The Kristal (Addictive Games) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing

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The Kristal
By Addictive Games
Amiga 500

 
Published in Computer & Video Games #92

The Kristal

Fed up with all those "games of the film"? Well, The Kristal is one of that extremely rare breed, the game of the very unsuccessful stage play. The complete lack of theatrical success experienced by "The Kristal of Kronos" is no surprise, if the unintelligible storyline that accompanies the computer adaptation is anything to go by. What *is* surprising is that it's billed as "an epic game", and what is even more more surprising is that this claim isn't all software house bullshit. Not much, anyway.

The "Kristal" of the title is essentially the fulcrum on which is balanced the forces of universal good and evil, or at least it was until someone pinched it a few aeons ago. Ever since, the universe has been a less than happy place and so the ruler of the planet Meltoca, Kring Narta has decided to send someone to find the Kristal and save the cosmos, etc, etc.

For some reason, prime candidate for the job is a space pirate called Dancis Frake (i.e. you). When the game begins you have no idea where you are or what's going on, that's where your brain - and a lot of lateral thinking - come in...

Using the joystick, you move Dancis around the scenic landscapes of ten planets, collecting useful objects and chatting to a whole host of other characters who provide information as well as some very cryptic clues (some of which are so obscure that you're likely to skip over them without realising that you're missing something).

When you manage to strike up a conversation, your words of wisdom are typed into an adventure-style interpreter which is fairly comprehensive. The characters seem to pick up on certain keywords and give astute replies to most queries. Clever.

To go with the adventure, there's a bit of arcade action, which, it has to be said, is rather bog-standard. Travelling between planets takes you through a 3D shoot-out with the lackies of the evil Lotarr, who also make an appearance on certain planets, brandishing swords and threatening to slice and dice your extremities unless you draw your own space-cutlass and make like Errol Flynn.

Losing a swordfight puts you back aboard your spaceship and knocks points off your strength rating, which you can only restore by eating one of the many space delicacies on offer. Of course, food costs cash, and you have to get hold of that any way you can. Don't try mugging anyone though, as unnecessary violence loses you psychic points, and you'll need plenty of those for the end-of-game sequence (about which I am sworn to secrecy).

Fifteen months of effort have gone into programming The Kristal, and it shows. The backdrop graphics are lovely, having been designed by the same artists who designed scenery for the play. The sprites aren't quite as smart, but they're nicely animated and very varied.

Sound during the game is minimal, but The Kristal opens with some superb music and a great scene-setting sample of Patrick Moore quoting from The Kristal Kronikles.

Apart from some rather tenuous puzzles to upset the applecart, I had a lot of fun with this game. There's an enormous feeling of space and loads of things to do, people to meet and Frandanas to eat. The many different arcade and adventurey elements gel very well together and even at thirty Skringles, erm, quid, The Kristal is worth selling your granny's wheelchair for.

Amiga

A whopping adventure with a whopping price, but there's plenty of gameplay in there. Graphics and sounds are superb, but weak arcade sequences and a demand for patience probably won't enamour it to purist arcade freaks. Anyone with an interest in brainwork should check it out.

Atari ST

The same as the Amiga version. Less colours and sounds but one or two gameplay improvements make it equally worthwhile.

Paul Glancey