By Joseph Walter
So what is it that makes a title screen worth mentioning?
To me, a title screen needs to firmly project the tone of the game while simultaneously drawing the player into the world, regardless of the genre. "Demon's Crest" is a prime example, with a title screen that evokes an atmosphere so distinct that it may as well be physically present.
"Demon's Crest" is a game synonymous with the overused banner of "hidden gem." Part of the "Ghosts & Goblins" universe, the player assumes the role of the villainous Firebrand as he escapes a ghastly imprisonment and attempts to retake his ghoulish realm in difficult side scrolling stages with a touch of Metroid-like progression.
The title screen does its part in painting the picture that you are not a hero, but a dreaded villain whose hellish quest is about to begin with an absolutely outstanding sequence utterly soaked in pure atmosphere.
Soon after, the fire itself rises and engulfs the screen, while the haunting music, a sullen choral piece, kicks in.
Within the fire we see a bat-like figure, wings closed. It emerges from the fire and spreads its demonic wing-span while an organ reprise of the choral theme takes dominance.
The figure's wings slowly burn away into the searing title of the game, and its glowing eyes and gloriously, evilly open and grin while the music climaxes.
Then you're simply left with the sounds of the fire, looking into this creatures eyes, gazing at the smoldering title.
It succeeds in what all title screens should set out to do: Tells you everything you need to know about the tone of the game immediately while also thrusting you deep into its threatening underworld.
And, of course, if you've yet to play this masterpiece and have a love for side-scrolling adventures, hopefully this title screen has drawn you in enough to give it a shot!