Why Do I Do This To Myself?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Getting All Nostalgic With Sonic

sonic 1I decided to get the speedy blue hedgehog out the other day. I’m not the best at playing it. I’m lucky if I get fifty rings when I get to the end of the level, half the time. You never know, I may be able to collect 100 rings and get an extra life. Yeah, and hell might freeze over.

I remember when Sonic first came out in 1991. Everyone either chose Sonic or Mario. I, myself, was still playing Mario on my NES. I loved that console. It wasn’t until a number of years later I actually played Sonic the Hedgehog for the first time. Now, when I feel nostalgic, out come Sonic. Out of all the games Sega created, I’d say Sonic the Hedgehog was one of the best ones they did. I know not everyone would agree. But it’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

The graphics for the 16-bit game where pretty out there. I believe the term I’m after is a ‘kaleidoscope of colours’. No matter which stage I’m on, there is always something flashing and an array of colour to behold. One of the items that every Sonic gamer recognises are the springs. Those springs either love me or hate me. Depending on what mood they’re in. Yes, I said springs have moods. You haven’t seen those springs viciously propel me into an enemy. Then, of course, there’s the 90’s music. It can be so cringe worthy. But it does make me smile when I hear it.

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Some of the stages can be super annoying. Especially some of the stages with Dr. Eggman. It’s all fine and dandy, stopping his plans for world domination. But, having to follow him through a maze of tunnels can be a pain, especially when I get myself lost in there. In the later games, Sonic had help with his fight against Dr. Eggman. Some of them included Miles “Tails” Power, Knuckles, Amy Rose and Metal Sonic. I was never too sure about the sidekicks. But I suppose every superhero needs one.

Even though the game play was good, I always found it difficult to keep up where I was in the stage,  he just moved so fast. This made finding the item boxes difficult at times. The ring power ups are always the ones I want to find, probably because they’re the easiest. The invincibility is fab. The shield, not so good. Finding a 1-up is like finding a nugget when panning for gold. And those power sneakers made sonic look like a blur on the screen.

I’ll admit, it’s taken me a while to really appreciate Sonic the Hedgehog in all its true glory. It will always be one of the greatest side-scrolling platform games Sega has created. *whispering* But I still prefer Mario, shhh.

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