Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nerdicus NES Review #131: Clash at Demon Head

Title : Clash at Demon Head

Publisher : Vic Tokai

Developer : Vic Tokai

Genre : Action Adventure Platformer

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1990

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $10-$15

No, this isn't a review about Scott Pilgrim Versus The World - although I do kind of want to watch the movie again as well as play the arcade-styled beat 'em up. No, no, no. This is about a little game known as CLASH OF DEMON HEAD. For those of you who do not know what I'm talking about, the band from Scott Pilgrim is called Clash of Demon Head. 

Actually makes me wonder if the game name of the band was based on this game, so I did a little bit of research. Apparently, the creator of Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O'Malley, stated in an interview that CLASH OF DEMON HEAD was actually the first video game he ever played, and it must have made quite the impact on him if he tossed the name into his epic comic.

Too bad he didn't decide to use the name Billy "Big Bang" Blitz in the comic too, which is the main character of Clash of Demon Head. What a name, huh?

As for the game itself, well, it's sort of a toss up of a "Metroid-vania" style of game. It's a traditional map back-tracking, weapon / item collecting, monster destroying game that sends you back and forth through different areas until you are ultimately able to enter the last area. And there are a lot of areas to go through. I'm talking about forty different ones. That's absolute madness!

The real question is, how does this game hold up to the absolute classic of Metroid? Well, let's find out.

Clash of Demon Head starts Billy "Big Bang" on a mission to rescue Professor Plum, the creator of the Doomsday bomb. During his mission, he discovers that the actual bomb is controlled by 7 medallions which are controlled by the governors of Demon Head. I'm sure you see where this is going. Recover the medallions, and prevent the doomsday bomb from exploding in your face.


Okay, that's the gist of it, but the fact of the matter is there is a whole crap load of side stories in this game, which is actually kind of surprising from just a side-scrolling platformer like this. You've got, demons about to reborn, allies that are brainwashed, secret force powers and magical items that need to recovered and returned to certain characters. It's seriously more in depth than a lot of platformers I've played before, and I have to admit the story is a bit more entertaining than Metroid. Probably because it's so wonky.

Great dialogue. Hilarious cutscenes.  So yes, the story is quite the epic tale. But, a game can't survive on story alone. Especially not one in such a grand scale as Clash of Demon Head,

This game, much like Metroid and Symphony of the Night ( I use that as a comparison a lot because I feel as if it was the most effective Castlevania to implement the Metroid style ), CoDH requires a lot of running around and backtracking to areas you've been to already. You basically have to upgrade, and acquire items and go back to an area you were in to open a door, or clear a path, and then proceed with your quest.

Most times it's entertaining. Sometimes it's not. Especially when most of the levels are quite bland and uninspiring. You remember in Metroid, how you loved to be introduced to new areas because they each had their own "vibe". There really is no vibe in this game. It's just a different color palette. I know they tried, but it just didn't feel the same.

Anyway, I really don't always enjoy running back to the beginning of the game after I just spent 30 mins clearing a path, but it definitely does expand the gameplay. 

CoDH is definitely not as smooth Metroid. The controls are a bit stiff, and not as natural as Metroid felt. But really, that's the only thing I didn't like about it. Collecting all the items and weapons, as well as discovering new force powers is a hell of a lot of fun and really addicting. 

Visually, it's like playing through a tacky late 80's anime, but it's hilarious. So while I mentioned earlier that the levels felt uninspired, the characters definitely were not.

It's completely understandable why this game has a cult following, and I can equally understand why I've seen such a variety of reviews for this game. But you know what, it's fun, its campy, and it makes you want to keep playing. Regardless of the game's short comings, it's still a success in my book and definitely an above average game for the NES.

And who can beat a name like Billy "Big Bang" - come on.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time. Keep on gaming!



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