It’s time for another Retro Review! It’s a Capcom classic full of spooky goings on and awkward underpants-wearing moments, it’s Ghosts ’n Goblins.
For your lovely viewing, here’s my review in video format:
But, just in case you prefer to read stuff just to be difficult, then here you go!
I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t like this game. I know it’s one of the glorious standouts of the 8-bit era, but there are a few things about it that I’m just not a fan of. Sorry, internet.
Anyway, I’m not one to be a negative S.O.B, so let’s crack on with the positives. First up, Ghosts ’n Goblins looks bloody fantastic. For the late eighties, it’s vibrant, varied, vivacious, and many other words beginning with V. Ghosts ’n Goblins really has a classic horror feel, with monstrous enemies right out of a Hammer Horror classic. Then, of course, there is the music. Ghosts ’n Goblins has some of the best music of the system – it’s up there with Duck Tales in my humble opinion. The sound effects, too, are great, although personally I could do without the noise made whenever you throw a weapon.
So what’s wrong, then? Graphically it’s good, musically it’s excellent. What about the gameplay? Again, I can’t really fault it here. It’s an exciting game to play, with plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments. The action is fast, frenzied, fun and many other adjectives beginning with F. Unfortunately, one of those words that comes to mind is ‘frustrating’. Also, ‘fricking infuriating’.
Let’s face it. This game is hard. It’s pretty much the unelected leader of the committee of ridiculously hard NES titles. You’d have thought that someone, somewhere, was exaggerating about how gosh-darn difficult it is. That people had played it when they were a wee whippersnapper and had massively overstated how hard it is. Nope. It’s a total nightmare.
The enemies are cheap, you die after two hits, some of the weapons are absolutely useless, and to top it all off, the stages have a goddamn time-limit. When you play this game, you will die a lot. Get ready for controller-throwing frustration.
And you want to know the best part? After you’ve made it to the last level, fought your way through leaps of faith, overpowered bosses and awkward jumping mechanics, you’ll be treated to the news that it was all an illusion! Or something. I was too busy raging and frothing at the mouth to pay full attention. Ghosts ’n Goblins then sends you back to the start of the game. You’ll have to go all the way through again, and then kill the evil beastie once more, to get the true ending.
Is it worth it? Well, no. No it is not. Don’t bother, unless you want the honour of being one of those people who has completed the game. But you won’t get a medal or badge to wear, just the knowledge that you dedicated a large amount of time and effort beating a game that is now older than a fair few professional athletes. Ghosts ’n Goblins will always have the last laugh. And that’s the beauty of this nightmarish game.