Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre ImageThe Ghosts ‘N Goblins series has an extremely plentiful heritage, beginning life as an arcade game nearly twenty-years ago before being ported to the NES among other  consoles in the 1980’s. It is considered by many to be one of the hardest games on the NES; totally unforgiving and a great challenge from start to finish. An arcade sequel followed, and a port of the sequel eventually arrived on both SNES and Mega-Drive – which is where most of the readers of this review are likely to remember the title, albeit under a different moniker. Instead of the US release title of Super Ghosts N’ Goblins, the UK release carried the title Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts, with no explanation as to the reasoning for such a change.

In Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins you play as Arthur, as in previous games, who has to Electronic Theatre Imagesave the Princess from the clutches of a new dark power which needs royal blood to come to this world and take over. Your quest is to save the Princess and defeat the Dark Lord in the process, going through several different areas on your way to the Gateway. During the play through of this game one overbearing factor dominates the game, how difficult it is, challenging even on the Novice Setting with players finding themselves losing many Lives in the process of completing even the first Level. On the Novice Setting of the game, the easiest of the three (Novice, Standard and Ultimate) you get a massive seven Lives; but even these are easily used Electronic Theatre Image up on the first Level. It is definitely a case of trial-and-error which most Levels, working out what Arthur can and cannot do along the way. Jumping, for example, is either straight up or across at a certain angle, a far-cry from what gamers are used to doing these days; that is being able to change the trajectory of the jump, thus controlling where you land. Armour can be upgraded allowing for additional hits, and some have special abilities allowing you to go faster or even fly. Shields are also upgradeable, again certain upgrades will allow special abilities. There are also Power-Ups which can make you faster or stronger depending on which colour it is – red or blue respectively. The Weapon System is a double-edged sword; you cannot choose your weapon. Instead players must pick-up a weapon on their way though the Level, players may find this infuriating as some weapons are better than others and you cannot store weapons as you can with your shields, so if you are stuck with one of the poorer weapons players have no choice but to carry on regardless – until you find a weapon you want to use. Among old favourites such as the Lance and the Dagger come new additions such as the Vine Whip which can be used to draw items closer, and the Swallow Blade which, although not the most powerful weapon, follows enemies, sometimes acting as a godsend, and at others a complete nightmare to use. The Levels are well designed with multiple secret areas containing bonuses and such like with a mainly linear path through the Level, although certain areas do get a little less linear with certain offshoots foxing you until you find that little area you didn’t even realise was there in the first place. Each level is split into sections each with a Boss at the end of each segment, and a Main Boss at each Demon Electronic Theatre Image Gate, which you must defeat to progress onto the next Level. These Bosses are quite difficult, yet getting to them seems to be more so. The Bosses have a good variation and the player never feels as if the battles are repeating a set formula. Regular enemies’ offer a good variation and one doesn’t feel cheated with the amount of enemies to defeat. These enemies range from zombies to magicians who can turn you into different forms including a grasshopper and a lady in a dress, which is occasionally helpful as her skirt billows out and lets the player jump further than regular Arthur. Certain enemies are Level specific and some reoccur throughout the game, with some being upgraded as the Levels progress. Visually the game is stunning, really showing off what the PSP is capable of. The vibrant colours used add to the visual feast for the eyes. Although the game plays in 2D, the backgrounds are created using 3D polygons, and the variation of environments is pleasing to the eye as the game takes you from cemetery to dark world via a swamp, ice world and volcanic lava bed. Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins is a game in which you will fall into two camps: those who love it and those who don’t. The difficulty may put some people off, with losing Lives and continuing becoming a regular occurrence. On the other hand, for many more experienced gamers this is a title they have been waiting for; a game which really tests you and gets back to the old style of challenging gameplay. Fans of the originals have a painstakingly faithful recreation using current technology for their old school thrills. Whichever camp you fall into you cannot deny that Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins is very well put together and indeed is one of the games every PSP owner should have in their collection. Electronic Theatre Image




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