Written by Jonathan Wojcik
31 Last Armageddon Demons!
Oh, this beautiful game. I must have first heard about this one six or seven years ago, and featuring it on the site seemed like a given, but there were a few little obstacles in the way. Namely, that the game was released only in Japanese, you can't actually see every monster in just one play-through, and the actual "playing" process is not enjoyable. The game is abysmally tedious, necessitating long hours of laborious grinding through random battles which, in turn, actually run slowly. Everything I've managed to learn about this game, I've had to learn through incomplete Japanese fan sites, because no way am I going to be able to stumble my way through the same video game for months out of my life just to show you some monsters.
...But what monsters they are, though.
Look at this shit. Four of the things you're seeing here are main characters. This is a game that puts you in charge of a demon militia. A demon militia battling for dominion over a post-apocalyptic Earth. Battling an army of space aliens (who will warrant a post all their own!) for dominion over a post-apocalyptic Earth. Games do not get better than this.
Except for how bad of a game it is.
Games do not get better than this on paper.
So, let's meet our heroes and heroines. Following the extinction of humankind, ancient monsters sought to reclaim the world, but the global space invasion has whittled their population down to just a dozen. From left to right, the character portaits we have here are the Orc, Dragon, Harpy, Golem, Goblin, Cyclops, Gargoyle, Slime, Minotaur, Skeleton, Snake, and Sphinx. You play with all twelve, divided into three teams who must alternate throughout the game, but don't fret if they seem a bit on the plain side; these are only their starting forms. Yes, I know Sphinx is just a naked woman with no monstrous characteristics whatsoever, even compared to Harpy, who's just a naked woman with wings. Just bear with her.
Like the much later Pokemon, the heart and soul of Last Armageddon is its monstrous evolutionary system. As they gain levels, each demon progresses through several more advanced stages, then gets two subsequent opportunities to "trade DNA" with another demon, borrowing characteristics from one of its special friends to take on an even tougher, stranger new physiology. A lot stranger.
You can view all of those forms in this Japanese guide, but here, we're just going to look at a spooksy 31 of them.
CYCLOPS + SLIME:
I'll warn you up front that Slime's fusions dominate the list. How ever did you already guess. This legless, slug-like tumor-blob is what you get when Cyclops decides to do the old Horizontal Gene Transfer with Slime, and the best part is this is neither the only nor the best slug-like tumor-blob in the game.
CYCLOPS + SLIME + GOBLIN:
Now, after becoming a shambling carrion heap, your Cyclops is going to get one more fusion. What do you think happens if it borrows genes from Goblin for its ultimate metamorphosis? You probably didn't think it would be whatever this thing is, I'm sure. It has kind of a four-eyed dinosaur head, but it also has an additional eye above one of its...vents? Mouths? Gills? Genital slots? This still isn't even one of the strangest outcomes available. We're barely getting warmed up here.
CYCLOPS + SKELETON + SNAKE:
So, what if Cyclops wasn't into Slime at all? What if he jumped Skeleton's genetic bones? Well, you don't get this. You get something else from Cyclops + Skeleton. But if that goes on to use Snake's DNA, you get this, one of Cyclop's other possible final forms. See how this game works, yet? The Cykelenake is actually a sort of two-legged, blood red, turtle-like monster with long spines and a skull-like head on a spinal column neck. If you love this thing and also love the last one, too bad. You only get one Cyclops!
SLIME + CYCLOPS:
Now, you've seen what happens when Cyclops gets some Slime up in his eyehole, but what if you start with Slime, and Slime gets Cyclops DNA? It makes a huge difference who's giving and receiving. When Slime is the catcher, you end up with an entirely different, no less magical new pal, a malformed ogre with a slobbering, vestigial parasite face on its back. As we'll see later, this parasite face is actually a running theme among some of the Slime fusions. I couldn't have come up with a better one myself.
DRAGON + GARGOYLE + SKELETON:
After those first four, you should be pretty comfortable with how this system works, or at least you better be, because we're going to jump around willy-nilly from here on out as I pick out personal favorites to share. How cool is it that a Dragon, Gargoyle and Skeleton, in that specific order, produce such a lobster-like monster? It's not really a crustacean per se, but it has the pincers and the snout to evoke one pretty hard, with just a pinch of goblin shark.
DRAGON + GARGOYLE + SLIME:
The beautiful thing about these is that no matter how weird they come, I still get it. I still see basic principles of draconic, gargoylian and oozeous creatures in this doodlehopper. It kind of has the front end of a blind dinosaur and the back end of a rotting octopus man, glued together just right for the head and jaws to suggest either an elephant-like trunk or a humongous, fanged dong. Magnifique.
