Capcom has come a long way since this crap.
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09-09-19 05:12 PM
Rayman85 is Online
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POST EXP: 49337
LVL EXP: 58606
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One of the crappy games I got on my SNES Classic was Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. Sure it controlled fine and it was fun to play, but it was way too hard to be enjoyable in the slightest. Then sometime down the road I discovered that the game had an NES predecessor named Ghosts 'n Goblins. Ghosts 'n Goblins was originally an arcade game by Capcom that came out in 1985 sometime before Super Mario Bros., believe it or not. I tried that game out, too, and I hated it, as well. Even though you get literally unlimited continues unlike Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts where you get so many chances as to be figuratively considered unlimited, starting up again after you die takes even longer. It's just a pain! Nevertheless, the Ghosts 'n Goblins series are considered classics for whatever stupid reason, and have become notorious for their insane difficulty - which has lead people like I to sincerely hate these games. Eventually in 2006 came Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins for the PlayStation Portable. While that outing does retain the series traditional difficulty, it does have an authentic way to tone it down to make it actually easier and enjoyable, again unlike Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. But that game isn't what I'm talking about right now, because today I'm reviewing the "classic" NES title, Ghosts 'n Goblins.
The gameplay here is your traditional 2D sidescrolling action-platformer. You play as a brave and courageous knight named Sir Arthur, who can jump by pressing A and fire his weapon by pressing B. You can also crouch, unlike in Capcom's later Mega Man games, and you can attack whilst crouching, too. The problem about crouching in this game is that you have to let go off the Control Pad entirely to get back up, which is an obvious control problem. Arthur can also attack while in midair, by the way. There are ladders in this game that you can climb up and down by pressing those respective directions on the Control Pad. While Arthur's main weapon is a Lance (specifically a Jousting Lance), Arthur can obtain four other types of weapons; the Torch, which flies far on an arc and explodes with a burst of fire. The Dagger, which is faster than the Lance and can have three on-screen at a time instead of two like the other weapons. The Axe, which goes on arc similar to the Axe in the Castlevania series but being more horizontal than vertical. And finally the Cross Shield that flies straight and destroys enemies projectiles as well as enemies themselves. Unfortunately, Arthur can only wield one weapon at a time, and when he picks up a weapon, it will
Arthur uses these weapons to fend off the various enemies of the game, but if one hits you, Arthur's armor will shatter entirely, leaving him in his red underwear. Should Arthur get hit again, he will be reduced to a pile of bones and die. Arthur will also die if the timer expires, so you must act and think fast and always be on the move. Overall, the game plays perfectly fine aside from the aforementioned crouching issues, which is honestly a major problem. It should be noted that there is a scoring system in this game which rewards you with an extra life once you get 20,000 points, and another one when you get 70,000 points, and all subsequent ones every 70,000 points. That's just ridiculous what they expect you to get! Getting a high score in this game is arguably impossible because of how easy it is to get Game Over, which leads me to where the game goes terribly wrong...
As I mentioned a while back, this game is excruciatingly difficult to the point of being completely unfair and a total chore to play through. While all the enemies in this game are quite fast for basic enemy standards, some usually have these following perks; erratic movement patterns, small size, some sort of projectile, homing AI, and others. As these enemies can come from anywhere at anytime, there is always so much chaos going on and you can hardly catch a break at all in this game unless you're either dead and/or paused. On top of it all, every enemy in this game is quite smart. Mercifully, however, pausing in this game is terrific. You can quickly pause, unpause, and pause again perfectly well. This helps shave some of the unpredictability. While there is a timer to beat the levels here, said timer goes by faster than it should. It doesn't help that Sir Arthur is fairly limited in terms of movement, as he can only attack forward. Mega Man had that problem, too, but enemies in this game move quicker and usually attack from above. One particular enemy that will drive you bonkers is Firebrand, a red devil that flies in the air where you can't hit him and then quickly swoops down to attack you. He also shoots projectiles at you while in midair. What an a**h***!
Through and through, this game is overall brutally unfair no matter which way you look at it. The first level has a fair enough challenge, honestly, but it quickly gets flat-out ridiculous from there on out. But you wanna know what makes this game really unfair? You have to beat the semi-final and final boss with a special weapon, that being the Cross Shield. While it can block projectiles, it travels a limited distance before just fading. Furthermore, the game will still try and give you new weapons so that you don't have the Cross Shield you need to properly beat the game. What the hell is up with that!? It doesn't help that the semi-final boss has two lives, which means you have to kill him twice. But once all that's finally done and over with... "This room is an illusion and is a trap devisut by Satan. Go ahead dauntlessly! Make rapid progress!" (The misspelling there is actually in-game, by the way.) You then end up back at the first level of the game, and that is when you realize... that you have to go through the entire game all over again. Yep, that's right! You have to beat this masochistic madness twice! As if doing it once wasn't hard enough. Overall, this game is so hard and unfair, you'll actually question whether or not playing through this mess is actually worth it... which, honestly, it isn't.
