Crystal Quest on Live Marketplace

Posted at GAF. Haven’t had a chance to get it yet myself. Thought folks might want to know.

Just grabbed it. Played through the trial and gave it a purchase. A few things I don’t like in the ‘new’ game. They added eight way shooting via the right analogue. They also removed the bit where your bullets traveled slightly faster than the speed you were going when you shot them, so you can’t launch off a bunch of slow moving projectiles now. The game does come with the original though, which still has the old bullet mechanic and no eight way shooting (need to use the right trigger). First several levels seem super easy. Overall though i enjoy it.

Game has ten difficulty levels selectable under options, default I think is five. Scores go up with difficulty so if you want to get on the leaderboards you’ll need to be playing on level 10, but good luck seeing some of the later content as it gets hard fast on difficulty 10.

Gate starts moving after level 25, also gets smaller and smaller as you progress. Mine/crystal layouts seem random, levels are just the types of monsters that will spawn and how many crystals/mines I believe. The cooler/harder monsters of course start spawning later. Those damn spirals that explode into bullets when you shoot them show up around level 30 which is also when I start burning through my smart bombs.

They’ve made bumping into mines a bit more forgiving where you can rub up against them for a a second or two and not explode.

You really need to pay attention as you are collecting things not just shooting them, also some stuff like the Spirals you may not want to shoot.

Looks like they plan on having downloadable content for it.

Overall I’m really liking it, and I may in fact like it more than Geometry Wars.

Disappointingly, the new version does not include the orgasmic level exit sound.

The classic version is exactly how I remember it, but I don’t like shooting with the trigger. Too much travel on it, it should be on an actual button. You can’t pull the trigger nearly as rapidly as you could click the Macintosh’s one big grey button. Navigation suffers as well with the controller, nearly all of my deaths involved mines, very few were the result of enemies.

The new version addresses the navigation, as forgesaken said, by letting you rub briefly against mines, the exit gates, and the enemy spawn gates. Enemies themselves are still instant death (unless that varies by enemy, which would surprise me). Things are harder to identify in general in the new version. In the old version, enemies were fairly distinct bright colors (and big blocky pixels), here they’re more detailed and blur together more when you’re not paying close attention. Notably, the mines laid by enemies look very similar to the crystals you’re collecting. Not bad enough to be a problem, you get used to it quickly, but you have to pay more attention than you used to. Sound effects are generally more muted and seem to lack a little of the personality of the original, though I believe you can adjust the levels for sound, music, etc., so that may clear things up. Eight way shooting fires much faster than you could hope to pull the trigger (or click a mouse), and the ability to fire opposite your direction of travel makes one of the last enemies, the ones that simply follow you relentlessly, much easier to kill than in the old game. As noted though, you don’t want to shoot some enemies, and you’re also going to be giving up bonuses if you fire haphazardly because you’ll destroy the occasional bonus crystal.

They did a pretty good job of balancing the new game. It’s easier to stay alive with the forgiving contact with mines and faster shooting, but you don’t get extra lives or bombs nearly as often. Maybe a rift will become more apparent with further play, but one game of each got me to about the same place, burning through probably 25-30 lives on the original and 10-15 on the new.

Anyway, it’s probably not as “pure” a twitchy, zen-state, gaming experience as Geometry Wars, but I’d say it’s worth having. It’s also going to be more child friendly, if that’s a concern, because of the difficulty settings. There’s nothing but a constant assault on the high score with Geometry Wars to drive you, a kid would probably lose interest or get frustrated with that faster than advancing in actual levels, and at an adjustable difficulty.

Seems like I had some other boring observation to make, but I can’t remember it now. It’s 400 points, that’s about $5.50. Go for it.

Don’t know how you’re getting points, but it’s 80 per dollar right there in the Marketplace. 400 = $5.

(yeah, nitpicking…)

Some folks around here spotted sales on the 1600 point cards at like CompUSA or something, where they were $15 instead of $20. Might want to still look into that.

