You need to play the most underrated Metroidvania of all time on Switch ASAP
Video game designer Thomas Grip, who helped make horror games like SOMA and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, once said Vice that for a “pure sense of primal terror, there is nothing that can beat a game.” Games provide a level of control and immersion that can feel like a takeover at times, but can also feel terribly helpless. However, said Grip, “the personal horror” that could be experienced in films like The Exorcist was often missing from horror games.
Video games can hook a gamer on someone’s journey they’ve never been. To experience this personal horror, why not spend a few hours inside a demon’s body? This is the idea behind the 1994 Capcom game Demon crest, which, if you are a paid Nintendo Switch online subscriber, can be played now by downloading the Super Nintendo Entertainment System app.
No, you don’t have to play it on Wii U! (Nintendo has no official Demon crest Switch trailer for some reason …)
Demon crest is not a horror game as the term is often used today. There is no element of survival in the game, and the main character, a demon named Firebrand, does not feel undernourished. Rather, it’s a well-designed side-scrolling platformer with RPG elements that fall squarely into the Metroidvania subgenre. As it turns out, the game has a wonderfully spooky main character and setting that exudes both style and power.
What is the crest of the titular demon? Well, there are six, actually. The game’s plot revolves around six Infinity Stone-esque gems that grant their owner incredible abilities. Demons have fought for these stones for eons, and just as Firebrand was about to emerge victorious, his victory was thwarted by his rival: Phalanx. Firebrand has been locked in a dungeon, and now it’s time for revenge. After defeating a dragon in the dungeon, it returns to the haunted world of Firebrand.
Originally an enemy of the notoriously difficult Ghosts and Goblins series, Firebrand begins in that series’ home territory: a graveyard. Originally armed only with fireballs and flight power, Firebrand can squander undead with an efficiency that the protagonist of Ghosts and Goblins could only dream.
This first gameplay is fun. Firebrand can also cling to any surface, making vertical levels a fun challenge. The enemies are well designed, including wonderfully spooky flower monsters that populate the pits. But the game really takes off when Firebrand reclaims the Earth Stone.
Now Firebrand can transform into a goblin who can jump higher and smash stone statues. The game also evolves in a sort of open world structure, zooming out on a map and allowing Firebrand to fly at different levels. It all shows a decaying world, sometimes with piles of human skeletons falling out of windows. A few NPCs offer a glimpse into Phalanx’s plans, but most of the time it’s just Firebrand in this world, a lonely demon in a hell world.
Every upgrade seems important in Demon crest. Most of the time, it’s obvious that talents are relevant to each level, but when it comes to game bosses, trial and error is required. Bosses require impeccable timing and constant attacks, and each feels scary enough to pose a legitimate threat to a demon. A giant skeleton with a sword named Bleth particularly stands out.
Revision Demon crest In 1994, Monthly electronic game predicted that the game would “probably be one of those sleep games”. According to the standards of the time, AGE thought the game was “beautiful” with “some of the most detailed graphics seen in an action game”.
Like another sleeping game with mystical vibes, The immortal, Demon crest is a masterpiece of pixel art. All the enemies, even the white sheet ghosts that fly around a few levels, feel handcrafted. The levels are fairly easy to navigate, although a YouTube walkthrough or FAQ can be very helpful.
What makes a game like Demon crest is his attention to detail. The music is filled with creepy organs, the NPCs are a bunch of creepy weirdos, and watching Firebrand fly over the map is a delight.
If you want to play an old-fashioned game to get into the Halloween spirit, do it Demon crest.