Link is living the easy life. You know that when he's not out pummeling Ganondorf or stopping the moon from hitting the Earth in a deadly explosion, he's sitting back with Zelda in some tropical paradise. But that's just not right, especially when you consider how many other heroes go through extremely similar perils and have their tales thrown aside like a bag of moldy tangerines. One of these lesser-known swashbucklers is known as Corona, the crusader of Centy, and although he not only saved the day, but actually saved yesterday as well, his story is almost unheard of. That will change today! Here's my review.
Long ago, all was darkness. During this age of darkness, mankind lived in fear of monsters. Monsters were the epitome of evil at the time, twisted of limb and sharp of fang, and no man had the courage to face them in this world of eternal midnight. Then came the light. From out of nowhere, the sky was torn open, revealing radiant Sun in all her majestic glory. The time of monsters ended when the light came, blinding and killing the creatures instantly. Hardly any of them managed to escape, and they were forced to dwell in underground caves, away from the eternal vigil of the glowing orb of fire in the sky. Man grew in numbers, culture, and strength, and soon the bipeds ruled over the face of the Earth.
The monsters were by no means gone. After many centuries, sightings of them began to increase, and again, terror began to fill mankind. Beasts of all sizes began to cover the plains and hills, and no traveler was truly safe. Mankind could only make one response. The war was vicious and costly, and all males who reached the age of fourteen were drafted. Armed with their wits, their swords, and no training except for what they managed to salvage from the war academy, the children marched out and the crusade of Centy raged on. War is hell.
Corona was joyous. His fourteenth birthday had finally arrived, and as tradition dictates, he was now going to receive his father's sword. His father was brave, and many a monster spilled its blood upon his blade. The ceremony was brief and sadly interrupted due to a fireworks display and a hero coronation going on outside, but Corona now had his duty. He bravely went out into the world, but on the way, he wandered into a fortuneteller's hut. The crafty sorceress cast a spell upon the child, giving him the ability to speak with beasts and flowers, yet costing him the ability to converse with his kin. Now, weighted down with a terrible fate, Corona must search the world for a cure to his condition while aiding those in need and stopping the monster horde. Happy birthday, Corona!
Like I mentioned at the top, Crusader of Centy is almost a clone of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the SNES. You control Corona from your bird's eye view as he cleanses the globe of all evil monster forces, but he's not exactly alone. Along the way, you meet animals that decide to join you, and each one grants you a new special ability, much like the items in Zelda grant Link new powers. Also, your animals can team up for a combo attack that will usually increase the effect of their abilities.
However, while Link's new powers were fun and interesting (Freeze a bad guy and hit him with a hammer for instant hilarity), most of Corona's powers were only useful for solving a few puzzles. Aside from getting one item and beating one boss, I never used the dodo's glue sword once, and the butterfly's guided sword attack was equally unused. Most of them were useful though, and I would have used them more if it weren't for two animals that I just got really used to and could never stay away from for too long, but that's another story.
The animals make up all of your special moves except for a sword swing, a sword throw, jumping,
and block pushing. There is no experience to gain, but the enemy sometimes drops money in the form of Malins. Your life is in the form of an Apple Meter, and eating apples will refill the bar by one point. You can increase this bar by eating Golden Apples or by beating a boss. Now, let's move on to the levels.
Movement from one area to another is done on a world map, and whenever you have passed through a certain area, a new one will appear afterwards and you are allowed to backtrack through the newly beaten area whenever you want to. Inside of these areas, you walk around chopping up enemies and solving block-pushing and block-hitting puzzles that usually require help from your furry, feathery, and fin-bearing friends. While most of the puzzles are similar, the enemies are not. From tree trunks to sand worms, Corona battles a nice variety of monsters throughout the entire game, and although those of Zelda were more varied and better by far (So I'm a little prejudiced, big deal), each enemy is different and requires its own method of disposal.
When you hit an enemy, there is usually no form of stun effect on it, but it does gain invincibility. This makes most enemies that require more than one hit very annoying.
