Retro Review: Demon’s Crest on Nintendo Switch Online
When Nintendo announced the new addition of Super NES games to Switch Online, I was half-excited and half-unconvinced. The thing is, the majority of games they released are ones I already have, and prefer on OG hardware. But a few of them were games that I don’t want to purchase, but still want to play. Demon’s Crest is one of those.
Sure, I could play it on an emulator. But there’s just something special about “owning” a game that makes me more invested in it. And in my weird retro mind, the Super NES games on Switch Online feel very much like renting a game back in the day. Albeit, they are much cheaper than cartridge rentals ever were. Still, there’s a cute little bump of nostalgia there that makes it special to enjoy these SNES games that way.
Demon’s Crest is too expensive for me
As of this writing, a loose copy of Demon’s Crest runs about $80, according to Pricecharting.com. While that’s still only ½ of an Earthbound, it’s still considerably more than I want to dish out.
In a different time and place, I might pay $80 for a good game complete-in-box. I don’t have all that much attachment to Demon’s Crest and probably won’t spend that.
But it still looks like a cool game, so let’s check it out on Nintendo Switch Online!
What is Demon’s Crest?
Demon’s Crest is a spin-off of Ghouls & Ghosts & Goblins (oh my!) Players take control of Firebrand, a demonic enemy from the Ghosts & Goblins series.
In Demon’s Crest, Firebrand becomes a lesser evil, as an even more dangerous demonic enemy, Phalanx, has captured the six Demonic Crests. These are elemental stones that grant him infinite magical power over the realm of demons, and the realm of humans. During a battle, the Fire Crest is shattered into five shards. Firebrand’s quest is to recover the five fire shards, the other five amulets, defeat Phalanx, and… I don’t know. There are three different endings, so what happens next is up to you!
Demon’s Crest looks great! It really maintains the Super Ghouls & Ghosts style, but brings it down to the demon realm. The scenery is full of creepy imagery: petrified corpses, burning forests, a decrepit town overrun by demons.
Character sprites look great, too. Starting with the massive zombie dragon, right in the beginning of the game.
Mega Man influences
A lot of comparisons have been made between Demon’s Crest and Mega Man. And there certainly are some influences. They are both made by Capcom, so it makes sense.
Like Mega Man X, the game starts with an introductory stage that has Firebrand escaping his imprisonment, defeating a zombie dragon, a petrified demon, and Phalanx’s general, Arma, who will be a recurring enemy throughout the game. It’s a pretty epic introduction to the game.
Once the opening stage is complete, Firebrand is free to roam the map and complete the remaining stages in any order you choose. Each time you defeat a boss, you gain one of the elemental crests and can equip the power it holds. Yep. Just like Mega Man.
Also like Mega Man X, you can go back and re-play completed stages with new upgrades to access new areas and unlock goodies. So there’s a Metroidvania element here, too.
Unlike Mega Man though, Firebrand has a whole, incredible Mode-7 world map to fly around. In addition to the game levels, there are a few shops where you can stock up on powerups or play mini games.
At its core, Demon’s Crest is a platforming adventure game. But it’s unique in that Firebrand can fly. Well, sort of. Firebrand can at least glide. Jump, and tap the jump button again to hover. Tap it again to drop. While hovering, Firebrand can move left and right, but can’t gain altitude. He can shoot fireballs while hovering, too. Firebrand can also cling to walls with his clawed feet. It’s really an exceptional level of control that you don’t usually get from platformers.
All this freedom of movement forced Capcom to think of new challenges and ways to make players “work for it.” Instead of making difficult jumps, players are forced to puzzle out how to cling to moving platforms, gaining altitude to make it to the next. It’s really a unique approach to the 2D platforming genre.
I should clarify here, that Firebrand loses his flight ability when equipping different crests.
The controls are sort of a mixed bag. Firebrand is a bit slow, and enemies tend to be pretty fast. And when you shoot at enemies, Firebrand can have only one projectile onscreen at a time. It can make for some frantic moments yelling at Firebrand to get moving. Although slow, controls are precise and it comes down more to timing your movements strategically, than frantically kicking ass like Mega Man.
If you’re planning to spend $80 on Demon’s Crest, you’re a goober. Or a collector. But what’s the difference, really?
If you are paying the $4 per month or whatever it is, to play SNES games on NIntendo Switch Online, you should definitely check out Demon’s Crest. It’s a great little game that you may not experience otherwise. It’s plenty challenging, has multiple endings and lots of secrets to keep you busy. And the creepy setting makes it a perfect play for October!
On Nintendo Switch Online, at least, Demon’s Crest is Ghetto Approved!–GG