Review by CyanShadow
"Running around in red undies can send shivers up your spine"
Ghosts 'n Goblins is a game that many consider to be a classic. Although I'd beg to differ, you have to admit that most NES owners have come across this game at one time or another. Maybe that's the reason why it's a classic. Anyway, I liked this game for a while, then it got too frustrating.
Ghosts 'n Goblins is your ordinary side-scroller. You run around different levels, jumping and throwing lances at all the little creatures that want to eat you. You have different weapons at your disposal, but you must kill zombies and other creatures in order to get them. Most of the weapons in this game are exactly the same. Perhaps the only unique weapon is the fireball, but I wouldn't recommend it. Throw too many fireballs with too many enemies on screen, and you get major slow down. The main reason why I don't play this game for too long is because of its high difficulty. This game was one of the hardest games to beat for the NES, and I've only beaten it twice. You only get two chances of being hit before you die, which is absolutely ridiculous. Some of the monsters you encounter can easily hit you more than twice. Since there are different levels, when you die (yes, you will die many times), you can start at the beginning of the level you died on or close to where you died. This does help, but the ludicrous difficulty will leave you pulling your hair out. Combined with the fact that there are several levels, all of them long, the difficulty level doesn't help to make the game enjoyable throughout its course. The game is fun for the first 30 minute you put into it, but after that, you'll want to play something else.
You play Arthur, a kindly knight who takes the love of his life out to a picnic (I'm assuming) on a grassy hill. You are quickly interrupted by an evil demon who kidnaps your girlfriend. Because you're a knight, you must rescue her and defend her honor. Almost an original story, but I've hear the abduct-girlfriend-so-get-revenge-and-rescue-her story way too many times (Double Dragon, anyone?). Yet, I think Ghosts 'n Goblins should get some credit for trying to jump start the horror genre in videogames. I still think the Castlevania series for the NES is far superior compared to this game, however.
The graphics are decent for an NES game. The enemies are colorful and distinct, and they are also well animated. The areas are nicely drawn, but staring at all those tombstones will eventually make you dizzy. And who could ever forget Arthur having to run around in his underwear after getting hit by a demon crow? It's probably the first time in videogame history that a character loses his clothes after getting hurt. Seeing this happen for the first time was a classic (could this be why the game is a classic?) moment, and it was hilarious. Seeing Arthur turn into a pile of bones after getting hit a second time was rather disgusting (it was disgusting to me. after all, I was only a child then). The graphics are okay, so it won't be too much on your eyes.
Music and Sound 6/10
Sound effects are simple, basic, and redundant. Typical for a side-scroller. Listening to the sound of enemies getting killed will eventually get dull and annoying. It's the same sound over and over again. Ah, but the fun doesn't stop there. The music is catchy during your first time through the game, but once you get stuck in a certain level because of the insanely high difficulty, the music will get on your nerves. It's enough to make you want to listen to nails scratching a chalk board. Just thinking about this make me uncomfortable.
This game doesn't have very much to make you want to do it all over again. If you ever finish the game (good luck with that), then there is nothing left that Ghosts 'n Goblins can offer you. The only reason you may play again is for the sake of nostalgia. If you haven't beaten the game yet, then that's one reason to come back to it. Beating Ghosts 'n Goblins is a daunting task, but accomplishing it does give you some bragging rights and a great deal of happiness.
Buy or Rent?
If you can find a place that still rents Nintendo games, then by all means rent this game. Borrow it from a friend if you have to. Make sure that you actually enjoy this game before you buy it.
Ghosts 'n Goblins is not exactly the magical classic most people hype it up to be. Yes, it has had moments in the sun, but I think the game doesn't have very much to offer to keep it a classic. More people will probably remember Metroid than Ghosts 'n Goblins. Anyway, the game is amusing during the first few minutes of play, and it's a good way to kill time if you've got nothing to do. If you do have plenty to do, I suggest you spend your time playing Castlevania. Ghosts 'n Goblins may be too difficult and frustrating for some people to handle.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 06/22/01, Updated 06/22/01
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