Traps are spread throughout the land as evenly as everything else. Lava streams, spike pits, conveyor belts, and falling coconuts are just a few of the things to watch out for. Mix the damage caused by the enemies with the pain induced by the pre-mentioned pitfalls, and you've gotten a game that you shouldn't try to run through. The levels are winding pathways for the most part, and this gives you very few opportunities to make a break for it. Also worth mentioning is the fact that unlike the secret-riddled Zelda 3, Crusader has very few bonus things to find except for one animal and the Golden Apples. Aside from that, there is no replay value.
There are four towns in all, but only one of them has a shop, and that shop only sells one item once. This gives you very little reason to waste time collecting Malins to buy stuff with. You can find partner-for-hire shops scattered about the globe, and here, you can rent a friend who will give you a hand when necessary. These guys leave after being used, but can be lifesavers in certain situations. There are no usable items and only a few key items.
The boss fights were disappointing both in quantity and quality. Although they were big and shiny, and I never fought an evil rope before, none of the bosses were able to put up any challenge. The biggest problem was that they had far too little life, resulting in very short battles. I beat the last boss in about three minutes, and if I can do that on my first try, it's too easy. Also, the game itself is a little on the short side, and this limits the actual number of bosses in the game. The game does have some nice points, but the fun factor was just missing something. Gameplay gets a 74%.
Visually, the game stands out much better than it does in gameplay. It all starts with a nice little cinematic sequence that explains the story, earning a few rating points right there. The actual game is also enjoyable, using colorful sprites for almost all of the characters (One boss is built into the background). There is a fair amount of detail in most of the things you find, and I have to commend the game's makers for the smooth movement of your sword swing (I know it sounds weird, but that was one of the first things I noticed when I started the game).
The areas are your usual volcanoes, forests, and so on, but they all look decent. One of the few real negatives in the game would be that slow down occurs whenever too many sprites appear on the screen at
once, but that stuff happens. Also, the bosses ranged from corny to confusing, and only one of them actually looked at all impressive. Although it wasn't breathtaking or remarkable, the Graphics of Crusader had a happy feel to them, earning an 86%.
The music of Crusader of Centy was good enough, having some variety and not getting on your nerves. There is really very little to say here, considering that it was basically just high quality RPG filler music, and although you won't be humming it for months after you've beaten the game, you also will have no problem listening to it either. In any case the sound effects also turn out the same way. While nothing in it really bugged me, nothing in it seemed to touch me. There was absolutely no voice acting, but considering the quality of it at the time, it wasn't missed. Sound/Music gets an 83%.
About thirty minutes into the game, you lose the ability to talk to humans and gain the ability to talk to animals. It isn't until well into the game that you gain human speech again. Although I loved hearing about the problems of animals, I got sick of hearing about how bad humans are after a while.
Aside from Corona, there are no real side characters of importance, and those who do show up get out of the spotlight as soon as the quest involving them is over. Throw in a plot that has very little advancement until the end and a translation job that deserves a little mockery (Elephant says, "Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? How are you?" You can respond with a "Yes" or a "No") and you have yourself one anemic Storyline. Although there was a nice twist in the ending and there were a few somewhat emotional scenes, there isn't much here that you can't get anywhere else. Storyline gets a 72%.
The controls were about average, having only a few problems here and there. While everything was responsive, the battles still had a few bugs to work out. When you swung your sword at an enemy, you would sometimes see it come into contact with the beast and pass through without leaving a scratch, and
you wind up completely unprepared for the counter attack. Fortunately, most battling is done with the oh-so-accurate sword throw. Aside from that the Controls worked out well enough and get an 80%.
He doesn't have more gadgets than James Bond. So what? He lacks a cool, pointy hat and only has a bandana. Is that a problem? He only fights corny, pathetic looking bosses. That's nothing to be ashamed of, is it? Well maybe a little. And all of those gadgets were really cool. And I liked that hat… Okay, so Corona isn't half as much a hero as Link, but that doesn't mean that his game was bad. Overall, Crusader of Centy gets an average 82%.
Gameplay - Pushing, pulling, and breaking blocks never felt so good. 74%
Graphics - Look at the King's big ears! HAHAHA! 86%
Sound/Music - A little better than run-of-the-mill. 83%
Storyline - Like any Jean Claude Vann Damme movie, it's weak in the beginning
and rushed at the end, violent the whole way through… 72%
Controls - Not bad or good. 80%
Overall - I guess you have to earn that tropical paradise. 82%