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Video Game / Gargoyle's Quest

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If there's a game that can put the fear of God into a 1980s gamer, it's Ghosts 'n Goblins; and if there's a specific aspect of Ghosts 'n Goblins which can increase his/her heart rate further, it's the Red Arremer.

So Capcom put this lethal foe into the player's hands with a trio of spin-offs, released in 1990, 1992 and 1994. Naturally, he's not quite as deadly while being controlled, but he's still a force to be reckoned with.

Gargoyle's Quest and Gargoyle's Quest II star a Red Arremer (the eponymous gargoyle/demon) named Firebrand, a Proud Warrior Race Guy who wants to be the most powerful being in the Ghoul Realm. It just so happens that a prophecy has foretold that a "Red Blaze" will save the land from an unimaginable evil.

Demon's Crest picks up a while later. A mysterious sextet of magic stones has appeared in the Ghoul Realm, and the inhabitants fought over them, until Firebrand emerged victorious with five, and then defeated a large dragon to claim the sixth but was critically injured in the process. A rival demon, Phalanx, took the opportunity to attack Firebrand unhindered and claim the whole Crest for himself (except for a fragment still in Firebrand's possession), which he then spread out to his subordinates to assure their safety. Firebrand sets out to get them back.


Firebrand appears as a playable character in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, as the developers wanted a flying character and thought Firebrand would be fun and interesting to play. He also appears as a boss character in Namco × Capcom, which makes him a Composite Character with the Red Arremer Joker from the Game Boy Advance port of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts and refers to his appearance in Demon's Crest as pre-game backstory. The trilogy is also available on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console, though only the latter two games are available on the Wii U's. Demon's Crest became one of the first games available for the Nintendo Switch's Super NES Online service along with its cousin Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts.


