The Crystal Key
MacintoshLet me just get this out of the way right at the very beginning. The Crystal Key is my cup of tea. In fact, I'd like to coin a new term that dim-witted shooter fanatics who have no concept of what an adventure game comprises can start calling the games I love (so they can avoid having to go there and think for a change) ... "Riven clone." I guess this sort of articulates where I stand as far as my allegiance to the graphic interface adventures popularized in the last five years. This is just a good, old-fashioned, inventory-based adventure game, with some really pleasing and appealing graphics. The farther I went into the game, the more I enjoyed it.
WindowsLet me just get this out of the way right at the very beginning. The Crystal Key is my cup of tea. In fact, I'd like to coin a new term that dim-witted shooter fanatics who have no concept of what an adventure game comprises can start calling the games I love (so they can avoid having to go there and think for a change) ... "Riven clone." I guess this sort of articulates where I stand as far as my allegiance to the graphic interface adventures popularized in the last five years. This is just a good, old-fashioned, inventory-based adventure game, with some really pleasing and appealing graphics. The farther I went into the game, the more I enjoyed it.
WindowsFor a first effort, Earthlight Productions has created a fun, attractive, and satisfying adventure-puzzle experience. While not at the top of the heap in any single dimension, and although needing particular improvement in the audio department, this release contains no fatal design flaws, either. Everything is well thought out and nicely integrated. The Crystal Key has certainly unlocked my curiosity as to what Earthlight and DreamCatcher can produce together in the future.
WindowsIt's a game that's marketed towards the same people who bought Myst and Riven (which, like it or not, is a very large market). Quite simply, if you hated Myst you're not likely to find any enjoyment in The Crystal Key. But, if you liked Myst and other graphical adventure games like it, or even if you're neutral about them, I think you'll appreciate the gorgeous visuals and the cool puzzles. It may have a cheesy story and average sound, but there's an addictive quality about it that's difficult to describe, and you'll find yourself playing it much later into the night than you intended. This, combined with the low system requirements, makes The Crystal Key a title all adventure game fans should seriously consider. With graphics on the upcoming next-generation systems and consoles able to render comparable images to The Crystal Key's pre-rendered shots in real-time, this may be one of the last true adventure games.
WindowsUltimately, the Crystal key is a standard adventure game with a decent story but stuck with a QuickTime-based engine. The game is interesting, but there is very little interaction with other characters. Bottom Line: Good storyline, outdated game engine. Puzzles are good, but not as imaginative as I'd prefer. Long load times. Game is susceptible to lockups and crashes.
MacintoshI don't mean to make The Crystal Key a victim of my current dissafection with adventure games: it is, on the whole, a solid offering, and if Myst/Riven-style of gameplay is still something that turns you on, you will get your twenty dollars' worth out of this title. But if you are looking for innovation and surprise, you won't find them here: the game adheres strictly to the same familiar conventions, and despite some pretty graphics and preplexing puzzles, it lacks any distinctive character of its own.
MacintoshDespite its faults and my preconceptions, The Crystal Key became one of those games that kept me up well past my bedtime. The puzzles (the ones that made sense, anyway) were intriguing enough to keep me at them, and the worlds were so attractively designed that before I quit the game I always had to explore just beyond those trees. Now inside that cave. Now over by that building.
WindowsThis one is a worthwhile diversion for those of you who appreciate the solitary exploration of Myst-style games, and specifically for Science Fiction fans who appreciate futuristic technology. It isn't a long game but it contains some interesting and novel puzzles and demands a good deal of exploration as you travel back and forth between worlds to complete the quest. But, take note, it has some problems, particularly with saving your games. The good news is that there is a patch already available at the DreamCatcher Website.
WindowsIt looks sort of like Myst, it sounds sort of like Myst, and the storyline is really very Myst-like. But it most definitely isn’t Myst. Not by a long shot.
MacintoshSo, I'm sorry to have to say that I found the Crystal Key rather disappointing. Some of the puzzles are quite interesting in themselves, and the graphics are good if not exceptional. To be fair, if this is the sort of game that you really enjoy then it'll undoubtedly keep you occupied for a reasonable length of time. I just feel that it's way behind the times, and less well conceived than it ought to be. It's fine as far as it goes (and at least there aren't any annoying distractions like the irritating robot in the Journeyman Project 3), but other games have already done very similar things much better. My overall impression is that, in terms of approach and general style, the Crystal Key is trying hard to be another Myst or Riven. Unfortunately it doesn't succeed.
WindowsThe opening could have been the basis for an action game, but The Crystal Key is pure adventure. When you step outside your spaceship, your eyes feast upon beautiful blue sky, lush green grass and trees. In the distance, a lone building beckons you. On with the adventure!
WindowsThe Crystal Key spielt sich wie Myst, nur schlechter. Wenn solche Hobbyisten-Ware den derzeitigen Zustand des Adventure-Genres repräsentiert, ist es höchste Zeit für Kondolenzbriefe. Zähe Bedienung, uninteressante Story und verschimmelte Technik begleiten die ebenso spärlichen wie hirnverbrannten Puzzles. Auch wenn die Lust nach einem neuen Adventure tief in Ihren Eingeweiden lodert, sollten Sie dieses Billigpreis-Teufelszeug besser meiden. Sparen Sie stattdessen lieber auf Monkey Island 4 oder Simon 3D, die letzten Hoffnungen aller Abenteurer.
WindowsThe best I can surmise is that the Arkonians were another in a long line of races or civilizations, alien or otherwise, who came under attack by some evil force and, although they apparently possessed the necessary means to defeat said foe (judging by the trail of breadcrumbs and nifty gadgets they left for me), decided instead to flee their world in the hopes that a lone adventurer would eventually come along and do it for them. Why should I do their dirty work for them? Why should I take it upon myself to defeat the apparently evil Ozgar? The answer to these questions is the same one that I’m certain I will one day give at my competency hearing: “Because a floating head told me to.”
MacintoshOn remarquera toutefois la qualité du travail d’Alsyd, qui a adapté le jeu en version française. On soulignera la formidable prestation des doubleurs, qui ont réalisé un sans faute. Les dialogues et les monologues sont parfaitements cohérents, collent à l’action et surtout le « dynamise ». l est rare dans l’industrie du jeu vidéo, d’un tel souci pour le doublage. On félicitera Alsyd et on espérera qu’ils poursuivront une si bonne voie… Reste que Crystal Key est loin d’être une merveille. Produit tout public par sa facile prise en main et son caractère ludique, il n’en reste pas moins pénible, classique et moche. Crystal Key est un Myst-like, Crystal-Key est même la copie conforme de Myst. Pour un jeu sorti 6 ans plus tard, c’est navrant…