German indie developer PSCD Games has launched a Kickstarter for Black Jewel Reborn, a co-op hack-and-slash game with an awesome twist: It’s coming to NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, and Game Boy as four different versions catering to the individual hardware. (Digital Eclipse is probably salivating already.) The premise of the game is spectacularly generic: Darkor has stolen the Black Jewel from the Temple of Power, and Ryan the barbarian and Julia the Amazon are the only two people strong enough to get it back and stop Darkor from taking over the kingdom. Everything about that is just great.
Visually, Black Jewel Reborn seems to draw from Conan the Barbarian and Castlevania, but things get gory in a funny Mortal Kombat way if you hit the Game Over screen. Ryan and Julia each have three normal attacks, a jump attack, and a special attack that charges while fighting enemies. You can also invoke your gods for rare, screen-clearing super attacks.
According to the Kickstarter, the Genesis version of Black Jewel Reborn is 80% finished already, while the NES and Game Boy versions are 20% finished. The SNES version will use the Genesis graphics but incorporate additional effects and different audio. All versions will offer co-op except for the Game Boy version, which is understandably single-player. You can receive a ROM (i.e., PC version) of any individual version of the game by backing €10 (virtually the same amount in USD, at the current exchange rate) on Kickstarter. At higher backing tiers though, you can receive actual physical versions of the game, with or without a box.
Once upon a time, it was the norm for a video game to receive multiple different ports to consoles and to look quite different in each version; it was common for different developers to handle the ports too. It’s weirdly refreshing to see someone volunteer to bring that back.
If you want to try out Black Jewel Reborn now, there is a demo on itch.io.