The Black Onyx is a high-fantasy turn-based RPG developed and published by BPS for the NEC PC-8801 exclusively in Japan on January 1984.
It is known as a progenitor of Japanese RPGs and (after a shaky initial release) was one of the first successful RPGs that was released for Japanese markets. It was designed by entrepreneur Henk B. Rogers (who was later known as a founder of The Tetris Company).
The game takes place in the fantasy town of Utsuro as a party of up to five brave (and customizable) heroes set out through a labyrinth deep underground to find the legendary Black Onyx and break the town's curse.
Throughout 1984 and 1985, BPS would port the game to other computers at the time (namely the NEC PC-9801, Sharp X1, and FM-7) as well as develop the game's sequel: The Black Onyx II: Search for the Fire Crystal (also known as The Fire Crystal). The game was also ported by ASCII for both the NEC PC-6001 and MSX computers, and was ported by Sega for the Sega SG-1000 in 1987. The game later received two enhanced remakes: Super Black Onyx (released in 1988 for the Famicom) and a handheld remake (released in 2001 for the Game Boy Color).
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 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.