Crystal Caves

Crystal Caves
Crystal Caves
Crystal Caves.png
Developer(s) Apogee Software
Publisher(s) Apogee Software
Designer(s) Frank Maddin
Platform(s) MS-DOS
Release date(s) 23 October 1991
Genre(s) Side scrolling platformer
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) N/A
Media/distribution Floppy disk (1)
System requirements

80286 CPU, 512KB RAM, EGA graphic card

Crystal Caves is a trilogy of side-scrolling platform games, developed and published by Apogee Software, released on 23 October 1991.[1] The three episodes have the titles "Troubles with Twibbles," "Slugging it Out" and "Mylo Versus the Supernova."

The first episode is available for free, while the remaining two need to be paid for. According to the designer Frank Maddin, this marketing method "worked pretty well for the time."[2] All three games have identical gameplay, and differ only in level design, some graphics and the story.

On October 24, 2005, 3D Realms (formerly Apogee) released a maintenance patch to fix a bug in the game which set the player's computer's clock backwards 100 years after playing on Windows XP. As the game was released 14 years and one day earlier, 3D Realms may now hold the record for longest time between an initial game release and a maintenance patch. [3]



The player controls Mylo Steamwitz, a space trader who wants to invest in a number of get-rich-quick schemes. He travels to the Altairian star system and ventures into the caves in the planets there to harvest large, naturally grown crystals.

The objective of each game is to complete all 16 levels. There is no fixed order in which to play them.

Each level is a labyrinthine structure, where the player controls Mylo's movements. The objective in each level is to find all the crystals and then reach the exit. On his way, Mylo is typically hindered by coloured locked doors which have to be opened by finding and flipping the corresponding levers. There are switches that activate moving platforms, deactivate gun turrets or turn the lights on and off. There exists enemies of all kinds, most of which can be killed with Mylo's "rocket pistol". There are environmental hazards such as stalactites or wall-mounted gun turrets. Mylo begins a level with three health points, and if he loses all three, he dies, and the level restarts. Eating poisonous mushrooms, landing in trash sludge and shooting a level air-generator all kill Mylo instantly.

Some levels require the player to pick up and use a powerup that temporarily reverses Mylo's gravity, allowing him to walk on the ceiling to access normally unreachable areas. Certain levels have slight variations: "reverse gravity", where Mylo is permanently walking on the ceiling; "low gravity", where Mylo is pushed back with each shot he fires; or "falling rocks", where stones constantly fall from above at regular intervals, harming Mylo if they touch him.

Apart from crystals, Mylo can also pick up other items: Ammunition for his pistol, a power-up that temporarily makes his pistol able to kill any type of enemy, a red mushroom which temporarily renders him invincible and allows him to kill enemies by touch, a stop sign that temporarily freezes enemies in place and makes them harmless and a number of bonus items (mushrooms, candles, shovels and pickaxes), which provide the player with points. Gold keys allow the player to open treasure chests that yield large amount of points. Occasionally, a fruit will appear on the screen. Collecting it before it disappears adds 5000 points. Some levels also contain five eggs which, when shot, cause a letter to appear; collecting all five letters (that spell out the word "BONUS") will, too, give 10000 points.


Crystal Caves was inspired by Miner 2049er. The main character's name, "Mylo Steamwitz", was coined by George Broussard and was meant to sound like a loser's name. Most graphics were created by Frank Maddin.[4]

Development on Crystal Caves began back when George Broussard was still releasing games under the name Micro F/X. A few months into the development (when about 50-70% of the game was complete[4]) George joined Apogee and Crystal Caves became an Apogee product.[2]

David Gerrold, the script writer for the Star Trek episode "The Trouble With Tribbles" (which was parodied by the title of the first Crystal Caves episode) played Crystal Caves, and referred to it in a computer magazine for which he was a contributor.[2]


  1. ^ "3D Realms Site: Crystal Caves". 3D Realms News. 3D Realms. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  2. ^ a b c "3D Realms News: The Apogee Legacy #5". 3D Realms News. 3D Realms. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  3. ^ "3D Realms News: Updates for some older titles available". 3D Realms News. 3D Realms. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  4. ^ a b "Frank Maddin Interview". Perilous Crystal Caves Website. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 

External links

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