By Mr. Krystal
Creator/Admin of the Krystal Archive
Admin of Starfox-Online
Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the games Star Fox Adventures, Star Fox Assault, and Star Fox Command.
When Krystal first appeared on the gaming scene, she had a staff, nerves of steel, and surprisingly little else. And yet, in the past 5 years, Krystal has become one of the most loved (and hated) Star Fox characters to date. Even outside of the Star Fox community, people all over the internet have heard of her, making her one of the best known anthropomorphic characters of recent times. But where did she come from? Why is she so popular (or unpopular, as the case may be)? Over the next two features, I will be exploring her origin (Part I) and controversies (Part II).
Part I: History
In this first section, I will detail Krystal's creation and her practical influence on the series' story.
Around March of 2000, Rare announced Dinosaur Planet, a third-person action/adventure game for the Nintendo 64. The game was already well into development before the announcement was made: almost three year's worth. It was designed to fit the same sort of play style as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It had auto-jumps, Z-targeting, puzzles, massive themed worlds, and well-animated graphics for the time. Several members of the gaming press were able to play a demo version of the game at E3 2000, and were immensely impressed. Dinosaur Planet, had it launched unchanged, would have been one of the most ambitious adventure games for the Nintendo 64; but that was not to be. Nintendo had other plans.
Nintendo was about to announce the Nintendo Gamecube in August 2000, at Spaceworld. At the time, Rare was a second party with Nintendo, and Nintendo had ultimate say over what they could develop and how (at least, to be published by Nintendo). Nintendo needed a new Star Fox title for the Gamecube and internal development on their own Star Fox game was stalling (or some other issues occurred -- we may never know for sure). In the end, Nintendo asked Rare to delay the game and release it as a Star Fox title on the Gamecube because Sabre (one of the main characters) was similar in appearance to Fox McCloud. The launch of Star Fox Adventures came in September 2002.
Star Fox Adventures and Conker's Bad Fur Day were subjects of disagreement between Nintendo and Rare. Rare was soon bought by Microsoft, where they are making games today. Star Fox Adventures came out the day before the ownership of Rare was transferred to Microsoft, avoiding several legal issues just in time. You can read more about the Dinosaur Planet transition in another feature posted in this set.
During all this, a character was born: Krystal. In Dinosaur Planet, Krystal was very different from what she is today. She was a blue 16 year-old cat girl -- not a fox. She had been an orphan who was raised by the wizard Randorn. More importantly, she was a main character. Along with Sabre, most areas of the game were available to both characters. The game allowed the player to switch between Sabre and Krystal via a Swapstone (Warpstone in Star Fox Adventures). Other than that, I really don't know all that much about the Dinosaur Planet Krystal except to say that she had nerves of steel, which was carried over to her Star Fox version. During the transition, Krystal faced an attempt to remove her completely from the game. She survived the attempt, though with a different form and purpose.
Star Fox Adventures
With Star Fox Adventures came major changes to the appearance and purpose of Krystal. She had been changed from a 16 year-old cat girl into a 19 year-old vixen (female fox). She wore surprisingly little clothing for a Nintendo character: a bra and loincloth. She had been outfitted with runic tattoos and a golden staff. The very beginning of Star Fox Adventures allowed the player to use Krystal to set the game's major events in motion. However, unlike Dinosaur Planet, after the first fifteen minutes of gameplay, Krystal's role was confined to damsel-in-distress after she was caught inside a special crystal atop the Krazoa Palace.
The first tidbits of Krystal's personality and other attributes were revealed in this game. She had a kind and helpful nature. She could speak multiple languages (Saurian and English). She retained her "nerves of steel" from Dinosaur Planet, standing up to General Scales despite how unmatched she was.
But unfortunately, she could do nothing for the rest of the game except cry out and serve as an attractive motivator to Fox McCloud, who instantly fell in love with her the moment he saw her. It wasn't until the end of the game, with all six Krazoa Spirits released, that she was able to do anything interesting. At that point, the true meaning of most of the game's events were revealed to be Andross' plot to revive himself using Krystal's power and the Krazoa spirits. After Andross was defeated once again, Krystal decided to go with Fox and join the Star Fox team. Fox and Krystal's relationship since then has been bumpy.
Star Fox Assault
Krystal changed roles again in Star Fox Assault. She took Peppy's position in the Arwing while Peppy remained at tactical aboard the Great Fox. Krystal gained more psychic abilities, predicting enemy movements, weak spots, and hearing the thought patterns of the Aparoids." She also gained more clothing: a tight-fitting blue flight suit. With the game taking place only a year after the events of Star Fox Adventures, Fox and Krystal's relationship hadn't gone much further. Fox exhibited embarrassment at the mention of their eventual honeymoon by Tricky.
