Video Game / Crystal Story

Crystal Story is a series of flash games created by Emmanuel Salva Cruz. The gameplay is reminiscent of old-school role-playing games — you control a party of four and fight monsters in a turn-based style. The story follows the members of Mercenary Inc. and their adventures.

In the first Crystal Story, the group is approached by a man named Hiro with a rather self-centered task — find and capture the witch Rita, and allow him to take all the credit for it. Excited that they merely got a job, the party heads out to Evil Cave to carry it out.

In Crystal Story II, a dragon falls from the sky like a meteor. A girl spots him, and when they meet, she learns that he has a task to carry out — find the Oracle to avert an impending disaster. They set off, and soon uncover a more sinister plot at hand.

Crystal Story can be played here. Crystal Story II can be played here and has an HD Updated Re Release purchasable on Steam here.

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The Crystal Story games provide examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: If you talk to Mari at Dustop in the second game, she calls D "Mr. Meteor" after the latter's entry into the game world. D then proceeds to say his actual name, whatever you set it to, upsetting Mari in the process.
  • Always Accurate Attack: Basically any magic skill, especially in the second game. In other words, you can leave Blind Status uncured on your magic casters as long as you don't have them use physical skills.
  • An Ice Person: Reuben uses ice-based attacks. This carries over to the sequel when he joins D's party.
  • Antidote Effect: The first game has cure potions for each status ailment, and rarer potions to cure status ailments and (de)buffs. The sequel averts this, as the antidote (and the area-of-effect version, Panacea) cure any negative effects.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Some of the crafted weapons in the sequel can be random and may not give you what you need when (random buff/nerf weapons), or very situational. Unlike the more basic weapons, the stat increases from these are generaally not as high.
    • Among the situational weapons may include Last Stand weapons, which triple the user's dealt damage but makes them a Glass Cannon to the extreme!
    • Subverted with quite a few weapon effects, as they can be used practically by some. These include: "Buff plus", if you have a dedicated buff caster; "Nerf Plus" the same but with any bad effects, as stat debuffs prove useful agaist bosses despite their resistance to it; possibly "Guard Plus" (Guard skill now reflects some damage with improved defense), and Vampiric, which causes the user to drain a small percentage of HP everytime they deal damage.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Mari in the second game.
  • Archer Archetype: Kaeli in the first game. She wields a bow, and is a pretty emotionless person.
  • Badass Beard: Tristram and Reuben sport one in second game. While Reuben's is obviously fake, spotting that Tristram's is fake isn't that straightforward, since he has white hair.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Kaeli, Lina, and Rita.
  • Big Bad: Rita, obviously.
  • Blood Knight: Phoebe in the first game. Nearly everything she says involves smashing something or wanting to smash something.
  • Blow You Away: As well as lightning skills, Kaeli can learn a few tornado-related attacks. On top of that, wind is the element for lightning attacks anyway.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: The second game has a type of chestplate that simply adds to the wearer's max HP, and can be upgraded wthh scrap metal for an increased effect like most equiplment.
  • Boom, Headshot: One of Mari's dialogue lines reserved for using her Limit Break.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Most items are rather plentiful and quite useful. These include HP and MP healing potions, cure potions to clear negative effects, and feathers to revive fallen allies, with the upshot that they lose ALL buffs (and spend time recovering in the sequel).
    • Each character in the sequel has access to weapons that specialize in increasing one stat, out of physical strength (ATK), magical ability (MAG), or post-action recovery speed (SPD). As well, there are Jack-of-All-Stats weapons that increase the above three at the same rate, but not as much as the specialized ones.
  • Boss Corridor:
  • Boss Rush: The second game has a "Battle Arena" mode accessible from any of the five towns. In this, you can choose to fight multiple sidequest bosses at once, or multiple waves of of specific types of normal enemies. When you unlock Hard Mode, you can challenge the more difficult versions of these rushes as well!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Lina in the second game sometimes says "This game needs a harder difficulty!" as a victory line.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Reuben will hit on just about any woman he crosses.
  • Character Customization: You have a great amount of control as to what roles you want each character to play. There are some restrictions, like some characters only have access to some of the trees or their first class is pre-selected, but otherwise you have multiple choices as to who you want to be the physical attacker, magic user, and so on.
  • Character Name Limits: The Hello, [Insert Name Here] feature applies to all main party members in the second game, but names are limited to 8 characters in length.
