Knights of the Crystallion

Title           Knights of the Crystallion
Game Type       Adventure
Company         U.S. Gold 1991
Author		Bill Williams
Players         1
HD Installable	No
Compatibility   Not AGA?
Submission      D.J.

If you like fast paced shoot'em ups you won't like this game. If you like
juggling a variety of slower paced, integrated problems then this game is
just the ticket.

The "Knights of the Crystallion" is basically a fantasy adventure but it
covers a wide range of play aspects including a management sim, several
games that could almost be stand-alones and a platform style maze, the
solution of which is the ultimate goal.
 The graphics are varied and, for the most part, quite stylish and
atmospheric, with accompanying mood music for each section. Access to the
various sections is through a main menu screen, with floating Orodrid
vertabra representing each one.

The HARESH (management sim)
      The game takes place in Orodrid, a city built inside the ribs of an
enormous sea creature that died eons before. Each rib is controlled by a
clan. Each clan has seven families; you are the head of one. Each family
manufactures three of seven commodities, in descending order of price and
quality (eg. a family might produce the best Meat and Dairy, the second
best Pottery and the worst Books and Songs. As well as producing and
selling these commodities you must also consume them. The better quality
you consume the better the health and fertility of your family.
      You have to strike a balance between improving your family's
fortunes without damaging those of the rest of your clan. I won't describe
the entirety of this process but suffice to say it gets quite involved.
      Periodically disasters hit and you are expected to rescue other
families with a sort of charity lottery. If you fail to meet their needs
they will leave the clan. Lose too many families and the economy may
      You will also have opportunities to trade with outsiders (Mudders)
which injects money into your clan economy, eventually improving
everybody's lot.
      As you adventure outside the Haresh you will need to check in
periodically. Failing to attend to the needs of the family is as certain a
way to loose the game as dying.
      The HARESH is controlled through a series of screens that are
basically nicely decorated windows against an animated sky. Here, amongst
other things, you set prices and production quotas, buy for your family,
review your statistics, arrange caravans, dispense charity and, of course,
make needed donations to the priests of the TSIMIT.

 The TSIMIT (platform style jump and shoot)
      The skull of the dead sea creature is a maze and deep within that is
a Crystallion egg just waiting for you. To navigate the maze you need a
special suit that protects you from the attacks of the resident monsters.
You can survive one attack for each charge (life) the suit carries (more
on that later). At first your suit has only one charge. You use your
initial sorties to gather power crystals.
      You have only one weapon, a ball of light that destroys the monsters
and lights your way. The monsters are kind of cheesy but deadly,
nonetheless. Each time you solve a level of the maze you are presented
with a riddle that can be answered from a supplied book of poetry (The
Tocanon). For reasons I will not share it is essential to have the
original book if you are to solve the final puzzle.
      Of all the graphics the TSIMIT is the only disappointment. The
practical layout is fine but the depiction attempts three dimensions using
two, and does it with limited success. The colours are flat (well, it's a
cave after all) although the textures and details are good.

      Charging your suit is done in the Proda, which is a game played with
the power crystals you gather. It involves arranging and rearranging the
crystals in groupings, as certain conditions change (roving "prods" that
bump your arrangements, parasitic "cripids" that steal your crystals).
      Arrangements of crystals periodically discharge "lives" into a
collector. You must accumulate as many lives as you can within a given
time period.

      You also develop your skills and entitlements with two additional
      As you advance in levels you must play a game of BOSU against the
priests that guard the skull. Bosu is played against a computer opponent
and is similar to Go or White Lion; you claim spots on the board by
bracketing them with your stones. The BOSU board is an octagonal spider's
web with five concentric rings. Each intersection of the web is a
potential scoring opportunity. You can score along the octagonal lines or
around the rings. You have to both claim points and block your opponent.
(This would be a great stand alone game.)
      *In order to improve your psychic abilities (and we all need to do
this, don't we?), you will play a game called DEKETA, a memory card game.
Eight pairs of cards are arranged on a rough wooden table, lit by
flickering candle light (this is perhaps the most effective and stylish
screen in the game). You must match pairs of cards in as few moves as
possible. Each time you match a pair the layout rearranges itself. As you
get better you are able to "see" the numbers through the card backs but
the rearrangement gets more confusing as well.

      I enjoyed the variety of this game. It is relatively complex but
very "do-able"; you can complete it without dedicating an enormous part of
your life to it. The graphics are usually excellent and very innovative
for the time (1991). The integration of the various elements with the
story, and even the copy protection, was quite effective and clever. Some
aspects were a bit tedious and the fantasy can seem a little hokey at
times. But all in all it was fun and satisfying, especially the "Doh! How
could I have missed THAT!" in the final puzzle.

Category list.

Alphabetical list.