Genesis Reviews

Crusader of Centy

Genre: RPG Developer: Nextech Publisher: Sega Enterprises Players: 1 Released: 1994

It’s not that I don’t believe in the life-changing power of the Genesis and its software, but I hold that this game consistently goes for $35+ on eBay for one reason: countless Zelda comparisons. Even the most die-hard of Sega fans will admit that, with the Legend of Zelda series, the Genesis didn’t do what Nintendid. But that’s not to say that developers didn’t try. Atlas released Crusader of Centy in 1994, a game so obviously influenced by Nintendo’s premier franchise that it was, and has continued to be, considered a “Zelda clone.” While it was probably a hard fate to avoid, it’s still too bad that Atlas’ attempt at besting what’s arguably the most beloved series of video games ever ended up as a mere homage.

That doesn’t mean it’s not good though. It’s actually a very fun game. In the short ten or so hours it takes to plow through Crusader of Centy, there’s nary a second that passes that you’re not enjoying yourself. Sure, the storyline’s as heavy-handed as it gets (monsters have feelings too, apparently), and yeah, about halfway through the game you forget why exactly you left your hometown of Soleil. But the developers must have known the storyline was weak because they never burden you with strings of tiring dialog. Instead they keep the pace of the game going, letting you enjoy the more fun aspects of adventure games (like, you know, the adventures).

You set out from Hyru… uh, Soleil, with the unspecific quest of, well, ending up a hero. Now, long after what’s vaguely described in the game’s intro as a great blast of light sent every monster into hiding, they’ve decided to inch their way back into the outside world that’s currently inhabited by only humans and animals. Lucky for you, a short time after setting out on your quest, a fortuneteller gives you the gift/curse of being able to communicate with animals and monsters, but at the expense of your ability to talk to humans. But you deal with it, and you work your way through a world of conflict, where monsters feel unjustly feared and are often attacked by humans. It’s bizarre that, as the hero of a game that means to cast light on how humans wrong other species, you beat the game by defeating countless animals and monsters. I’m not completely sure of the sense in that, but at the very least, you’ll consider vegetarianism for like, a few minutes.

So what makes the adventure a fun one? Well, the inspiration well didn’t run completely dry, because there’s a cool “weapon” system for CoC. It involves collecting animals whose various abilities help you through quasi-puzzling dungeons and to defeat bosses, and you can only use the talents of two at a time. There’s a penguin who attaches to your sword, increasing the power of the attack while simultaneously freezing the enemy, a flaming lion whose effect is the same but with fire, a cheetah who makes you run faster, a sea creature who makes your sword swing faster, a phoenix who doubles the effect of whichever other animal it’s paired with, etc. There’s some strategy involved, as combining the talents of your animals will be the only way to get past certain stages of the game. It’s well executed and makes for some interesting gaming. Overall, there’s not much fault to be found with the game play, which is nice; given the high mark set by good ole’ Link and co., a significant step down in how the game plays would really put a damper on the experience. Everything you think you’ve hit, you’ve hit, and it’s all pretty quick-moving and easy to grasp.

And of the handful of tunes that soundtrack your adventure, none are ever grating or beaten into your brain through repetition. Actually, they’re all pleasant enough to listen to outside of playing the game. And the graphics are some of the finest and most colorful you’ll find in the Genesis’ catalog. You’d be a fool to complain about what CoC‘s got to offer cosmetically.

But my two main complaints with Crusader of Centy are that it’s too short and too easy. It takes about eight to ten hours to save the world from whatever catastrophic end it would have reached had you not interfered, and that’s largely because of the relative simplicity of the game. Most “dungeons” are light on enemies and heavy on sub-par attempts at brainteasers, so it’s easy to fly through a lot of them. You might miss out on a bag of coins if you don’t explore every corner of every level, but that’s mostly irrelevant when you consider the fact that you only ever spend about fifty the entire game. When you reach the end of a level, you fight a boss, and those fights can be challenging sometimes, but you basically just have to figure out which combination of animals is going to take it down, and it’s simple from there. And its easiness never lets up. It never gets progressively more challenging, or at least not as much as some gamers might look for in an adventure. Oh yeah, and after defeating each boss, you get another piece of health added to your life meter (sound familiar?).

But hey, it’s easy to knock Crusader of Centy for of its lack of originality. At the end of the day, it’s just a game. It was made solely to entertain, and if you’re looking for a quick and fun fix, it’ll get the job done handily. Crusader of Centy stands on its own as a solidly fun – if brief – adventure, and one of the better ones the Genesis has to offer. So if you’ve got money to blow, go for it; it’s a worthwhile addition to any library. As long as you don’t name your guy Link and pretend you’re in Hyrule, you won’t end up disappointed.

SCORE: 8 out of 10

Want another opinion on this game? Read our Double Take article!


  1. One of my all-time favorite and most played Genesis games. I also had the privilege of beating it long before I ever got to play Link to the Past extensively, so it has a special place for me. While LttP may have better gameplay and more secrets overall, this game did some things better. The story, for instance, had more sentiment in how they portrayed the passing of time between generations and the moral theme of the whole conflict. LttP on the other hand felt alot more lonely with less character interaction. Both are classics, but this game made a great alternative for Genesis owners. 9/10.

  2. If you´re making a clone, make it a good one!
    And this is what Nextech did with this gem. Visual style and gameplay are very similar to Zelda III, but excellently executed. The game looks very colorful and cute, with lots of details; even the shadows from the clouds wandering over the playfield like in Zelda. Walking through the sand your character leaves footsteps behind, and there are nice effects and spectacular bosses to be seen.
    The music is also very well-done and easy going.
    The idea to use animals instead of equipment to change your skills is great and allows for some nice puzzles and strategies.
    The only problem is that the game is very short; after 8 hours it´s all over. It makes the impression part of the story was scrapped to make it to retail quicker.

  3. Very cool game with some wonderful use of color. Perhaps not as epic as a Link to the Past, but it’s still a great Genesis adventure for those who like the Zelda games and were missing something similar on the Genesis.

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