King of Demons is a Japanese platformer video game developed and published by KSS for the Super Famicom. The game was originally released exclusively in Japan and did not see a western translation due to it’s controversial satanic overtones. King of Demons is a side-scrolling platformer, much like castlevania or contra, and now available for play on the Super Nintendo in English.
Abel’s daughter has been kidnapped by his former friend, Bayer. Bayer has sold his soul to the devil, and sacrificed Abel’s wife, in an attempt to resurrect the King of Demons. With no other choice, Abel vows to save his daughter, no matter what the cost – even if it is his own humanity…
You play as Abel, intent on rescuing his daughter from the depths of Hell. As you defeat certain bosses, they will drop large, color changing gems. Pick up the gem, and you’ll transform into either a red Harpy, a blue Dragon, or a green Lizard, depending on what color it is when you pick it up. Each demon type has its own special attacks.
King of Demons can best be described as “Castlevania with a Gun”.
At the end of each level, the boss leaves a jewel, which cycles amongst three different colors. The color you choose will determine the type of demon you play in the next stage. This aspect is a bit like the Sega classic Altered Beast.
The red jewel will transform you into a harpy, which attacks with wide range boomerangs. The green jewel will turn you into a lizard creature which can shoot thin laser beams out of its arms. The blue jewel will turn you into a dragon, which has a powerful breath attack. Like the human character, each demon has their own special move, activated by charging the attack button. It may seem straightforward, but there are some neat catches to this system too. If you choose the same demon three times in a row, you morph into a super powered up version. Alternatively, if you choose a new demon each level, and control each of them at least once, then you’ll obtain the ultimate form at the end of the game.
Compared to Castlevania, King of Demons is a bit on the easy side. However, you can make it harder by electing to stay in human form. Since the human’s gun can only fire straight forward, it can be tough to hit enemies in the air, while demons can hit targets much easier. Since it’s more difficult, it would’ve been nice if there were a third ending for those who elected to take on this challenge, but that’s a wasted opportunity on the game’s part.
The demon transformations are cool, but the grim overtones help make KoD stand out from the crowd When you are granted power from your wife at the beginning, a fairy flies around with you and protects you from enemies, lunging forward at enemies every time you attack. If you die, the fairy – or rather your wife – sacrifices herself in order to revive you. This gives one a sense of urgency to save your daughter even more so since the powerup that gives you the fairy is very rare. It’s also a bit creepy that you’re given the choice to sell your humanity in order to increase your power, or elect to keep your human soul? It seems like a no win situation, especially since you have to turn into a demon in order to get the best ending.