  • Class and Level System: Each tree is named after an archetypal character class, like Fighter, Rogue, and Mage. Multiclassing is possible in the first game, and required in the second game.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In the first game, weapons that are geared towards magic have a blue aura, while those geared towards physical have a red one.
    • Color Coded Item Tiers: In the same game, text color indicates equipment tier. White is average, green is Greater, purple is Epic, and orange is Legendary. However, Legendary equipment, excluding rings and pendants, looks way different from even Epic equips of the same type.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Downplayed. Most bosses in both games are at least 50% resistant to debuffs (Stat X Break/Down) and 75%+ resistant to all status ailments (stun, silence, etc.) except poison. However, it is rare for them to be immune to non-stat-related ailments and impossible for regular stat debuffs.
    • Against tougher bosses, stat debuffs tend to be necessary for survival.
  • Critical Status Buff: Played in two ways in the sequel:
    • One of the equip types that plays this is any weapon with the "Last Stand" effect on it. If the user's health is 25% or less (yet obviously still above 0), his/her ATK and MAG stats are tripled for as long as the low-health condition lasts.
    • The other such equip type is any of 10 ball-and-chain-shaped "Last X" armors. These have the same low-health trigger as above, but they provide standard stat buffs (and/or Regen) whose duration is independent of how long the wearer has low health.
      • There's one "Last X" armor each for attack (ATK), magic (MAG), Physical defense (DEF), (elemental) Magic defense (MAG), post-action recovery, well, speed (SPD), and Regen (restores health over time). Then there's "Last Strength", which combines the ATK and DEF buffs, "Last Wisdom", which combines the MAG and MDEF buffs, and "Last Agility" which combines the SPD buff and Regen status. Finally, "Last All", which gives the wearer all six of the aforementioned buffs, but is very rare!
    • Inverted with the feather-shaped "Start" armors, which give the wearer specific buffs at the start of every battle. There's a "Start X" counterpart for the aforementioned "Last X" armors, including a "Start All", which is also very rare. However, this is easily better than a "Last All" because you don't need to worry about buffs in most battles if all four party members have one!
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After fighting the party at Orange Pass, Kaz joins them at Dustop after the Bandit Leader is defeated.
    • Once Reuben is defeated, one-on-one style, he temporarily joins the party until Lina is rescued.
  • Defend Command: The second game introduces the "Guard" skill for the Guardian class. At a cost of 2 MP (0 in the Updated Re Release), it redirects the next (single-target) attack to the user and halves their received damage. A weapon effect allows this to double as a partial Attack Reflector, too!
  • Difficulty Spike: Hard mode in the sequel, unlocked by defeating the Dargon King, massively amplifies the stats of the enemies throughout the map you already explored. You can return to normal mode, however.
    • The Updated Re Release adds to this with an additional, harder chapter and more boss sidequests that will really test what you know about the game! On top of that, it gives the optional bosses that you could previously spam ailments on the Contractual Boss Immunity treatment like the story bosses!
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Phoebe uses earth attacks. Like Reuben's example above, she has earth spells availabe when she joins D's party in the sequel.
  • Dual Boss: Multiple examples in the second game's Updated Re Release:
    • Once you beat the boss sidequests in any town, you get to fight those three bosses all at once. After chapter 5, you can beat the Hard mode versions of these battles.
    • In the main story, Z and Witch Rita fight you alongside each other. Z isn't at full power yet, either!
  • Dual Wielding: In the second game, Lina dual wields daggers. Also, Mari has dual pistols.
  • Duel Boss: Two examples in the second game:
    • The boss version of the Gargantuan appears at the end of the Small Forest, and is weak to fire; convenient as your only skill yet is Fire Attack.
    • Reuben appears as a boss at the end of D's Solo Sequence, and shortly joins the party afterward.
  • Drop the Hammer: Phoebe's Weapon of Choice.
  • Escape Battle Technique: The Thief class allows any character to learn "Flee" o escape combat. However, it has a chance of failure in normal battles, and never works against bosses!
  • Equipment Spoiler: When you reach Smalltown for the first time, the Alchemy shop displays pistols and scythes, when neither D nor Lina use such weapons.
  • Expy: Kaz is a purple-skinned demon armed with a scythe, initially presented as a bad guy, much like Magus.
  • Four-Element Ensemble: The first game has Tristam, Kaeli, Phoebe, and Reuben representing elemental fire, wind, earth, and water (well, technically ice), respectively. Ditto with D, Lina, Mari, and Kaz in the sequel.