Oh, duh. I remember the price for 500 points being $6 and change, and I’m just used to “and change” meaning around .95, so I figured it for $6.95 for 500 points when I was trying to remember what the conversion was. You’re right, thanks for the correction.

Bah, it’s still not as satisfying as playing it in black and white on my old Macintosh SE with the mouse and the correct orgasmic sounds. Grumble.

The generic techno music makes this “new” version feel like bad Amiga shareware circa 1990.

Definitely not as nostalgic without the mouse, but the sounds are still there in the old version. Though if my memory’s correct, the orgasmic sound seems to be a bit stuttered here. I played the color version back in the day though, I wouldn’t want to play in black and white. My IIsi pwnz your SE. Now let’s lobby for Spaceship Warlock and Cosmic Osmo and the Worlds Beyond the Mackerel on Xbox Live.

I think the stuttering on the orgasmic sound is deliberate.

Oh yeah? Well my ][vx pwnz your si!

Anyway, I haven’t tried it yet but it sounds like they changed it significantly. I really liked how the bullet speed worked in the original and the fact you could only fire in one direction.

The cost of points is entirely dependent on how much you buy. If you buy 500 at a time, I think it’s like $6.25 for 500. If you buy 2000 at a time, I think it’s $5 for 500. My prices might be wrong but it is definitely cheaper if you buy more.

I kind of wonder if they got pressured to add the 8-way shooting.

Nope. There is absolutely no cost advantage to buying more points at once on the marketplace.

My bad. For some reason, I saw the math wrong the last time I checked.

[li]500 Microsoft Points - $6.25[/li][li]1000 Microsoft Points - $12.50[/li][li]2000 Microsoft Points - $25.00[/li][*]5000 Microsoft Points - $62.50[/ul]

Heaven forbid they have another two stick shooter like Robotron, Smash TV, or Geometry Wars onto Xbox Arcade.

Where’s my scrolling shooter damnit? Give me something R-type-ish and I’ll give you money.

There were no decent Windows ports of Crystal Quest when I went looking a few years ago, so I wrote my own. I don’t have all the enemies and whatnot, but it plays exactly the same. So I was horrified to hear of the changes…

Soon as I find an Xbox 360, I’ll buy it anyway, though… if only to have a modern reference from which to update my version. Which you play with a mouse, as God intended. :)

Interview with the guy who made the game…

Gamecloud - Are there any more plans for more Xbox 360 Live Arcade games from Stainless Games?

Patrick Buckland - Yes. We are producing an original, fully-featured multiplayer combat-driving game called Novadrome for 360 Live Arcade. We are also talking to a number of publishers about other 360 Live Arcade titles, including the porting of classic arcade games.

Good news! Someone send him a link to the other thread where numerous suggestions are being bandied about.

More stuff for Crystal Quest, several sound packs, several graphics packs, and an extreme mode. All of them 100 points. A little high for what you get, but oh well.

I would also like to state that BobJustBob’s score is just sick.

Eh, it’s just an exploit. I guess. I like to consider it an exploit because it’s not that fun and I hope something like this wasn’t in there by design.

You probably notice how if you ignore the crystals and go after the enemies, they stop coming after a bit. But then if you grab another crystal, the enemies start spawning again. You might have considered abusing this to get high scores (I did), but decided it’s not worth the effort because most of the enemies are really dangerous and not worth a whole lot of points.

But then GAF tipped me off about level 10. That’s where those pink blobs start showing up, the ones that wander around randomly and take multiple shots to kill. On the highest difficulty level, those things are worth 100k apiece. Each wave contains 10 or so of them, so multiply 1 million times the number of crystals on the screen. Factor in the odd bonus crystal, and my score’s actually kind of lame.

And while I like the idea of higher-level play turning the crystals into another set of obstacles, in practice it’s just not all that fun. When I posted that score, I spent 15 minutes on level 10. It was kind of boring. But on the plus side, there aren’t too many levels you can try this on and live.