The Crystal of Kings (ザ・クリスタル・オブ・キングス) is a fantasy themed side-scrolling beat em up released in arcades on 2001. It was developed by Eolith and Brezzasoft, a group of people who previously worked at SNK. Certain members of this studio later joined SNK-Playmore.
Once long ago, the land was governed by kings who wielded crystals, orbs of magic that rival the power of the gods. Amongst them was an ambitious man named Nightspirit, who grew corrupt with his crystal's power. Dubbing himself the Crystal of Kings, he unleashed a hellish army of monsters in an attempt to pillage the land's remaining crystals for himself. The just and elderly king of Estorea entrusted his country's crystal to his loyal knight, Cocco. He begs him to band together with the other kingdoms' warriors to destroy the evil tyrant.
The game relies on three buttons: A for attack, B for jumps, and C for magic. To add variety to the battle scheme, characters are given a shared "moveset" for additional attacks. For example, a quarter circle motion forward with the attack button (236 + A) unleashes a unique chain of attacks. Different levels of magic can also be performed through this similar method. All characters -except Cocco- can additionally guard certain attacks.
There is also a leveling system for the crystal each character has. Certain actions can make it brighter or duller, which can also affect the character's color palette and persona. A bright colored character is a Light Master, the typical virtuous hero who saves innocent people. The darker toned character is a Dark Master, a warrior twisted by greed and malice. The player has eight stages to perform the requirements needed for each. A different ending can occur, depending on which master the player decides -or not decide- to be.
There are four characters to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
- Cocco - the protagonist. He is a dwarfish archer who rides on his kangaroo-like mount. Attacks with his mount and his arrows; fights well at all ranges and can dodge most of his enemies' attacks. His mount cannot be damaged but Cocco himself has relatively low defense. Uses earth magic.
- Lustro Furia - a blond swordsman dressed in red; often mistaken for being the protagonist. Close-ranged brawler with strong physical attacks. He fights with a broad sword and can summon a red dragon with his fire magic. He also has an extra form that can be unlocked at the character select screen.
- Lung Xing - a bald wizard with Asian motifs in his design. Contrary to other sorcerers in the genre, he has several physical melee attacks that can easily stun his opponents. Fights with a long staff and lightening magic.
- Justicia - a buxom elfin warrior in a white dress. She fights a lot like Lustro but has slightly better speed than him. Goes into battle with a sword and light magic, which she can use to heal herself and her party.
Characters are 2D sprites while most of the background and other characters are pre-rendered 3D.