Girl in the Machine
Friday, January 18, 2008
There's Something About Krystal

There's something about Krystal that bugs me. I know, I'm in the minority here, but she never sat quite right with me. I guess the sudden disappearance of Katt Monroe after Star Fox 64 didn't help much, but I was unhappy with this less-than-stellar substitute. Thousands of questionable pictures featuring the sexy blue fox were circulating all over the internet, doing little to improve my opinion. Well aware that I was more than a little prejudiced, I decided to give her a chance as the Star Fox series grew over the years.

Where did she come from, you might be asking? Krystal started out as one of two main characters in Dinosaur Planet, a Nintendo 64 game Rare was developing in 2002. However, with the upcoming release of the Gamecube and few opening titles to release at the time, Nintendo made a deal with Rare to transform the 3D action adventure game into Star Fox Adventures. The game received a full makeover to help make it relevant to the rest of the Star Fox series; as a result, Krystal went from a 16-year-old adventuring cat to a 19-year-old blue fox demoted to the role of damsel in distress. Sure, you play as her for about the first five minutes of the game, but after her capture (and even after her release), Fox takes over.

Unfortunately, Krystal's role in SFA was not a very good first impression for me. Rare missed a great opportunity for using her and Fox together in the game, but I guess Tricky was already taking that role. Although I had misgivings about her, that didn't stop Krystal from gaining an undeniably huge fanbase, furry or otherwise.

Star Fox Assault for the Gamecube saw Krystal go from ineffective damsel to a full-fledged member of the Star Fox team. While she remained The Girl of not only the team but also the entire game (aside from the Aparoid Queen I guess, but she doesn't count), I was grateful to see that she wasn't slathered in pink. I do however call shenanigans on the constant hip-popping and coy body language she displayed in every single dialogue scene she was in (and I don't think the destruction of Corneria is a good time for that kind of thing). Nevertheless, it was great seeing her in a more active role than she was in SF Assault.

Although, it would be naive to say that Nintendo wasn't pushing Krystal as a sexy pinup girl during the time of SF Assault's release. There are several official images out there (including the title image above) that are less than innocent. Sexing up Krystal may have sold more games, but it wasn't doing much for the image of female characters in the video game industry.

Star Fox Command is where Krystal really shines. The text-heavy story and multiple endings give her character an opportunity to be explored. The game focuses primarily on her and Fox's rather unstable relationship, which can be either mended or not depending on the path you choose. The story begins when Fox forces Krystal off the team for fear of her safety, effectively ending their relationship. With good reason, Krystal is hurt and angered by Fox's actions, and she ends up joining the Star Wolf team.

What I love about her role in this game is that the story reveals her flaws. Krystal is not just a 2D psychic piece of arm candy for Fox--she's stubborn. She gets mad when she's hurt. She makes bad decisions, but can also fix them. Krystal appears constantly in the game and even becomes the main character for some endings. Although, I probably could've lived without the Kursed ending; not only is the name cheesey (although she doesn't change her name in the Japanese version), her Jaded Space-Roamer outfit is a little too sexified to take seriously.

SFC really did change my mind for the better. Sure, I'm still not a huge fan, but I was happy to see Krystal as a more fleshed-out, three-dimensional character rather than a cardboard poster girl for the Star Fox team.

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 Posted by PlasmaRit
 3:21 PM + Link to this post

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