Game: Devil World
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Release date: 1984
Is this Nintendo's response to Pac-Man? It sure seems to be. After all, both games feature cute-as-buttons protagonists (especially in the case of Devil World) who are tasked with clearing labyrinthine levels of pellet-like items while avoiding meandering baddies. In that context, this Shigeru Miyamoto-designed title doesn't fare so well--Namco's arcade classic wins the competition, hands down. Taken on its own merits, though, Devil World is an enjoyable little diversion from the bevy of arcade ports (Donkey Kong, Mario Bros.) Nintendo released alongside it at the beginning of the Famicom's lifetime. So, what keeps Devil World from stacking up positively against Pac-Man? It certainly isn't its graphics or soundtrack, both of which are better, arguably, than its Tōru Iwatani-designed counterpart. No, what holds Devil World back are the overabundance of ideas that Miyamoto shoves into the game, seemingly to differentiate his creation from Iwatani's. Although some of them--the multi-scrolling stages, especially--are interesting, most of them just seem to get in the way of what should have been a simple affair.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts