Light Crusader by Treasure was released for the Sega Genesis in 1995. In this game you play the role of David Lander, a swordsman who has come to the land of Green Row. Recently people have been disappearing, and it's your job to find out what happened to them. Thus starts your adventure. Personally, I don't like this game much. The only thing in the game is a single town (which you hardly spend any time in), and a single dungeon, filled with tons of rooms, all containing ridiculously hard puzzles. I found the game more frustrating than fun, and once I finished it, I never wanted to play it again.
Game play: 3/10
In Light Crusader almost of all the action take place in a huge dungeon. The game uses a semi 3-D view, which is actually a 2-D view tilted to look 3-D. A lot of games use this view, Landstalker, Alundra, etc. However this kind of a view makes it almost impossible to tell where you are on screen. You can't tell the difference between being far off the ground but farther back, or on the ground but up close.
In this dungeon You get to fight through monsters and solve puzzles all in a "3-D" environment. The fighting is pretty much standard fare, you can swing your sword to attack the enemies, and you can jump and move around to avoid the enemies. However because of the "3-D" view you have to press diagonals to move correctly, which can make precision movement difficult.
The puzzles, however are the part of the game that I really don't like (and unfortunately the puzzles make up almost the entire game). There are two basic types of puzzles, the kind where you have to figure out what to do, and the kind where you know what to do, you just need to make your character do it. Of course the worst puzzles are a combination of the two. Some of the puzzles are so hard to figure out that I swear Treasure must think we can read their minds. I had to look up how to do many of the puzzles.
To puzzles that require skill, however are the worst kind. The controls do not work very well, and you must get your character to do exactly what you want, frequently in a limited amount of time. If you mess up you must do the entire puzzle again. Some of the puzzles were so frustrating that I really don't know how I ever managed to beat them. The fancy "3-D" view makes the puzzles even worse. May of the puzzles require jumping from one platform to another (frequently moving platforms), when you can't even tell where the platform is in relation to your character. Nothing is more frustrating then jumping to platform, just to find out the platform isn't where it looked like it was.
Another problem is when you find a villager to rescue. You find them hanging from a rope, and you must cut them down. The problem is that when you jump and try to cut the rope, over 90% of the time you end up talking to them instead. I hate how something that should take 5 seconds ends up taking 5 minutes.
The game does have a rather interesting magic system. To cast magic you need magic capsules. There are 4 elements of capsules: Air, Fire, Earth, and Water. By using a single capsule, or combining one ore more capsules you can get different effects. None of the spells can help with the puzzles, though. They are all for fighting enemies.
I suppose someone who enjoys really hard, frustrating puzzles, or simply someone who is better at them, may find the puzzles fun. I however simply find them frustrating, and when 99% of the game is puzzles, well let's just say I don't enjoy the game much.
I should also mention that one of the harder puzzles to figure out, is the first puzzle ... finding the entrance to the dungeon. I spent over an hour trying to figure out where the entrance was, and I wasn't the only one with problem. This really didn't bode well for the game, but it does give a sample of what's to come.
This is by far one of the hardest games I've played. If you like really challenging games I might recommend this game to you. But if you find doing the same thing over 100 times till you get it right frustrating (like I do), then I really can't recommend this game.
Part of what makes the game hard is the "3-D" view. I realize you can't do true 3-D on a flat TV screen, but this form of "3-D" that a lot of games use makes judging elevation extremely hard. In addition the controls can make it difficult to get you character to move precisely where you want. I don't want to have to fight with the controls and the view when I play a game.
So even though I give it a 10/10, I consider that a bad thing in this game.
Personally I would never play this game again. Once was more than enough frustration to last a lifetime. There also aren't many secrets (although there are some later on), so there really isn't much of a reason to play through again, even if you want to. The only reason to play a second time would be to try the hard puzzles again (not something I would do)
Not a very good story to this game. Basically you enter the dungeon trying to find why all the people disappeared, and slowly you rescue them. When you do find out what happened to them, it's not very interesting.
I would also expect that when you rescued someone it should advance the story. Maybe you could go back to the village and talk to them, or something. But when you rescue villages they just simply disappear never to be seen again. (So why did I bother rescuing them?!?)
Action games like this don't usually need a good story, since they are all about the gameplay. But since I didn't like the gameplay it would have been nice to have an interesting story to give me a reason to keep playing.
Not too bad of graphics for a Genesis game. But nothing really special either. The intro cutscene are fairly well done, and the character and monster graphics like pretty good too. The boss monsters are large and have decent animation. However the dungeon graphics do get a little boring and repetitive, they do change but not enough for my tastes.
Not very good music here. I suppose it's not awful, but I really didn't like it much. Pretty crappy sound effects too. It did use voices in a few places, the problem is the Genesis doesn't do voices well. When you enter some rooms it says "Answer the riddle," it took me hours just to figure out what it was saying, the voices really weren't very clear.
Overall Rating: 3/10
I really didn't much care for this game. Going from one frustrating puzzle to the next is not my idea of fun. I would have given the game a 0, but to be fair, it's probably a decent game if you like hard puzzles. Still, if you want an action game of this type try Landstalker instead, it still has hard puzzles (but not almost impossible puzzles), plus it has a good story, and lots of places to go. (That's my mini-review of Landstalker)
My final Rating: 3/10