Okay I just finished this game today:
I have never really noticed it until today, but I guess it’s a bit of a trope for the end screen of games to be the hero(es) watching on from a convenient nearby cliff as a castle or whatever gets destroyed. I wonder where it originated?? Might be fun to compile a list of games that end this way. Off the top of my head.. Castlevania, Super Mario RPG maybe? I’m sure there are many others.
I thought this was fantastic. I don’t have a ton of experience with NES RPGs but it surprised me how modern Crystalis felt in many areas. The story was great in an understated way - it established quite a few characters with different personalities, and some of the plot beats actually made me feel sad! Combat is good throughout. I felt palpably stronger as I leveled up and got new items, yet the overall challenge still managed to increase. The variety of items and abilities is very cool, and the most of the secrets felt eminently findable with all the hints from the villagers.
This game has one of my favourite soundtracks from the era so far, right up there with any of the classics. I have found myself humming various tunes from it several times this month. Even the dungeon music that I heard a whole bunch throughout never got old at all. Here’s a couple of my faves:
As @kyleprocrastinations mentions above, the continue system is surprisingly generous and refreshing. The first time I died to a boss, I was racking my brain trying to remember when I last saved.. but when I hit continue I was right there outside again!
I wish the game had better item descriptions. I eventually did do a little reading outside of the game, but every source I found ended up giving stuff away I think I would have enjoyed discovering for myself. However some pieces of information just don’t seem to appear in the game at all, like certain shields and armors make you immune to particular statuses. At one point I was in an area getting paralyzed every few seconds, it was infuriating but it turns out I had access to a shield that completely nullifies it. It would have been nice if the shop showed a little description to that effect!
The dungeons also got a little bit too mazelike toward the end, and I referred to maps for the last couple. I would have liked a map screen that autopopulates where you have visited to make navigation a bit easier, but I can understand the technical challenges that may have prevented that from happening!
Still, I think with just a few minor QOL tweaks like that (item descriptions, map, and probably faster weapon switching) this game would be surprisingly palatable from a modern perspective. Another excellent pick! A game I doubt I would have gotten around to playing if it weren’t for this, and I’m glad I did so thanks very much!