Halloween Meltdown ’14: Games for Halloween, pt. 1

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Games, you guys. They’re fun. I like them. Also, some of them are very Halloween-ish. Here’s one of them!

Almost exactly one year ago I included Demon’s Crest in a list of scary game moments. For this year’s Halloween Meltdown I thought I’d give this game its due, because it’s really that good.

Released in 1994, Demon’s Crest is actually the third entry in the Gargoyle’s Quest series, which is itself a loose spinoff of the venerable Ghosts ‘n Goblins. I never played the Gargoyle’s Quest games (though I’m kind of wishing I had), but Demon’s Crest is, in my opinion, a clear answer by Capcom to Konami’s Castlevania franchise. DC has all of Castlevania’s creepy (but cartoony) ambience, its at times maddeningly difficult combat, and more than its share of the so-called “Metroidvania” gameplay (exploring an area, then backtracking through it once you’ve collected new items or abilities which allow you to uncover hidden items). It is, in short, a total Castlevania ripoff, near as I can tell; and it is every bit as good as Konami’s gothic horror franchise (at least through its SNES incarnations).

You play as Firebrand, a sort of antihero in that, you know–he’s a demon. But see, there are other demons, and they’re way worse. So Firebrand, like, fights them.

Alright, so, it’s a little thin on plot. Basically, Firebrand needs to reassemble these magical crests that grant him crazy powers and take down this big demon lord named Phalanx. The game is ostensibly set in the the “demon realm,” populated entirely by, well, demons; but there are hints that humans once existed here as well, but have long since died out.

The environments are gorgeous, full of chain-rattling ghouls and creepy castles. Makes me want to move right in.

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I could totally live there. I hear they have great schools.

Demon’s Crest isn’t scary, but it’s full of undead monsters and demons and ghouls and it’s perfect for getting into the Halloween mood. Just be warned: it’s hard.