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Written by  :  Bregalad (972)
Written on  :  Aug 14, 2007
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Another NES platformer, yet an interesting game.

The Good

Conquest of the Crystal Palace is a NES platformer released in the middle of the NES' live. Back then, most games were platformers, so why bring any interest to it as he's not named Mario or Mega Man ? The answer is that a game is not all about a name. I know this game is not particularly well-known, however it's title is interesting enough to bring the attention of several gamers, including me.

This game is about a Chinese-style prince, Farron, who must make his way to a crystal palace to destroy evil forces inside to proof he is the true prince and nobody else, also his dog, Zap, helps him, as you can call him for help anytime, but he has his life bar and may die too.

So when starting a new game to what seems to be just another platformer, I immediately liked the game. A reason for it is with no doubt it's unusual Chinese-style graphics. I usually pay few attention to graphics, especially on the NES. However, the backgrounds are very detailed, and there is Buddhists statues and such relict pretty much everywhere in the background, this really add some feeling to the game. The background change it's color tone here and there in the first stage, which looks awesome. The objects, while not as detailed as the background, are still nice, as the player looks nice enough (it really look like a Chinese warrior), and his dog really look like a dog. Monsters looks good and inspired for the most part. The only bad point is that there really is a lot of flickering on the screen, which is a common problem among NES games, but this was really annoying in this particular game.

I liked how each level is completely different from others, one will be a place full of traps you must pass trough, in another one you'll have to avoid fireworks, and the last level is insane : It is a giant maze where it's nearly impossible to find your way through without a walkthrough (not to mention the numerous enemies). The game is very hard, so are the bosses. You can purchase items to help you from an annoying girl that takes advantage of her being alone to set incredibly high prices, and that can stand in any place full of danger without being wounded. There is also secret place where she practice lower prices, but they aren't easy to find. You can have different level of jumping and different weapons, which is a nice addition, but unfortunately they vanish after some amount of time regardless how good you play, which suck.

The music of this game is really awesome ! I love it, it features for the most part pseudo-Chinese tunes, but some scaring tunes too. The music of the first level is a masterpiece in itself. It really takes full advantage of the NES sound hardware.

The Bad

The game is sometimes just TOO hard, but I guess that was the standard way to do games back then. I didn't like some boss battles, as not only they are hard, but often you will fall to your doom while trying to avoid their attack (yes, there are pits at some boss battles). The bosses are not as interesting to fight as, say, in the Mega Man series, but they still provide some challenge.

My main problem is that the jumping is very hard to control, as the player seems to move linearly instead of doing a real jump (following a parabola), and the hit detection is mysterious sometimes.

The sound effects were really unvaried and annoying. Other than that my only complain is that the game is a little too short, only 5 levels for a such game, this is a shame. The levels are very long and hard, but still the game is short.

The Bottom Line

Conquest of the Crystal Palace is an overlooked classic on the NES platform, and a very good game overall. Because it has been developed by unknown companies (Quest and Asmik) it went unnoticed by most people, but I really thing this is a good platformer, with even features money and shops. The overall feeling of the game is awesome. Anyone liking NES platformers should give it a try. I doubt it's easy to find an actual copy, but if you do be sure to pick it up. Else download the game.