Game Info

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


Strategy Guide

What, is this game a bit too hard for you? Cruz is a remake of a classic game series, Kroz, which was once a very popular adventure title on the IBM PC. All the episodes can be finished. It's not like it's impossible or anything.

There is a catch, of course: people who had only an IBM PC and few other games on it would be forced to persevere, since they had nothing better to do. Almost nothing in terms of strategy was spelled out in the Kroz instructions. You were supposed to figure it out on your own, unlike modern games, where nearly all strategies are spoon-fed to game players.

This guide starts out with general hints, moves on to hints for specific areas, and then moves on to cheat codes. If you really suck, you should skip straight to the end. Otherwise, read on and see if it helps.

Also, don't forget about the Definitive Kroz FAQ, which I have also written.

General Strategies

Moving Diagonally

You can move diagonally using the Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys. You need to be able to do this, because some paths are narrow and can't be traversed with arrow keys alone. Mouse movement will automatically take care of diagonal movement as needed.

Even when you don't need to move diagonally, it's still a good idea. Here is why:

  • Enemies move diagonally, too. If you only move straight, they will catch up with you.
  • You can avoid clusters of enemies by slipping diagonally through "gaps" in the pack.
  • When you have only a limited amount of time to move after picking up a time-sensitive spell (such as a freeze-time spell), you will want to cut as many corners as possible.

Mouse Movement

Mouse click-to-move controls are new to Kroz-style games. Some levels are much easier to complete with mouse controls, while others, such as sideways levels and boulder puzzles, are easier to complete with classic keyboard controls. Experiment and find out which control scheme works best for you.

Bottomless pit navigation, for instance, is much easier to perform with mouse movement. As long as you don't click directly ON the pit, you'll be safe.

Keep in mind: Navigation-by-mouse does not avoid all potential hazards! If you are not aware of hazards, the game does not let you "cheat" and move around invisible obstacles.

There is a maximum range for navigation. If mouse movement does not work, pick a closer destination.

Confusion mist (the purple cloud that appears on some levels) forces you to make deliberate movements to adjacent squares.

Tricking Enemies

Enemies move synchronously. Take advantage of this if you don't want to waste whips, or if you have run out of them. Wait for enemies to move, then run past them. You will take minimal damage (or none, if you're clever).

Some levels are tailor-made for breakable-wall kills. If a group of enemies looks intimidating, imagine how you might be able to lead them over to a block of breakable walls.

Watch out for enemies that are placed in such a fashion that they will steal inventory items. If an enemy is poised to walk over an item, do one of two things to save the items:

  • Anticipate the enemy's path. Figure out when and where you will travel to parts of the level, allowing you to maximize the items that you can collect before they can do the same.
  • Get a slow-time or freeze-time spell. Now you can rush past enemies without fear, provided you are quick.

If boulders are available, figure out how you can use them to your advantage. You can accidentally destroy important items with boulders if you are not careful. If you are careful, you can eliminate an entire clan of enemies just by pushing a single rock.

Climbing and Sideways Levels

The "sideways" levels in Kroz appear to have taken a page from some of the CGA side-view adventures Apogee was known for in its early days, such as Pharaoh's Tomb. With two exceptions: you can't jump in Kroz, and you don't die in one hit in Kroz.

Ropes are the name of the game when it comes to navigating sideways levels. The following rules apply for movement around the level, with or without a rope handy:

  1. Non-rope movement: sideways, downward, or diagonally downward only.
  2. From-rope movement: any direction.
  3. To-rope movement: any direction.
  4. To-drop-rope movement: any direction.
  5. The player gradually slides down if there is nothing solid underneath,
  6. and if the player is not currently hanging on a rope.

Drop-rope chords (the flashing down-arrows) cause ropes to fall from other drop-rope chords of the same type in the same level. Note that this doesn't apply to the chord you just pulled, which means you must select the correct chord to complete the level (usually the lowest one).

Drop-rope chords limit their drop range based on certain blocking types. Normally this means walls, but other types like activators and closeable wall types can also limit the range. You should take care to remove any obstacles that might limit the drop range before pulling the chord, as the puzzle solution might hinge on keeping the rope as long as possible.

Teleporting Like a Pro

Teleports can help to get to otherwise inaccessible places. Since teleport scrolls are rare, use them wisely. They tend to be most useful when you are trapped.

There are also teleport traps, which may or may not be visible on the floor. If you touch one, it acts like a teleport scroll, but takes 50 points away.

Some levels don't allow you to teleport ahead. It is rare for the later Kroz games in the series to allow you to skip complex puzzles by teleporting.

If you have surplus teleports, you might want to use the laws of probability to make progress at times. For example:

  1. If a cluster of enemies is bearing down on you, wait until they get very close, then teleport. Of all the available spots you could teleport to, the odds are that you will be sent far away from the pack of dangerous foes, since the enemies have closed off all nearby space.
  2. If you have traversed a long and tedious path, and you must backtrack, a teleport will, by definition, nearly always get you closer to your goal, perhaps significantly closer. This is because you are already at a maximum distance away from the destination, so you lose nothing by trying to get closer (either a bit, or a lot).

Keys: Ideal Usage

Each episode has its own "policy" for keys. Some of them will give you plenty of extras, while others will not give you even one extra key. In general, you should NEVER waste a key if you can help it--save them all until you really need them!

