Crusader of Centy is a Zelda-like action/adventure game developed by Nextech and published by Atlus in North America and Sega in Japan and Europe. The game was released in Japan first – in 1994 – and everywhere else in 1995. In Europe the game was re-named as “Soliel“.
You play a 14 year old boy called Corona who is following in his father’s footsteps, to destroy monsters that are invading the land. You begin in the town of Soleil (thus the European title change) and must explore various other locations, collecting coins, killing monsters and defeating the occasional boss. Early in the game Corona visits a mysterious fortune teller who casts a spell on him that enables him to understand what animals are saying. The downside being that he can no longer understand what humans are saying.
Corona’s life energy is shown as a row of apples in the top left of the screen and these deplete as he takes damage. Collecting apples replenishes this bar. Initially you can only swing a sword to cut down grass (or other breakable objects), or defend yourself from attacking monsters, but as the game progresses you also learn how to jump, pick up and throw things, and also throw your sword. You can also acquire animal companions, two of whom can be set to active in the start menu and bring various abilities to the party.
Crusader of Centy has some nice touches, like footprints in the sand, weather effects, and even a surprise appearance from Sonic the Hedgehog! There’s a kart race minigame to discover too, which is pretty cool.
Graphically the game is cute and colourful and the music is jolly but repetitive. Gameplay-wise Crusader of Centy is refined and fun to play. It’s also not too difficult either, so is suitable for anyone wanting a Zelda-like experience on the Megadrive, but doesn’t want too much frustration.
On the downside: boss fights are fairly unremarkable (although I did like the first boss battle, with a wolf who hits himself on the head with a hammer to attack you with confusion stars), and the game isn’t quite up to the standard of something like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which it is a direct competitor to.