A playthrough of Capcom’s 1994 horror-themed action-adventure game for the Super Nintendo, Demon’s Crest.
Played through on the normal difficulty level. The good ending is shown, and after the credits roll, I reset the game, use the final password, and take on the hidden final boss for the “true” ending.
Demon’s Crest is the third and final installment in the Gargoyle’s Quest trilogy that was spun-off of Capcom’s popular Ghosts ‘n Goblins series. It follows Gargoyle’s Quest (1990 on GB) and Gargoyle’s Quest II (1992 on NES, 1993 on GB).
You can find my playthrough the first game here:
And the second game:
Firebrand’s third adventure begins with his killing of a zombie dragon in order to escape from a Demon Realm prison. The demon Phalanx attacked Firebrand sometime following the events of GQ2, stole his elemental crests, and imprisoned him. The crests granted Phalanx enough power to take over the entire Demon Realm, and Firebrand is pissed.
Demon’s Crest was an atypical title in its day – its resembles a mix of Super Metroid, Mega Man X, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The overhead JRPG segments from the earlier games have been scrapped in favor of a single world hub map, dialogues with NPCs now take place within the action scenes themselves, and the game flows more naturally with fewer jarring transitions than its predecessors as a result.
The core gameplay will instantly feel familiar to anyone that has played a GQ game, and the controls are responsive and surprisingly nuanced – far more so than in the earlier games. The level structure has also gone through some radical changes. Though there are only seven total stages, you’ll revisit them multiple times over the course of the game: Firebrand is constantly learning new forms and techniques, and there are many obstacles that require a specific skill to get past. The new paths that open up with these abilities greatly expand on the already large stages, and all of the best stuff is typically hidden in these areas. If you want the best ending you’ll need to find all of Firebrand’s upgrades, you’ll need to explore thoroughly to make sure you don’t miss anything.
The Demon Realm and its inhabitants paint some gorgeous spectacles on the SNES. As dark, morbid, and oppressive as the visuals tend to be, they look almost like animated paintings at times – the attention to detail is stellar. The same can be said for the soundtrack. It never attempts to sound like Castlevania as you might expect – it’s loaded with dark symphonic flourishes and an ambience that is unmatched on the system, and the quality of the compositions make them well worth listening to even outside of the game. In my opinion, it’s one of the best soundtracks on the SNES.
The gameplay, though, is Demon’s Crest’s trump card. The versatility of Firebrand’s move set, the thoughtful level design, and a difficulty level that’s stiff without being punishing all make it an absolute pleasure to play.
Despite being all but ignored when it was first released, Demon’s Crest is one of the crowning achievements of the SNES library, and it’s one of the best titles Capcom has ever made.
It’s dark, it’s beautiful, and it’s endlessly entertaining. I really can’t say enough good things about Demon’s Crest, but I really don’t have to. Just play it for five minutes: the quality speaks for itself.
But does anyone else find it amusing how closely the ending resembles Mega Man X’s?
No cheats were used during the recording of this video.
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