The A-Z of geek: C is for Crystal Caves

25 years ago this month, hapless space adventurer, Mylo Steamwitz first entered the caves of planet Altair, search for the crystals that he can sell at the Galactic Trading Post to fund his various schemes.  Yes, folks, if you thought C was for Chuckie Egg, then you were wrong....

C is for Crystal Caves

Screenshot from Crystal Caves volume three (used without permission).

Crystal Caves by Apogee software is a platform game for DOS.  The game features sixteen different levels that can be attempted in any order.  The aim of each level is to collect all of the coloured crystals whilst avoiding the various baddies and hazards along the way.

It terms of game play, it feels a lot like Manic Miner of which there have been many clones, but Crystal Caves is the boss.

Navigation is a simple left, right, jump affair, and you can blast enemies with your rocket pistol. There are also moving platforms and lifts as well as acid its and spikes to avoid. Rocks, stalactites and ooze will tumble from the ceiling and a variety of critters will attempt to get in your way: slug-things, rock-monsters, spiders, snakes, egg-bombing birds, robots and triceratops will all attempt to squish you. Poisonous mushrooms sprout everywhere as well as slime pits that need to be jumped. Along the way you will encounter a multitude of objects from fruit to candles.

Puzzles involve opening coloured doors by pulling the matching coloured lever found somewhere in the level. In some levels you must contend with reverse gravity and blackouts. Shooting the air-regulator by mistake will result in dangerous decompression that is fatal.

I'm struggling to take a screenshot on my IBM PS1, so here is a screenshot that has been shamelessly pinched from google image search for Crystal Caves.

One interesting fact is that Crystal Caves contains a bug that, when run on Windows XP, will rather dangerously reset your clock by one hundred years. Apogee released a patch for this bug fifteen years after the game was released, which wins both the award for longest time between a bug being patched and the actual release of a game, in addition to one geek experience point from us.

If this post has in any way excited you for Crystal Caves, then you may be pleased to know that there is a fan website dedicated to it, although it hasn't been updated for several years.

Crystal Caves gameplay video: