Game Info

The Cruz site offers instructions on how to play, a complete list of game objects, playing guides, and much more.


Miscellaneous Information

Some relevant information about Cruz that doesn't really fit into any other page...

Special References, Tributes, and Notes

  • Cruz Empire's first level is the only one that is based off a Kroz game (Lost Adventures). It starts in the same area, but heads in a completely different direction (literally).

  • The tome () within the player's hut is the same tome collected at the end of Lost Adventures of Kroz. There is also a tablet earlier in that game, before the tome is collected, that implies some of the same things as described in the conclusion screen for Lost Adventures of Kroz.

  • The three monsters that appeared in Kroz have been characterized as similar-looking to the ASCII characters that represented them: =, =, =

  • In retrospect, I might have been indirectly influenced by the Gargs in "Commander Keen" when creating the bug-eyed green enemy sprites (), but the monster was really my conception of the "umlaut-O" ASCII character as it appeared in Kroz. It is unknown if Scott Miller was thinking something similar when he chose the character to begin with; bug-eyed green things would appear in still more Apogee games, including "Crystal Caves."

  • Volvox pods () are real. They aren't as big as cars in real life; they actually require a microscope to see. To my knowledge, they also don't threaten you if the pods are ruptured.

  • Giant mosquitos () did exist in the Permian period. Whether they would have been as dangerous as in this game is uncertain.

  • Salamanders () are creatures from the Rogue/Nethack family of games. Of course, they don't track lava all over the place in those games.

  • Purple worms () are also creatures from the Rogue/Nethack family of games. In some respects, purple worms in Cruz are actually a hybrid of two different worm characters: long worms in the sense that they are long, and purple worms in the sense that they can swallow and digest you.

  • Iron golems () have appeared in a number of different games. Since they tend to be incredibly tough, I chose to make them unbeatable by normal means in Cruz.

  • Acid blobs () appear in the Rogue/Nethack family of games. The splash-damage-on-attack operates in a similar fashion. Only Cruz allows the blob to spread all over the level.

  • Some of the text on item interactions is the same as that found in Nethack as a tribute to that game, such as "You try to move the boulder, but in vain."

  • Two of the game-over dialogs following the bottomless pit animation allude to movie characters often in danger of falling: Wile E. Coyote and The Goonies.

  • The original Kroz series allowed for bombs and spears to penetrate invisible solid walls. These properties were not heavily used when it came to puzzle-solving in the original series. In Cruz, these properties are critical and must be employed in order to win the game.

  • The "berserk charge" movement of enemies on some levels of Cruz is a tribute to a bug in the original Kroz games, which allowed some monsters to take several moves in one game tick iteration. Such charges are a lot more deterministic in Cruz than in Kroz.

  • Level 25, "Tree Wave," is a tribute to Atari's game "Crystal Castles."

  • Level 28, "Salvation?" is an indirect reference to Tolkien's "The Two Towers," when the Ents seal Saruman inside the Orthanc tower.

  • The Level 28 poem is a mutation of one of Walt Whitman's. I have it on good authority that he is turning over in his grave right now.

  • Level 31, "Message from Author," has a parody of the message in Level 21 of Final Crusade of Kroz.

  • Level 64 pokes fun of a mantra in Lost Adventures, which grants the player treasure if "deemed worthy."

  • Level 63 and Level 81 are a tribute to 3D Realms' game "Blood." There is even a special slap in the face reserved for the people who choose the door that would have been correct for that game.

  • Level 119 is a tribute to Apogee's "Arctic Caverns," resembling two of that game's bonus rooms.

  • Level 129 is a tribute to Apogee's "Paganitzu." Since no single level stood out, this level actually contains seven levels from the ShareWare version packed into one level in Cruz. There is also a special "eulogy" for Alabama Smith.

  • Level 134 is a tribute to the numerous levels in the Kroz series that bear the name "Crazy Cubicals."

  • Level 138 is a tribute to Doom, resembling the Phobos Anomaly level design.

  • Level 149 is a tribute to Doom II, with a design that resembles the gatekeeper battle.

  • Level 156 features formations of enemies in the shape of various ASCII characters, paying homage to the ASCII characters used in Kroz originally. The formations actually resemble the characters of the monsters in Cruz if the game is played in Retro Mode.

  • Level 160 reveals that a certain "god mode" cheat code in one of 3D Realms' more famous games does, in fact, work for Cruz.

About the Soundtrack

Kroz had stellar gameplay and very distinct sound effects, even unlike most other PC games. Both of those features needed to be preserved at all costs.

But one thing disappointed me about the game: no music. The lack of music is understandable, considering the primitive nature of the program's graphics and timing mechanisms. Nevertheless, I found myself wanting some lively, and in some cases suspenseful, music to play in the background.

When I decided to make the Cruz engine, I figured, why not fill that gap? Cruz provides 11 new background music tracks, all composed by the engine's author. Not just "The Underground Empire of Cruz" but all of the original Kroz episode ports have been augmented with this soundtrack.

This being my first real foray into video game music composition, my expectations were not terribly high. After considering how most of Apogee's games that had music ended up using FM synthesis to generate sound, I figured the quality of the music for Cruz should match those expectations--I left them as standard MIDI.

You can download the soundtrack here.

About the Author

Christopher Allen is a software engineer who enjoys making video games as a hobby. He lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Please post any comments or queries to the Discussion Page.

I have authored several video games, which can be played at my personal site:

My "Metroid Master" ROM hack:

The first computer version of Egyptian RatScrew:

My "NES Chiptunes" collection (350 songs!):

My "file format" explorer, BARfly:


CRUZ Trailer

Kroz - Wikipedia entry

3D Realms (formerly Apogee) Official Site

This page is Copyright © 2011 Christopher Allen.