Star Fox Assault contained the first appearance of a new Star Wolf character, Panther. Panther has become known to be over-the-top with his romantic flirting towards Krystal. As soon as he first saw her, he began trying to woo her. While Krystal for the most part ignored him, she showed the slightest hints of being charmed by him, which would further be explored in Star Fox Command.
A multiplayer mode was also in the game, allowing players to fight as Krystal, though not in the story. Beyond a couple of simple plotpoints, Krystal was just as important (or unimportant) as any other team member. That would all change with the next game.
Star Fox Command
Star Fox Command was an odd departure from the rest of the series in terms of gameplay, story, and graphics. While it featured many things requested by fans (branching story, no land missions, etc.) the strangeness of the implementation, combined with the fact that it was a handheld title, turned a lot of people away from the game. Not to say that it's a bad game, but like Star Fox Adventures before it, people were not expecting what happened.
The events of Star Fox Command took place a few years after Star Fox Assault. Krystal was forced to leave the team thanks to Fox's blundering decision to protect her by making her quit. Krystal was hurt by Fox's decision and left for parts unknown -- at least, until the story began. The other members also left on their own journeys, eventually. Fox and ROB remained alone on the new Great Fox.
Fox soon found that Krystal had joined the Star Wolf team and was dating Panther (sort of). It was later revealed that Krystal had joined them to spite Fox for forcing her to leave. Panther and Krystal's relationship was a strange one, with Krystal being harsh towards him. However, she did appear to care a little for his well-being, as well as the success of Star Wolf in some paths. Panther appeared to have changed a little as well. He continually referred to himself in the third person and was more timid than in the previous game. Nevertheless, he seemed happy to have Krystal nearby.
Unlike in Star Fox Assault, Krystal played a very pivotal role in this game's story. It was Krystal who discovered a device created by Andross to purify Venom's oceans. Ultimately, without Krystal's research, no-one would have been able to stop the Anglars at their source, deep under the poisonous waters of Venom. Because of this, Krystal (through the players' choices) ultimately determined who saved the day: Star Fox or Star Wolf.
Depending on the path the player chose, the game would conclude into one of nine endings, many of which were completely incompatible with each other. In some stories, Krystal forgave Fox and they got back together. In one ending, they married and had a son named Marcus. In other endings, Krystal stayed with Star Wolf. In what many consider the worst ending, Krystal was publicly disgraced for being a "traitor" of the Star Fox team. She couldn't stand it and left for another galaxy where she became the ruthless bounty hunter Kursed.
Since no ending has been officially considered canon by Nintendo, no-one knows which, if any, will be considered the "real" one going down the road. Further, developers of the game have mentioned that the next Star Fox game would likely not be a sequel, but a prequel to Star Fox Command, or previous games. In a sense, the story was over. We may never know which ending should be considered official. Then again, Nintendo may decide to have a do-over, ignoring Star Fox Command completely.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Alésia Glidewell, the voice of Krystal in Star Fox Assault, posted that she would be playing the voice of Krystal in Super Smash Bros. Brawl (in addition to Zero Suit Samus and Knuckle Joe), on October 25, 2007. This was the first of only two confirmed leaks of official information about the game until about a week before its launch (the other was the Lucario/Jigglypuff confirmation via the sticker screen). It had been widely speculated that Krystal would be a playable character, and this event gave fans the most hope for her inclusion. Krystal remains the third most requested character that did not make it into the final roster (behind Geno and Ridley). No-one really knows why she wasn't made a playable character, since less popular characters were selected over her.
Nevertheless, she still made a couple of brief appearances in Brawl as a trophy, three stickers, and a few cameos on the Lylat Cruise Star Fox stage. Within those cameos, the timeframe appeared to be some time after Star Fox Assault, but before Star Fox Command. Panther once again tried to charm Krystal. Krystal half-sarcastically replied that she felt safe with him around, perhaps setting up the situation in Star Fox Command. Krystal also said that she should have been included in the fighting, to which many fans sadly shook their heads and sighed in agreement. If only.
Krystal has proven herself to be a true member of the series, having been featured in the same number of released games as Wolf O'Donnel and the Star Wolf team. She isn't going away anytime soon. A new Star Fox game has been due for quite some time. Many have speculated that Nintendo will reveal a new Star Fox title in the host of new games to be revealed at E3 2008. Only time will tell, but the rumored Star Fox Wii will likely feature Krystal in some way, unless it precedes Star Fox Adventures' timeframe.
So there you have it: the brief history of Krystal and how she impacted the series' story. I'm not done yet, however. There is more to Krystal than what she did in the games. As a gamer, you're probably already aware of at least some of the controversy that surrounds her. In the next feature, I'll cover fan reaction to her, positive and negative.
You can visit Mr. Krystal's website, Krystal Archive, to learn more.