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.