IroIro Retro Emporium Logo\\

Conquest of the Crystal Palace

Hey, do you remember a company named Asmik? If so, good job because a lot of people don’t. They published a bunch of very good console games in the 80s and 90s that criminally few remember. One such game was Conquest of the Crystal Palace, a platformer full of gorgeous graphics and amazing level design for the NES.

Prior to the events of the game, a rather nefarious evildoer named Zaras decided to conquer the Kingdom of the Crystal Palace. Only two were able to escape: a dog named Zap and the crowned prince, Farron, who was just an infant at the time. Now, years later, Zap has told Farron of his past. With that players lead the prince on his quest to reclaim the throne.

He has his work cut out for him over the five stages that follow. Farron will fight his way through mountain passes, palaces, and creepy underground caverns to accomplish his mission. All along the way, Zaras will throw all manner of monsters at the boy. Going through the various stages, each of them is pretty long. There are a lot of enemies to fight, some tricky jumps to make, and a young girl somewhere halfway through who is eager to sell weapons and items to Farron.

Each stage comes to a climatic end with a boss fight. Conquest of the Crystal Palace very much adheres to the glory days of boss fights in the 80s and 90s. The things are often huge in this game. It’s not uncommon for them to take up half of the screen. Moreover, they’re pretty aggressive, so players will need to be on the ball if they want to beat them.

Luckily, Farron has a lot of goodies to help him on his journey. Usually he’ll strike things down with his sword, but he can also summon Zak to fight along side him. Moreover, he can acquire helpful items at the shop. These include spells that allow him to fire projectiles as well as things like jump boots. Farron’s inventory can get pretty loaded with gadgets to assist him against Zaras’ forces, which are of tremendous use to players.

Watching the game in action, it’s amazing that this is an NES title. Not only do enemies and levels have a ton of detail compared to what other games on the system had, but there is so much moving at once. There’s a stage in a cavern with what looks like tormented souls wailing in the background. A couple of stages take place in different palaces, both with tons of detail in the background. One would think that all these things going on would spell all sorts of slowdown for the game, but that isn’t the case at all. Meanwhile, there are all sorts of cute little animations that the game throws at the player. A personal favorite is the little jig that Farron does at the end of each stage after defeating a boss.

Meanwhile, there are some very memorable songs in Conquest of the Crystal Palace. The tune on the first stage and later variations of it that appear in the game really captures the feeling of the game. Meanwhile, the shop diddy is sure to get stuck in a lot of people’s heads.

People looking for an NES platformer with great graphics, a little bit of sword play, and a faithful dog companion would do well to give Conquest of the Crystal Palace a go. It came late to the system’s library, but really shows what it can do when running on all eight cylinders.

- IroIro
July 5, 2019
Platform: NES
Genre: Action
Developer: Quest
Publisher: Asmik
Released: 1990

Conquest of the Crystal Palace Image 1

Conquest of the Crystal Palace Image 2

Conquest of the Crystal Palace Image 3

Conquest of the Crystal Palace Image 4