Obscurity Corner Special
Moon Crystal (Famicom/NES?)
This is going to be an interesting game to talk about. The game is Moon Crystal. It was originally for the Famicom which is the Japanese counterpart of the NES. It was made by a Japanese video game company called Hect. Apparently, it was going to be released in America on the NES but it never came through. However, with emulation, Moon Crystal has been translated to English by fans since originally, the text was mostly in Japanese. Also, most NES emulators can run the rom as well. Well, with that said, here is the review.
Note: I know emulation is tabooed by some but this game is only available in English through emulation. For those who don't get it, I am an English speaker so even if I myself got my hands on it physically, it still would be an issue to understand it since I don't know how to read or speak Japanese. Keep that is mind before you decide to look down on me for emulating it. Besides, the NES and Famicom are both obsolete anyway so I personally think it's fine to emulate both.
It starts in a place called Cirrus Village. A boy named Ricky Slater learns about a magic stone known as the Moon Crystal by his father, Dr. Slater. It possess the ability to revive the dead or transform and alter the living under the full moon. The local nobleman known as Count Crimson has Dr. Slater kidnapped for his knowledge of the Moon Crystal and the rest of the people of the village to have as slaves in a mine including Ricky's sister Merle and mother. With a device known as the Lunasystem that he can use to have full control of the crystal's powers and be able to use its power at any time, he plans to rule the world with it. Since Ricky was the only one who wasn't captured, it is up to him with the help of a mysterious girl named Rosina to save the villagers and his family and put a stop to Crimson's plans.
So here is Ricky with the help of Rosina trying to save his village and the world from Count Crimson's mad plans in the game. Dr. Slater, and Ricky apparently believe that the crystal can be used to help mankind but fear that Crimson will revive the dead as "monsters" if he misuses it. Most likely refering to the fact that oftentimes the "living dead" are in monstrous forms like with zombies and vampires and other forms of undead. Also, the kidnapped villagers had been forced to work in a crystal mine (possibly to find more Moon Crystals). They need to be saved as well. Ricky also needs to find his father and destroy the Lunasystem before Count Crimson misuses the crystal's power.
This game is a platformer. It also is unique that it plays like Prince of Persia. Its fluid animation also makes it that it results in tricky yet interesting platforming sections. But it results in slightly delayed controls as well. It is not game-breaking but it can make platforming more tricky than say...Super Mario Bros. It only is a real issue in the boss battles. Since your movements are slightly delayed such as when turning or jumping, you really have to make the most out of every move when fighting with a boss since you only have so much health and getting a chance to hit bosses without getting hit yourself are short in time. Your attacks consist of using a dagger to stab the enemies and bosses in the 6 stages you go through (a forest, the village, Crimson's castle, a pirate ship, the crystal mines, and Crimson's laboratory). Your dagger has short range but you can upgrade it to have better range by getting a powerup from one of the chests found throughout the game. These chests can also have hearts to increase your health, heart containers to increase your maximum health, 1-Ups to gain and extra life, and "jump boots" to get a double jump to jump higher and farther. When it comes to gameplay overall, it's fun if you can get used to it's Prince of Persia-esque feel.
The graphics look very impressive in this game. Ricky's animation as well as many of the enemies look very fluid. Also, the backgrounds and areas also look very good for an 8-bit as well. There are also cutscences in this game that look very reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden's in terms of both style of animation and how for the time, the animations and scenes were impressive to look at. Each of the levels also have a very nice feel to them thanks to this. Overall, the graphics are just impressive to look at and are a big plus in the game.
While the sound effects are average, the music is pretty good. Whether it is the level music or the music played during events in cutscenes, they add to the atmosphere to the game and are just plain memorable as well. The music I think is very overlooked and more people should know about this game's music.
Moon Crystal is a very interesting game. It is also a pretty good one. I am surprised this never had an international release during it's time but these days, it's pretty easy to find a translated rom of it with a little search or using an English patch on a regular rom of it. I highly recommend this game. Go ahead and emulate it and have fun. I give this game a B+. It is pretty good. That's it for this review. I hope it was informative.