Demon’s World is a 1989 run and gun arcade video game originally developed by Toaplan and published in Japan by Taito and in North America by Catalina Games. In the game, players assume the role of two ghost hunters to fight against several ghosts and monsters that were unleashed upon Earth by the titular demon king. Initially launched for the arcades, the title was then ported to the PC Engine Super CD-ROM² by NEC Avenue and published exclusively in Japan on 26 February 1993, featuring various additions and changes compared with the original release.
Demon’s World was met with mixed response from critics who reviewed the PC Engine Super CD-ROM² version as an import title despite being exclusive to Japan. As of 2019, the rights to the title is owned by Tatsujin, a company founded in 2017 by former Toaplan member Masahiro Yuge and now-affiliate of Japanese arcade manufacturer exA-Arcadia alongside many other Toaplan IPs.
Demon’s World is a horror-themed horizontally-scrolling run and gun game where players assume the role of two ghost hunters through ten increasingly difficult linear autoscrolling stages across various locations, some of which have a boss at the end that must be fought before progressing any further in an effort to defeat several ghosts and monsters that were unleashed upon Earth by the titular demon king as the main objective.
The player characters are armed with a gun complete with energy pack reminiscent to the Ghostbusters franchise to shoot various ghosts and monsters that infest each stage, though players can also defeat enemies by jumping on them, in addition of performing a double jump to move across platforms as well. Along the way, players can collect multiple a weapon power-up to change their gun to fire lasers, bombs or a spread shot. Other items can also be collected during gameplay such as “P” icons that, after collecting three icons in a row, grants the players a shield that takes an extra enemy hit and heart icons that gives points. Firing on determined locations is crucial to reach high-scores and get extra lives, as certain setpieces in some stages hosts bonus secrets.
While the better known version of the arcade game started in a relatively modern town at a telephone booth and continues to advance to the haunted American Old West themed levels, an alternative arcade version and the home console version for the PC Engine shuffle these levels around: There the opening stages of the title take place in an eastern setting, starting in the fantasyland of China and moving on to Japan, featuring various spirits and creatures of Japanese folklore. Some of these include ghostly karakasa, chochinobake, kappa, hitotsume-kozou and rokurokubi. The game then changes course, moving to a ghostly pirate ship and then the haunted American Old West, featuring a ghost town and a canyon inhabited by traditional ghosts and monsters from western culture such as Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, and even Jason Voorhees-style masked monsters.
In all variants of the game the final stretch takes place in a medieval setting complete with cursed castles and dungeons infested with haunted armor, goblins and dragons. But the PC Engine version and the less known alternative arcade revision add a cave segment between the last dragon and the final boss. Thus both of these versions share a similar amount of content, but the PC engine version adds an additional mid-boss to the western town segment (a cowboy skeleton that throws scorpions).
Demon’s World uses a checkpoint in which a downed single player will start off at the beginning of the checkpoint they managed to reach before dying. Getting hit by enemy fire, colliding against certain stage obstacles, falling off the stage or running against any enemy will result in losing a life and once all lives are lost, the game is over unless the players insert more credits into the arcade machine to continue playing. Although there is an ending, the game loops back to the first stage after completing the last stage as with previous titles from Toaplan, with each one increasing the difficulty.