Did you like the Game Boy game? Then you'll like its sequel.
The original Gargoyle’s Quest, a Game Boy offshoot of the Ghosts & Goblins series, is an interesting beast. Your character, Firebrand, wanders around a very RPG-like overworld map filled with towns, NPCs, and items. Random encounters, however, as well as individual “levels,” warp you into side-scrolling action/platformer areas where Firebrand uses his powers of flight, fire-breathing, and wall-clinging. Throughout the adventure, Firebrand upgrades his flight time, attack power, and HP. It’s a very strange little hybrid, but it’s solid and fun. Gargoyle’s Quest 2 is an NES sequel that’s basically the same game, but in color. If you liked the original, you’ll like this sequel just as much (if not more).
This time, Firebrand is off to defend the Ghoul Realm from yet another magical overlord. He does this in the exact same way: traveling around a large RPG-like overworld map, visiting towns, talking to NPCs, and upgrading his armor and abilities for side-scrolling action/platformer stages. There are no random encounters this time, however.
The game isn’t overly-difficult. It’s pretty much on-par with its Game Boy predecessor, largely because of the same issue: the screen doesn’t show enough of the level, so you’re constantly dropping down blind paths and falling on spikes or getting hit by respawning enemies. Firebrand’s powers are also largely lifted from the original, and the late-game stages make use of all of them in satisfying ways. Some of the bosses are cheap in that “random NES attack pattern” way, but none of them are downright frustrating—Restore Points will alleviate some anxiety here.
It all looks good, with big sprites and colorful, surprisingly intricate levels. The overworld stuff could’ve used more work (don't be afraid to talk to people more than once). The music is usually pretty forgettable, but there are some catchy tracks here and there.
I like the Gargoyle’s Quest games, possibly more than Demon’s Crest, crazy as that might be. They’re charming and experimental, with rock-solid platforming and really interesting level design. If you've never played the Game Boy game, you may as well just pick up this NES game—it’s largely the same, but in color.