    • The sequel downplays this, as all four party members can learn all level 1 elemental magic skills, level 2 magic skills of two elements per character, and two elemental "attack" skills per character; one of the elements in the latter two cases is always of each characters' element.
    • The powerful level 3 elemental skills, unlike levels 1 and 2, have no Ao E form and can only be learned by characters of that element (e.g., only D can learn Fire III).
      • Another fact to note is that lightning is treated as wind in both games.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The party travels to the Abyss to defeat the Dargon King. Doom Lair has a portal back to this dimension at the end, and The Updated Re Release has the party return to the Abyss to defeat Z.
  • Game Over: Averted in both games, as being defeated sends you back to Smalltown (in the first game) or the entrance of the dungeon you died in, on the world map (second game). Both games, however, take away ~10% of your gold upon defeat.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Mari in Crystal Story II, the youngest-looking member of the party.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Rock and Bop, the minions of Witch Rita, are each fought twice in both games. And yet, they are rather incompetent and don't prove very difficult in battle.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: While the job in Crystal Story didn't go entirely as planned, Hiro still takes all the credit as everyone agreed to, and the involvement of Tristam's party seems to never have been mentioned. This is carried over to the sequel.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Phoebe and Reuben will join for a bit during the second game.
  • The Gunslinger: Mari in the second game.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Zombie Defense Mini-Game has an Expert mode, and it is FAST! Fortunately, beating it nets you one of the rarest equips in the game!
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: In the second game, you can change the four main party members' names, and rename them later when you reach Port Breeze.
    • However, a bug exists in a few of the additional cutscenes in the Updated Re Release that causes a party member's default name to be used instead of their player-assigned name.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Tristam and D both use swords as their Weapon of Choice and are the main characters of the first and second games respectively.
  • Informed Equipment: Each party member can be equipped with a helmet, a bodyarmor, and a ring or pendant. In the sequel, you can give each of your party members any arrangement of equips as long as they don't conflict with each other. And yet, neither game shows the equipment on anyone in battle, be it armor or anyone's upgraded Weapon of Choice.
  • Item Crafting: Every town in the sequel has an alchemy shop that serves to provide this. Specifically, you can create status-inducing bombs, weapons that aren't found anywhere else in the game, and area-of-effect healing items. The latter aren't flashy, yet they're useful throughout the game.
    • The sequel's Updated Re Release adds in the ability to craft armors, though many of them are lategame/postgame as they require lategame materials like sapphires.
  • Joke Item: The "Number One Card in the Card Battle Mini-Game. [[spoiler: It has only 1 each of offense and defense,the lowest in the game!
  • Lampshade Hanging: Kaz may rarely responds to D's "Not this again!" by saying that he should stop to bump into enemies, which is how battles are initiated in first place.
  • Leaked Experience: The second game gives skill points to all party members after each battle, even if they haven't yet joined, and in one of Lina's cases, rejoined.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Happens in the second game when the party is at Crystalia. Mari and Kaz go shopping, D is hired in a side quest, and Lina gets kidnapped by Rita.
  • Limit Break: In the second game your characters get up to three super-strong "weapon skills" each. These are accessed by upgrading a chracter's weapon to tier II or higher (example: Evoblade II) and pressing the "Charge" button in battle. These can be charged up to three times if the caster's weapon is upgraded enough, and replace the standard attack when available. However, these can only be used once per battle, no matter what tier of weapon skill is used.
  • Man Behind the Man: Z, guy who appears in a cutscene after finishing Doom Lair, seems to be behind Rita trying to summon Dargons. He's the new final boss in the Updated Re-release.
  • Marathon Level:
    • The desert stage between Dustop and the Great Tomb in the sequel can get pretty long, especially in the middle of Chapter 2 when you still don't have a lot of MP yet and barely have access to area-of-effect skills.
    • The Abandoned Sewer, one of the bonus dungeons in the same game, has two huge floors, and thanks to Randomly Generated Levels, you're likely to completely navigate both floors before reaching the Spider King boss, who is luckily not too bad. This stage deserves special mention because the Updated Re Release Nerfs it down to one floor.
  • Mini-Game: The first game had Zombie Defense, a Bejeweled-style game. The sequel retains that and adds fishing, Mercenary Defense, and snowboarding as well. The Updated Re-release adds a Card Battle minigame as well.
  • Multi Shot: One of Kaeli's advanced skills. At higher levels it can one-shot a whole encounter of four enemies.
