Even seven years after its release, I still feel that Star Fox Adventures for the Nintendo Gamecube was not the grand send off for Rareware that it could have been. This is mainly due to the fact that it was likely rushed out so that Rare could get its release out of the way before they made the move to Microsoft. Another reason why I feel this way is that some characters that had a good deal of potential ended up not realizing it in the game. One such character is Krystal, the lead female character, who is certainly a sight to behold and looked like she would do more than her fair share of saving Dinosaur Planet from destruction. Unfortunately, her role would be reduced to being a mere damsel in distress for much of the game. Let me tell you about Krystal’s roles, or lack thereof, in the game, and how she could have easily done so much more than what she did.
We first meet Krystal on the back of a pterodactyl-like creature known as a Cloudrunner in the middle of a stormy night. Some text that appears on the screen explains that Krystal was on a quest to find out who or what caused the destruction of her home planet and family, though it is never explained how she ended up being its lone survivor. This plot point would have actually given the story more than just a generic save-the-world feel and given it plenty of depth that would make players want to play the game to see how Krystal would solve the mystery. Unfortunately, once the text disappears, this plot point is promptly forgotten, and never comes up again for the remainder of the game. Plot holes in general, and this one in particular, is one of the reasons why Star Fox Adventures is not as strong of a title as it could have been.
Krystal, who speaks in the planet’s native Saurian language rather than in English for much of the game, is on Dinosaur Planet in order to find the source of a distress signal, when she and her Cloudrunner are ambushed by a flying galleon. In the rather easy fight (it is impossible to die in this part), Krystal’s Cloudrunner manages to damage the ship, though Krystal loses her mystical staff in the process. Then she boards the ship, and after a brief exploration, during which she manages to find a key, she meets General Scales, the vicious tyrant of Dinosaur Planet. The confrontation gets ugly in a hurry, with Scales tossing Krystal off the ship, but the Cloudrunner catches her and they escape to the Krazoa Palace. Once there, Krystal uses her key to unlock a door with an explosive barrel, which she uses to break into the palace itself.
During her exploration, Krystal learns from several injured Earthwalkers (triceratops-like creatures) that the Krazoa Spirits, which along with the Spellstones help keep Dinosaur Planet from falling apart, have been scattered to a number of shrines throughout the world. In order to restore peace to the planet, she would have to pass each of the spirits’ tests and return them to the palace. Krystal finds one of the shrines, and after passing the spirit’s test, which involves finding it within moving baskets, brings it back to the palace. No sooner than she returns it to its rightful place, however, than a mysterious being appears and traps her within a crystal prison. For the rest of the game, Krystal is locked within this prison on the palace roof, and any future heroic potential that she had is gone.
Soon after Fox McCloud starts his long portion of the adventure, he finds Krystal’s staff and listens as her message explains, in Saurian, how it can be used for a variety of purposes ranging from defeating enemies to solving puzzles. Later, while he is in Moon Mountain Pass, he hears her telepathic pleas for help. Curiously, these cries are still in Saurian, even though Fox’s translator has been working for a while at this point and everyone else has spoken to him in English. He then encounters the Krazoa that Krystal saved, and learns that the only way to save her is to return the other five spirits to the Krazoa Palace. At first, Fox is unsure about this, because the planet is in danger of completely falling apart, but when someone chokes Krystal, he decides that he should try and rescue her.
Fox goes on to find a spirit and soon thereafter travels to the Krazoa Palace. After a while, he finds Krystal, still trapped in her glass prison. In one of the game’s better cut scenes, he immediately falls in love as soon as he sees her. He stares at her, clearly awestruck by her sheer beauty, before Peppy Hare makes him snap out of it, reminding him to return the spirit immediately. Fox agrees to do it, but not before taking one last glimpse at Krystal. If only all of the game’s movies were as entertaining as they were driven by the story.As the adventure continues, Fox continues to save the spirits, and at one point, he finds the Cloudrunner who aided her at the beginning of the game. After being released from his cage in Dragon Rock, he actually tells Fox the name of the girl he is trying to save, though for some reason Fox seems to already know that fact.
Ultimately, Fox manages to return every last spirit to the palace, and then watches in horror as each of them strike Krystal, seemingly hurting her. Instead, they fly out of her body and into the head of a Krazoa statue. Then, the crystal breaks, but Fox manages to catch Krystal before she falls too far. Suddenly, the Krazoa head comes to life, causing Krystal, who from this point on speaks English, to snatch her staff away from Fox and use its ability to shoot fire to try and attack the head. This does not do any good, however, so it is up to Fox and his Arwing to destroy the head, which turns out to be Andross, Fox’s simian archenemy and the true source of the problems plaguing Dinosaur Planet.
Following a long battle, in which Fox is victorious, it is revealed that it was Andross who had imprisoned Krystal at the start of the game. Even though he had been defeated in Star Fox 64, he had someone been able to maintain enough life force power to remain alive in some form. In order to regain his strength completely, he required the magical powers given to people by the Krazoa Spirits. It turns out that Krystal could channel the spirits’ power, and so he had her trapped in crystal so that the one who returned all of the spirits could in essence unknowingly help bring Andross back to his former glory. As the Star Fox Team celebrates its victory, Krystal comes aboard the ship to give Fox her thanks. The Star Fox leader acts shy around the girl, but assures his friends that he will be all right. Unfortunately, Krystal does not acknowledge that none of her questions have been answered, nor is there any hint that they will be revealed at some point in the future.
When the game was first revealed as Dinosaur Planet for the Nintendo 64, Krystal had a much larger role as a secondary playable character. Trailers and screen shots showed her in a variety of situations that would ultimately put Fox in her place. She would function much like Fox would in the final version, and she would even have a Cloudrunner as a sidekick. Once the game moved to the Gamecube and subsequently became a Star Fox title, Krystal’s potential to become a strong character in her own right was ruined. Her short part of the adventure at the start of the game merely hints at what might have been, and after that, she takes the stereotypical role of damsel in distress without playing much more of a part in the story. To me, this is proof that Nintendo wanted to focus too much on the central Star Fox characters and not enough on the new characters. If Krystal were playable for a much longer period of time, she would have become a much better character. Perhaps the mystery surrounding the destruction of her planet would have been solved, and Krystal would prove that she can be more than just a girl whose job is to wait around for someone to rescue her.
It it partially because of Krystal’s reduced role that I wish Star Fox Adventures would have remained a Nintendo 64 game, without the Star Fox characters. If that were the case, Rare would have surely made her a much richer character, and the game itself would be even better as a result. Instead, we get a game that was clearly rushed and a woman who was treated like a throwaway character. General Scales received similar mistreatment, and you can read my article about him for more information on that. If Rare had a chance to remake Star Fox Adventures or even the original version of Dinosaur Planet, I would hope that they would try and give Krystal an expanded role. Seeing as how she is now considered to be a part of Nintendo’s Star Fox franchise, it will likely never happen. What a shame for a female character to have a great deal of potential, only to lose it within the first half hour. Krystal deserved to be treated much better than this.