Have these Macs actually crashed or have the screens just blacked out?
The caps lock key (and its indicator) are under software control.
Control+Eject should get you a shutdown dialog with the four buttons. Default is shutdown. Return key will shut it down, Escape will back out.
The Alt/Option key at startup invokes the Startup Manager. Its code is all in ROM. It draws a gray screen, then in slow motion shows an icon for each potentially-bootable Volume. The Eject key goes "live" at the end, and will open the drawer.
!0.7 and later installs the Recovery_HD, which can be used to invoke Disk Utility and ( Repair Disk ).