  • Nerf: A patch did this to Crystal Story II's armors. To prevent Min-Maxing, characters can't equip multiple items that add to the same stat. This has obvious effects (no equipping multiple Boots, for example) and not-so-obvious effects (Circlets can't be equipped with Gauntlets , Amulets, or Boots, as Circlets boost all the stats the other three do). The full armors, which defend against physical and magic attacks, are exempt from this on all or most versions of Crystal Story II on the web (making it possible to absorb most damage with three of these at max level on any character), but the Updated Re Release fixes this, too.
    • As outlined above, the Updated Re Release does this to one of the optional dungeons, cutting it down to one floor.
  • No Indoor Voice: Phoebe in the second game.
  • Nostalgia Level: In the sequel, you visit Evil Cave and Water Ruins from the first game briefly.
  • One-Letter Name: The default name of the main character in the second game is "D". Also "Z", who pops up in a cutscene at postgame, or is the Final Boss of the Updated Re Release's new chapter.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Speed in the second game. Unlike in the first game, where it just determines turn order, in the sequel it determines how often you attack. It can reach a point where your characters can attack two or three times before your enemies can act.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Phoebe suggests doing this to Hiro after Rita knocks him out.
  • Percent Damage Attack: Certain strong bosses in the second game have a skill called Judgement in their secondary forms. This attack hits your entire party, damaging everyone by 95% of their health, and it removes all stat buffs. This can turn into an Attack Backfire for said bosses if you have Last (Buff) equips, since the low HP triggers said buffs.
  • Playing with Fire: Tristam uses fire-based attacks.
  • Post-End Game Content: Both games have new quests and areas that open up when you beat the final boss, and in the second game you also gain access to Hard Mode versions of the areas and harder Wanted quests, while keeping progress.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: The trope image, in fact.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Most floors of the Evil Cave (excluding bosses every 5th floor) are generated randomly each time you load the game! The same applies for the sequel's dungeons, except only a very few important bosses have preset corridors leading up to them!
  • Rebellious Princess: It's implied that Lina is the missing younger daughter of the king of Crystalia, having run away from home with her older sister's somewhat reluctant blessing to go on adventures.
  • Redemption Demotion: When you fight Kaz, he has over 1000 HP and can unleash all sorts of skills like poisoning you. When he joins your party later on, he has much less HP, and might not have all his skills he had as a boss, since you can choose which classes he takes. (On the plus side, that means he can and will also gain new ones.)
  • Ring of Power: Rings increase various stats and come in four colour-coded levels.
  • Running Gag: Tristam and Reuben can't seem to remember the inn keeper is Kaeli's sister in the first game, despite Kaeli telling them every day. Also in quests: most of them were about finding a cat who escaped in random dungeons, or stopping Koohii, a thief who disappeared at each encounter.
  • Shock and Awe: Kaeli uses lightning-related skills... which use Wind as elemental.
    • Also, Kaz's Hurricane calls down a barrage of thunderbolts. Several classes, particularly Elementalists, also get access to lightning attacks.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Let's see, an evil witch named Rita who gets freed from her centuries of imprisionment and immediately starts trying to take over the world...... Now where have I heard that before?
    • Also in the first game, the most powerful ring (which increases pretty much every stat) is named the One Ring.
    • Another example in the first game is that the playable party is named after the party members from another RPG.
    • From the second game:
    • During one Limit Break Kaz will say "Just according to plan!".
    • The description of the mission where you have to defeat the Bat King boss is: "It's simple: we kill the Bat-King", and it's signed Mr. J.
    • A trio of bosses you can fight in the Arena is named "Earth, Wind & Fire" after the elements they are based on.
    • During the 4th chapter when Rita kidnapped Lina, when Rita confronted and told that she kidnapped the wrong person she said she didn't make mistake, "just a happy little accident".
    • One of Phoebe's possible in-combat/victory lines in the second game is "Hammer Time!"
    • In the sequel's Tunnel dungeon, and later dungeons with the same theme, there is an Easter Egg in which "Tunnel Snakes Rule" will appear on the wall as graffiti written in red paint or blood.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Learning new abilities works this way. In the first game, each character has access to three skill trees, and you invest ability points in them. After certain amounts of points spent, you gain new abilities. In the second game, this expands to increasing stats as well.
  • Solo Sequence: D gets a short one after splitting from the party in Crystalia, before running into Phoebe again.
