GARGOYLE'S QUEST / Capcom / Gameboy
In this Ghosts N' Goblins spinoff, the flying devil Firebrand is called back from knocking Sir Arthur's armor off to the Demon Realm, to save all the evil beasties from being overrun by even more evil beasties.
Take Ghosts N' Goblins and tone the difficulty down just a shade, add the ability to fly for short periods, and some RPG elements and you basically have this one. On the whole, it works pretty well, but only due to the strength of the action sequences. The RPG portions are dull and really seem like filler - Firebrand wanders on a Dragon Warrior-like world map from place to place, occasionally interrupted by a random battle that usually features the same beasts and traps every time. There's a few towns, which serve only to restore your stock of extra lives (by trading Vials, which you get from winning random battles and find lying about in the dungeons), and provide dialogue and story that is completely inane and really adds nothing to the game. Here and there you also get upgrades to the length of time for which you are able to fly, and more powerful fireball projectiles, but these are all handed to you as part of the linear plot progression, there's really very little exploration and almost no deviating from the main path.
The graphics and music are about as good as is possible for the original Gameboy. The sound chip is actually used pretty well, with baroque pipe organs being the theme of the day here. I'm pretty sure the music was composed by the Capcom composer who did Bionic Commando and a number of their other NES classics as the sound is very similar. The graphics are nothing special in the overhead view but many of the dungeons actually look nice, with nice little details like the floors being made of piles of skulls.
You do have to sit through some tedious bits, and there's really no replay value to speak of, but the action sequences are pretty fun with moderate difficulty and I think it's worth a run if you like classic action-platformer type games.
* Gameplay Video