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Video Game: Crystal Caves
One day, I'll be rich enough to afford the cure for my decolorizing skin condition!
A 1991 side-scrolling Platform Game (or rather, a series thereof) by Apogee Software (now 3D Realms), Crystal Caves features the unlucky space trader Mylo Steamwitz as he searches mines of the Altairian system for crystals so that he can invest into several get-rich-quick schemes. On his way, of course, he runs into countless monsters, hazards, locked doors, power-ups and other standard platforming fare. The goal on each level is to collect all the crystals and get to the exit.

The game was actually released as three separate episodes, each one featuring new levels and some minor changes in graphics. The first one was made available for free as a teaser, while the next two were available for purchase. The game is still sold on the 3D Realms website.

Not to be confused with Crystal Castles.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Title
  • Artistic License - Physics: Some levels have "low gravity". This does not mean that you fall more slowly or that you can jump higher. Instead, shooting your pistol causes you to recoil backwards. When standing on the ground, the difference between normal and low gravity could be explained by noting that the amount of friction is proportional to your weight. However, the same difference occurs in midair.
  • Attackable Pickup: Some of the levels have five eggs scattered throughout. Shooting an egg instead of picking it up turns it into a letter. If all five letters are collected, the player receives a large score bonus. (The uncracked eggs are worth 1000 points each, while the individual letters are just 100 points each without the bonus for all five.)
  • BFG: Your pistol fires rockets.
  • Blackout Basement: Several levels in the series are like this, though they tend to come with a light-switch somewhere. One of them has inverted gravity to confuse you even more.
  • Collision Damage: All the enemies, as usual in platformers. Two enemies leave behind corpses that harm you on touch.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The shareware episode has a sign reading "Winners Don't Do Drugs" on the overworld map.
  • Explosive Decompression: There is one air generator on each level; if you shoot it, the vacuum rushes in and Mylo immediately explodes.
  • Floating Platforms: Which can be switched on and off.
  • Forced Tutorial: The text boxes which appear every time you come upon something new. Even if you just restored an old game!
  • Get Rich Quick Scheme: Mylo's motivation in all three games. He's apparently famous enough for falling for these that this earned him an entry in the Galactic Encyclopedia.
  • Gravity Screw: Some levels have low gravity, a couple have reversed gravity, and some levels include a timed pickup for temporary reversed gravity. The God Mode cheat code also allows you to reverse gravity whenever you want.
  • Guerrilla Boulders: Some levels have the sign "Falling Rocks"—guess what keeps happening there?
  • Hearts Are Health: Your Life Meter is made out of these.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Scattered around, can be opened for score if you find a key.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The very rare red mushroom.
  • Invisible Block: As usual, they show up when you bump them from below.
  • Jump Physics: You always jump a fixed distance, and can steer freely in mid-air.
  • Level Goal: Represented by rather complex-looking, big mechanical doors.
  • No Damage Run: You get a reward after finishing a level if you pull it off.
  • Poison Mushroom: The green mushroom kills you instantly when you touch it.
  • Segmented Serpent: A green snake-like enemy.
  • Shareware: As with many other DOS games of the time, the first episode is free as a teaser.
  • Side View
  • Spelling Bonus: The letters in the eggs (see Attackable Pickup above).
  • Stalactite Spite: Some of the stalactites fall with a loud sound effect as you pass underneath.
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: The crystals are the size of Mylo. How can he carry tens of them is anyone's guess.
  • Underground Level: All of them!
  • Unwinnable by Design: Some levels require pre-planning or trial and error to get through without getting stuck. This especially applies to levels with the gravity reversing, invincibility, or gun upgrade powerups, all of which last for a limited duration. Thankfully, you can retry any number of times.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: In the third episode, two of the levels in The Hub are located in an area that you can't jump out of. If you drop down into the area before completing all the other levels, you're stuck. Thankfully, it is possible to leave via cheat codes.
  • Wall Master: A purple reptile (it also has a cameo on the title screen).

Cosmo's Cosmic AdventureCreator/Apogee SoftwareDark Ages
Crystal CaliburnVideo Games of the 1990sDancing Blade: Katte ni Momotenshi!
CrocPlatform GameCrystal Towers 2
CrusaderIBM Personal ComputerCyberia

alternative title(s): Crystal Caves
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