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Mylo Steamwitz, an enterprising space trader, is always involved in one get-rich-quick scheme or another. Throughout the Crystal Caves trilogy he repeatedly sets out to the perilous mines of the Altairian system, hoping to collect enough crystals to start a profitable business. The shareware version only has the first episode available; the registered version consists of three installments, packed as separate executables.

Crystal Caves is a side-scrolling platform game, where the objective is to finish all levels, collecting every single crystal within. On his way, Mylo is threatened by numerous monsters, such as bats, robots, mine carts or dinosaurs; there are also a lot of hazards such as stalactites and stalagmites, pipes which leak harmful water or poisonous mushrooms which kill instantly. Mylo has three health points, and if he is harmed enough times to deplete them all, he dies (but thankfully he has unlimited lives). To defend himself, Mylo has a missile pistol, which is able to take out most enemies, but not all. Many levels require the player to act fast and plan beforehand, as it's easy to get Mylo stuck in an impossible-to-win situation - if this happens, the level must be restarted.

Apart from the crystals, the levels contain a lot of items to collect: ammunition for the pistol, bonus items such as pickaxes or purple mushrooms that give score, and eggs which turn into letters when shot - collecting all 5 letters (B, O, N, U, S) on a level gives a lot of points, but it's not always easy to get them! It's also possible to find a power-up that reverses gravity when picked up, another one which gives your pistol the power to kill every enemy, a stop sign which freezes all enemies and makes them harmless and a red mushroom which allows you to kill enemies by running into them. These power-ups last only for a limited time though, so be careful, as they are always instrumental to victory!


Crystal Caves DOS Notice the sign at the bottom of this screen!
Crystal Caves DOS Entering "elevator" doors leads to many different rooms.
Crystal Caves DOS Apogee Splash Screen
Crystal Caves DOS Riding a platform across a troop of poisonous mushrooms.

Promo Images

Crystal Caves Screenshot
Crystal Caves Screenshot
Crystal Caves Screenshot
Crystal Caves Screenshot


Part of the Following Group

User Reviews

A great game with satisfying cinematics, great graphics and sound, and gameplay mechanics akin to Super Mario Bros. 3 DOS Katakis | カタキス (42875)
Old but still fun platform game. DOS Chad Sell (3)
Gameplay at its best. DOS Tomer Gabel (4634)
Arcade fun and lovable levels. DOS Andrew Shepard (1411)
Great classic apogee game. DOS Attila (584)

Critic Reviews

Freegame.cz DOS May 10, 2003 89 out of 100 89
The Good Old Days (Staff Reviews only) DOS Jan 19, 2020 4 out of 6 67


Topic # Posts Last Post
Three games conflated into one entry! 10 Foxhack (31821)
Jun 19, 2009



Crystal Caves uses the same game engine as another one of Apogee's games, Secret Agent.


October 24th, 2005, Apogee released patched v1.0a shareware versions (and patches for registered versions) of old play-alike games Crystal Caves and Secret Agent after discovering that quitting these games under some installs of Windows XP (an operating environment that wasn't a twinkle in Bill Gates' eye at the time of these games' release) in some cases set the system clock back a century!

Credit for the fix goes to Peter "DOSBox" Veenstra and Crystal Caves' original programmer Frank Maddin; as the press release likes to point out, patching these titles up to 14 years after their initial release "has to be some kind of record."

The patched shareware version of Crystal Cave can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.3drealms.com/share/1cc10a.zip ; the patch for registered versions can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.3drealms.com/patches/cc10apt.zip


  • The title of Part One of Crystal Caves, 'The Troubles with Twibbles is very much alike to an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, which had an episode titled The Troubles with Tribbles. Scott Miller - the game designer - is said to be a fan of Star Trek.
  • There are numerous references to another Apogee platformer - Commander Keen, hidden in the game. Keen is listed on the default high score list, his famous helmet can be found many times throughout the game, and there is a mention about Yorp herding.


Like most Apogee platformers Crystal Caves is actually a trilogy. The first part of the trilogy is shareware, the other two parts are not. The names of the three episodes are:
  1. Vol 1:Troubles with Twibbles
  2. Vol 2: Slugging it out
  3. Vol 3: Milo versus the Supernova
Information also contributed by DreamWeaver, Roedie, Pseudo_Intellecual and SpikeNexus

Version Differences

In the original DOS version, the game's border will change color from red to green when all crystals have been collected and the level can be exited. This feature is not emulated in the DOSBox emulator (which the official releases for Windows, Mac and Linux use), thus the player has to rely on only a sound cue to mark this.

Related Web Sites

Contributed to by lights out party (61740) and Derrick 'Knight' Steele (2415)
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