|Title: Demon's Crest
Author:CAPCOM Co. LTD
Rom Player: ZSNES
Synopsis: Demon's Crest is the last game of a short-lived series focusing around a gargoyle named Firebrand, who was nefariously known for being the popular enemy in Ghosts 'n Goblins as well as all of its sequels.
Since nobody could get past his stripping ability the game barely follows the storyline of Gargoyle's Quest II. Hence a spinoff of a spinoff, you do not need to play the previous Gargoyle's Quest games to understand what is going on in the plot of Demon's Crest. Hell, the events in the prologue never happened in the previous games!
Basically, the story of the game is centered around crests. The main gist of the story is pretty much DragonBall for ya, as you must collect all 6 crests (Fire, Ground, Tidal, Aerial, Time, Infinity) to have the supreme ultimate power. However, the crests are now spread throughout the tiny realm (except infinity). It's up to YOU to find them before foozle (Phalanx) foozles the world with his evil foozleness!
The gameplay is a flying platformer which we don't see alot of. Our hero, Firebrand, is a winged gargoyle who flies! Like gargoyles, they can stick to surfaces with their claws and so can
Firebrand. Firebrand can use this ability to scale large towers and fortresses as well as attacking from there. He can fly from left to right but not UP, unless it's the overworld map screen where CAPCOM scrapped the whole walk-to-area scenes that confused everyone thinking it's an RPG mimicing Dragon Warrior (this was a problem in the previous games). Finally, he has the ability to collect various inventory items without needing a pack or anything. How does he do it? I don't even know and I'm a huge dedicated fan of this guy but it would probably make the goatse man jealous.
Items range from empty urns you find across the game which affect your character, as well as empty vellums which usually aids the offensive force. Since these are empty, you'll have to go to magic shops to "fill them in" by buying various spells. Examples include: Imp for
summoning a tiny Arremer by your side killing stuff it touches. There's also the usual "kill
everything on my screen" spell, some healing stuff for urns and a rediculously pointless Escape potion.
In addition to spells, you can also come across talismans in the game. These are rather basic
enhancements to your character's status like taking half-damage with the armor talisman for example.
Finally, there's the CRESTS. The crests are essentially costumes of new abilities for your gargoyle. The ground crest can turn your muscles HUGE but you can no longer fly. You can still be a badass, however, crushing statues down revealing secrets.
The aerial crest turns you into a wierd slogra-esque pterodactyl thing with chicken legs and a very long penis. It doesn't look like a tail to me especially when it protrudes from the CROTCH AREA! This can let you fly UPWARDS, resist the force of strong winds and the ability to spit out SONIC BOOMS which can actually cut some vines making new paths.
The tidal crest turns you into a fish that can swim but also can't fly! You will be able to breathe underwater and shoot some neat water stuff. It's effective underwater but sucks on land. Why would you use this on land I don't know but at least you look alot more badass and less furry than a battletoad or a ninja turtle.
The crest of time unfortunately has no special effects involved with time, however, it turns you into a Legendary gargoyle which buffs up your skin with armor and several new horns to kick and ram about with! The fireball he shoots out is rather universal and hurts anything equally, as well as busting up blocks. The Ultimate gargoyle is the last and it basically uses all of the other crest's abilties. In addition you have the new ability to charge up a strong demon fireball in a very similar manner as Michael Jackson as a robot in the Moonwalker arcade game. No, Firebrand doesn't dance for a walk anymore like he did in his older games and he no longer sits down. :(
What about the form of the crest of fire you say? Well, Firebrand is already HOLDING IT! Well, at least a piece of it in the start of the game. It allows him to spit out these cool fireballs, better than the ones you see on TV. In the game you'll recover more pieces of this crest to gain more fire attacks such as Buster (not related to Megaman's buster) which busts up breakable blocks of earth the same way Blaster Master's buster does. There is also a "Claw" weapon which spits out goo to allow you to stick to sharp surfaces for a limited time only.
There's a tornado weapon as well. It barely affects enemies but by building it ala staircase, it allows you to walk UP INTO THE AIR! YES! INNOVATION AT IT'S FINEST. Finally, there's Demon Fire which is a powerful version of the regular
fireball but designed for vanquishing THE DARK SIDE. Yeah, truly evil things will suffer more damage from this thing.
Another one of Firebrand's abilities is headbutting. He doesn't use it as an attack on enemies though (that might ban the game in the UK anyway) but he breaks windows, cracks and even skulls with it. Since Firebrand is so hardcore, he headbangs doors to open them. Finally, a use for that spike-shaped lump on his head!
One of the biggest things hindering the gameplay is the Select screen where you display all your
stuff. The screen is fine and dandy but when in desperate, tension filled combat such as later bosses; it'll be a burden to switch quickly to another crest. It's probably more realistic this way anyway since Firebrand is no Megaman with super technological capabilities to change powers at will.
The game may be too easy near the beginning, then again, it's the beginning of the game and not ultimate challenge #13. Some of the last talismans are very well hidden in the most not-obvious spots such as a very long hidden hallway below water level that leads to a small tiny room with it. The last beef I have with the gameplay is that most gamers (who usually rented it) headed straight for the "bad" ending. This cut the game time to really short. For the more dedicated gamer, you'll find that there's four different endings in all.
As far as originality goes; this game hits it at best. How many games could you find that casted you as a gargoyle for the main protagonist? Not many. There's barely any gargoyle movies, books or tv shows about gargoyles. (I don't count Disney since they're responsible of spreading the furry plague on gargoyle fandom with their cartoon). The graphics are well pixel-pushed out, especially for 1994, and the animations are good. You can see Firebrand breathing his sexy chest IN and OUT when he's damaged, see him hang at angles when he sticks to corners, see many blazes of fire emitting from your dying foes and witness the shiny glitter on sharp ice edges in the palace.
I could hype on forever on the attention to detail of the graphics in this one but there's this one problem with the graphics that really is a downer - the Ultimate Gargoyle form is a recolored Legendary Gargoyle form :(. This isn't counted against the Graphics score but the US box art is DAMN UGLY and inferior compared to the powerful and striking Japanese counterpart (Demon's Blazon). Plus they gave him a stupidly tight speedo (which actually reveals a pronounced lump) and golden bracers.
Gargoyles don't need any clothes! Well then again, don't judge a book by it's cover, but it was probably responsible for the game's poor sales. In addition, Nintendo censorship has taken the step to give Firebrand a small tail stump to cover up the rectal area of his backside. :(
The music is melodically memorable and the church organs with voice oohs all heavily echoed sets the atmosphere well for the game better than most SNES games with a similar setting. There's not even a single percussion heard in this game entirely *coughcough*Super Castlevania IV*coughcough*. My only beef with the music is that most of the songs are shorter than standard which will add to some repetition. The worst of the repetition is the music when you're fighting a boss.
Overall Demon's Crest is a unique experience and take on the platformer genre with mild RPG elements. It's also one of the last games ever to star a nude gargoyle as a main character with the ability to fly, headbutt and latch onto walls. Give this game a shot if you don't mind hitting SELECT so often. I highly recommend this game! Don't take my word for it!
*insert reading rainbow synthesizer sound here*
Game Play: 7
Overall Rating: 8
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