Light Crusader

Sega/Shin Force 
| Sega Genesis Review

Sega/Shin Force > Systems > Sega Genesis > Reviews

Shin Force ~ Genesis ~
Light Crusader
Geoffrey Duke
16 Megabit
Import / Domestic
May 26, 1995
May 25, 1995
1995 (EUR)
6 Button
     > I always find it unjust when people judge older games by modern standards. You need to remember that older games came out in a different time, and were limited by the hardware of the time. This fact seems to be lost on many people.

     > Light Crusader is an isometric action/RPG created by Treasure, the same developer that created Gunstar Heroes, Guardian Heroes and Ikaruga. I was honestly surprised when they made an RPG when considering their history, but they always aimed to make original games. As long as Treasure make quality games, who am I to argue?

     > You play the role of a knight named David who has returned home. Of course, evil is running amok and you must embark on a long journey to hunt it down. What makes this game unique and unlike other RPGs of the time is that you fight tons of bosses on top of solving tons of logic puzzles that often require the player to physically move objects. You can find or buy new weapons and armor, jump attack and hack and slash your way through enemies like a typical action/RPG. There's also some platform jumping every now and then.

     > There's less emphasis on RPG elements in Light Crusader (such as interacting with NPCs), and much more emphasis on combat and puzzles. The game has a nice balance of the two. However, I'd understand if modern gamers are frustrated by the latter. In that case play something else. People should know beforehand what they sign up for instead of expecting an old RPG to play like a modern RPG. Remember: it was a different time.

     > I find it amusing that in 2015, Light Crusader has a politically incorrect name. Even more reason to play it and spread the word. It might drive some people mad. Fact: the last Crusade was over 700 years ago. Jihadis still exist today. It seems like we are entering an era of censorship, but at least no one can take older games away from us (unless someone wipes them from the face of history).

     > The game uses a 2D isometric perspective which is basically diagonal graphics drawn in 2D to create the illusion of 3D. I wouldn't say that these are the best graphics on the Mega Drive/Genesis but they are certainly above average and colorful. The 2D sprites are sharp and the backgrounds are detailed. There's a huge ancient underground dungeon with strange architecture. You really do feel like you have entered an underground dungeon of doom. 

     > The main character and enemies look more western than Japanese, and animate well. I have been spoiled by anime artwork and more cartoonish characters in RPGs, but I have no complaints regarding the graphics in general. It's a different style. The character portraits aren't the best though, but you rarely see them so it's not the end of the world.

     > The isometric perspective requires that you move diagonally. It's not for everyone no doubt. It might take some time to adjust if you are used to top down or third person or first person games. Otherwise everything is responsive and fluid. You can also move up, down, left and right, as well as move diagonally by pushing in diagonal directions (if using an emulator and keyboard you need to combine two different movement keys to form the medium direction to achieve this).
     > The music is good for the platform. Don't expect an orchestra. The music shifts from slow and intense music to fast paced beats depending on your location. It's almost as if the music constantly changes genres. That's a minor criticism though. I wish the music were more thematically consistent, but the music fits each zone's pace. The sound effects are clear and not out of sync. Surprisingly, there are some real voices in the game, but the quality is muffled a bit which I don't find surprising at all (given the platform).
     > Action, puzzles and huge bosses await, all while played from an isometric perspective. That's all you really need to know. The bosses are so huge that they fill the screen. This is a typical Treasure game. You need to kill many enemies before you can proceed through the game to the point where they can become overwhelming. You can use magic towards that end too. You also need to explore a lot and find keys to unlock doors blocking your path. As you'd expect, food scattered throughout dungeons restores health. It all comes together to form a very solid action/RPG that truly feels like an adventure.

     > Although not the best RPG on the Genesis, Light Crusader is one of the best RPGs of its time in my opinion. It won't take RPG veterans long to complete of course, but they should add it to their list of RPGs to play. As much as I loved the Mega Drive/Genesis, the Saturn had the greatest potential for RPGs in my opinion. I must return to my underrated Sega Saturn.

Bottom Line
     > Light Crusader is not as good as Landstalker, which is a much longer adventure with more character interaction, but it's a great action/RPG nonetheless, and is on par with Crusader of Centy and Beyond Oasis. The sprites are smaller than the ones seen in Landstalker and more western as opposed to anime-esque, but art style is a matter of taste. Any fan of oldschool RPGs should play this at least once. It's a very rewarding experience. To think... the last great game made by Treasure was Ikaruga in 2001. It truly is the end of an era. I'm starting to feel like an old man.
Overall: 9.0 | Graphics: 8.9 | Control: 9.2 | Sound: 8.6 | Fun: 9.3
~ Geoffrey Duke ~


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