Original Release: 1994
I didn’t like Ghosts ‘n Goblins, and while Super Ghouls and Ghosts was better, I still didn’t care for it very much. So it’s kind of ironic that I actually enjoyed a game starring one of the most annoying enemies from those games. But Demon’s Crest impressed me, and there are a lot of things to like about it.
The art direction is superb, and is very impressive for a 16 bit console, and it still holds up quite well. The music isn’t as impressive, but it’s still pretty decent, and compliments the atmosphere of the game perfectly. Each level is distinct and unique, with its own environment, enemies, and challenges.
The controls are very good, and give the player a variety of ways of solving problems and overcoming obstacles. The ability to hover is quite fun and unique, as well as useful, but the game avoids making it feel overpowered. The player can obtain different powers throughout the game, and each one has its own fun and unique playstyle, and further diversifies the ways players can overcome challenges.
The game is quite hard, with the thrilling and unique boss fights in particular being very brutal. However, it’s hard in an extremely fair manner, especially considering the cheap tactics many of its peers loved to employ. There is no lives system, the iteration times are completely reasonable, and you don’t die in one or two hits. All of this places it head and shoulders above many other 16 bit and 8 bit games in terms of being fair and well designed. In Demon’s Crest, all that matters is whether you can overcome the challenge currently placed before you, and in this kind of game, that’s all that should matter.
In many respects, Demon’s Crest is an absolutely fantastic game. But there is one severe flaw that undercuts the experience; it’s too short.
While it has an interesting overworld map and a few miscellaneous shops here and there, the game has only six levels, after which you fight the final boss, and the game ends. The game comes to a close so abruptly it’s rather jarring. Having played through the whole game, one gets the impression that Demon’s Crest was a game that wasn’t really finished. The story that tries to be rather big and grandiose, the empty inventory slots that are never filled, the haphazard way in which certain sections are linked together, and the overworld map all give the impression that Demon’s Crest was originally going to be a much bigger, much more ambitious game. However, something must have gone wrong, the developers weren’t able to fulfill all of their plans for the game, and were forced to stitch together what they had and release it as it was. A victim of over ambition, it would seem.
It’s a shame, because as incomplete as it feels, Demon’s Crest is still really good. It only makes me think with futile longing what the game would have been like had they been able to fully flesh it out.
As it stands, it’s a really great action platformer whose only shortcoming lies in its short length. That may be a problem some people might not be able to look past, but I think Demon’s Crest is still worth looking at.
How well it holds up 3/4
Personal enjoyment 4/5
Overall quality 7/10
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