GOLEM + SPHINX + GARGOYLE:
You may have noticed that two of the basic monsters look like human women, likely just so the artists had a reason to draw the titters, but only two final evolutions in the game take on busty, feminine figures, and one of those two belongs to Golem. The hulking, washboard-chested rock man can borrow Sphinx and Gargoyle genes to become a floating purple nymph with an alien, green eyeball in her stomach. Golem has life all figured out. This is also the only demon facing to the right, like she barely feels the need to look at the alien robots she's tearing apart. She's having too good a day to sweat the small stuff.
GARGOYLE + ORC + SKELETON:
This is the only body Gargoyle can end with that I really like. It's nothing mind blowing, but it's one of the more haunting and subtle of the demons. Its hairless, earless, emaciated canine look immediately conjures H.P. Lovecraft's take on "ghouls." He could be posing for Pickman as we speak! Or laying down some harsh rhymes. It's hard to tell. Maybe both.
GOBLIN + CYCLOPS + DRAGON:
Oh man this thing. Oh man. Look at this majestic wonder of nature. Two eyeless heads with gums and teeth straight off The Deadly Spawn, an awful little bloodshot eye devoid of any emotion and a legless torso it has to drag around. I hope this was what Goblin-clops wanted when it took the Dragon route. I hope it wasn't expecting shimmering wings or fire breath or any of that old hat, and loves itself for the bifurcated wormamander it was born to be.
GOBLIN + CYCLOPS + HARPY:
Gobclops, seriously, what are you doing to yourself. You keep trying to assimilate these beautiful, majestic beasts and ending up like I don't even know. What is this. What is this magnificent, hideous nose sloth you invented. What does it do. Does it just blow quad snot bubbles and quietly weep because that's what I want it to do.
HARPY + GOBLIN + SNAKE:
Again, despite looking nothing like its components, I have no difficulty grasping the logic at work here. A bird woman, a tricky goblin and a venomous reptile make a leaping bug covered in echidna-like spines. Why shouldn't they? It has the "spirit" of all three, communicating agility, mischievousness and probably some nasty toxin of some sort.
MINOTAUR + HARPY + GOBLIN:
Interestingly the only cephalopod-like demon, which I might have expected to involve the Slime in some way, but I can roll with a cow-bird-goblin meteopus. I like its little lizardy head.
MINOTAUR + SKELETON + SNAKE:
This one is unusual here for just how obviously it incorporates its genetic components, but it did exactly the coolest things it could do with those three options. You've got a hairy snake demon with a skull head directly between that of bovine and serpent. Deliciously sinister, and kind of the ultimate desert-themed monster, isn't it? I guess it could stand to have a scorpion tail too, then you'd really be set.
ORC + SLIME:
Sadly, many of my favorite fusions are only "first stage" fusions. They eventually have to evolve again, and usually into something totally different. At least the Orc-Slime is fun while it lasts, a revolting, bloated purple thing between a hippo, a horse and a sea cucumber, puking copious amounts of neon blue mucus. It's even oozing out of multiple pores in its blubbery hindquarters...which kind of form another of those eerie, vestigial faces.
ORC + SLIME + GARGOYLE:
See what I mean? This is one of the two things the purple orc-slime can change into, in this case by sucking up some Gargoyle, but this thing isn't even dripping slime at all. Still interesting, though. Its body is rather nondescript, with a kind of crab-like mouth, but the fleshy red tubes tell me it probably spews something unpleasant, like acid or feces or acidic feces.
ORC + SLIME + SPHINX:
Okay, this is maybe cooler than the puking hippo, I guess. Giving it an injection of Sphinx turns it into a blind, alien horror that looks kind of like a big yellow pancreas with pincers. Very unsettling, very menacing, especially the mouth that just sort of looks like a gouged-out chunk.
ORC + SNAKE + CYCLOPS:
Oh dang! As much as I like the Orc-Slime-Sphinx, this is clearly the ideal path for Orc to take. It's kind of a buffer version of Goblin-Cyclops-Dragon, but instead of the fanged maws, it has gross toothless holes housing weird, giant reptile-tongue tentacles. This is one of the most perfect things in the game. Bizarre, cool and even pretty scary.
ORC + SNAKE + DRAGON:
That said, I am also kind of partial to this humble chestburster-like lizard. Many people would probably find it underwhelming for its lineage, but I like the simplicity. I like how it streamlines into a relatively ordinary, believable reptilian monster, with just a little dash of weirdness. It's hard to tell for sure, but its mouth may even open vertically.
