Written by  :  Jeanne (76599)
Written on  :  Jan 16, 2002
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  1.6 Stars1.6 Stars1.6 Stars1.6 Stars1.6 Stars

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Don't waste your money or your time. It's not worth the trouble.

The Good

The 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!

Following clues left behind by the former inhabitants, there are numerous puzzles to solve. Unfortunately, there is nobody else around. You wander alone, in Myst fashion, but this is definitely not Myst. At least the game is not linear, so you can pop in between the worlds as often as you wish.

Puzzles range from easy to medium in difficulty and some may keep you occupied for hours.

The Bad

The QuickTime engine used in this game caused me major grief. What should have been an easy grab-drag action became laborously slow and clumsy, sometimes infuriating me enough to hit my computer's reset button.

While the graphics are very realistic, one of the worlds is too much so. Players may find themselves helplessly lost in a jungle where all of the leaves, rocks and trees all look alike. Although not a maze, it felt like one as you attempt to find only two real places of interest there.

The inventory management is a bit clumsy. There are no descriptions offered for any of the items you pick up nor even a name for them. What in the world is that strange gizmo? You'll have no idea until you have to use it and then it is just plain luck.

Another major flaw was the ending. After solving all of the mysteries and saving the world, what you receive is a very short and anticlimatic ending. A simple thank you from the Arkonians, or a view of them returning to their homeworld, would have been sufficient. You are rid of the evil Ozgar, yes, but even his demise was too quick and I didn't feel any triumph - other to be glad to have finished the game.

The Bottom Line

Adventurers who liked Myst and its sequels might find The Crystal Key entertaining, if they can get beyond the bugs. Personally I wouldn't waste my time.