Gargoyle’s Quest Review

Now, I don’t normally do retro reviews, because there is little to say about games that are literally less than an eighth of a thousandth as large as a mainstream console title.  But I want to talk about every game I play or beat, unless it is a demo or something, but I have nothing to say about most 3DS demos.  I mean, what am I supposed to say about LEGO Batman 2 or Crush 3D after about 20 minutes with them?  Guh, must learn to focus!

Gargoyle’s Quest Review
Release Date: 25/8/2011
Platforms: eShop(Reviewed), Gameboy
Price I Paid: $3.99

Back on topic, Gargoyle’s Quest is a Gameboy spin-off of Ghosts ‘n Goblins, an NES game that is known for being very, very hard.  But this is only connected by one boss, Firebrand, the titular gargoyle. although he is not green as the box would imply, since him being red is part of this game’s attempt at a story.  Now, I know that the average quality of storytelling in games during the 1980s and early 1990s was a bit embarrassing, so I will not harp on the game, because it at least tries.  But after the fluff, it boils down to you being the chosen fire breathing and gliding savior of the ghouls, but you need more abilities before you can save it, so you must travel towns and dungeons to find your upgrades.  It actually does a good job at making a sense of progression, which is always a plus for me, but the entire game feels awfully bare when you strip that away.

There is an overworld with random encounters that are presented in a 2D action section, which is also how the game presents anything more complicated than walking, talking, and picking things up.  But there is only one thing to pick up, Vials, and they only have the purpose of purchasing extra lives.  I understand wanting to keep it simple, but why don’t you just have vials automatically turn into lives after you reach the amount needed?  The overworld sections offer no real purpose, because of the sheer linear nature of it all.  Other than an extra vial or two, there is nothing to look for.  

But beyond that, the game is pretty solid.  The action sections have you gliding for a limited time that is upgraded over time, while shooting down foes with 4 unlockable forms of fire, one can enable you to wall jump off spikes to restore your gliding, and another breaks through certain rocks.  The gameplay feels pretty tight, all things considered.  Just going through linear areas, fighting odd looking foes, jumping on and too walls, are all pretty enjoyable, but there is one issue that I have, the difficulty.  Now, thanks to the quick save option in the 3DS version, I never had to die, and could just reload, but I do not feel any guilt, because the health system is rubbish.  You start off with 2 hits, and eventually get up to 5, but with the small number of hits, why should some enemies deal 3 damage if they touch you?  The maneuvering of Firebrand can also be hard in hairier situations, because Firebrand is fairly large, and can only attack horizontally.

However, beyond my complaints, is a pretty enjoyable game that is good for a trip, or just a lazy afternoon.  It is damn good for early Gameboy, but it is far from being a classic or anything of the sort.  But my main gripe, the difficulty, has thankfully been averted, not in a “proper” way, but the option is at least available.  Oh, and the soundtrack is pretty nice, but that is more or less a given for retro Capcom titles.  Nothing that hummable, but it is pretty solid, much like this game as a whole.  Nothing great, but it is well worth four bucks for its three to four hours of play.

It’s held back by certain flaws, it manages to be a competently executed and fun product that is worth playing.

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