Before I start, I’d like to explain the reason why I chose Demons for the Halloween Bestiarium. They are a better choice than Aliens because they are more Sci-Fi/Adventure than horror (no offense to Alien but the franchise has become more of a blockbuster Sci-Fi adventure rather than horror). Witches on the other hand are a classic Halloween trope, but If talk about them I’ll have to mention sorcerers and necromancer also, which becomes a fantasy article at the end. Finally, most other monsters aren’t as popular when used in comparison with Halloween, such as Zombies and Vampires. This is kind of a shame if you ask me because some of them bring huge potential to an industry that is filled with Zombieggedon and Castlevania pachinko games, nonetheless, I’ll bring them on as a special for next Halloween if I can.
When I wrote my first Level Playing Field entry, (which was on elevator levels) I mentioned the lack of Stairways to Heaven or angels as enemies, (except for the Atlus games, which let you pretty much beat the crap out of any religious symbol) however, when it’s time to go to the underworld, demons are the first thing that you blow up when you enter. Although I still find the lack of Highways to Hell in video games insulting…
Demons are similar to Aliens in many ways. I mean, think about it… These are creatures with different aspects of power and sometimes even technology. In fact, there are people who believe that the Demons described in certain religious books are actually Aliens in disguise. But if that’s the case, then what is an actual Demon?
Or Fiend-Type if you play Yugioh
According to my sources, (A.K.A Wikipedia) a Demon is a creature or divinity which is mostly malevolent and is generally prevalent in a religion, mythology or folklore. To me this seems rather ambiguous, so why don’t we classify some of these Demon types.
Ukobach, I choose You!
This is the scale for the lesser demons, these guys are essentially foot soldiers. They aren’t as powerful or bright as other creatures in this entry but because you will always see them in groups, they can be very annoying. The best example of this class is the Ukobach, a demon whose appearance basically resembles the little devils with pitchforks from your Saturday morning cartoon. But we can also include the flying eyeballs (Bestiarium entry coming soon), slimy monsters, zombies and ghosts from hell. You can also include pretty much any kind of enemy you find in hell that you blow up with a single shoot of your shotgun. Enemies of this caliber include Ukobachs, Jack Frost and several other creatures from the Shin Megami, the Minions from Dante’s Inferno, the Netherrealm demons from Mortal Kombat, Imps from Doom, among several others.
Not my best GIF, but I honestly couldn’t find anything better.
To many, Gargoyles are just sculptures sitting in the rain on the side of a roof, with designs that can vary from animals to dragons. But at the end of the day, there’s no denying that when someone says the word “Gargoyle” we all think of a demonic being with wings (like a bat) that likes to practice their poses. Because the last thing you want while turning into a statue during the day is looking silly.
I call this pose “Le Penseur”.
Gargoyles are way more annoying than the little devils, but not just because they can fly. They also happen to be stronger, faster and they can shoot fireballs from their mouth. You can see this in the Ghost and Goblins series where we have the Red Gargoyle known as Firebrand or Red Arremer who is also the mascot of the franchise. He even has his own spin-off series of video games (similar to Wario from Super Mario World 2). He has also appeared in several other games as a guest character or the main protagonist from the franchise such as Devil May Cry, the Ghostbusters video game from 2009, Diablo and of course Killer Instinct, with a character properly named Gargos, who is also a ruler of hell. More of this later.
I don’t know why, but I’ve seen a lot of the concept of a half-human, half-demon hybrid in several animes and video games. Most of the time, they are the result of an affair of a demon with a human while listening to Careless Whispers from Wham. Some examples are Devil May Cry, with the twins Virgil and Dante, Onimusha 2 with Jubei, Arcana Hearts with the character of Lilica or Inuyasha (Ok, I know that this is not a video game franchise but is a good anime for your 12 year old daughter). But they can also be made by the curse or spell of a powerful magician or demon like in the case of Scorpio in Mortal Kombat, the silent main protagonist on Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and technically Yakuza Mishima in the original Tekken, before it was retconned in the sequels.
Wait Wait Wait – I know this guy! Yeah, we are screwed.
