Tired of shallow action/adventure games that are all explosive flash with no substance? Demon's Crest brings depth and artistry to the action/adventure genre, making it one of the season's top SNES games.
The same people who brought you Super Ghouls 'N' Ghosts in the early '90s have finally released a follow-up to that SNES action/adventure classic. While Arthur and his Princess are missing from this game, many of the same ghouls 'n' ghosts are here, as well as much of the same tried-and- true game play. This time, you play as the ugly Red Demon, one of Arthur's toughest enemies in the earlier game. He's still a bad guy, but now an even badder bad guy has scattered the Demon's Crest (no, it's not Satan's toothpaste, it's a circle of six powerful stones), so Red embarks on a crusade to recover them.
And what a crusade it is. Along the way he encounters all manner of zombies, ghosts, slithery beasties, and big buglike bosses. Red battles them all with the basic skills every demon needs: He flies, clambers onto cliffs, and spurts fiery breath as his all-purpose weapon. Better weapons await, however. Each time he finds part of the Demon's Crest, he gains a new Gargoyle power, including super strength, the ability to breathe and fight underwater, and a technique to reach higher areas. Using each power properly, plus some talismans, spells, and potions, adds a strategic element to the game play, separating it from standard run-n-shoot action/adventure titles.
For some gamers, the moves and magic will add a welcome complexity to the controls. Once you're deep into the game, you have to switch quickly from one new power to another to get past various obstacles. The switching requires you to sort through a menu that some gamers may find cumbersome. The powers themselves take a little practice to use effectively. Once you master the moves, however, you can maneuver efficiently and shoot accurately.
- Down this d flying over his flames and shooting at his head when he lowers it. Careful, though -- just when you think he's dead, he makes a last attack.
- As you fight through the jungle, you can splash in the water for only a second as the Red Demon. If you fall in, avoid the spiked bottoms and sides of the moving platforms.
Realm of the Demons
Although they may be a bit cartoony for some tastes, the graphics are wonderfully gruesome. The colorful, well-illustrated backgrounds look like scenes from hellish nightmares, with lots of craggy mountains and haunted graveyards. You'll recognize some enemies from Super Ghouls 'N' Ghosts, especially the zombies and ghosts. Of the many graphical highlights, a huge decaying dragon starts things off impressively, and the Red Demon flies with powerful grace. Thankfully, the slowdown that marred Super G 'N' G has been exorcised.
The sounds of this world aren't as rich, however. The sonorous music drones on repetitively, and all the beasts must've lost their voices in the damp weather. A few good sonic details, such as Red's flapping wings, don't compensate for what's missing.
- Near the end of the jungle, this ridge of fire bombards you with fireballs. Watch for falling sparks -- they show you where the next fireball will fall.
- Not only does this fire monster leap at you; he sends fire birds fluttering your way.
- When you pass the cemetery's first wave of spiders, don't immediately jump onto this first moving platform. Instead, climb down the cliff to a hidden room with a potion.
- As you prowl through the ruined torn, break windows with your head butt. You'll occasionally find helpful icons.
Co Crest Crazy
With so much to like, DC is a demon's delight. If there's a flaw in the game play, it's in the enemies' repetitious attack patterns. Most of the main monsters use simple swoop-and-shoot attacks reminiscent of Super Ghouls 'N' Ghosts, and few obstacles are super challenging, but the varied graphics and strategic depth are so intriguing, you may not mind. Fans of Arthur's original adventure surely won't, and neither will fens of good action/ adventure games. Demon's Crest rises to the top.