Faster Than Light: Advanced Edition is categorized as a Rogue-like game, because events within the game are randomly generated and you start each game from scratch. At the start of each game, you choose from one of many available ships. Each ship has a different layout, different equipment, and different starting resources. The only features that stand about Crystal Cruisers is that each one has the Crystal Vengeance augmentation that has a small chance to damage an enemy vessel when the Crystal Cruiser is damaged and each ship has Crystal crew members. Neither benefit is particularly meaningful. These ships are the hardest in the game to acquire, but barely feel worth the effort. The following guide to the Crystal Cruiser ship class will help you obtain each variant of this ship and use them efficiently.
Variant A: Bravais (16 Fuel) – Effectively, the Bravais is just the Kestrel with slightly different weaponry and a very awkward layout. The two crystal weapons it uses are basically just versions of the Burst Laser Mark I and the Heavy Laser Mark I that pierce one bubble of shields. This makes them brutal against ships in sectors 1 and 2 and useful against some ships in sectors 3 and 4, but you will need to equip additional weapons after that. The strategy for this ship is almost identical to the Kestrel, except that your weapons are more effective in the first few sectors of the game and you have an additional crew member. Since the ability to pierce one bubble of shielding can potentially help at any point in the game, assuming you have other means of wearing down shields, these two weapons are relatively useful throughout the game. If you can add another burst weapon of any sort, you should have a strong enough offense for most of the game. For this especially, you will want a lot of crew members because the two halves of the ship are divided such that it is very hard to quickly move crew members to problem areas.
Unlock – There are two ways to unlock this ship. The first method requires a lot of things to fall into your lap. While in a Rockman Cruiser you need to search a ship at a distress beacon and get lucky and find the Damaged Stasis Pod augmentation. Then you need to find a research station in an Engi or Zoltan system. Then you need to travel to the Rock Homeworlds. If you are lucky, you will get an encounter where your Crystal crew member can unlock the pod. Finally, you need to travel to a quest marker. Do all of that, in order, in a single playthrough, and you will unlock the Bravais. Alternately, you need defeat the rebel flagship with every single variant A and Variant B ship in the game except for the Lanius Cruiser and the Crystal Cruiser. This is almost impossibly hard, especially for ships like the Stealth Cruiser.
Variant B: Carnelian (16 Fuel) – The Carnelian is used for boarding and nothing else. It has a weapon control system, but no starting weapons. The only way you can attack an enemy ship is by teleporting your crew to the other ship. You start with three Crystal crew members and a crew teleporter that can teleport all three at once. The idea is that you send them all to a single room and use the lock down power of a Crystal to sabotage the room. By constantly cycling between which Crystal uses the power, you should be able to permanently lockdown a room. You can use this to isolate enemies and kill them quickly or sabotage a system. Your ship also starts with a cloaking device allowing you to hide from all enemy weapon fire until you have finished sabotaging the weapon system. Unfortunately, except for hiding and running, this ship lacks any useful way to deal with unmanned ships. You are pretty much insane if you try to use this strategy throughout the game. Eventually you will need weapons. Find a good weapon early and make sure to upgrade your cloaking system. This strategy becomes much more effective if you can also manage to acquire a mind control system.
Unlock – The Carnelian is unlocked by completing 2 of the 3 Crystal Cruiser Achievements.
Crystal Cruiser Achievement: Sweet Revenge – To get this achievement, you need to destroy an enemy ship with your Crystal Vengeance augmentation. The easiest way to do this is to buy a Dual Lasers or Burst Laser I in sector 1. Fight an enemy and use the laser to reduce the enemy to 1 hull point. Then power down your weapons and turn off your shields. You have 30 hull and a 10% chance to counter attack each time your ship is hit. You should destroy the enemy ship before you run out of hull. Even if you do, you basically have assured that you can’t win the game.
Crystal Cruiser Achievement: No Escape – The No Escape achievement requires you to trap four enemy crew members in a single room using the lockdown power of a Crystal crew member. Obviously, this requires that the enemy ship has at least four crew members. There are two ways to do this, though neither is a sure thing. First, sometimes the enemy ship will teleport four crew to your ship. If that happens, they should head straight to a room with four tiles. Quickly send a Crystal crew member to that room and use the power. Alternately, you can buy a crew teleporter. If you teleport crew members to an important room in an enemy ship, the enemy might send four crew members to stop you. You can’t be certain this will happen. It is actually a lot easier to assure if you happen to get a hull breach in that room.
Crystal Cruiser Achievement: Clash of the Titans – Clash of the Titans is very hard to acquire, because it requires a lot of luck. You need to destroy 15 Rock ships with your Crystal Cruiser in a single game. Rock ships are almost always found in Rock controlled sectors, but you can’t tell what sectors are controlled by which groups until you are within one step of them. The best way to do this is to get Long-Ranged Sensors early and pilot a path that takes your through as many hostile sectors as possible. If you are lucky, this will include at least two Rock sectors, which should be enough to earn this achievement.