This series provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Collecting every optional item in Demon's Crest unlocks the third form of the final boss, and rewards you with a password after the good ending plays out. Inputting the password starts a save file where the levels are reset, Firebrand has access to all of his items and the Ultimate Gargoyle form, and a new area is present on the map that leads to the Dark Demon.
  • 1-Up: Talismans of the Cyclone in Gargoyle's Quest and Essences of the Maelstrom in Gargoyle's Quest 2.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: In the first game, Talismans of the Cyclone first cost 8 vials apiece. The price doubles twice over the course of the game, ending up at 32 vials.
  • Aerith and Bob: Boss names in Demon's Crest range from Ovnunu, Holothurion, Belth, and Somulo to Flame Lord, Flier and Crawler.
  • All There in the Script: The bosses aren't named in-game, and even the manual doesn't name most of them. Their names are listed in the closing credits, like in most Ghosts 'n Goblins titles.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Crest of Infinity (formed from having all six Crests) gives Firebrand access to the Ultimate Gargoyle form, which has more stamina and can ascend, swim, dash on the ground, and breathe very powerful fire, effectively combining the five other forms into one.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Three in a row at the start of the first game, each warning you that an unknown army has attacked and something has happened to the king, they are very strong, and you need to hurry and get through the dimensional portal that leads back to the Ghoul Realm so you can get to work stopping them.
  • Anti-Villain: Firebrand starts out at this, and then shifts to Villain Protagonist by Demon's Crest.
  • The Artifact: The Tornado and Claw powers from the earlier games are present in Demon's Crest for Firebrand's base form. However, as soon as you find the Crest of Air (which can be gotten before either of those powers if you go for it first), they're rendered redundant because the Aerial Gargoyle can fly freely without needing to create platforms or cover up spiked walls.
  • Auto-Revive: The Elixir potions in Demon's Crest revive Firebrand automatically when he dies, but give him less health than the other healing potions.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Imp spell in Demon's Crest is amazing at clearing out annoying enemies fast, but it only lasts for one screen and uses up money every time it attacks (and that money is very useful for buying healing potions).
  • Bag of Spilling: Firebrand loses all of his accrued powers between games. Only Demon's Crest bothers to Hand Wave this by having him be depowered by losing the Crests (though he keeps his infinite flying power from the first Gargoyle's Quest).
  • Big Bad: King Breager in the first two, Phalanx in Demon's Crest.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The first two games, as par for the course with early Capcom titles.
  • Blood Knight: Firebrand after he beats Phalanx or the Dark Demon.
  • Blow You Away: The Crest of Air, which gives Firebrand the Aerial Gargoyle form. The Aerial Gargoyle is immune to air currents and can move upwards while flying, but can't grip to walls, and the spinning air blade he spits out doesn't hurt many bosses.
  • Boss Arena Urgency: The Dark Demon in Demon's Crest will gradually turn the walls and floors into spikes, giving you less space to stand on or cling to.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • The title Gargoyle's Quest was given to the earlier games to downplay the fact that Firebrand and his friends are actually demons from the underworld.
    • Lucifer's name was translated as "Rushifell" in English. Of course, knowing the problem with Japanese L/R switches makes it easy to spot the original intention.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Area 6 contains a very hard boss named Grewon, who you will likely be needing the Crest of Time to defeat. His relinquished powerup? Demon Fire, which is completely inferior to the Legendary Gargoyle's attack and also loses the defense bonus. The only thing it's really good for is a more powerful alternative to the basic fire breath when you need to light candles, which isn't often.
  • Breath Weapon: Firebrand's base attack is spitting balls of fire, and he acquires various other breath attacks in each game. Arma also uses them in his fights in Demon's Crest.
  • The Cameo: The "Imp" spell summons one of the Petite Demons from the original Ghosts 'n Goblins. Also, the Aerial Gargoyle's projectile slightly resembles a Sonic Boom and the Ultimate Gargoyle's resembles a Hadouken.
  • Charged Attack: Firebrand can charge up his fire breath as the Ultimate Gargoyle.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Firebrand can get pretty darn close to fire without being injured, possibly because he is a fire-affinity demon.
  • Darker and Edgier: Demon's Crest is considerably darker than the previous two games in the series in terms of atmosphere and presentation, similar to the Castlevania series. It's actually one of the darkest games on the Super NES, and one of the few examples of Dark Fantasy on the console.
  • The Dragon: General Arma is Phalanx's top enforcer in Demon's Crest, and the one who carries most of the Crests around.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Headbutting pottery, statuary, or windows is a quick, reliable source of money in Demon's Crest.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The Crest of Earth, which gives Firebrand the Ground Gargoyle form. The Ground Gargoyle can't fly but has a barricade-bashing charge dash and spits a strong ground-running fireball when standing on land (it's much weaker if used while jumping).
  • Dismantled MacGuffin:
    • In Demon's Crest, Firebrand starts with part of the Crest of Fire, but four other parts of it (which provide alternate breath attacks) are held by minor bosses. Firebrand needs three of these parts to unlock the second set of levels that contain other Crests, but he doesn't need the final piece to fight Phalanx for the normal ending.
    • Also in Demon's Crest, it is revealed that gathering the six main Crests together summons the even stronger Crest of Infinity, which grants Firebrand the Ultimate Gargoyle form that holds the power of every Crest at once.
  • Dub Name Change: In the Japanese versions, the playable character is just a normal, unremarkable Red Arremer. Only the international releases give him a name.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Depending on how fast you rush through the game, Demon's Crest's final dungeon can be either very short (which Phalanx comments on) or very elaborate.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: In Demon's Crest, you can actually go fight Phalanx as soon as his palace appears on the map, before gaining all the Crests needed to overturn his power. If you do this, he lacks his extra forms, and you get a strange, haunting Bad Ending if you win, in which the Demon Realm falls into anarchy. "Many now ask if living under the rule of Phalanx would have been worse than the hell they are now confined to..."
