Release: 1984-10-05 (¥4500)
Released in Europe as
( NES-DD-XXX )
Devil World is a maze game developed and published by Nintendo.
The player takes control of a little green dragon called 'Tamagon' who is
on a remarkable journey into the Demon World (his name is a
pun that could be translated as "Egg-Dragon"). But things are always not so
simple and our hero is the target of the Devil himself (who unsurprisingly
runs the Devil World) and his demonic cohorts. Interestingly, Tamagon
starts each round inside an egg - in this form, he is invulnerable to enemy attacks
and he must hatch from it in order to take on his mission. Each round is broken up
into three phases. The object of the first one is to collect all the pellets
(called Bowa-Bowa dots) scattered around the maze, in a way very similar to
Pacman. However, Tamagon must first find a cross in order
to collect the pullets, and the cross also allows him to breath fire at his
enemies (he however can only shoot one fireball at the time). Enemies hit by
Tamagon's fire turns into Fried Eggs that the green dragon can gobble up
for points. Once all the pullets
have been collected, the game moves to a different phase where the player has to pick
up four Bibles and seal them into a special red stone localized at the center of
the maze. Bibles give Tamagon the same abilities than the crosses,
however, unlike them, their magic powers don't wear out. But Devil World has another
unique twist - Tamagon doesn't control where the screen scrolls, instead Devil
(symbolized by a blue winged character at the top of the screen) automatically steers the
player in one direction or another, thus creating situation where Tamagon can easily
become trapped or crushed by the screen's boundaries. Finally, each round is followed by
a short bonus stage where Tamagon controls the direction in which the screen
scrolls (by stepping on special tiles in the maze) in order to collect as many bonus
items as possible within a time limit. A two simultaneous player mode is available and
features a second red Tamagon.
Two prints of Devil World seem to exist. The first version was
available in the Cassette line series (popularly known as the
"pulse line" series) and Devil World was the
14th and last Famicom game released with a pulse line (picture on the right). It was
released again later with an illustrated cartridge label (version tested
here). Interestingly, it seems that the pulse line
version was originally sold at retail for ¥3800, whereas the illustrated version
was sold for ¥4500.
The game was never released in North America, but was released in Europe
(only in Scandinavia it seems). The European version is hard to find and
can fetch upwards of $150 on auction sites.
Although Devil World slipped through the cracks of many people's minds,
Nintendo recently tried to pay homage to this long forgotten game. Tamagon
the dragon later appeared as a trophy in the Japanese release of Super Smash Bros.
Melee (GameCube, 2001). Interestingly, Devil also appears as an assist
trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii, 2008) and makes a cameo appearance in
Captain Rainbow (Wii, 2008).
Two names are easily recognizable from Devil World's staff - the game
designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. Both men worked on
some of the most universally acclaimed and influential Nintendo series,
namely Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda. Although
Takashi Tezuka started as a part-time employee at Nintendo and
initially worked on the arcade game Super Punch-Out!!, Devil World
was technically his first project as a full-time employee at the company.
Teaser text from the European version:
Lost in the maze of Devil World,
Tamagon the Dragon has to steer
clear of the Devil, his nasty Co-Devils,
and his treacherous helpers,
Madaman the Fried-Eggman and
Bon-Bon, and ward off their attacks
by breathing fire. After each round,
the maze scrolls up, down right or
left. The Devil decides the direction and points with his finger. As you
guide Tamagon through the maze, you also have to avoid being
sandwiched between the walls.
Click on picture to enlarge
Add your Pov here !
Devil World is a game full of charms and personality. There
is little doubt that Devil World derives its inspiration from
Pacman, but Nintendo managed to squeeze in unique
gameplay ideas of their own. The gameplay mechanics work surprisingly
well - I was a bit skeptical at first about the 'automatic scrolling'
(and it definitively takes some practice to get the hang of it), but it
certainly adds an incredible amount of strategy and tactic to the dot-munching
Pacman formula. I also love the graphics, and although they are simple
(mind you, the game was made in 1984), they are full of personality and
character. The only downfall of the game is definitively the lack of variation.
Each round just loops (is the game endless ?) with a slightly increased
difficulty level and higher gameplay speed - but it is overall rather repetitive.
Also, I wonder why the game wasn't released in North America - many people
mention the obvious religious references featured in the game (devil,
crucifixes, bibles) but a simple sprite swap/change would have certainly
sweeten the deal. Anyway, all in all, Devil World is a fun game,
don't expect to spend hours on this one though, but it is a good time
killer every once in a while.