The original Kroz behavior for enemies that collect keys was pretty cruel: the key is permanently lost. If you needed that key, tough luck; the game is over. Cruz is nicer in that keys are only temporarily stolen, meaning you can beat the thief to capture the key. Then again, Cruz can make your life harder by having golems and purple worms take the keys, which are harder to destroy.

Powering up That Whip of Yours

Your whip at the start of an episode sucks--it kills all non-hard enemies in one hit, but destroys breakables with several hits.

Thankfully, Cruz causes damage to breakable walls or trees that your whip failed to destroy on the first strike. The original Kroz behavior allowed for the possibility that you could whip the same spot 10 times without destroying it! This was a bit "too" random for most people.

To reach a 100% breakable-wall kill ratio for first whip swing, you need five power rings. But you'll get close to this ratio with only three or four rings. Beyond this point, additional power rings will not yield as much of an advantage, since the gains you receive against boulders and statues diminish with each subsequent ring.

Tunnel Hopper

If there are two tunnels on the level, you always transport between the tunnels. If there are more than two tunnels on the level, you will transport randomly between every other tunnel on the level.

The exact square chosen by the game for the player's destination is also random. This can get somewhat frustrating at times, because simply exiting from the correct tunnel is not enough: you must also exit from the correct side.

One curious property of tunnels is that it is not possible to exit the same tunnel entered, while at the same time picking a different square to exit. If all the other tunnels are blocked, the exit spot for the tunnel will always be the entrance square, not any other square.

This means that some levels require the player to open the space surrounding another tunnel, which then allows transport between tunnels, which then (presumably) lets the player exit from the original tunnel on the other side. There are only a few levels in the entire series that require this, but it is absolutely necessary to do so in order to finish these levels.

Enemy Compaction Strategy

A common strategy to use when large volumes of monsters appear on the screen is to let them "compress" into a blob. In most cases, random level layouts with lots of enemies will leave little room for you to maneuver without taking damage. But if you skirt around the perimeter, enemies will gradually start packing closer together, allowing you to outrun them (as long as you stick to the edges of the screen). Since enemies are less likely to destroy items on the edges of the screen, you can normally pick up goodies with minimal damage.

If the exit stairs are in the middle of the screen, though, enemy compaction does not work to your benefit. You will have to dive straight through them when it is time to exit the level.

If enemies have completely closed in, a teleport scroll is useful. With the enemies packed in so tight, the teleport will normally take you to a place far behind them, since teleports only go to empty spaces.

Zero-sum Strategy

Employ this when deciding if it's worth it to expend whips to get items. There is a 2/7 probability that an unimproved whip will destroy a breakable wall. However, if you need only destroy one of three adjacent walls to proceed, the chance of a whip swing allowing you to progress is 3 times that: 6/7. If the direction of your progress will net you 1 whip or more for every 1 whip expended, it's a good direction to go in. Otherwise, it's more sensible to avoid blocked items.

Whip-versus-gem Strategy

Should you use a whip or just take the damage from enemies? When presented with this dilemma, take into account the following:

  • For narrow corridor of unavoidable enemies: red enemies take only one gem, making it better to run through them. Green and blue enemies are better when whipped, since they take more gems in one fell swoop than you would be able to restock. But if you can restock with a comparable number of gems right away, it might be worth running through solitary green or blue enemies.
  • For clusters of enemies: if there are 4 or more surrounding enemies, it's usually better to whip them. The damage you take from 4 or more surrounding enemies can be nasty. In the case of blue enemies, it's downright hideous.

To Cross Lava or Not to Cross

Lava takes ten gems away when walked on, but it does not return unless the level has spreading lava. This means it is sometimes beneficial to walk on lava to get treasure or bypass locked doors.

Is it worth it? Consider this:

You lose 1,000 points from lost end-bonus gems if you cross lava, but you immediately get 250 points for crossing lava. This means that you can't expect lava to be worth crossing in terms of point value most of the time. However, if the point value will boost your end-of-game score beyond this 750-point margin, it's often worth it. Provided you don't die on the journey, of course!

Things that will boost your score:

  • Each gem or whip collected will increase your end-of-game score by 110 points.
  • Each teleport scroll collected will increase your end-of-game score by 200 points.
  • Each key collected, or door bypassed, will increase your end-of-game score by 10,000 points.

There are implicit advantages to crossing lava in levels where there are tons of tough enemies. It's probable that 3 blue enemies will take off a comparable amount of gems as lava, if there are that many of them in your path. Think about how "torn up" you are likely to get from staying away from lava!

Worm Running

Only useful in The Underground Empire of Cruz. Sometimes, it's actually beneficial to let a purple worm swallow you. While swallowed, you can run down the length of its body to its tail! But don't do this for too long, because you will be digested. After a while, the rate of digestion picks up, which inflicts progressively more and more damage. Before you get too hurt, you should whip your way free of the purple worm.

Cheat Codes

In the title screen, enter the following codes into the custom game box:

!    This activates in-game cheats.
dnkroz    This activates god mode.

The in-game cheats are as follows:

/    Give more items.
Z    Destroy everything around the player.
+    Advance one level.
-    Backtrack one level.
\    Advance five levels.

This page is Copyright © 2012 Christopher Allen.