Review by KasketDarkfyre

"Pesky Red Devil! Die...DIE....ahem..."

Ghosts 'n Goblins is one of those games that NES gamers can never really forget, and something that Capcom created a legendary series with! With some pretty intense action and plenty of things to shoot at on the screen, while trying not to get your armor knocked off, you have the makings of a classic game that didn't get too much play at the arcades! Taking the role of Arthur, you're charged with saving the Princess from the clutches of Lucifer, head honcho of the Underworld who is basically looking to make your life a living Hell. Snatched from the graveyard where you and your sweetie were eating {I have no idea why a graveyard would be romantic}, you're forced to fight your way through a multi-tude of stages that get progressively harder as the game goes on in terms of enemies on the screen! You're given a simple javelin that you can upgrade into other weapons of destruction while trying not to get yourself killed in the process. Ghosts ‘n Goblins is an exercise in what happens when you create a classic game and present it near perfectly.

You spend most of your time traversing through several different areas that range from the graveyard, through an old ghost town, down into a cavern and then into the ivory tower where you face off against Lucifer. While it sounds easy enough to do, it really is difficult, considering that you can only take two hits before you're turned into a pile of bones, and have to start off at the last check point that you passed on your way through! These check points are not marked, although anyone familiar with the game will know just where the mid-way point is. The difficulty level here is way high, in terms of having to deal with constantly regenerating enemies, and if you run too far back, everything that you've killed thus far will return to give you a ton of trouble! Weapons can be upgraded by calling on magicians who will either turn you into a frog, into a zombie, or give you some armor if you can kill them before they hit you with the spell!

The challenge of the game really doesn’t stop there, but continues on into the different levels of difficulty that will challenge veteran gamers to the max. With the different stages that you come across, there are instances where the game needs timing and patience in order to complete and with the final boss, you’ll need to really be on your game in order to complete the first portion of the game. When I say first portion, I mean that you can go through the game a second time which only raises the already challenging game to a new level of insanity! The enemies are more abundant and harder to kill, while the boss characters move with such speed, that you’ll find difficulty getting past the first few stages. Where the items that you found before were, they are located in a different spot, so you’ll have to do a little exploration on why through in order to find what the game has to offer. Just be prepared for some insane difficulty and challenge! Add this onto the two-player option and you’ll find that competitive spirits will rise up and you can go head to head against your friend to see just who is the better scoring hero.

Pretty precise considering, you'll have to get the timing of the jumps down, or you'll end up in a watery grave in certain parts of the game! Back and forth and pretty much how you move, and you can climb up ladders and the like, although jumping will be your main focus. To stay alive, you'll have to know when to jump and when to duck, as the enemies come barreling at you in a wave that just doesn't seem to end! The control on the NES is a little stiff in some portions of the game, and you’ll have to find the timing and the patience to get through some of the more difficult platform situations that come up through the later stages. Just remember that one wrong move and you’ll end up as a pile of bones and have to start from the midway point of the stage if you’ve made it that far.

Clean and detailed, Ghosts 'n Goblins really shows off the impressive amount of work that went into this game. The bosses are pretty well detailed, and every enemy has a simple level of detail that is just enough to get by on! The stages themselves all reflect detail, and certain mood, from the graveyard with the castle in the distance, to the icy blue caverns that you have to travel through. The fact that the NES created a great looking game like this only restores faith in the fact that the programmers and NES game licensee’s that make these games can actually come up with a good home version of an already great game! The boss characters are huge, and the expansive stages that you travel through have plenty of detail that really make you feel the mood of the game and the story that it is supposed to represent.

Moody and fitting to the game, Ghosts 'n Goblins won't disappoint in the audio department. Each stage is pretty much a looping track, but the theme is catchy, and it doesn't drag on the ears like some action games of this era! The sound effects are a little off, but the unmistakable sound of the red devil swooping down to lay the smack down on your candy ass is a sound that isn't easily dismissed! The NES hardware really comes across giving you the pace and the mood that the game is trying to instill with each stage and every sound effect sounding great to the ears and keeping the adventure at full tilt.

A classic game with all the right elements, Ghosts 'n Goblins is a must play for serious classic gamers, or anyone for that reason! Image break up appears in small doses, and the game play tends to slow down a bit when there are numerous enemies on screen, so be prepared for that as well! Capcom really created a game that lives in both infamy and rather brings up the different aspects of any good action platforming games with the amount of action and the challenge that really needs to be played to be understood. NES owners will find this classic to really be something that will be played and appreciated for many years, even after playing the more modern versions of the game!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/26/01, Updated 11/26/01

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