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Capsule Review - Demon's Crest

Title Demon's Crest
Developer Capcom
Year 1994
Platform SNES
Capsule Rating
Capsule Review: Demon's Crest shows how uncreative most game developers are. What are the usual settings in an RPG? Castle, town, futuristic lab, tower, maybe a forest, some kind of ice stage, some kind of fire stage, and so on. Nothing to write home about, really, but we eat it up nonetheless. Demon's Crest, on the other hand, successfully creates another world. A rather frightening one, too.

As in the case of Super Metroid, the definition of "RPG" gets really stretched here, but there is the same element of exploration and returning back to previous areas that characterizes many RPGs; there's the same hunting for items, and there's even nonlinearity, as one doesn't have to complete the stages of Demon's Crest in any order. The story is pretty simple - you are Firebrand, you must collect all the sacred Crests and defeat the enemy - but man oh man, does this game have imagery and mood. Lots of it. The images are horrific at times - that dragon you have to fight at the beginning of the game is a classic "Whoa!" moment - and subdued at others, but it's always effective. Not once is there a letdown - the makers have managed to make even the conventional castles, caves and towers unique and memorable.

The mood is helped greatly by the very fine soundtrack. If not for the limitations of the console, it might have been amazing. As it is, it only blows away most of the competition, and still gives new games a run for their money. For the most part, the makers discovered the perfect sounds to match their moody images - the game's perfect moment comes when one wanders through the sombre, mountainous first stage to some truly stately sounds. So that covers the soundtrack and the incredible ambience of the game; what about everything else? Well, there's enough variety to sate most people a couple of times through - there are several different Gargoyles you can turn into, plenty of Urns, Talismans and Vellums to discover hidden away, secret areas in every stage, and even an optional final boss. After one has found everything, there won't be much to bring one back, unless it's to listen to the music; one gets a sort of vaguely dissatisfied feeling, as if, good as this game is, the makers could still have done more - added more stages, enhanced the story, what-have-you. That might be unfair, given all that they did do, but that's how it is. Thus, Demon's Crest isn't the best game ever made, but it's more than worth one's time.

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