22. Crystalis

Released: 1990
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Fun Fact: Critics suggest that some of the art in Crystalis was inspired by the work of famous anime director Hayao Miyazaki.

Crystalis was an action-adventure/RPG game that is considered a cult classic. The hero wakes up from cryosleep after a nuclear war to face a medieval world filled with mutant monsters. The planet is under the control of Emperor Draygon, who rules humanity from a floating Tower filled with technology left over from before the war. The player's goal is to enter the Tower and defeat the Emperor to save humanity.

The game was played in a top-down perspective similar to The Legend of Zelda, but was much more concerned with action. The player could move in eight directions instead of four. The primary weapon was a sword, and some enemies could slide under a sword strike. Different shields and suits of armor could be worn through the inventory screen, and the character gained experience and levels to boost their stats.

The plot for Crystalis was highly-regarded by players, and the game had great graphics and sound, but the gameplay was a little too repetitive for some people which may explain why Crystalis wasn't more of a commercial success. Viewed as a total work of game design it ranks high among the titles produced for the NES.