SNK, the makers of the Neo Geo arcade and home machine, used to be a third party licensee to Nintendo during the 8-Bit days. They did not continue this agreement with the release of the Super Nintendo though as they were pushing their own console rather hard. One thing that stands out about SNK’s Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games is that most were unique in some way. Take Crystalis for instance, the storyline is rather bleak and honestly depressing. Not something you saw in a Nintendo licensed game back then. This was a good several years prior to the bath Nintendo took when Mortal Kombat was released on the SNES and the “Play it Loud” ad campaign that followed.
During the 1980’s nuclear war was something that was greatly feared by most anyone that was old enough to understand what it meant. To gamers it was just a resetting of the stage that creates the game we are about to play. At least that is what Crystalis offered. The planet is destroyed in a nuclear war and 100 years have passed. Civilization has flourished again but it is a century or two behind what was around prior to the war. Thing are primitive. Except for that floating tower that the “rulers” live in.
We did see Crystalis make a return in a semi-remake that was released on the Nintendo Game Boy Color in 2000. This version took a lot of the key elements of Crystalis on the NES and changed them. These changes that Nintendo made in the re-release are covered in our article celebrating the Game Boy Color version’s release.
Crystalis never became a success but fans know it fondly. Those that don’t like it probably never played it. No matter what side of the fence you are on check out Ebay and get yourself a copy today.