The precursor to highly successful Isharseries, Crystals of Arborea's story is Waterworld meets AD&D: as prince of Arborea, last refuge in the submerged world, embark on a quest to find 4 crystals and defeat the evil Morgoth to return peace to your kingdom.
Primitive RPG engine underscores good graphics and intuitive interface. As with all Silmarils games, winning this one is next to impossible-- any crystal you fail to recover will be lost forever, prompting you to reload (on top of the frustrating combats). For those with unlimited patience only!
The game had lovely landscape and character graphics as well as intro, "event" and finale graphic sequences (for the time). The action is seen from 2 different view modes - 2D for travelling over the landscape as a team, or 3D with Jarel's point of view for exploring underground tunnels etc. Some extra inventiveness (sadly not use in the Ishare series that followed) was the ability to send each of your team mates off separately to explore other areas, deal with enemy groups, etc. This helped cover more ground, but it did leave characters vulnerable if they were alone, weak, or in limited numbers when accosted by enemies.
Crystals of Arborea is an excellent introduction to the RPG genre, even with the ridiculous number of enemies that seem to pop up everywhere. The game is also non-linear in a sense that you can finish most quests in any order. Recommended for RPG newbies.