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Fine platforming romp
Apogee have pumped out a lot of platforming adventures over the years, with perhaps the best known being Dangerous Dave and Commander Keen, and the Crystal Caves series falls firmly into the same camp and is of an equally high standard. This follow up to the original Crystal Caves continues in a similar vein to its predecessor and finds the player exploring a series of complex, science fiction-themed levels in search of valuable crystals. There are of course numerous bad guys getting in your way of becoming filthy rich while there are also heaps of head scratching puzzles standing between you and your goal. Throw in some light shooting action and plenty of running and jumping and you pretty much have a full idea of what to expect here. However, what marks out Crystal Caves 2 as something special is the sheer attention to detail that has gone into its creation and which makes it a classic of the genre. The level design is endlessly inventive and extremely clever, with wonderfully constructed environments to explore that are both challenging and enjoyable in their complexity. The run and jump gameplay is perfectly pitched, with superbly integrated controls that are intuitive and responsive in exactly the right way. The visuals are of course a little simple, but they are nonetheless brimming with character thanks to some lovely sprite and environment work. The puzzling fun too is well integrated, with plenty of clever ones to keep you playing so if you enjoy this sort of game, or are even a newcomer to the genre, this stands as a fine example.
Classic puzzle platformer
The Crystal Caves series began in 1991 with this game being released soon after. The main difference here is in the graphic style, which allows for a more in-depth view of the map, as the virtual camera is further away from the bi-dimensional side scrolling action. The goal in the game is to clean each level of jewels and of any other trinkets that may be hidden inside, while trying to dodge traps, enemies and while trying to uncover the secrets to be found hidden inside. The game features self contained levels which once cleared will allow you access to new areas. You can only go on to a new area once each area is cleared, and thus exploration in these self contained areas is the main mechanic of the game. Later stages will up the ante with other types of puzzles but generally the game recipe remains mainly the same throughout with little variation. So, if you liked the initial Crystal Caves 2 game, you will love Crystal Caves 2 as well, as it is a graphically superior title and quite an addictive little title.