The arrival of SNES games to the Nintendo Switch means cult classics we missed are now available. One is a Capcom romp from 1994 that, until recently, had drifted into Hell (also known as obscurity).
Right, it all revolves around six “crests”. These are magical stones that represent elements: fire, earth, water, heaven, and time.
You play as Fireband, who’s a demon. He’s in some sort of battle with this other odious being – Phalanx.
As the player, it’s your job to battle your way (very much in Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts fashion – another Capcom classic) across dead wicked levels to gather the orbs an defeat your enemies.
But not before one behemoth of a title screen.
Firebrand has the ability to fly (although it’s more of a hover at the start of the game) and he can cling to the side of objects. This makes travering the scenery more interesting than your standard platformer.
There were a lot of 2D sidescrollers back SNES era, dictated by the tecnological limitations of the time.
And Capcom did try very hard to offer something unique here. You can, Mega Man style, choose between six levels to play. This involves flying across a Mode 7 inspired 3D map anyone who’s played Secret of Mana will recognise.
So there’s a tactical element there, plus RPG aspects – this hybrid of genres make Demon Crest much more than your average SNES platformer.
You power-up as a character in a Metroidvania fashion, which means you become more psychotic looking.
Firebrand appears to have been taken from the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series.
In those games, intensely annoying demons swoop in and you have to try to wipe them out. Well, this time out you are the demon!
But Capcom sure didn’t bother removing the notorious difficulty from its platforming games. Demon’s Crest is bloody tough.
But it’s worth it, as the more effort you put in the more the whole thing engages and rewards.
Complementing the gameplay is an impressive visual appeal. The soundtrack is also something different, an organ driven type Bach extravaganza (that’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, for any philistines not in the know).
It’s also a great platformer. Amazing how we totally missed this one as kids, but then there were so many fantastic masterpieces out on the SNES. It was tough to unearth the obscure gems.
And until recently it was tough to find the game. Nintendo did release it across its Wii U and 3DS virtual consoles, but this Switch launch should introduce it to a whole new audience.
And rightfully so, we think cult classics like this deserve a lot of respect.
Difficult it may well be, but we’ve also thoroughly enjoyed playing through it. Demon’s Crest is most definitely demonic – it has stood up to the test of time and ripped its head off.