects, or even take away stats. One good thing is that once you discover an item type (like a “blessed scroll”) the discovery sticks so the next time you pick up that type of item you’ll know what it does. The bad part is that these discoveries are only good for the game you play...if you hit that reset button the “Brown Scroll” you found last game won’t do the same thing as the “Brown Scroll” you find in your new game. However, this does give the game an unbelievable amount of replay value, as every new game is really a NEW’ll start from square one each time.

This game also has a lot of things that suck about it. Hunger is one. This game has a food meter, if you run out of food you’ll start slowly losing health points. This wouldn’t be so bad if it would have been tweaked differently...however, you drain your food meter too quickly unless you have a special ring. This means that most levels left me either totally starved or really darn low on food. Sometimes I’d even die before finding any food in a game! The enemies don’t help with the issue either. On later levels enemies generally have some nasty chance-on-hit effects. Everything from stealing your food (which is way more deadly than it would seem), to destroying your weapons, to even de-leveling you (and levels are not easy to come by)! This really leads to the player just avoiding enemies on later levels since he either can’t chance getting the on-hit effects, or he just isn’t strong enough due to skipping enemies b/c they have those on-hit effects.

Dragon Crystal (Sega Master System) image

8-bit Dungeon Crawler
There is a lot to complain about in Dragon Crystal...but the game is fun for a bit, which is the main point of any game. It also is unique (for its time and platform), and has pretty much unlimited replay value. However, even with these good points, there is just too much wrong with it to ignore. The game was honestly too random for me, I didn’t like having to rediscover items each time I played. I also hated the fact that I’d start a game and not find any food...or not find any armor...or no weapon. There was always something I was missing, or behind on. This really showed in later levels as you are forced into running away from enemies while searching for an exit since they are either too strong, or can seriously hinder you with their on-hit effects. I give this game a 4/10, even with it being a fun, unique game (it is the only randomized dungeon crawler on the Sega Master System)’s exceptionally frustrating. I’d only recommend this game for hardcore fans of dungeon crawlers or for those looking to play somewhat obscure 8-bit games that aren’t abhorrently bad.

Rating: 4/10

Never3ndr's avatar
Community review by Never3ndr (June 18, 2014)

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