On the North American box art, the game's character Firebrand is green, however, the Japanese box art and all box art for the later games depicted him as being red.
Gargoyle's Quest: Ghosts 'n Goblins[a] is an action RPG game for the original Game Boy. Developed by Capcom, it was released on May 2, 1990, in Japan, then North America in July, and lastly Europe in 1991. The playable character Red Arremer (Firebrand in the U.S.) made his debut in the video game series Ghosts 'n Goblins as an antagonist character, of which this is a spin-off. Gargoyle's Quest was followed by the NES/ Game Boy prequel Gargoyle's Quest II in 1992, and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System sequel Demon's Crest in 1994.
According to the fictional game lore, Firebrand is a gargoyle predestined to carry on the namesake and identity of the Red Blaze – the powerful force that fought back the Destroyers long before this game takes place. As his destiny foretold, Firebrand saves the Ghoul Realm from brutal conquest by traversing the Ghoul Realm, building his powers, and preparing to fight against the Destroyers' King, Breager, so as to ensure the protection of the Ghoul Realm once more.
|“||A long time ago, the Ghoul Realm barely escaped great peril. A large army of Destroyers came from a neighboring universe. The creatures of the Ghoul Realm were no match for the powerful Destroyers. Just when everyone had given up hope, a great fire swept over the Realm, wiping out the Destroyers' army.
Several hundred years have passed and the Realm is threatened once again...
- Firebrand (playable, main character) - a gargoyle predestined to become the Red Blaze and take down King Breager.
- Red Blaze - savior of the Ghoul Realm who was a gargoyle. He defeated then locked underground the King of Destruction years before. Rushifell believes he is actually the Red Blaze until Firebrand defeats him and rightfully earns the title.
- King Darkoan - a king of the Ghoul Realm. Usurped by King Breager and imprisoned in his own tower, unable to move from his throne.
- Barone Jark - baron of the first city on Firebrand's path; bears a striking similarity to Satan from Ghosts 'n Goblins. He asks Firebrand to obtain his Gremlin Stick, which was given to him by King Darkoan, by using the Fingernail of the Spectre. He can predict the future when in possession of the Gremlin Stick.
- Majorita - female historian who lives in the Cave of Darkness and tells Firebrand the legend of the Red Blaze. Possibly immortal and hundreds of years old.
- Barone Bymon - has the Candle of Darkness, which is needed to find Majorita in the Cave of Darkness.
- King Breager (final boss) - known as the King of Destruction. He wants to destroy the Ghoul Realm but had failed once on a previous occasion when he was stopped by the Red Blaze. He is the commander of The Destroyers, an invading army.
- Zundo Druer (first boss) - fought in the burning town. It guards the portal to the Ghoul Realm and looks like a giant blowfish who spews forth living flames.
- Four-Eyes (second boss) - this collective creature is the boss at the top of the Tower and is guarding the Gremlin Stick. The four eyes cling to its walls: two on one side of the room, two on the opposite. They shoot sparks from their irises.
- Bellzemos (third boss) - the demon that is holding King Darkoan prisoner in Darkoan's palace. He or she is a skeletal demon that flies and can break his or her body down into bee-like creatures before reconstructing somewhere else.
- Zakku Druzer (fourth boss) - he appears in the Desert of Destitution. Resembles a giant skeletal snail with two smaller demon heads below his main head; these shoot projectiles at Firebrand. He is guarding the Candle of Darkness.
- Rushifell (fifth boss) - a demon who believes himself to be the Red Blaze and keeper of the Eternal Candle. Once he is defeated, he gladly hands over the candle to the true Red Blaze. His name appears to be a deliberate miss-transliteration of Lucifer and is the same character as Lucifer from Ghouls 'n Ghosts (who was renamed Loki in the Genesis version).
The game consists of two gameplay styles. One half has the player traverse an overhead view, either on the world map or in towns. This is broken up by the other type of content: individual, action-platforming levels that sometimes feature a boss at the end. While traversing in the sections with an overhead view, the player is able to talk with residential ghouls and, if outside a town, is susceptible to random battle encounters. The player then must defeat the enemies in order to return to the overhead-view map. While on the overhead map, the player occasionally comes across ghouls who want to fight Firebrand for various reasons.
Firebrand can walk, jump (progressively higher with time), cling to walls using his claws, hover for a period (progressively longer with time), and fire offensive projectiles. The player starts with a weak projectile with a short range, but progressively gains new projectiles. Firebrand starts with two hit points, but gains more throughout the game based on items or blessings obtained; various enemies and objects drain different amounts of his health, represented by the hit points.
Throughout the game, the player gains various items including passive ones that increase Firebrand's abilities outright. Eventually, Firebrand acquires an item that allows the player to hover without ever needing to rest on the ground. A healing vial can be used to restore health. Additionally, the offensive projectiles that are learned over time each have unique traits or specialized uses. The Blockbuster, for example, is more powerful than its predecessor, travels further, and can destroy special walls blocking the player's path. Another projectile temporarily covers sharp vertical surfaces allowing Firebrand to reach higher locations. These abilities guarantee a use for such projectiles even after more powerful projectiles are obtained, and provide a depth of valid options for attacking foes. Projectiles can be selected from a drop-down, pause menu at any time, same as healing vials.
Gargoyle's Quest was warmly received by contemporary and later critics alike, and sold well enough to warrant a prequel on the NES only two years later. In their review, GamePro Magazine boldly predicted Gargoyle's Quest to be a system seller for the Game Boy, and called it an instant hit, as well as "original." They ended their review praising the game for its diversity of play and locales, and for its "detailed graphics and great music" Allgame editor Brett Alan Weiss called it a "ghoulishly entertaining, though undeniably challenging experience". Nintendo Life editor Kaes Delgrego, who gave a higher score, stated the game to be "[B]eautiful in its simplicity, satisfying in its depth [...], Gargoyle's Quest is almost a painful reminder of how good games used to be, and is a solid indication of [how much potential] the Game Boy had". He also found the music and art to do an impressive job at vividly conveying the drab, macabre world, especially given that the game came out close to the start of the Game Boy's lifespan.
- Known in Japan as Reddo Arīmā Makaimura Gaiden (レッドアリーマー 魔界村外伝, lit. Red Arremer: Demon World Village Side-Story)
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- "Gargoyle's Quest Critic Reviews for Game Boy - GameFAQs". www.gamefaqs.com. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
- Harris, Steve (May 1990). "Hand-Held Preview". Electronic Gaming Monthly. 10: 91.