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   Crusader of Centy - Reader Retroview  

Cleanse the Land
by JuMeSyn

Click here for game information
PLATFORM
Genesis
BATTLE SYSTEM
4
INTERACTION
4
ORIGINALITY
3
STORY
3
MUSIC & SOUND
3
VISUALS
4
CHALLENGE
Very Easy
COMPLETION TIME
Less than 20 Hours
OVERALL
3.5/5
+ Fun action-RPG that resembles the Legend of Zelda
+ Audiovisual emphasis on 'colorful' and 'charming'
- A bit too easy...?
- Rather linear
Click here for scoring definitions 

   The Sega Genesis had a strong and varied library of good games. Though not as widely known, then and now, the system does sport a reasonable selection of RPGs in their various sub-permutations. Crusader of Centy, released inexplicably as Ragnacenty in Japan and Soleil in Europe, will certainly suffice for any seeking a fun and straightforward action-RPG on the system. The game can be accused of being derivative (which it was to an extent even by 1994's standards), but enough is fresh here to keep the game on the 'inspired by the Legend of Zelda' level instead of the 'blatant rip-off' territory.

   As a title clearly inspired by the Legend of Zelda, Crusader of Centy follows a certain action-RPG blueprint. Action takes place from a top-down perspective, enemies are engaged on the screen without any menus, most enemies drop money upon death but not experience, the hero's life bar goes up once a boss is beaten and when items are located to do it, the hero has a sword that is the primary means of combating enemies, and secondary items can be equipped. What differentiates Crusader of Centy from a Zelda game is a fair amount, however. The 'items' in this title are actually animals that grant different abilities to the hero. A cheetah grants the ability to run, a penguin grants the sword ice power, a dinosaur is able to cross terrain that would stop the player otherwise, etc. Shortly into the game the hero learns how to jump, which will be a vital skill. Aside from the sword, the hero has no means of combating enemies; fortunately the sword can be thrown regardless of remaining health. Enemies are also much stingier with cash cough-ups than they are in Zelda titles; every enemy gives up one. Their stinginess would be a bigger issue if there were plenty of things to buy, but aside from a few animals that must be re-hired once their services have been tendered there is little use for cash in Crusader of Centy.

A trifle early for self-promotion on Atlus A trifle early for self-promotion on Atlus's part, given how many spelling mistakes crept into the game.

   Controls are pretty good in all respects. There is a tendency to have the hero fall from platforms too easily, but this is ameliorated by the long life bar. An oddity with the control is that the hero does not immediately toss his sword in the direction he is now facing if this required a swift turn; instead it will be cast off to the side, necessitating a bit of thought by the player so that time is not wasted. Those are the only control issues, save terrain that is confounding by design. Jumping and attacking are smooth, navigation is easy, and switching between animal aides is free of difficulty.

   The tale told herein postulates that monsters once dominated the earth but were banished from its surface once light appeared. Though banished, monsters did not disappear, and whenever they can venture into the light humanity suffers. This is the backdrop for the game's beginning, in which the player-named hero (whose name in the manual is Corona) is exhorted to go forth and fight monsters because that is what this kingdom asks of its males upon their fourteenth birthdays. Fairly soon the young hero will find himself stripped of the ability to converse with humans, instead being able to speak to all animals. Towards the end it gets a bit confusing, and for being an Atlus translation there exist a lot of spelling issues, but as a whole the story works tolerably.

   The visuals are bright and full of color, which is all the more noteworthy when the Genesis's 64 simultaneous onscreen colors are considered. While not at the pinnacle of the console's abilities, Crusader of Centy looks very good for the Genesis. Its aural side is a bit of a disappointment when the credits reveal involvement from Noriyuki Iwadare. The music is certainly not bad and is quite catchy to hear, but it has already faded from my mind less than two hours after the game ended. In-game it works at delivering some very peppy tunes.

Don Don't jump into the drinking buckets. That's just mean.

   Challenge is minimal in Crusader of Centy. In all parts of the game save boss battles, the player can save at any time. Upon restarting a save no less than one full health bar (8 hits) will be granted, even if less than that was present for the save. Using this method the player can scout areas out and learn how not to take hits. Boss battles are interesting and unique, but also very easy. And should a player actually be in danger of death, one of the hirable animals is a cat that restores health fully upon death. Also, very few enemies or obstacles deal more than one HP of damage per hit, meaning that near the end the player will have to take a lot of hits in order to fall. The game can easily be completed inside of 20 hours, and there are no sidequests or optional content save a few animal companions to incite replay.

   Crusader of Centy does a lot of things right, yet the ease with which it can be conquered and the minimal incentive to explore its environments drag it down somewhat in my view. Certainly it is an enjoyable Genesis title, but the experience is already proving a bit ephemeral to me. The Legend of Zelda invocations throughout this review are apt, as anyone playing Crusader of Centy will make those comparisons also, but it is not the homage to that series which keeps this game from the top rank of Genesis titles. The game feels as if it should have accomplished more than it does, and been more memorable than it manages.

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