North American cover art
Light Crusader[a] is an action-adventure game developed by Treasure and published by Sega for their Sega Genesis console in 1995. The game was included in the Sega Genesis Classics collections on Steam and other platforms in 2010. It was also included on the Sega Genesis Mini in North America and Sega Mega Drive Mini in PAL regions.
The game is played from an isometric viewpoint. Players can move freely, jump, and push objects. They can execute simple sword slashes, use four magic elements in different combinations, and use items for various effects. Gameplay is a mix of action, puzzle solving, and platforming for the most part, with the usual role-playing staples like towns, shops, equipment, and spellcasting. The player controls Sir David as he travels through an assortment of dungeons, battling creatures such as "slime", solving puzzles to advance and saving those who were kidnapped. An auto-map feature keeps the focus on action and single-room puzzles, rather than mazes or labyrinths.
Sir David is invited to visit Green Row after a recent journey. He has not been there for a long time and was eager to return. However, the king informs David that townspeople have been disappearing. The king asks him to search for the missing people. After finding a hidden stairway in the graveyard, he discovers a large dungeon of many floors underneath the town.
In the dungeon, as he begins to find the missing people, he gradually learns the story of an evil wizard named Ragno Roke, who was angered by the queen's rejection of his marriage proposal. As revenge, Lord Roke has planned to use the kidnapped townspeople as a sacrifice to reawaken the evil demon Ramiah, sealed long ago in the dungeon. As David descends, he passes through a town of goblins, and a guild of wizards who have been operating in the dungeon.
At the end of the game, David confronts both Roke and Ramiah. At this point the townspeople have been rescued, but Roke tells David that his own life would be sufficient revive Ramiah and sacrifices himself, bringing Ramiah to life for a final battle with David. After a victory, David leaves on horseback.
Mean Machines Sega praised the graphics and unique mixture of gameplay elements. They criticized that the game is often too easy and dull, and compared it unfavorably to Beyond Oasis (referred to by its European title, The Story of Thor) for longevity, but nonetheless gave it a very positive assessment, calling it "A superlative arcade adventure with great playability."
The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly praised the graphics, but all but one of them gave the game an overall negative assessment, saying that the perspective severely hinders visibility, the combat is clunky, the lack of story makes the game less involving and creates difficulty figuring out where to go next, and there is too much of an emphasis on puzzles.
A reviewer for Next Generation said that the game design reflected Treasure's experience with action games, but that the non-action elements such as the puzzles and storyline are overly shallow, and the isometric perspective creates control difficulties. He concluded, "Light Crusader is still one of the more exciting and graphically pleasing Genesis titles that has come out recently, but this is by no means a RPG."
GamePro's The Unknown Gamer commented that the graphics and music are impressive in parts, but that the game is less challenging and complex than most RPGs, and that the player character maneuvers poorly, "with nowhere near the range or fluidity of movement of Ali in Beyond Oasis." However, he concluded, "In the end, Light Crusader gets a passing grade because of some cool bosses and interesting puzzle challenges."
Hobby Consolas commended the pseudo-3D isometric visuals, gameplay, presentation and sound, stating that "Light Crusader fills an important void in the Mega Drive's role-playing game's library; the one that goes from pure role to adventure and nothing else."
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We goofed with our Light Crusader review last ish. Instead of the paltry 80% we scored it, it should have read 89%. That was down to a production error.
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