Thanks to Regista for the review code
Title: The Demon Crystal
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 04/10/2019
In this enhanced remake of the 1984 computer game, you take control of a boy who sets out to rescue a princess and her kingdom from demons. While there is a more detailed story that shows up before the main game starts, it’s poorly translated and honestly doesn’t mean much of anything. Luckily all the hints and menus are translated a bit better so this game is still very playable in english.
Being based off several versions of the game, (The music and sound seem to be taken from the Sharp X1 version, as one example) The Demon Crystal has been given some cleaner visuals and a better framerate while mostly keeping things as close to the original as possible, barring some quality of life improvements. The pixels look really pretty in this version of the game and the music is still enjoyable even if the main theme can get repetitive.
The only gripe I have with the presentation comes from how some music or sound effects are just flat out made for this version of the game and you can tell which songs aren’t part of the original due to how generic and new they sound, which made me wish that all the new tracks were composed in the original soundfont for consistency purposes.
The Demon Crystal tasks the player with going from room to room in a big mansion in order to find the princess, by defeating any enemies in your way and grabbing the Big Key to find the exit door. Being a stage by stage Arcade style game, Demon Crystal is pretty simple to control, although at first you may feel that things don’t feel quite right.
You start off with nothing but a wimpy bomb that rolls around in front of you, which can still kill you if you touch the fire. The early rooms of the mansion are simple enough to compensate, but before long you’ll find that enemies will corner you and make it near impossible to avoid dying.
This is where it’s crucial to learn about the hidden items scattered around the mansions, since every now and then you’ll get a hint about a treasure that you can pick up in the next room. Nearly all of these will significantly improve your experience, from faster movement, immunity to bombs, defense from projectiles, and even the abilities to kill Ghost and Kappa enemies. Likewise, there are a small few that will turn the tides against you, from a cursed item that will make your upgrades null to some that don’t seem to do much of anything. These are all kept if you choose to start from the first room or from the furthest one, so getting these is strongly recommended and helps give this game some Druaga vibes.
With that all noted, the game’s fairly simple. Defeat enemies, unlock doors, find the big key, and repeat with the occasional treasure to discover now and then. Even once you find all the items and clear the final stage, you can still start from any stage you wish in order to make this a score chaser, as your highest score is recorded. It’s a simple yet fun game and the quality of life improvements with the stage select and retaining your items are both welcome additions, taking elements from Druaga and making them not nearly as hair pulling, leaving for a far superior experience overall.
In conclusion, The Demon Crystal is a fun arcade-style action game that is similar to Druaga in concept, but a lot more generous in execution. Working as both a score chaser and a game to clear, this remaster of The Demon Crystal is really good, and it certainly will appeal to retro gaming fans or score chasers. However, the game can be pretty simple and cryptic at times, making it an experience that I don’t feel is nearly as engaging as some other score chasers from the time.
Still, it manages to be a very good update, so even if you haven’t heard of this one before, (As most non Japanese players would) I do feel that this is enjoyable enough to be worth a look, even if the current price is a bit steep for this type of game. Hopefully the remake of the sequel manages to come to the west as well!
I give The Demon Crystal a 7 out of 10.