As this is technically an arcade port, the graphics were obviously downgraded from the original arcade version to fit the Nintendo Entertainment System's capabilities, but in all seriousness, the transition to the NES actually feels like a fresh new coat of paint rather than a forced downgrade. Put simply, this game looks like a native NES game and the 8-bit graphics here look quite at home on the system. While obviously not as polished or detailed as the arcade original, the 8-bit graphics for the NES version are still pretty great in their own right. I don't have much to say here, honestly. The characters look good, the environments look great, and enemies actually bleed or burn out when you kill them. It just feels so polished and true to the system, despite being an arcade port.
The audio here is the same deal as the graphics; despite being ported from the arcades onto an 8-bit console, the audio here sounds native to the NES and feels quite at home on the system. I honestly don't have much else to say here without repeating what I said earlier.
As for the songs themselves, there's not that many songs to the game. Level 1 & 2 share the iconic main theme of the series that is recognizable to this day, Level 3 & 4 have a song that has a more eerie and slower tone to it, while Level 5 & 6 sound eerie and climatic. It should be noted that all the songs here are quite short and they loop quickly. Like many NES titles (especially brutally hard ones), this game has an iconic death jingle that you will hear a lot if you dare play this game, as well as a jingle that plays when the game forcibly shows you the World Map every single time you die. The other sound effects are pretty cool, honestly, like when you hit something or kill an enemy.
The plot to this game is the typical "Knight Must Rescue The Princess" story, this time with our damsel in distress getting captured by a big devil that turns out to be the semi-final boss. It starts off with Sir Arthur - in his red underwear with his suit of armor simply lying nearby - and his princess girlfriend - who is either named Guinevere, Prin-Prin (as dumb as that sounds), or is just nameless - sitting together in a graveyard where a castle on a hill is in the distance. Out of this castle comes the aforementioned devil, who swoops by and captures the princess, and then Arthur dons the suit of armor he had lying down on the ground and proceeds to rescue her. Why Satan didn't grab - or even breath some kind of fire to destroy - the armor I'll never know. The better question is, "Why is Arthur in just his undies during their peaceful time together and not his armor? Were they about to have sex?" Seriously, what else could it be?
Anyway, that wraps up the worst intro of any game I know of, and from there on out, Sir Arthur must proceed through six levels of never-ending demonic chaos... Twice, by the way. Are you up to it? Hopefully not, but you could at least take a bite of this trash and see how utterly terrible it is to suffer through.
- Sir Arthur generally controls fine.
- The game looks and sounds great.
- You need to let go of the Control Pad entirely instead of just down to get up from crouching.
- All the menus and cutscenes in the game are unskippable, meaning it takes a while to get going again. That is really annoying!
- The introduction is arguably the worst of any game I know of. Why does Arthur have his armor on the ground and not on him!?
- This game is way too hard, simple as that.
- In order to truly beat the game, you have to play through it all twice. That shouldn't be forced upon players, especially in a hard game that you have to do in one sitting. It could work if it was optional in an easy game, though.
Who knows why the hell Ghosts 'n Goblins is considered a classic, let alone not a bad game, but for whatever reason, this game is an unfair mess of catastrophe that will screw with you as much as it possibly can. Yeah, your character plays fine aside from some major crouching issues, and the game looks and sounds great, but the asinine difficulty here is a dealbreaker.
But yeah, Capcom has come a long way since this demented mess, and if you may notice, this game plays quite similar to the Capcom's iconic Mega Man games that started only two years later in 1987. The similarities between Ghosts 'n Goblins and Mega Man are noticeable, but Mega Man was much more creative with the formula and instead relied on being creative and fun rather than just outright impossible. Don't get me wrong, the Mega Man series does have its moments of being challenging and even unfair at times, but it never trolled you as much as the Ghosts 'n Goblins series did. I mean, you only have to beat each Mega Man game once like you would any normal game.
But overall, Ghosts 'n Goblins is NOT a good game by any means, and if I were to compile a list of the "The Worst NES Games", Ghosts 'n Goblins would definitely make the cut, alongside Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest, which is another "classic" NES game held in high regard for whatever stupid reason, even though it is pathetically outdated and just way too flawed to be properly enjoyable. While the blatant flaws surrounding Simon's Quest are another story for another time, I can tell you here and now that Ghosts 'n Goblins is a seriously terrible game almost any way you look at it. If you want to give this game a shot and see how bad it is, go for it. It is still available to play for free here on Vizzed.com, and you can even use a Logitech F310 Controller to play it unlike on other such gaming websites that instead force you to use the keyboard. Just don't pay anything for it and you'll be fine, because this game is so bad, it isn't even worth a single dollar.
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