North American box art
Demon's Crest, known in Japan as Demon's Blazon,[a] is a side-scrolling platform video game developed and published by Capcom for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is the third video game starring Firebrand (an enemy character from the Ghosts 'n Goblins series, known as "Red Arremer" in the Japanese version), following Gargoyle's Quest and Gargoyle's Quest II.
The game's story revolves around the Crests, six magical stones which preside over their respective elements (Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Time and Heaven). When all crests are combined, the Crest of Infinity will appear, allowing its holder infinite power and the ability to conquer all realms with it. The demons of the Demon Realm have long fought each other for possession of the Crests, five of which have since fallen into the hands of a red demon named Firebrand. Seeking infinite power, Firebrand challenges a Demon Dragon for the Crest of Heaven and is victorious, though badly wounded. In his weakness, a rival demon named Phalanx ambushes Firebrand and takes all the Crests except the Fire Crest which shattered into five shards.
As the game begins, Phalanx has already begun using the Crests to become the ruler of the Demon Realm, while Firebrand is imprisoned in an amphitheater and made to fight the zombified Demon Dragon. After escaping the amphitheater, Firebrand sets out to regain the Crests and get revenge on Phalanx. Along the way, Firebrand is repeatedly challenged by Phalanx's general, Arma, who grudgingly returns each of the Crests to Firebrand out of respect for his power.
Finally, Firebrand challenges Phalanx in his castle within the Demon Realm. Depending on the player's choices, three different endings are possible in this battle. The worst ending has Firebrand killing Phalanx and leaving the Demon Realm as it falls into complete anarchy, while a more favorable ending has Phalanx sealing himself inside the Crest of Heaven and Firebrand hiding all the Crests. The third ending concludes with Firebrand slaying Phalanx after he summons the Crest of Infinity to transform into a hideous beast, then tossing the Crests off a cliff after deciding that he does not seek conquest.
Completing the game with the third ending gives the player a special password that allows Firebrand to continue the game with a new transformation, the Ultimate Gargoyle, which allows him to challenge a secret boss named Dark Demon. Upon winning this battle, a new ending plays in which Firebrand casts away the Crests out of pride for his own power, then leaves to seek another worthy opponent to fight.
The gameplay is a mix of standard platforming, with mild RPG elements which is a mix not seen in most RPG games. The stages are divided into six main areas and can be played multiple times. Often, the player has to revisit a level with new Crests to access areas, items, and bosses that could not be accessed before. There is also a world map players use to navigate.
Firebrand's main abilities are his fire breath, claws for clinging onto walls, and wings to hover in the air (though he cannot gain height). As he collects Crests, Firebrand can transform and gain new powers that are specialized for combat and exploration: Ground Gargoyle, Aerial Gargoyle, Tidal Gargoyle, Legendary Gargoyle, and Ultimate Gargoyle. Other items to collect include extra hit points, flasks and spell vellums for using consumable magic items, and talismans that can improve Firebrand's abilities.
GamePro criticized the repetitive music and lack of variety in enemy attacks, but praised the macabre graphics and complexity of the gameplay, particularly the use of the acquired abilities. They summarized that "Demon's Crest brings depth and artistry to the action/adventure genre, making it one of the season's top SNES games". Electronic Gaming Monthly scored it an 8.25 out of 10, with their four reviewers applauding the game's beautiful graphics and complex gameplay. Japanese video game magazine Famitsu gave it a score of 28 out of 40. Next Generation gave it a score of 3 out of 5, noting that the game is very short, and that most secret items are not needed to complete the game.
- Full title: Demonzu Bureizon Makaimura Monshō-hen (Japanese: デモンズブレイゾン 魔界村 紋章編, lit. Demon's Blazon: Demon World Village Crest Chapter)
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