Ghost and Goblin's review
Ghost 'n Goblins was a popular arcade game back in 1985. It featured a challenging game play that seemed very much like Castlevania, only with its own original twist. The game later found it its way to ports on different systems, one of them being the NES. Games like these are very challenging, and requires that degree of skill not everyone will have to complete it, which is why I sought to play and complete it. If it was anything like its future games like Ghosts n' Ghouls for the Sega Genesis, then I might expect something from the ending to be a trifle more than annoying. The arcade and NES games are more or less the same in essence. The only real key difference is that some weapons don't work on certain bosses in the NES version. >_> Still, only time will tell. Let's get that weak armour on and journey through several demonic creatures. This is the NES port of Ghost 'n Goblins.
The story, as far as I can guess, is that you, King Aurthur (who looks suspiciously like Chuck Norris) is out on a date with your girlfriend (I believe Princess Prin Prin) in your underwear, looking up to the night sky. Everything is peaceful when bam! A red demon appears out of nowhere and kidnaps your date and makes off to a far away castle. You don your royal armour and immediately set off to rescue her. And then you start to play the game. All of a sudden zombies and crows start appearing out of nowhere, ready to make your life a living hell. I like the little castle in the background when you first start playing, symbolising a journey that will take a lot of hardship to complete. For me, this means a challenge, and I love a challenging game. Your armour is pretty useless as armour standards go. If you get hit once, you fall out of your armour/the armour breaks/can't handle demonic powers/other and you are left in your underwear. Get hit again, and you become a comical pile of bones and you lose a life.
The game play reminds me a lot of Castlevania. I'm not saying that one copied the other or anything like that, it's just remarkable how how the jumps are in the same fashion, the enemy placement is clever and challenging, the different weapons are similar but not altogether the same, and everything seems to feel Castlevanian when I play this game. However, this game has its own originality to it that makes it stand out like Castlevania did, only in a different way. Ok, the bosses are repetitive, lame and a little easy, but with only two hits before a death, this balances out the boss difficulty quite nicely.
I fell in love with the controls. Fixed jumps are something I have gotten used to when playing the old Castlevania games. You can, however, turn while jumping so you can throw your weapons in the opposite direction. This gives a little more freedom to how you can go about attacking things. Climbing up ladders is annoying, as you can't attack while on one, and you can't drop down midway. When getting to the top of a ladder, you have to get all the way to the top before moving, so you can't cut corners at that stage. It's choppy, but it does encourage some thinking beforehand so you don't accidentally jump into some water. Why is it in old games when ever you get your feet wet, you automatically die? These "heroes" can handle several waves of enemies, travel great lengths and take several hits before dying, but they can't handle a little water splashed in their faces?
The graphics aren't too bad. You can see they are a little pixelated when they made the transfer, as well as the entire thing being downgraded 8-bits. The arcade graphics are far superior, but it does the job. The zombies still look like zombies, and the background is still relatively eerie. Some of the enemies look odd, but then again, running around in your underwear fighting demons is as well. The music also isn't too bad. It's been rendered 8-bit due to the port of the game. Since it wasn't originally made in 8-bit, the quality seems somewhat lower to listen too and feels like it was just...converted to 8-bit instead of composed.
The difficulty of the game is insane. Again, this reminds me of Castlevania. The enemy placement and patterns, however, are harder than Castlevania. Castlevanis enemy placement was clever, and needed you to be skilled and work around the patterns of the enemy. Here, the enemy placement is just as clever, only half of their patterns are random to an extent. You needed quick reflexes, skill, and a bit of luck to get past some of the enemies in the game without getting hit, and when you got past that part, there were just more of them. It's very hard to compare Castlevania and Ghost 'n Goblins with their enemy placement. Castlevania seemed more organised and thought out, but Ghost 'n Goblins seems like the bad guy is just throwing stuff at you in the hopes you would die, but he does it in an orderly fashion. In the end, both games difficulties are very much the same, but very different at the same time, if that makes sense. I'm not going to choose which I like better, I'm just giving credit where it's due.
You get to choose from a collection of different weapons. You can only hold one weapon at a time. This can range from your trusty lance to daggers, and torches to shields. Yes, you can throw shields. Something I have found out is that every weapon does the same amount of damage. Since the shield has a shorter range, it would be logical for it to be stronger. However, it took the same amount of hits to take down other enemies with the dagger as with the shield as well. The axe and the torches annoyingly arch over the enemy, making them fairly useless. You could duck and throw them, but those could arch over the smaller enemies as well. The dagger is slightly faster than the lance, and will probably be a popular choice. Sometimes you might use these weapons, and come across a magician. This guy will throw a spell at you that will turn you into a frog, so be careful.
Overall, I give this game an 8.9/10 It's a fun and challenging game, and anyone looking for one of those "hard as nails" game will surely want to look into this one. It's one of the harder games I have come across, and is by no means to be underestimated. The ending is annoying and cheap, but it just adds to the challenge of the game. Anyone who beats this game completely should pat themselves on the back.