Ghosts n' Goblins
Box Shot
Ghosts n' Goblins
Platform: NES
Publisher: Capcom
Designer: Capcom
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Published Date 1987
Reviewed by: Rob Strangman

When most people think of classic game series, quite a few come to mind - Zelda, Metroid, Gradius, Castlevania, Mega Man, and Ninja Gaiden, for example. Another classic series that's held in high regards by gamers is Capcom's Ghosts 'N Goblins/Ghouls 'N Ghosts series. All three games in the series are well respected and thought of - in fact, the Genesis version of Ghouls 'N Ghosts was responsible for many Genesis systems being sold in that first crucial year (1989 - 1990). The Super NES version - Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts - was hailed as one of the best platform games of all time. The first chapter of the G 'N G series, Ghosts 'N Goblins, wan't quite the game that the other two were, although it is remembered fondly.

An NES conversion of the then-popular arcade game, Ghosts 'N Goblins was one of Capcom's first NES releases, and believe me - it shows. The graphics are very small and not very detailed - the music is high pitched and does get a little annoying as you play through the game (considering that they play the same theme song over and over.) Gameplay is where this one shines through, however. G 'N G stands up to a lot of the more recent games as far as the actual game is concerned. Sure, the two sequels play about the same and have extra things that you can do, but the original is still very playable after all these years. If you were to play either of the sequels and then go back to the original, it would be like moving from a modern car to one of the classics - you might miss a few of the newer things, but there's no denying that you're driving a quality piece of machinery.

Arthur the Knight is sitting with his love - Prin Prin, the Princess of Hus (don't ask me, I got these names from the Genesis and SNES games). Suddenly a large furry demon swoops down and carries Prin Prin away. Arthur, being the strong and "courageour" (one other gripe about the NES game - it had lousy spelling!) knight that he is, sets off to rescue her.

Over the course of the game, Arthur would tangle with some memorable enemies - zombies, dragons, ghosts, and the Wizard, who would turn Arthur into a frog. One other enemy proved to be so popular that he got his own game! This, of course, is none other than Firebrand, the Red Destroyer, who would go on to become the star of his own series - the Gargoyle's Quest series (the original is on Gameboy, the second on the NES, and the third (and best), Demon's Crest, is on the SNES). Firebrand proved to be VERY difficult to kill in G 'N G (and he continued this tradition in the later G 'N G games).

During the course of the game, Arthur finds several weapons. You can only carry one at a time, and only a couple were better than the Lance, which is the weapon that Arthur starts with. The Dagger would have to be the best weapon to find - you can shoot three at a time, and they're very fast (quite a difference compared to the dagger in Castlevania, which sucked). You must have a certain weapon to complete the game, though - the Cross. Without it, you can't enter the last boss' room.

Arthur can only be hit twice, then he dies. This brings us to the other factor that made G 'N G such an enduring classic - it's INCREDIBLY hard! The first time you get hit, you lose your armor. The second time you get hit, you're reduced to a pile of bones. Since there are enemies everywhere, it's very difficult to not get hit (especially those damned ravens!) While this might be enough for an average player to throw down the controller in frustration, it somehow keeps pulling you back with thoughts of "Okay, I saw what happened to me last time! Now, if I do it different this time. . ." G 'N G can be quite compelling that way. On top of that, when you reach the end of the game, you are informed that you need the Cross to go on, so you are sent back to the beginning of the game to find it! So you actually have to play through the game TWICE to beat it! There are unlimited continues, however, so at least you've got that on your side.

On a whole, Ghosts 'N Goblins is an excellent game. It may look and sound dated, but the game is a challenge, so you can't say you didn't get your money's worth. . .