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randombullseye avatar 4:30 PM on 08.17.2008
Old School Games: Ghosts N Goblins

I'm sure everyone here is familiar with two of the most well known brutally difficult games ever: Super Ghouls & Ghosts and Ghouls & Ghosts, but did you ever play Ghosts N Goblins?



First off, the box art. Pretty much all of the stuff on here appears in the game. Just in 8-bit pixels art.



Ghosts N Goblins came to me after my experiences with Super Ghouls N Ghosts. I had already finished it even doing it a second time for the princesses stupid bracelet. I was well versed with it but had no idea that there was an nes game. This was around 1994 when a girl I knew spoke about it at school. I told her I could beat it, so the next day she said "This is too hard for me. So here you take it." Gave me the cartridge. Almost as if it was a challenge. I had done this already on the super nintendo, so why couldn't I do it on the nes?



The basic premise is exactly same as others in the series. You're the good knight Arthur out on a date with his princess when, surprise, she gets kidnapped by a certain demon. An excellent setup and it takes all of fifteen seconds with no dialog spoken. If only more games took that approach.



Controls are part of what makes the difficulty so brutal. You can't aim your weapon up or down, just left to right. Your little knight jumps awkwardly in a wide arc to further complicate things. One hilarious aspect of the series is essential to the gameplay. You've two hits on a non-existent life bar. First when hit, your armor flies off and you're down to your heart boxers. With the second hit you turn into bones and die. Something very funny about one of the most brutal games ever being beaten by a knight in his undies.



What really makes the game awesome is the sheer onslaught of monsters. I had a hard time getting a good screenshot without getting hit or killed. At any time there are at least four bad guys on screen and several of them are shooting SMALL projectiles at you. Factor this with the extraordinarily unfair platforming and you've the start of a classic series.



As far as looks and sound go, its very similar to the others in the series, just more bleeps and bloops on the nes. The original arcade version looks more like its super nintendo descendants and is more fun to play because of it. Just imagine the same game except for example, zombies look less like guys in long underwear and more like the undead. That version is even more brutal than the Nintendo version. I have seen it absolutely eat quarters. One guy I saw in a pizza place must have spent thirty dollars on the first couple levels. That poor fella kept dying in the same spots, but couldn't stop plunking quarters into the machine.



I was using standard nes paddles. No turbo controller or game genie. Just me and my love for difficult video games. Playing it with the advantage doesn't help much anyway. I did eventually beat it after a few weeks of memorization and leaving the game paused with the TV off. I then took the game back to my friend, but she said to keep it. She hated it. The difficulty mocked her. But if only she knew what actually awaited for those of us that beat the game. If you'll care to take a look now and see what my reward was.



Yes, that is actually the end of the game. And you have to beat it twice. In only one sitting. Oh well. I played it today and made to the middle of the second level before I quit. I really don't see how I beat it twice as a kid. Has anyone else felt like that? You could beat a game easily as a kid but now its like a million times worse than you remembered.



There are a couple other games in the series. A second arcade game called "Ghouls N Ghosts" which was later ported to the sega genesis under the same title. A super nintendo sequel called Super Ghouls N Ghosts. And more recently a playstation portable version called Ultimate Ghosts N Goblins. The gargoyles quest on gameboy and its nes sequel Gargoyles quest 2 follow the red demon who steals your characters princess at the start of the game. Another in that series was Demons Crest which I've already written about. The spiritual successor Maximo and its follow up Maximo Ghosts to Glory were released on Playsation 2. There are a ton of ports of the games on almost all the various systems. A gameboy one I recently picked up has an arrange mode that combines levels from Ghouls N Ghosts with Super Ghouls N Ghosts. All of them are well known for their difficulty, so expect to die often. Usually you have unlimited continues to help you out. A fun series of games. What do you guys think about original Ghosts N Goblins on nes? Or the full series?



As a bonus, here is a speed run of a guy beating the nes version of Ghosts N Goblins. I didn't watch all of it, but it says he beats it without dying once. Insane.



I'd like to thank everyone for reading my old school articles. I'd especially thank those of you who comment and or that messaged me about your thoughts on games. I'll keep writing about another game every day and will eventually write about your suggestions that some of you sent me. Thanks a lot guys. Keep it real.

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