Jeremy's Reviews Blog

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ultimate Ghosts n Goblins (second draft)

During the NES-SNES era of consoles, I was more into PC games. So I missed out on the original Ghosts N Goblins, or for that matter, most other 2D Platformers.

You play a knight named Arthur, who has to save a princess from some sort of evil guy. The story is meant to be somewhat cliched.

It's 2.5D, which is basically a cute way of saying it plays like a 2d game (that is, the screen scrolls from left to right with your guy at a constant distance from you), but features 3d graphics.


Simply put, like most 2D platformers, the idea is to go from one side of a large scrolling map to the other, while navigating various obstacles and defeating or avoiding enemies.

Arthur doesn't run very fast, and he jumps somewhat awkwardly. He's pretty good with weapons though. Just what weapons he uses depends on what you pick up, but most of them are thrown.

At start, he can just jump once, but early one he picks up a magical device which will let him double jump - that is, jump, and while still in the air, jump again. He mostly obeys the laws in physics in not being able to change direction or alter his course once he had jumped, so you better be sure where he's going is clear. Once nice thing is that he can grab hold of things and hang from them - cliffs, chests, etc. So you don't have to make a perfect jump.

One thing about this game which is a little different from most platformers, is that you do a lot of attacking a lot with weapons. Arthur can use quite a large number of weapons, mostly thrown ones - a variety of knightly weapons like lances and axes, to things like firebombs. One, the whip, seems to be a melee weapon - that is, part of it stays in his hand. Each weapon has it's different plus or minus or special features. My favorite is the homing lance, which seeks out an enemy, but isn't as powerful as the normal lance you can throw. The downside, is, you can often accidently acquire a weapon you don't want. I don't like the firebombs, because they are sort of a close range weapon (but cover an area), which makes it not so useful against flying enemies.

Like most proper Knights, Arthur wears armor. This means that he can generally take a varying amount of hits before dying. Just how much depends on the difficulty level. You can also pick up more armor along the way. Like weapons, there's a variety of different armors, each with different powers. Shields, too.

Speaking of difficulty, this is really not an easy game. Even on the lowest difficulty, it's hard - you just get a whole lot more lifes than on other settings, and are able to withstand more hits before dying. That said, it's not too frustrating. Mostly there are just a lot (and constant) amount of enemies on screen to deal with. Jumping can be a problem too, but actually jumping on things isn't that hard, thanks to the ability to cling to the side of a platform.

The stage variety is really nice. Not only in terms of the environment, but in terms of how gameplay works. You might be going through a forest, then you are riding platforms in some bizzare thing.


This game is gorgeous. Very colorful, with rich and vivid graphics. Lots of little details, too. One of the nice things about the PSP is how sharp the screen is, and this game really puts that to good use.

To put it mildly, the screen is always busy with a large amount of enemies and often, moving terrain. And parallax scrolling and an animated background. But despite all that, I haven't noticed any slowdown at all.

The music is pretty good as well.

Final Thoughts:

There are probably two schools of thought on updating old games. Should they stick as much as possible to the original gameplay, just updating graphics, or should they overhaul everything, including the gameplay (like say how Castlevania was turned from a 2D Platformer into an Action RPG)? Neither is really right or wrong.

If you like the old school gameplay, then you should love this game. The only real complaint I can see is the length. It's not a super-short game, but can probably be finished in about 6-7 hours. You can go back and get secret stuff, but that won't appeal to everyone.

Also would have been nice if they included the previous games in the series as well. Most of them will be included in the upcoming Capcom Classic Reloaded, and maybe a sneak peak at them or just an original would have been a nice touch.

Actually, all in all, I think mainstream gamers might not like this game. Most notably because of the difficulty. Even on "Novice", it's not an easy game. And you are thrown right into the action, no tutorial, no explanation on how to fight or use magic.