The Black Onyx is one of the first RPG hits to be released in Japan. It was created in 1984 by Henk B. Rogers and his Japanese team at Bullet-Proof Software. It was originally released on the NEC PC-8801, but soon it was released on other platforms as well, including the NES, where the game was called Super Black Onyx.
The game sold over 150,000 copies in Japan, making it a major commercial success for a computer game of that era. In addition, it was voted Game of the Year by readers of Japan's Login magazine. As such, The Black Onyx was the most successful Japanese computer RPG when it released, sparking greater subsequent interest in the genre in Japan.
Game Boy Color Version
The Game Boy Color port was developed by Atelier Double and published by Taito. The Game Boy Color port added updated visuals from the original version. The Game Boy Color port featured the ability to play through the game with the original games visual style.
The town of Utsuro has been engulfed by darkness, it is up to the players to form a party of brave heroes and travel deep underground to find the legendary Black Onyx. Retrieving this item will break that curs that has been put onto the town, and thus bringing light back into their life.
The game takes place in the caves under Utsuro, where the player will the opportunity to create a party that can hold five party members. The caves that the game takes place in has several entrances, these entrances are hidden in location throughout the town. Once in the cave players will be faced with a six leveled dungeon (each has its own color), for the players to advance in the game each level need to be competed in a specific order. Once the correct order has been cleared the players will find the Onyx.
There is no dept/distance measured in the game so you will only encounter melee combat in the game (A separate game called The Fire Crystal included the lacing magic system). Players will also have the opportunity to travel to the town where they can deposit their money so it won’t get stolen by thieves and they travel to the local hospital where the PC’s stats are shown.
One mechanic that may have originated with this game, a health bar that slowly turned from blue to red in lieu of hit point numbers, has penetrated into other genres.
The game needed to be split into different games due to the memory limitations of the earlier systems. The following "expansions" were released:
- The Fire Crystal - Added a magic system to the game
- The Moonstone - Added a wilderness exploration feature to the game
- Arena - Added an Arena battle feature to the game.