  • Elemental Powers: The effects of four of the Crests on Firebrand.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: This happens if you beat Phalanx early in Demon's Crest. Firebrand hasn't assembled the Crest and thus lacks the power to rule in Phalanx's place, so he takes off, leaving the Ghoul Realm in anarchy.
  • Fetch Quest: Several times in the first two games.
  • Flight: Firebrand can glide or hover for a short period that increases with powerups, but cannot ascend under his own power. Demon's Crest lets him fly indefinitely from the get-go, and the Aerial Gargoyle form can ascend.
  • Gaiden Game: To the Ghosts 'n Goblins series, starring an infamous recurring enemy from the games and featuring similar aesthetics and characters.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Very little is established about the Dark Demon in Demon's Crest, outside of it being an extremely powerful monster hiding in the human world. Judging by the ending text, it's just the last thing Firebrand wants to defeat before heading off to lands unknown.
  • Global Currency: Vials. Changed to G.P. in Demon's Crest.
  • Grimy Water: Firebrand takes damage from immersion if he's not in his Tidal Gargoyle form.
  • Heart Container: Collectible life extentions only show up in Demon's Crest. In the first two games, your life meter is extended at predetermined points through obtaining magic artifacts or receiving power from Non Player Characters.
  • Heroic Mime: Firebrand doesn't utter a word across all three games.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Ultimate Gargoyle form, accessed only via a special password in Demon's Crest. Its charge shot can One-Hit KO several of the bosses when used in conjunction with the Fang talisman.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: In just Demon's Crest, there's the Demon Dragon from the intro, Somulo the zombie dragon (who is possibly a post-death Demon Dragon), the big dragon statue in the background of Area 1, and the dragon-shaped flame when Firebrand uses Demon Fire.
  • Macguffin Delivery Service: In Demon's Crest, Phalanx pulls this when Firebrand fights him with all of the Crests and other items in his possession. He uses those Crests alongside the Crest of Heaven to summon the Crest of Infinity, which powers him up into his final form. Fortunately, Firebrand can take the Crest of Infinity for himself after defeating Phalanx.
  • Making a Splash: The Crest of Water, which gives Firebrand the Tidal Gargoyle form. The Tidal Gargoyle can stay in water without taking damage (and is able to swim straight by holding a button) and shoots an exploding pellet when underwater, but is weak on land since he can't fly or climb walls.
  • Metroidvania: The first two games are light metroidvanias, since they are mostly linear but emphasize traveling to new locations, defeating bosses to earn access to ability upgrades, and using the upgrades to reach new locations. Demon's Crest fits the trope much more, as the world and levels are very open-ended and there is some optional backtracking that can be done to obtain previously unreachable items.
  • Minigame: Demon's Crest has the three Trio the Pago minigames (two of which are hidden on the map). Headbutt enough skulls before time runs out to earn some extra cash, or even a Heart Container in the most difficult one.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: King Breager.
  • Multiple Endings: Demon's Crest has four; three are related to how much of the game's items you've collected before you defeat the final boss, and the fourth requires you to beat the Dark Demon by loading a password save where its lair is available.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: Firebrand can only equip one type of breath at a time, and in Demon's Crest, the same applies to the Talismans.
  • New Game+: The Playable Epilogue password functions like this, as it starts Firebrand after the first level with all items obtained plus the Ultimate Gargoyle form and with all bosses reset to being alive. However, all the respawned bosses can be ignored in favor of flying straight to the Dark Demon.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: One of the Multiple Endings of Demon's Crest has Firebrand leave the Demon Realm in an even worse state than it was under Phalanx's rule, caused by killing him before collecting all of the Crests.
  • Nintendo Hard: Capcom didn't skimp on the difficulty in these titles, even if they're not as insane as their progenitor.
  • Noble Demon: Firebrand is most concerned with being a Blood Knight. But he's saving his realm.
  • Noodle Implements: The Crest of Heaven. You never get a chance to find out what it does or to equip it by itself.
  • Off-Model: Firebrand is portrayed as green in the North American box art of the first game, despite being plot-relevantly described as red within the same game. Some spritework also makes him look more orange than red, particularly in Demon's Crest.
  • One Bullet at a Time: Firebrand has a limit of how many projectiles he can have onscreen at once, generally around one or two. In Demon's Crest, the Hand Talisman lets him have an extra projectile out.
  • One-Winged Angel: Phalanx in Demon's Crest if you go for 100% Completion, where he turns into a giant monster powered by the Crest of Infinity. Appropriately, it's easily the most difficult boss in the standard game.
  • Overworld Not to Scale: There is a Traversible World Map used for traveling between areas. Walked around in the first two, flown over in Demon's Crest.
  • Password Save: Used by all three games.
  • Perspective Flip: Firebrand himself and many of the allied NPCs were originally enemy characters from the Ghosts 'n Goblins series.
  • Playable Epilogue: Putting in a password gotten from the 100% Completion ending loads a scenario that takes place after the main story, with Firebrand having every Crest and the Ultimate Gargoyle form and being able to go challenge the Dark Demon for the final ending. However, the levels all exist in a reset state.
  • Playing with Fire: Firebrand's base attack in all of the games in fireballs. In Demon's Crest, he gets related powers by collecting pieces of the Crest of Fire, which doesn't change his appearance.
  • Prequel: Gargoyle's Quest 2 is such to the first game.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The Ultimate Gargoyle form in Demon's Crest is purple-colored and the strongest and most versatile of all the Crest forms.
  • Random Encounters: Gargoyle's Quest has them on the world map. Gargoyle's Quest 2 shifted to Preexisting Encounters, and Demon's Crest eliminated them entirely.
