i was in the mood for another platformer, so i turned to the classic ghosts ‘n goblins which i’d never played but which of course is a NES classic. the game is actually more of a run ‘n gun with light platforming elements, but either way the game is most known for its legendary difficulty. since i’ve been playing a lot of fluff lately, i thought i would give it a spin, esp. since the game includes unlimited continues and a level select cheat.
i proceeded through the first couple of stages without too much annoyance (checkpoints are fairly well placed) and enjoyed the game’s “theme and fun” as nintendo power used to call it. but then i got to the second half of the third level (known to some as “the ice cave” due to its blue color) and got supremely bored with the fact that beating that entire section requires complete memorization, way more than even the original ninja gaiden on NES, which i played through a couple years ago. the level’s source of annoyance is the non-stop assault of red arremers, and it’s a classic case of pointless memorization masquerading as “difficulty”, common to the NES era. nevertheless, i slogged my way through to the end of that level and sped my way through level 4. level 5 was fairly annoying as well, but level 6 was the one that really pushed my patience past the breaking point, even though i consider myself a fairly retro gamer in general. in that level you not only have to battle past all the previous bosses, but each boss is immune to a particular weapon, an annoyance that the arcade version lacked and that isn’t even mentioned anywhere in the instructions. to add insult to injury, you have to beat the game twice to get the final ending, and input a special code to view the credits.
all in all although i can grant certain allowances to NES games for their obnoxious levels of memorization masquerading as difficulty, in this case the annoyances just don’t outweigh the enjoyment of the game itself. although the presentation is quite good, the two-hit character death and the fairly ho-hum gameplay really don’t give me any motivation to recommend this or play through it again, although i’m hoping that the sequels prove to be more-worthwhile experiences.
yawn. ghosts ‘n goblins ‘n some boring links:
- PDF of manual at replacementdocs.com
- entry at wikipedia
- entry on the series at wikipedia
- entry at strategywiki.org
- maps at vgmuseum.com
- FAQ at gamefaqs