Light Crusader (Genesis) review
"As gaming has progressed through the years, new technology has enabled us to play new concepts which were not possible before. Platformers and shooters suddenly accommodated a third dimension for us to explore with the invention of the thirty-two-bit era. Many new options seems available to developers with each release and us gamers can look forward to several new ground breaking games each year. "
As gaming has progressed through the years, new technology has enabled us to play new concepts which were not possible before. Platformers and shooters suddenly accommodated a third dimension for us to explore with the invention of the thirty-two-bit era. Many new options seems available to developers with each release and us gamers can look forward to several new ground breaking games each year.
But as progression carries us forward, it seems it is inevitable that certain genres or types of game will get left behind. It appears Light Crusader belongs to one of these genres, as games of this type seem to have dwindled over the years. Funnily enough, I’m not exactly sure what name was given to games like this so I’ll explain a little. Each of these games is set out in a three-quarter perspective, looking into each room or location so it is set on its side in like a diamond shape. Genesis owners might know the more popular Landstalker as an example. Anyone who has played SpinDizzy will know what I mean. I remember back when I owned a spectrum, how there were scores of games which used this type of view. Most popular of all to my recollection was Head over Heels, yet other titles such as Rentokil Rita on the Mastertronic label also sprung up a lot.
Light Crusader is the truest title to this aging genre I have played since the days of the eight-bit computer. You play the part of Sir David, a swordsman weary of battle, who has been given a holiday in Green Row by the king who he serves. When he reaches his haven he senses fright among the people and heads straight for the palace. Upon reaching the king, he is told of strange happenings in the village including mysterious disappearances of the people. The king asks Sir David if he can look around the village and see if he can find the cause of these strange undertakings.
Not too far into the adventure you soon find yourself in a huge dungeon which the larger part of the game takes place. Consisting of six levels, you must work your way to the lower reaches in hope to solve the mystery surrounding the village. The dungeon itself is basically a huge throng of puzzles, traps, monsters and secrets waiting to ensnare you at every turn. Reaching the lower levels the dungeon takes a new twist sending you through time to such eras as ancient Japan, World War 2, the old west and more besides. One of the stranger things you may encounter is a cat that trades fish for some of your items!
The labyrinth plays host to many kinds of monsters that take no time in trying to bring you to your death. Slime, often being the lowest in adversaries turns up once again. Orc kinds, armed with both maces and crossbows can be a troublesome foe when teamed together. More bothersome however are the undead varieties of monsters that roam the rooms of the dungeon. Skeletons, armed with swords can be a particular pain, especially in numbers. Later in the game, during the time travel section, your foes become men from the different ages you enter. Bosses are also frequent too although some are less impressive than others. Ranging from huge red fire dragons to tentacle spewing blobs, diversity is something Light Crusader does have. What is disappointing however, is the final boss - the supposed greatest creature in any game. Instead of having something that needs to be looked at, experimented with and have damage taken from, we have something that just needs to be plugged away at, hoping that it dies before it kills you first.
In inclusion to the many monsters that roam the dungeon, scores of puzzles hinder your path, ranging from simple to the mind-bendingly complex. Natural to this style of the game are the puzzles involving moving blocks to manipulate switches and such. Just as obligatory are the moving platforms, often catching you out sending you to the spikes below. These are two of the more regular kinds of puzzle which grow in complexity as you get further in your quest. There are some extra kinds of riddle that you must solve to advance though, which as well as being fairly original, are also a nice addition to the game. One such puzzle, which you must complete to open a door is a copy of the old ‘Simon’ memory game. Upon entering you room, you will notice the four orbs in the center. To get the door to open, you must hit the orbs in the order they flash. This can often build up to a sequence of over ten flashes which obviously requires a good memory. Forget writing the sequence down too as you do have a limit in which to repeat the sequence. There are other similar little puzzles too such as playing a sequence of notes on huge tuning forks and lighting a series of lamps.
Where as it could be easy to make a dungeon look dull and repetitive, Treasure have managed to keep the one you must tread looking fresh throughout. Each level has a different appearance which looks good adding a decorative touch to the action. Having the view that this game takes on, it would have been easy to make progress hard with all the platforms and blocks you must navigate. Luckily, the action is clear as you won’t make mistakes that are seemingly not your fault – an aspect that is very important in such games. Other nice touches include the inhabitants of the dungeon, with the pinnacle being the orcs. When you defeat an orc they are often sliced in half at the waist or even decapitated, which looks amusing albeit a touch out of place.
Not content enough with his sword skills; our hero also has a fine array of magic at his disposal. Coming in the form of the four elements - earth, air, wind and fire – Sir David can use each element alone or combine them together to produce different effects. For example, water alone will heal you slightly, yet combine it with air to produce ‘ice’, a spell capable of freezing enemies in their tracks. This is a system that works very nicely indeed and when used effectively, can serve you well in a number of situations.
Musically, the game is competent enough, producing apt pieces in all the right places. Most notable are the darker tunes creating a nice atmosphere when it is needed. Similarly are the faster, heavier beats used when you face one of the guardians of the dungeon – something that is pretty much expected, yet is sorely missed when it is overlooked. Making up the rest of the game are themes that wont stick in your mind like games such as the Zelda series, yet on the other hand, wont have you reaching for the volume control.
So while it won’t last you too long, what is there is very enjoyable indeed. Fans of this kind of game should relish the chance to experience what can be done with the genre when the technology is available. While it does lack the flair and challenge that Landstalker has, this is different enough to warrant your time even if you do have it. As with most of the other games Treasure developed for the Genesis, this is indeed a little bit of treasure any adventurer should take a look at.
Community review by djy8c (January 01, 2004)
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