  • Recurring Boss: General Arma is fought three times in Demon's Crest, dropping one of the Crests after each defeat. Hippogriff, Flier, and Grewon are also fought multiple times, but each time after the first is just a mid-stage boss that drops a health refill instead of an item.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Arma helps Firebrand out by powering up the Crest of Time with his life force after losing their last fight to the death.
  • The Rival: General Arma in Demon's Crest, who is a Recurring Boss and counterpart to Firebrand.
  • RPG Elements: The elements here being a world map to explore, shops to buy items from, and permanent powerups to collect.
  • Savage Wolves: Grewon in Demon's Crest is a big, shaggy white wolf that has ice breath on top of being an agile heavy hitter who can take a lot of hits before going down.
  • Scenery Porn: Demon's Crest has some truly stunning vistas among its levels, and the varied locales give them lots to show off.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The normal ending of Demon's Crest (all Crests before fighting the final boss, but not all other items) ends with Phalanx voluntarily sealing himself inside the Crest of Heaven to deny Firebrand the satisfaction of killing him. In the other endings, Phalanx dies outright.
  • Sequential Boss: In Demon's Crest, Phalanx has three forms. Only the first form is fought if the player hasn't collected every Crest; the second is available when he's challenged with all of them in hand, and his final One-Winged Angel form is available when all five Talismans are obtained.
  • Secret Level: Areas 5 and 6 in Demon's Crest need to be unlocked by beating enough bosses in the first set of levels.
  • Shock and Awe: Phalanx has electricity powers in Demon's Crest, which are further enhanced when he uses Crests.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Firebrand grows all sorts of spikes on his body as the Legendary Gargoyle and the Ultimate Gargoyle.
  • Taken for Granite: Hippogriff in the third game is a demon that can turn from stone to flesh and back. When it loses all of its health, it gets stuck as a statue, and Firebrand dispatches it via Literally Shattered Lives.
  • Take Over the World: In all three games' endings, Firebrand is offered the human world for his own personal domination. He also starts Demon's Crest wanting to take over the Ghoul Realm.
  • Temporary Platform: The "Tornado" breath ability, which produces a short-range cyclone that can be stood on.
  • Time Travel: The Crest of Time enables the user to turn back time. When Firebrand equips it, he uses it to turn into the Legendary Gargoyle, implied to be his form before Phalanx defeated him, granting him a Body Armor as Hit Points bonus and a stronger fireball.
  • True Final Boss: The Dark Demon in Demon's Crest, only accessible in a special save file via a code given after attaining the 100% completion ending. Beating it provides an alternate "true" ending separate from defeating Phalanx.
  • Underwater Boss Battle: In Demon's Crest, Holothurion is a giant snail fought in an underwater current with the Tidal Gargoyle form. Phalanx also submerges the arena for his second phase.
  • Upgrade Artifact: How Firebrand boosts his flying, breath and defense abilities in the first two games. He can acquire some in the third game, but can only utilize one at a time, save for the life-point increasers.
  • Use Your Head: Firebrand's default special ability in Demon's Crest is to headbutt background objects. He even opens doors this way.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Most of the spells and potions in the third game. You can only use each one once before having to buy another to refill the Vellum/Urn they were on, and most of them are either very weak or not worth using up in most cases. The one big exception is Ginseng, the full-health potion; once you have a way to reach the store that sells them, they're vital for the later boss fights.
    • The Fire Powers in Demon's Crest, which change the breath attack that Firebrand's normal form shoots. While the base shot (which lights candles), Buster (which breaks blocks), and Demon Fire (which is a stronger fireball) all have their uses, the Tornado and Claw powers are available at the same time as the Aerial Gargoyle form, making them pointless for a player who can get the Crest of Air early.
  • Video Game Flight: Firebrand can fly in all his incarnations. In the first two installments he starts with a wing meter that rapidly depletes, but eventually gains the ability to fly infinitely; unfortunately you can't fly upwards so you still have to climb up walls. In Demon's Crest Firebrand starts out with unlimited flight, and obtaining the Crest of Air allows you to fly against strong winds and gain altitude.
  • Villain Protagonist: Firebrand is a creature of Hell, and the series doesn't let you forget this. This is most evident in the last game.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The various Crests alter Firebrand's physical form; Arma is unaffected visually, but his powers are demonstrably enhanced. According to a villager, Firebrand holding the Crest of Time depicts his fully-powered "Red Blaze" appearance.
  • Wall Crawl: Firebrand can cling to non-spiky walls in each of his appearances, and even spiky ones are no threat once he's earned the "Claw" breath ability.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: In Demon's Crest, there's General Arma's first fight at the end of the first stage, as he's more agile than Somulo and Hippogriff and can use fast attacks while you only have six hitpoints. Afterwards, there's Belth the skeleton; it'll be one of the first bosses you fight if you go straight through the second level, but its large hitbox and high damage will destroy you if you haven't learned how to use the forms or collected some extra health increases.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Demon's Crest starts Firebrand off in a coliseum fighting a large zombie dragon named Somulo (possibly the undead form of the Demon Dragon who Firebrand killed in the intro). It's the easiest of the game's bosses, but comes early enough to be a surprise for newcomers without knowledge of the controls.
  • We Can Rule Together: Breager offers to make you a king if you join him at the end of Gargoyle's Quest. If you accept, he drains all of your collected powers and leaves you with just your default fire breath. Then the battle starts...note 
  • Worthy Opponent: General Arma enjoys his battles with Firebrand, looks forward to battling him again, and even puts his own power into the Crest of Time as he dies.
  • Wrap Around: A rare scrolling example— Breager's Castle in the first game appears to be cylindrical, as the level repeats horizontally as you go left or right continuously.

Alternative Title(s): Demons Crest


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