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One Pirate: Adventure In The Crystal Cave (review) 
 PostSat Jan 05, 2019 8:28 am
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One Pirate: Adventure In The Crystal Cave is a game released in 2018 by TheCrimsonDM (Masks: 15 Pages, Hero: Adventure In Animal Kingdom, My Little Pony: Trixie’s Adventure On The Rock Farm); it is an update of a game originally developed circa 2011.

Not one but TWO pirates named Raiden and Reed have travelled to Green Island in search of jewels buried within a crystal cave, which is protected by a monster called the Gardian (sic). In a nearby inn, Raiden wagers his ship that he will beat a rival group of pirates to the treasure. There’s a bridge on the island with the inn that inexplicably can’t be crossed, but conveniently there is a mine in the basement of the inn (???) that leads down into the crystal caves. The first level of the mine is full of block-pushing puzzles. If you mess one up, you have to go all the way back to the inn and start the dungeon over again (fortunately the puzzles are easy and the trek is relatively short). Lower levels abandon block puzzles in favor of simple teleporter mazes. Frustratingly, one of the teleporters in the lowest level level sent me all the way back to the inn so I had to retrace my path back down to find the endgame!

As the two heroes enter a room filled with gems and skulls, the game warns of a final boss fight; but when Raiden approaches the pirate, he says it’s the end of the demo. This turns out to be a lie however (why?!), as I was later able to get this battle to trigger after following another path and opening up a side-plot. About that other route… After going the other direction, recruiting Silvia (who is called Saphire once she joins the party), traversing a teleporter puzzle dungeon, beating a boss called Big Bad BizNaz (whose walkabout doesn’t disappear once he’s defeated, allowing the battle to be re-triggered), and collecting the game’s ultimate prize The Rock (twice actually), I became stuck due to teleporters that led back to each other in an endless loop. Fortunately, the debug keys were not disabled in this game and I was able to use F11 (walk through walls) to get back to from where I’d come (that inconvenient door that led to the inn, actually). Then once I retraced my steps back down to the jewels/skulls room, the rival pirate decided to dignify me with a boss battle. It seems the rival pirate wants to eat the gems for some reason, and this will not stand. I was able to beat this major boss with one hit, taking no damage in the process. Then the real final boss (the Gardian) reveals itself, and it goes down in about two rounds. Cue closing cutscene. It took me about 1.5 hours; and Raiden was at level 12.

The most frustrating aspect of the game is the text. Poor spelling and grammar are constant from the very first text box. There is very little capitalization (even at beginnings of sentences), and it is pretty hard to read. On one or two occasions, I couldn’t even decipher the meaning of a sentence. The story itself is a little better (if also derivative of the manga/anime One Piece), but there are still some inscrutable decisions in the writing. Large blocks of text are devoted to inconsequential lore such as the three races of magical humanoids and the Six Devils of the Everdark (none of which are relevant to or appear in this game), while the name of the game’s primary antagonist is only stated once at the very beginning of the game and never repeated (Jack something?).

The art isn’t great. The title screen and closing cutscene feature wonky anime-influenced illustrations with a lot of stray pixels. The character sprites are crude and blocky, and the protagonist Raiden appears not to have been fully colored in (one side of his hair is transparent when facing south). Character portraits are likewise sloppy.

The music derives from a stock music website; though well-produced, much of it is overbearing and hyperactive. There’s a recurring song I can only describe as a mariachi-ska polka featuring jaw harp; and that’s about as appealing as one would expect. Much of the music is sufficiently energetic to be distracting while trying to read the large blocks of misspelled text. The sound effects are adequate.

Combat is holding the Enter key; heroes rarely take any damage, even in boss fights. I never once needed to use a restorative item, inn, or special attack (I don’t even know what they were).

One Pirate: Adventure In The Crystal Cave is clearly a “noob game.” The README even states it was made when TheCrimsonDM was “still a kid,” which goes a long way toward explaining the content. To its credit, Crystal Cave is a complete (if broken) adventure (which is rarer than it ought to be); however for this particular adventure to be worth playing, it would require some serious re-working. Even the name doesn’t make sense unless you know the source from which it was cribbed. I recommend TheCrimsonDM’s Masks: 15 Pages instead.
...spake The Lord Thy God.
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