Developer: CapeffinCom (CapCom)
Publisher: CapeffinCom (CapCom)
Release Date: December, 1987
"Have you ever played a game where you intentionally avoided the powers ups?"
Has that same game allowed you almost no control over the way your character jumps? Is getting hit twice before dying your cup of tea? Oh, and over all of that, do you like the fact that you have to play through the game twice
in order to actually beat it? If you answered yes to any of these questions, why are you reading this review? Howeve if you answered no, then you haven't played the disaster that is Ghosts 'N Goblins.
At a first glance, Ghosts 'N Goblins appears to be a pretty standard action platformer game. The story, which was a fairly common theme back in the NES days, is that the main character, Arthur, is having a good old picnic at midnight in the graveyard with his girlfriend, Princess Prin-Prin. Arthur is just chilling in his heart shaped boxers (early Grand Theft Auto anyone) when suddenly a gigantic, red demon comes swooping in from the pitch black sky and swoops up Princess Prin-Prin. Like any hero would, Arthur puts on his armor and heads out to save the Princess.
For an early NES game, the graphics weren't too bad. While they are "grainy", Arthur and the monsters are detailed enough so you can verify them, and the backgrounds are easy on the eyes and suits the game perfectly (a special mention goes to the first level for the castle on the mountain), but they tend to get repetitive later on in the game as the backgrounds just comes out to be a wall with a different color to them. However this minor gripe does not take away from the game. Another plus goes to the music, which while there aren't many tracks, makes the atmosphere creepy and gives you a sense of isolation (the third level gets special mention here)
But this, unfortunately is where the praise stops
If you didn't know already, this game is very challenging! Now you may be wondering, how is that a bad thing? Well, challenge in video games come in two forms: 1.The challenge where a boss is hard or you have to solve a complex puzzle and 2.The challenge where it involves the game's flaws and unfortunately, GnG falls under the second choice.
The biggest flaw in this game is its awful controls. Sure the control scheme was simple- use the A button to jump and the B button to shoot your weapon (no biggie there, the NES controller only had 2 buttons), but Arthur's jump is very stiff and gives you no control over it whatsoever. Arthur also has a slow ducking mechanic which almost makes it useless to even use. The excuse "its was an early NES game" doesn't work either- just look at the superior Super Mario Bros released a year earlier.
Secondly, the 2 hit-then-die system made no sense. Why? Arthur has a suit of armor which should be durable enough to take a few hits. Why does one simple "touch" from an enemy knock it off? Plus, who wears underwear under armor? Put some clothes on man!
The last thing I need to discuss the powerups in this game-the fireball, the dagger, the axe (thank goodness its rare), and the holy shield. I will go on a fair note and say that the dagger and the shield aren't that bad and that they are pretty useful to use. However, the fireball was a useless weapon in this game because it rarely hits your opponent and if it does
hit him, you have to wait for the explosion to end. The axe (which should be named one of the worst video game power-ups) flies off upward without ever even touching your enemy, unless he happens to be close to you. But it gets even worse from here!
Usually in a good game like Castlevania, the power-ups tend to stay around for some time before disappearing. In GnG however, the bad power-ups seems to never go away. Never!! This is really annoying when one of the power-ups just happens to fall above a ladder that you have to climb down.
This could've been a much better game if it had better power-ups and a much more forgiving control scheme. What you get though is a decent platformer with a few humorous quirks such as the ending cutscene.
In conclusion though,Ghosts 'N Goblins is a decent game that ironically lead to a series of much better sequels like Ghouls 'N Ghosts and Demon's Crest. Even though it's hard, it is still.....playable........and can satisfy anyone's need for a good challenge. If you get the chance try it out!-Keyman4