SKELETON + GARGOYLE + GOLEM:
Almost none of Skeleton's final transformations remain truly skeletal, which is something of a let-down, maybe, but they compensate in sheer badassery, like this helmeted humanoid with bulging, cancerous mutant arms. One ends in a nasty hook, and one in a head like a skinned moray eel, which I'm going to take to be this monster's only and "true" mouth.
SKELETON + GOBLIN + SNAKE:
This one, at least, retains a skull-like face. Two, in fact! Maybe more, since we can't see the other side. Whenever Snake and Skeleton are involved, you seem to end up with something that looks like it probably tunnels through sand and drags prey into sinkholes.
SKELETON + MINOTAUR + SLIME:
One of the few final forms in the "cancerous polyp" category, but it's a goodie. It's almost like a tree trying to grow into a giant heart, looking almost quasi-humanoid, except its ghostly mask-like face is where the crotch ought to be. A great combination of things.
SLIME + GARGOYLE:
I'm not blown away by this one's rather generic upper torso, but it's just the right contrast for the dribbling baby head it has instead of legs. That's nuts. Of all the "vestigial slime heads," this one looks the most upsetting and grody, but we still have a couple more of them to go. Such a cool way to tie the Slime morphs together, isn't it? It's like Slime just half-way forms a solid clone body.
SLIME + GOBLIN:
Last of Slime's teratoma-face stages, borrowing from Goblin oddly generates what feels a lot more like an incomplete Minotaur body. I love the Slime head's unpleasant red tongue, protruding from a mouth that doesn't even seem to open into a real orifice.
SLIME + GARGOYLE + GOLEM:
Whoah, what? These three make giant blind alien head with cockroach legs? This freaky mouth bug makes it pretty easy to pick Slime's course, but it's bittersweet, because it's the only option that lives up to Slime's freakiness. Its other final forms all have their little charms, but none of them are even slimy. At least this one looks like some kind of parasite.
SNAKE + GOLEM + GARGOYLE:
One of Snake's final forms looks even more like it lives the sandworm life than either of the skeleton-snakes. I see shark, cobra, mealworm and Xenomorph here, its strange bony crests adding a lot of distinct character to what would otherwise just be any old armored worm with teeth.
SNAKE + HARPY + MINOTAUR:
No idea what's going on here, but it's strange, and that's all that matters. This purple serpentoid has at least half a dozen tails, no apparent mouth, and huge yellow globes that could be any number of things. Egg sacs, poison glands, maybe organic wheels? Does it roll around like a chariot?
SNAKE + HARPY + SKELETON:
Picking Snake's final form wouldn't be easy. The sandworm and wheeled squid naga are both really interesting, but then so is this lumpy, crab-like brute, with its gloomy little skull face and single giant claw!
SPHINX + ORC + SKELETON:
So yeah, remember Sphinx? The one that just looked like a naked princess inserted to meet video game cheesecake quota? Delightfully, none of her final transformations look human, and a few are possibly the coolest, scariest monstrosities to haunt the whole wasteland, like this hunched subhumanoid thickly encrusted with corpse heads in various states of decay! Or is it various states of growth? Does she collect heads, or do they grow, lose all their skin, and eventually drop off? Maybe they hatch into new sphinxes. Maybe this demonic race of naked ladies hatch out of skulls.
SPHINX + DRAGON + SNAKE:
The creepiest finale for Sphinx is probably this weirdo, a purple lump of a monster slithering along on meaty, red tendrils. Its lower face reminds somewhat of a classic vampire, the Count Orlok kind of vampire, but it also has a couple of disturbingly human heads embedded in huge, sucker-like sockets. What are those? It seems like they contract or expand, exposing a ring of bright red tissue that raises even more questions. They kind of remind me of sonar dishes, or maybe even big audio speakers. Maybe those heads just wail like banshees.
SPHINX + SLIME + SKELETON:
Another ultimate form for the lady? A floating, stone bust with a skeletal visage and what appear to be a set of green eyes down its sides, creating two entirely different faces in one. It's fabulous, it really is. It's inarguably cool. I can't help but be rather disappointed with it, however, because it's not nearly as appealing to me as what it evolves from. The story of my life. Well, the story of my life in Pokemon, Digimon and now Last Armageddon, anyway...
SPHINX + SLIME:
Soak this one in, because it's the last one I'm going to talk about. I'll never play this game and this couldn't possibly be less important, but somehow, it still pains some little part of me that this isn't a final stage. This multicolored mess of blue puke, raw viscera and half-finished anatomy is my Raremon or Garbodor of Last Armageddon. What's even going on here? It's like some giant, malformed, flayed corpse, and is that a leg behind it? Bent backwards? Is it dragging itself along on its crotch?
The most marvelous thing of all is that this inside-out barfasaurus ever used to be the game's most sexualized character, and we both know which version oozes the most charm.
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