10 years ago, a great game released for the PC. At the time, it was an amazing achievement of great graphics and puzzle solving all combined to become a terrific game. That game was Myst, since then there have been numerous advancements in graphics. So when I opened up my box of games and saw that Crystal Key 2 was on my list I shuddered for a second and then decided to give it a chance. Crystal Key 2 The Far Realm is a classic point and click adventure game that takes you through a wily adventure to save your home planet from mind numbing aliens. You play as Call the son of the adventurers from Crystal Key. The game then spills forth through the rest of the universe as you attempt to find your parents and saving your world from the evil Balial.
The story line behind Crystal Key 2 starts you out on your home planet where everyone is now living zombies who have been mind numbed. Your parents are nowhere. This is when a young woman appears out of a portal, yells out to you, and she is taken away by a group of aliens. So being curious to an occurrence you find a crystal key that she dropped and her journal and jump into the portal and thus the adventure begins. You find out through the journal that an alien race named the Balial have infected many planets and your home planet is one of those infected. Your adventure will take you many places and there will be loads of puzzles to solve throughout the story.
The Visual aspect of Crystal Key 2 is a two dimensional layout where you can scroll around and look all directions. However, you jump from pan zone to pan zone. As with many Adventure games that have used this technique before the sceneries, which at times are there, are others that are just fuzzy and not that well rendered. It is hard to explain but the game feels like you have been thrown into the middle of a painting based in a futuristic space world. One thing I have to mention is the Game startup screen which was bugged as it was invisible to me when I first started the game I wasn’t sure what any of the options were. I eventually found out and jumped into the game even to be more disappointed with the lackluster game visuals.
The interface is so simplistic a 4-year-old child will understand it. Your mouse becomes a blue dot. You then use the mouse to scroll the camera angle and look for the next item to click. When you get to a useable item, your cursor will turn from a blue diamond to a green diamond. The only other aspect of the interface is the inventory bar, which you can easily bring up. You then click on the item you wish to use and then move it onto the screen and if it turns green then you can use it. That is all there is for an interface.
Although the visuals were not the best ever, they have done a decent job of animating the game. When you open doors or ride elevators the items and screens move. However when moving through stationary areas things, do not move. In addition, the characters that you will find and talk to along the way are animated. Their mouths move and they have a few little animations. There are also a number of cut scenes spread throughout the game that add to the storyline but most of them are short and do not do enough to save this game.
The audio portion of the game is unfortunately just as disappointing as the graphics. The sounds are a combination of a week soundtrack and semi decent voice acting. Your ears will not be enjoying this ride through the far realm. There are of course the usual sound effects of items moving and doors or elevators moving. There just is not enough to make this game any fun for the ears at all.
For ten years, adventure games have been undergoing evolutions. Myst was a great game for its time but if you throw the same game play in a game ten years later you are just asking to be swallowed in a world full of 3D action adventure games that have much more complex puzzles and great storylines. Unfortunately, Crystal Key 2 does just that. The game play is bland and uninteresting. However if you like pointing, clicking, and spinning endlessly then you will gain your fill of nauseating fun with this little gem.
The game has you click from one pan zone to the next. Be sure to touch and do everything that is accessible to you or later on in the game. This is also true in areas where you may have already been and seen something only to have to back track to it later on in the game because it was not available previously. This is not puzzle solving as much as it is drab non-logical game design.
Now there are some decent puzzles to solve but there just is not enough to save this train wreck of an adventure game. You may be saving your world but unfortunately, the people playing the game may end up like the people of the home world of Evany mind numbed slobbering idiots if they play this game too much. The one positive to the game play is that there really are only one or two things to do at a time so the game does guide you along. In addition, this means that you will assuredly only play through this game one time.
Final Thoughts – The story uses the old unoriginal you are one person and it is your job to save the universe from the ultimate destruction. The graphical presentation is not that great and the spinning and panning can get nauseating and difficult to play for long periods. The sound track is saved by the voice acting, which is only decently done. The game play is lazy and just not that much fun. For those of you who truly love adventure point and click games I still do not think this game is for you. Most everyone else I say spend your money elsewhere.
Date April 30th 2004
Title: Crystal Key 2: The Far Realm
Developer: Earthlight Productions
Publisher: Dream Catcher the Adventure Company
No. Players: Single Player
ESRB: Everyone (E)
Staff Writer: John “Warnock” Warson
Date: 30 April 2004