Ghosts ‘n Goblins was originally an arcade game released by Capcom in 1985. Later, it was ported to the NES, and gained an almost instant reputation as one of the hardest games to ever grace the system. I can’t say I disagree with that statement at all or that it is a good thing.
Story (3 out of 5)
I’m not really clear on this part myself. Apparently, Arthur and Princess Prin Prin were chilling in a cemetery (Arthur was only in his skivvies, by the way) when a big red demon king of sorts kidnaps her right in front of Arthur. He then gets dressed in his armor (I will presume he is a knight) and sets out to save her.
Yes, it is another NES platformer in which you must save a princess. I know it’s an old premise, but get over it. The fact that it starts while Arthur is almost naked is at least a little different than Super Mario Brothers. Can you imagine the scandal if Mario was in his tighty whities with Princess Peach when she was kidnapped?
Gameplay (3 out of 5)
The game is considered one of the hardest NES games for a reason. It is! It’s even harder than Solomon’s Key (which is hard enough, but in a good way). Ghosts ‘n Goblins is only hard in a really annoying way. I guess its infamy might be why Nintendo choose to release it on the Wii Virtual Console. But I’m not sure who really wants to spend the money on it when sitting in traffic can provide the same amount of frustration.
The Wiimote works fine with the controls. The directional pad controls movement while 1 and 2 jump and shoot swords at the endless hordes of re-spawning monsters. And yes, they really are endless. Arthur can only be hit twice before he dies (which is kind of funny to watch. He turns into a skeleton!). First, he looses his armor and runs around in his underwear (which is red, for some reason) and then he’ll just die. You can pick up more armor for him, if you’re lucky and therefore delay the inevitable. Once you die you loose a life and have to either restart the level or start from the mid-point.
The enemies are your standard fare of the undead: zombies, demons, angry birds and such. They usually die with one shot of Arthur’s supply of never ending swords, but then there is just another one to take its place. In order to pass a level you have to run and jump and shot a constant supply of swords to avoid being touched. Oh, but don’t jump on a monster, you’ll die then too. And each level is timed by two or three minutes. Once time runs out- I think you get the picture. Yeah, and there are six different levels of this!
Graphics and Sound (1 out of 5)
I’m usually pretty lenient about the graphics in an NES game, but there is no excuse for Ghosts ‘n Goblins level failure. Sure I can kind of tell what stuff is, but it is hardly better than an Atari game, like Pitfall. They look a little like grave stones, but the NES could do a lot more. It is a port, and maybe the original arcade version was just as bad, but the developers could have spent a little bit of time sprucing it up for the home audience.
The sound is worse than the graphics, if that is even possible. The music is okay, actually, but the sound effects are some of the most annoying in existence. The constant high pitched squeak every time Arthur throws his sword makes me eternally sorry for any parents of children with this game! Also, the music and sound effects just sort of blend together into noise with no rhythm or purpose.
Why Are They So Bad?
Fun (3 out of 5)
It depends on how much you like NES platformers and how much you like banging your head against a wall. It’s a pretty tough game, but if you want a challenge you will like it. It’s much harder than anything today, and it could be fun to have a modern gamer try their hand at it (and fail miserably, I might add).
Overall (3 out of 5)
Like most NES Wii Virtual Console games, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is only 500 Wii points. But those are five of your hard earned dollars. If you played it as a kid, it’s good for nostalgia’s sake. However, if you are new to it I would proceed with caution. It’s really really hard. Are you up for the challenge?