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Box artwork for The Black Onyx.
Box artwork for The Black Onyx.
The Black Onyx
Developer(s)Bullet-Proof Software
Publisher(s)Bullet-Proof Software, ASCII Entertainment, Sega
Year released1985
System(s)NEC PC-6001, MSX, Fujitsu FM-7, Sharp X1, Sega Master System, Game Boy Color
ModesSingle player
LinksThe Black Onyx ChannelSearchSearch

The Black Onyx (ザ・ブラックオニキス?) is an RPG released in Japan by Bullet Proof Software, and written by Henk Rogers. It was one of the first Japanese-language RPGs ever made. Having sold 150,000 copies, the game is credited as familiarizing the Japanese public with RPGs. The success of this game lead to the development of series like Dragon Quest/Warrior and Final Fantasy. It was originally released for the NEC PC-8801 in 1984, and ported to several other platforms. A version of the game was released for the Famicom in Japan. It featured completely redesigned gameplay, a new map, and was retitled Super Black Onyx.

The player can create a five-member party (4 members on GBC), or can ask friendly encounters to join the party to fill empty slots. The party will explore the dungeons under the town of Utsuro (ウツロ) to obtain the legendary Black Onyx. Doing so will break the curse which binds the town in eternal night. The combat system has no concept of distance, so there are no bows or similar missile weapons. There are melee weapons, shields, and armor, however. The hospital in town can offer "examinations" which display the PCs' stats. There is a bank in town where the heroes can deposit money. This protects money from thieves; but there is no interest on the deposits, since there is no time system.

The labyrinth under the town has several entrances, each hidden in one of the locations of the town. The labyrinth has six floors corresponding to the six colors the computer can display. These must be solved in the proper order (which depends on the platform) in order to create the stairway to the Black Tower, where the Onyx resides.

Because of memory limitations, another part of the game were released separately on some platforms as The Fire Crystal (ザ・ファイアクリスタル?) (which added a magic system). Two other parts were announced, The Moonstone (ザ・ムーンストーン?) (which allowed the party to explore the wilderness), and Arena (アリーナ?) (which allowed the party to take part in Arena battles).

The Game Boy Color port was developed by Atelier Double and published by Taito. This port added updated visuals, although it also featured the ability to play through the game with the original games visual style.

Story[edit | edit source]

The town of Utsuro has been engulfed in darkness. It is up to the player to form a party of brave heroes and travel deep underground to find the legendary Black Onyx. Retrieving this item will break the curse that has been placed onto the town, and thus bring light back into the life of its citizens.

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