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GENESIS Reviews: Ghouls n' Ghosts


For those reading one of my Genesis review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

I already reviewed a bunch of SNES games, so its natural that I am going to review the games of its prime competition. Does the SEGA Genesis stand a chance against the legendary SNES library?

My review series is based on the top 100 list of Retro Sanctuary

Originally, I post most of my stuff in a football forum"Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

32: Ghouls n' Ghosts:
Year: 1989.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom.

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Known as one of the most difficult games in their time, the Ghouls n' Ghosts series are unfortunately not remembered often for also being technically impressive as well.

With Ghouls n' Ghosts on the Genesis, we have a great looking action game, that is hard as nails but also fair in its difficulty.

"Good luck Arthur, I believe that you will defeat Loki"

While the setting (as the name implies) involves the world of undead Ghouls and Ghost, this doesn't mean that the game's style is of macabre horror. It uses undead and horror imagery in a humorous way, more like a Halloween festival than a satanic ritual.

It does that very well, resulting in a unique world where Arthur's worst enemies look like cartoonish version of the goons in Castlevania. Arthur himself doesn't look half serious, especially when is hit and walks around in his boxer shorts.

But he does look cool surrounded by lightning

True to series tradition, you are unable to see through the final ending until you beat the game twice. First time, you realize you should have come in with some magical weapon. Note that you actually need to find that weapon in a random chest and reach the final boss while using it.

As a reward, you get a hilariously translated ending. Of course, this is not a game you go through to see Arthur kiss his princess, but a game where the journey is its own reward.

Unique Style: +4

"Arthur, you've done well so far but go back to your village"

Ghouls n' Ghosts difficulty comes from two sources. First, is that at most, you are two hits from death. Second, is that everything in the level is out to get you, and they shoot projectiles as well.

Despite being in medieval setting and using sword and lances as weapons, this game is more a shooter than an actual action game. Arthus throws around whatever weapon he uses, making this more a run and gun game than a methodical brawler. And run you should.

Because you can never get red of enemies, as they come from all directions. In one level, you have to avoid some jumping turtle maniacs that come at you (and they can't be destroyed) while dealing with some of them in the ground spitting some green stuff.

To fend against your enemies, you cannot rely on your defenses. Your armor is cheaply made, and one shot can destroy it. Finding more Armor is not guaranteed. The best defense, is a barrage of flying lances and axes to carve a path forward.

You will be always staring at your execution

There are 6 different weapons you can use in addition to the magical weapon you need to finish the game. Generally, all weapons are useful in some instance, except the Sword with its close range capabilities only.

Once you get the golden armor though, not all weapons are equal, and the sword actually gets some use (but not by much). Each weapon has a magic power that you can infinitely use by charging the attack button, and that power is obviously better in some weapons and not others.

Anyway, with all these tools in place, Arthur actually has pretty even odds in his favor, that is if you actually pay attention to everything happening in screen and learn enemy attacks and movements. This is why the short length of the game is not that much of an issue, because through different difficulty levels, and actually trying to speed run or get a high score, Ghouls n' Ghosts is a game built for repetitive play.

Fast and Fun Gameplay: +4
Deep and Challenging: +4
Only Five Levels: -2

"Arthur has finally defeated Loki, warrior the strongest in the world"

It is a definite surprise that one of the earliest games on the Genesis is still one of its best-looking games. While the choice of an all black background might have been thematically appropriate, it is hard thinking it would add much visual variety to the game.

As such, Capcom focused a lot on the foreground, with both platforms and sprites receiving a lot of attention. This results in consistently good character sprites that animate really well. Starting obviously from Arthur, we notice how everything in his movement is fluid as well as stylish. The same can be said of both minor an major goons against him.

While some areas are not overly impressive, the majority of level design is visually great, and even attempts to achieve unique visual flair, as with the storm section in the first level.

It seemed like all 16 bit action games had an elevator level

Unfortunately, the soundtrack is clearly an early Genesis experiment. All the weaknesses of the Genesis sound chip are obvious here, as the melody is hidden because of the system's annoying screeches, and tracks lack the necessary depth to be memorable.

Its not that these are bad tracks, as some are remixed in Super Ghouls n' Goblins on the SNES to such great effect.

Even with an underwhelming soundtrack, Ghouls n' Ghost, without actually stretching the limits of the Genesis, manages through smart art direction to craft a memorable and unique presentation.

Great Graphics: +5
Underwhelming Soundtrack: -2

In Conclusion:

I like a decent challenge. Initially, with Ghouls n' Ghosts, we see that this might not be an entirely fair task. Arthur has many enemies, and his armor is made by an incompetent blacksmith. However, we soon realize that the game's mechanics are simple, and that we have every tool in our disposal to go the entire game without getting hit once.

We also see that its a lovely looking game, and that we might want to get hit just to laugh at Arthur trying to save everyone in his boxer shorts.

Final: 38/50


Hey, you won, now go do it again



1- The Lance is easily the best all around weapon.
2- To actually fight the final boss, you need to find the Magic Ray weapon in a box, AND NOT TRADE IT FOR ANY OTHER WEAPON LATER.
3- Only with that weapon can you fight the final boss.
4- Rapidly press the attack button to fire more projectiles.
5- Learn the distance of your jumps, because that helps you evade attack and not jumping into them.

Next Game:

That's it for Ghouls n' Ghosts, a difficult but fun game that I wouldn't mind playing all over again.

Next in the list is a game that was actually made by Capcom on the SNES, I am talking about Aladdin on the Genesis, which is #30 in Retro Sanctuary's list, and man say is the better Aladdin game in the 16 bit generation.

Stay Tuned

For Previous Genesis game Reviews:

The List

 For More Screenshots:

See Here

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About Lord Spencerone of us since 5:57 PM on 01.12.2014

Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Seeing as my top 10 games of all time would change depending on the day you ask me, I am just going to put in Random games I don't think are in anyone's top 10 list:

-Blood Will Tell
-Mega Man Legends 2
-Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
-Donkey Kong Country 2
-Suikoden 2

Oh, and here is a link to my blogs:
My Blogs