- Original release year: 1995
- Consoles: Mega Drive/Genesis
Light Crusader is an action RPG for the Sega Mega Drive (AKA Genesis) developed by game legends, Treasure. This game initially received fairly mixed reviews. Whilst it’s not a bad game, you have to appreciate that Treasure have created some of the best games ever, so it was always going to be hard to match the quality they had previously set. Light Crusader was one of the first action adventure RPGs I had ever played and it still remains a good title. I’ve always loved the graphics and mixture of action and puzzles.
Light Crusader tells the story of a top swordsman known as David travelling to a town called Green Row. The king sent for David after people started to mysteriously disappear from the town. It’s up to you to play as David and discover the truth behind the disappearances.
The game plays in a pseudo 3D isometric viewpoint, giving it quite a unique Western appearance for an action RPG. This at times can create problems however, with combat being fiddly or platforming aspects causing a problem as views are obstructed. Nonetheless the isometric view doesn’t prove to be too much of a problem most of the time. As the game starts, most of the game involves solving puzzles, progressing through the dungeon and combat against enemies. In many ways it plays fairly like the Zelda series. You will continue to advance through the dungeons as the story will gradually unwrap, at times you will also face bosses. Some of these are fairly simple and easy, but others can prove to be really difficult.
Light Crusader was one of my favourite games as a child, but as I’ve grown, I have come to realise that whilst this is not a bad game by any means, there are far better examples of the genre out there. That doesn’t make this game bad however. It certainly does have its own unique features that help to make this game stand out from the crowd, although not always accomplished too well, it is still fairly original in its execution. Unlike many RPGS, this game does not feature multiple villages and different dungeons en route to villages. Instead this game focuses around one main village and one huge dungeon that players must work their way through. This is something that I absolutely love about the game, with its huge emphasis placed on puzzle solving.
In addition, similar to Treasure’s classic Gunstar Heroes, there is the use of a magic system available in this game. Many traditional RPGs have used a magic system, but until Light Crusader very few action adventure games with real time combat had featured a magic system. There are 4 magic elements available (earth, wind, fire and water) which can be used on their own against enemies, or combined in different combinations to create more powerful attacks. When not using magic, combat using a sword (much like Zelda) is your normal offence against enemies.
The graphics and sounds in this game often divide critics. Some applaud the advanced isometric graphics, whilst some have criticised some of the animations as being basic or dull. The music at times can be terrific, really adding to the atmosphere in the game, but other times it can be a little off. The same can be said for the sound effects. The inclusion of voice effects however is very nice.
I’ve seen this game be called “Treasure’s worst game”, but if anything in my opinion that merely highlights the strength of Treasure’s games, as this is still a good game, at least it is to me. Despite the fiddly controls. Adventure and RPG fans should not be disappointed with this and it would be a great addition to your collection. Just don’t go expecting it to match the brilliance of titles like Zelda.