I knew, before I even put it on. Ghost and Goblin’s is one of the hardest games to play and no matter how many times I try, I can’t get past the first level. Guess what, this time was no different. But I am getting better. If it’s not the zombies and ogres, it’s the bats and the birds. Those birds! The amount of times I thought, ‘Great, I got past that, finally’. And what happens, a bird comes along. A bird! The first time I played this game was on my C64 and I think I was just too young to realise how frustrating the game really is. Or how weird it is.
Ghost and Goblin’s is a slide scrolling platform game, developed by Capcom. It was first released in arcades in 1985, before being ported to other platforms. The main plot of the game is to get the Knight, Sir Arthur, through a series of levels to rescue his kidnapped bride from Satan’s palace. The game is as basic as it is difficult. All I had to do is run, jump and climb my way through six levels. Simple, right? Not so fast. While I’m running, jumping and climbing, I’m also avoiding every enemy that tries to stop me reaching my bride. I’ve got zombies running at me, then rising out of the ground when I least expect it. There are birds flying at me when I get close enough (yes, I’m going on about birds again). The ones that are just sitting there like butter wouldn’t melt, I mean. Others just fly at me, sometimes two at a time. They’re half the reason I keep dying! There are ogres that take a number of hits before they die. The same goes for the bosses at the end of each level.
When it comes to playing this game, I find I’m more reliant on my reflexes. Mainly because the monsters can come at me so quickly, that I have to make a split second decision to duck, jump out of the way or shoot. I’ll admit, this doesn’t always go well. Especially since Arthur can only take two hits before he dies. The first hit takes off his armour, to reveal his heart covered underwear. The second hit will turn him into a pile of bones. Which will start the game back at the beginning or in the middle of the level. Depending on how far I’ve got in the game.
The weapons that Arthur uses can also determine how far I can get. Since some weapons are better than others. Arthur starts with a lance. This one is quite handy, especially with the distance it covers. I can kill bosses from further away. Other weapons that can be picked up are knives, axes and flaming torches. The knives are the same as the lances, they have a distance to them. Where as the axes and flaming torches are more up close and personal. Since Arthur can only fire left and right, it can be tricky with the enemies that fly over. So, I find the best strategy is to run, jump and dodge my way through.
Fact is, people either love the game or they hate it. Me personally, as frustrated as I get with it, I really do enjoy the game. Yes, I spend most of my time dying. And yes, I spend the rest of my time shouting at my TV because Arthur decided he didn’t want to jump at that particular moment. But the more I play, the better I get in each section. It’s a very slow progress, but every time I play, I get a better feel for the game and I get that little bit further. I really would recommend this game, as long as the constant dying, the hours it can take to complete just a section of the game and the constant trial and error aspect of it, doesn’t bother you. It really is worth it.