So this may be a short review but I have something special on Friday. Unfortunately, everytime I search for this game on YouTube, all I see is Sailor Moon Crystal. So, it’s time to play another Famicom game…and nothing more. Moon Crystal (ムーンクリスタル), developed and published by Hector and was released in 1992 in Japan only.
So there’s a pendant called the Moon Crystal, which holds magical powers and it varies from whoever want to use it for; good or evil. You play as Ricky Slater, who has a father that works as a scientist. However, Ricky’s father, as well as other people in Cirrus Village was kidnapped by one Count Crimson. The Count forces Ricky’s father to create a device known as the Unisystem. By using the power of the Moon Crystal, he will use the Unisystem to resurrect the dead and take over the world. It’s up to Ricky to save the day, with the help of a girl named Rosina. Who is Rosina? You have to play the game. The plot maybe basic but is told using cutscenes Ala Ninja Gaiden and it has some unique plot points. The designs of the characters in the cutscenes look like something from Studio Ghibli, though the only character that looks out of place is Ricky himself, with his green hair and pop anime look, he stands out for all the wrong reasons.
We have a platformer where you go around slicing enemies with your puny sword. Well that’s mostly the game, go from a to b, fight bosses and repeat until you finish the game. But taking a book from Prince of Persia, Ricky moves very fluently. His sprite animation is very smooth despite the character sprite not being the most detailed. You get power-ups like hearts and even a double jump, something you usually don’t see on an NES game at the time.
Whilst the smooth sprite animation is pretty good, it does come at a cost. It can sometimes be unresponsive, especially when you play the game overtime, it doesn’t work for the level design the developers made, moving about doesn’t feel right. And then there is the knife Ricky has. It’s incredibly small and can be rarely difficult to hit enemies, but then there are the bosses and the knife is a complete nightmare since most bosses will have long range attacks and you have to get up close and personal to them, you won’t make it with a few pieces of health. So apparently, you can deal more damage by hitting bosses’ heads, but it’s incredibly wonky and doesn’t work for most of the time. So when it comes to difficulty, it’s because of faulty gameplay
The graphics are quite detailed and memorable but the character designs, especially for the bosses look cheap, they look like they came from a Chinese bootleg game. The music is stocky and nothing to write home about, though I do like the boss battle music.
Overall, Moon Crystal had potential to be a classic but small innovation kept it from being near perfect. Though I would recommend giving it a try, it’s short, it’s good but is a very flawed game.
You can get it on the Famicom, but since the physical copy is highly expensive, you may as well play a ROM of it and patch the game to make it English.