I don’t know why, but for some reason every time I see something like an adventure series, they always introduce the concept of level or class in order to measure the power of a creature. So you can imagine that a demon in this class can be considered a treat compared to the lower classes like the Ukobachs, with more strength, resistance and magical powers. In other words, you are going to need a bigger shotgun to take down these guys. Some of the best examples are the Hell Knight or Arch-Vile from Doom, but we also have the Unicorn from Ghosts and Goblins (if you can call that an unicorn), Biggy Man from Splatterhouse (if you can count him as a demon), the Abyss from Devil May Cry 3 and finally, Moloch and Drahmin from Mortal Kombat.
Yes, I don’t know who these guys are either.
Hell is not just a place for horny devils, you can also find creatures whose appearance resemble other monsters. Some examples are the whale in Devil May Cry 3, a giant worm in Dante’s Inferno, a sword in Soul Calibur, a gorilla in God Hand, a Cat Girl in Darkstalkers (they are technically demons and a Cat Girl counts as a Yokai), a car in Shin Megami, a wall with a monster on it like in Final Fantasy XII, a brain on a cybernetic chassis with 4 legs in Doom, a dragon in the Divine Comedy (which is not a game, but if you didn’t know that already then you seriously need to read more often) and the list goes on and on.
I don’t know if this is a Japanese thing or not, but every time I see an anime/video game they always introduce the concept of the Makai or Demon World. This is generally a parallel world to humans. Unlike the underworld, this is not the place in which you end up once you die. Here, the stronger creatures live while the weak are killed, natural selection at it’s finest in my opinion. The stronger demons get the title of Demon Lord or Ruler of Hell, which means that he’s a ruler of a part of the Makai, this is something I’ve seen in Darkstalkers, Yu Yu Hakusho, Super Sentai (Japanese Power Rangers) and other series. This translates to “Demon with a lot of power and probably the final boss in the game that most of the time are sealed in another dimension or dead until some douche bag brings him back to life because…. reasons.”
And here’s a huge list: Satan in Ghosts and Goblins, God Hand, Puyo Puyo, Shin Megami,the Persona games (where he’s a secret boss most of the time), The Ninja Kids, Diablo, Devil May Cry, Bonechill in Super Paper Mario, Jedah Dohma in Darkstalkers (who’s so powerful that he creates his own dimension), Shinnok from Mortal Kombat, and basically any final boss in the Dragon Quest franchise, among many others.
Not to mention that most of the time these guys control a massive army.
And similar to aliens, these guys have a lot of abilities and power that makes them a real pain in the butt to deal with. And leaving aside the classic stuff like super strength, speed and the ability to literally eat your soul, I found the following abilities as the most relevant:
A Scythe to the chest, nothing that an adhesive strip can’t fix.
Some of these monsters are pretty much impossible to kill, I mean guys like Dante can regenerate at super speed after being impaled several times. Shinnok, despite being just a head in the end of MKX, is still alive but in a vegetative state (yeah, spoiler by the way). Not to mention that even time itself doesn’t seem to affect them because they have thousands, if not millions of years to live. So yeah, unlike aliens where we can just blow them up with guns, the only way to kill or at least seal most of these guys is by the use of a similar or opposite magical power.
You son of a …
As I mentioned earlier, these guys can have a lot of magical power that can be used in several ways. But the most basic ones include the ability to change its shape or cast illusions. The main purpose of these abilities (aside from making you play the game again) is to pass unnoticed in the human world. I don’t know if this is a norm or something, but demons in pop culture can only exist in these planes as an invisible ghost or disguised as something or somebody else. This is a trick used by several magical creatures in myths and legends such as vampires, mischief gods and other malevolent monsters.
So, in the best case you might fight a small horny creature that can be easily dispatched with just one bullet. In the worst, you might be fighting a giant monster that can kill you with a single attack and that won’t fall until you unleash the combined fire power of an entire country on his face. Or perhaps by the use of some random magical item that you probably don’t have in your inventory, because you thought that it wasn’t important. Either way, prepare to rip and tear guts.
This is going to be a long fight.