When I decided to write my first Retro Gaming Review I was incredibly excited. I wanted the first game I reviewed to be important to my identity as a gamer, but also one that my generation would remember fondly. For a reason beyond me, I settled for “Ghosts ‘n Goblins”. I don’t know what drove me to make said decision, but I’ve been slamming my head against my keyboard ever since.
First thing’s first, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is a side-scrolling adventure game released by Capcom in 1985 for arcades. Contrary to current popular belief, it became a hit and was ported to many gaming consoles, and eventually spawned a whole franchise. But why did it become so famous? If you ever played it you will most likely remember it for being one of the most frustration inducing games ever released. Many a magazine and website has named it as one of the hardest video games in the history of gaming. And with good reason.
I still remember the day I spent all my money and never even got past the first level. Hell, I don’t think I remember getting out of the cemetery. In Ghosts ‘n Goblins, you play as a knight called Arthur whom seems to be doing something shady with a girl in a cemetery, when a hairy bat appears and steals the girl away.
As far as classic side scrolling action goes, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is not a stranger to the mechanic. You have a variety of weapons to pick up, even if most of them suck—especially the torch. I’ve concluded that the torch is a joke the developers put in the game so they could sneak into arcades and see people curse at them. Enemies are fast, way faster than Arthur can ever be; and to top it all off, if a baddie hits you once, you lose your armor; if you get hit again, you are dead. Good luck trying to find replacement armor. They are as rare as a save point. Jumping is clunky, which usually means a lot of dying. Death is about the only sure thing you will get while playing Ghosts ‘n Goblins.
The game is not glitched or bad though. It was made infernally hard on purpose. In this day and age, difficulty is something incredibly hard to find. Gamers today are babied with infinite saves and infinite lives. It is refreshing to go back to the older generations of video games where a challenge always waited.
But don’t think I’m recommending this game. Ghosts ‘n Goblins is not for the faint of heart. Stay as far away from it as possible or you will get an aneurysm.