Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Earlier, I boasted like a smarmy jackass (well, not really, I hope) about how I had a toy design soon available to the collector's market, but that's hardly the only cool, relatively recent project to fulfill a long-time wish.
Though I spent much of my childhood renting a new video game virtually each and every week, what excited me the most were the video game worlds and the creatures inhabiting them, which often made the manuals as entertaining for me as the games they were packaged with, assuming they provided the once-ubiquitous enemy bestiary somewhere in the back. I loved seeing how the simple graphics of the era were meant to be interpreted, or in some cases, wantonly re-interpreted by artists who probably received little creative communication from the development team.
You can imagine my enthusiasm, then, when I was approached by Maxwell Jensen to do some illustration work for his successfully kickstarter-funded Crystal Catacombs, already available for pre-order at the official Levels or Lives website. Imagine my even greater enthusiasm when the work was described to me as manual-style drawings, and when I was more or less told I could translate the pixel sprites fairly broadly.
That's an almost irresponsible thing to put in my hands, but surprisingly enough, it all worked out just peachy-keen, and at least one or two of my "translations" even retroactively invaded their in-game counterparts. I'm not about to spoil much of the art, but I'd at least like to give you guys a quick little taste!
Crystal Catacombs is an intimately loving homage to the play style of games like Castlevania and Metroid, loaded with locales and lifeforms from every conceivable genre and a plethora of wholly original creations. Drawing some of its denizens is a small, small contribution compared to the amount of work that's gone into the game itself, but it's a contribution I'm really, really happy I had a chance to make, though there are, in fact, more monsters crawling around in these catacombs than I'd ever have the time to draw before it finally goes live. It's already turning out to be exactly my kind of game; absolutely packed with cool things to discover.
Cool things that usually want to eat you.
So about that PRE-ORDERING?