    • The very first town allows for one near the beginning, as Lina leaves briefly and rejoins when you enter the Evil Cave. However, you can perform a bit more exploration and combat before doing so.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Each main party member in the second game has one when performing a Limit Break, complete with a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner!
  • Standard Status Effects: Affects a unit's "perfornamce" in battle:
    • Poison: The "Poison" status effect. Damages the unit on their turn (first game) or over time (second game).
    • Stun: The "Paralyzed" status effect. Unit cannot move or act until status wears off or is cured.
    • Silence: The "Silence" status effect. Unit cannot use skills except Attack or a Limit Break.
    • Confuse: The "Confuse" status effect. Unit attacks any target on the field, but only with Attack (second game only).
    • Sleep: The "Sleeping" status effect. Unit cannot move or act, but can be awoken via curing, time, or getting hit with a physical attack (in the first game), or any attack in the second.
    • Darkness/Blind: The "Blindness" status effect. Accuracy of unit's physical attacks is greatly reduced.
    • Stone: The "Petrified" status effect. Unit cannot move or act; status can be cured but does not wear off over time (second game only).
  • Status Buff:
    • Evade Up: Increases evasion against physical attacks.
    • Regen: The "Gradual Regeneration" status buff. Heals the unit on their turn (first game) or over time (second game).
    • Auto Life: The "Auto Revive" status buff. Unit will revive immediately upon death, though buffs are still lost.
    • Guard: see Defend Command above.
    • Status-Buff Dispel: Variant. A skills exists that dispels all effects, positive and negative, and can be used on players or enemies. A stronger version exists that removes all effects from everyone on the field!
    • The sequel has a two boss-only skills that do this, although they only affect stat buffs and not other positive effects such as Regen. One is called Debuff, which inflicts a not-inconsiderable amount of damage to one hero while removing said buffs. the second is Judgement, which is wielded only by particularly strong/important bosses in their secondary forms. It hits for around 95 percent of the entire party's health as well as removing their buffs. Fortunately, this low health can trigger a Critical Status Buff on all heroes that have "Last X" armor and/or "Last Resort" weaponry.
  • Theme Naming: Amusing themes for some area names in the sequel abound, like "Small Forest" and "Medium Forest", and "Great Tomb" and "Okay Tomb". Also, despite its name, the Light Tower is a pretty dark place.
  • Time Skip: Two years have passed between the two games, as pointed out in the cutscene before Aurora Island.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Several items in the second game are this, none of which can be purchased at the shops (and would be super expensive if you could).
    • The Heal Potion V is found in the Sunken Ruins bonus dungeon and restores 100% of the target ally's HP.
      • Note that it can become even more so if crafted into a Tonic V.
    • Full revives revive any fallen ally and restore 100% of their HP, but are only found in a few late-game dungeon chests.
    • The rare fish from the Fishing Minigame can be this. The Mega Shark (buffs ATK, MAG, and SPD), and Angel Fish (gives auto revive status) are the item forms of buff skills. This means that they are all but outclassed once you get said skills unless you need to recover as fast as possible after buffing. As for the other rare fish...
      • The Carp Dime buffs DEF, MDEF, and gives Regen.
      • The Super Fish restores 100% of HP and MP like the Elixir II.
      • The Princess Jelly, an offensive item, casts the status ailments Blind, Poison, and Stun.
    • The top example of this trope in Crystal Story II has to be the Elixir Brew II. It restores all of the HP and MP of your entire party! The downside is, it's only received by completing a late monster defense Mini-Game, which can't be played again.
      • The Updated Re Release adds at least one more of these in a dungeon chest.
      • The Elixir Brew I also qualifies because, even though it's only half as powerful, it's still very rare!
  • Turns Red: For many of the bosses, emptying their HP the first time will replace their picture with an angrier one and make them more ferocious.
  • Video Game Stealing: Lina gets the ability to steal items and equips as one of her first skills, as her starting class is Thief I. The other main characters can learn this skill as well if you choose the Thief class for them, and Reuben has it as well. There's also a skill that does this while damging the target. On top of it all, there's a rare equip that increases the success rate of steals, alongside receiving rare items from foes and fleeing combat.
  • Weapon of Choice: Every party member has one: bow for Kaeli, hammer for Phoebe, spear for Reuben, guns for Mari, knives for Lina and a scythe for Kaz. Tristam and D both have swords, though.
  • Weapon Twirling: Mari's victory animation has her twirl her two pistols.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: In Crystal Story II D mentions that the portal he took was a one-way trip; once he went through it, he could never return to his world.


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