Review by action52
"After 200 hours I've finally beaten... NOOOOOOOOOO!!!"
Back in the old days, NES games were hard. Not just hard--old school NES games were like a big mean kid on the playground that made you eat dirt and say you like it. Except Ghosts 'N Goblins doesn't just make you eat dirt, it makes you eat broken glass. Then it rubs your face on the concrete, kicks you in the back of the head, pees on you, and laughs at your pain.
How did they test market this game? Maybe they gave it to a roomful of kids and kept upping the difficulty until it made them all cry. I would say this is easily the hardest Nintendo game ever made, and that's saying a lot. Challenge is usually a good thing, but taken to this extreme it's definitely not.
G & G is hard in a way that's not fun. Here's how a typical game goes: your guy starts walking in his suit of armor. Immediately he has 10 enemies coming from all different areas--left, right, even dropping from the sky sometimes. One of them hits him, and the armor instantly flies off leaving him in a loincloth. Then two second later he gets hit again and turns into a pile of bones.
That's another thing--it's bad enough that your character dies so easily. But does he have to instantly turn into a pile of bones like that? The game is frustrating enough, they don't have to rub it in like that.
This game is absolutely full of enemies that take cheap shots at you and take forever to kill. There's a flying demon/gargoyle (4 or 5 hits to kill) that hovers too high for you to hit him, then swoops down just low enough so you can't duck, then swoops up if you try to jump over him. You meet this gargoyle thing about a fourth of the way into level one, by the way. There's another guy that takes like 10 hits, and shoots real low to the ground so you can't duck--but if you stop shooting long enough to jump over it he starts running at you! Let's not even talk about the bosses for each level.
And when you finally do beat the game, they send you back to the beginning to get through again. Yes, that's right, after somehow making it through all 6 ludicrously hard levels, the game tells you to do it again if you want the real ending. Let me tell you, it took a lot of repetition and frustration to get through to that point, and when I saw the ''ending'' screen I literally took the game out of the Nintendo, walked outside, and threw it as hard as I could down the street. My mom, by the way, got really pissed when she saw me do that.
Believe it or not, the game still worked after that, even though it's a little chipped from where it hit the sidewalk. I did try to beat it again after that, but I never had the patience to make it through more than once. It wasn't until I got an emulator that I actually beat it--thank you sweet merciful Jesus for real time save states!
Okay, after what I've written so far you probably think I hate this game. And in a lot of ways I do, but actually my relationship with Ghosts 'N Goblins is kind of a love/hate thing. It's actually a well-designed game, in general--you have a good variety of different weapons, and there are lots of cool enemies. The graphics are good for a Nintendo game, and outstanding for a first-generation Nintendo game. The sound is also excellent--some of the enemies actually sound kind of spooky. The music is both catchy and ambient. The tunes stick in your head and help give the game a menacing atmosphere.
Even the gameplay is good. You have a good variety of available weapons, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Controls are good, and your character is very responsive. The enemies provide many different and unique challenges. If only they didn't take so many cheap shots...
Really, the insane difficulty is all that keeps the game from being a 9 or 10. But it really took a lot from my enjoyment. Playing this game is a pretty nostalgic experience for me--there are a lot of things I liked about it. At the same time, playing it brings back a lot of bad memories--I can still feel that angry, helpless feeling. It's almost like having a flashback.
I can't deny that Ghosts 'N Goblins is a good game. This game is worth playing, but I would really recommend using an emulator with real time saving capabilities. Even with that it ain't easy, but at least you won't be pounding your head against the wall after losing to the red winged demon on level 3 and having to start over for the 30th time.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 01/23/01, Updated 01/23/01
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