Ghosts n Goblins: Resurrection
Genre: Platformer, Action
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 25/Feb/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
I have vague memories of playing the original Ghosts n Goblins on my NES back when I was but knee-high to a grasshopper. I hated it. It was impossibly difficult, and I was a kid. Years later, when NES Online came along, Ghosts n Goblins was the first game that I fired up. It brought back so many memories, but also so many new experiences. I got further than I ever did as a kid, and the game was insanely good fun.
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, after an eleven-year hiatus comes Ghosts n Goblins: Resurrection. A remake of the much-fabled game that frustrated so many people for so many years. Directed by Tokuro Kujiwara, the original game’s creator, anybody going into this title expecting a nice easy ride needs to take a step back and think about their decision to don Arthur’s suit of armour.
Was this game as difficult as we all hope? Keep reading this Rapid Review to find out.
Ready for the Challenge?
Anybody familiar with the series should know what to expect here. For those new to it, the basic plot is easily explained. You are Arthur Knight of the Realm, and your ladylove has been kidnapped by the demon king Astaroth.
The game offers three difficulty levels. For the purpose of the review, I chose standard, ignoring the easy option – which offers immortality. There is a Legendary difficulty that I may well attempt in the future.
The game throws you right into the middle of the battle and offers no warmup or gentle introduction. You choose your starting level on the overview map, something available for the first couple of levels, but soon merges into one single pathway to the demon king.
In homage to the opening phase of the first game, your journey starts with the undead rising from the ground. Armed with your trust lance and somewhat fragile suit of armour, you have one choice. Fight!
Familiar Yet New
I never played any of the other games in the series, however, there is something very familiar about the game. Yes, the opening is highly reminiscent of the original title, but beyond that, despite being a new game, there is something unavoidably comfortable about Ghosts n Goblins: Resurrection.
The simple two-button control system, jump and attack give the game an old-school simplicity which is offset by the fiendish level design. Many of the enemies are familiar, from the zombies to the flying knights and beyond. The goal of each level is simple. Get to the end in one piece and defeat the mini-boss that is waiting for you.
Defeating them gives you a key that unlocks your progress to the next level. As you would expect, the bosses all have a pattern. Although some may seem slightly more random, there is always a pattern to be found. Crack that, then it’s just a matter of perseverance. It’s worth of note that I found Astaroth to be the simplest boss out of them all. It actually felt a little deflating to beat him so swiftly.
Prepare to Die!
I said earlier that I would be interested in playing this game on legendary. Now, that is not because I felt that Standard mode was a breeze. It was not. There is a wonderful challenge offered by this game. You will take damage. You will die. Repeatedly. Maybe not quite at Celeste quantities, but you will die (I am watching this space for the first runners to come in with a deathless run). I loved the difficulty in this game. Because every time you died, it is because you did something wrong, and you always know what it was. Either you made a mistake or you misread the pattern. That breeds demanding replayability. You end up not only playing the game but yourself. That is the type of immersion all games should strive for.
Weapons Aplenty and All Have a Purpose
There are lots of different weapons to use in this game. In true style, you only ever have one equipped at a time, and it is your choice to change them when the option comes along. Breaking treasure chests will, more often than not, result in a change of weaponry. I was particularly fond of the green saw blades and the daggers. I was not fond of the double arrow bow or the boulder, although both did serve a purpose at certain times.
The game also offers built-in achievements or rather, challenges, and one of these includes using all the different weapons. This means there is at least one weapon I am yet to find. Again, added replayability for those that like to go achievement hunting.
Colourful Visuals Make for an Enjoyable Experience
When playing Ghosts n Goblins: Resurrection I was pulled into the world by the colourful and entertaining art style. Every sprite, from good to bad had a strangely cute aesthetic, and that only served to soften the frustration born through the game’s difficulty.
It took what could have been a torturous experience and turned it into something fun and compelling. You wanted to go one step further just because you were so engrossed in the gameplay. The different levels and the different screens within each were wildly different and imaginative. Save points were found in the form of flagsticks but these only counted during that playthrough. Exiting the game returns you to the beginning of that level, and again, this added to the punishing nature of the game. Faced with the choice of pushing on or redoing what you have just gone through, what you would choose?
Explore the Umbral Tree … or Not to be Honest!
As you play each level these little bee sprites will appear. These are small collectable creatures – Umbral bees – are collected and returned to the Umbral tree in return for special powerups.
In theory, this sounds like a good thing. However, I never actually used them once during my playthrough. Well, I should say, I never used them during battle. I tried on an empty screen before moving on but just to see what they were.
These powerups range from a giant frog that appears on the screen turning all enemies into frogs, to beams of lightning that help clear the screen. However, the game is a fast and furious affair and the only time these abilities could serve any purposes is when overwhelmed by enemies. Yet, to use it you must hold down the attack button, firing your attack in the process. A loading bar then appears and must load fully before your super ability can be used. During this time, you cannot move and must continue to hold down your attack button. There was never time for this to be done effectively. If you get hit during this time, you lose the load and have to start all over again. To me, these umbral bees are fun but serve absolutely no helpful purpose.
It should be said, I did not collect them all, so perhaps some of the items redeemable from the very top of the tree serve a better purpose. I just don’t have the interest in finding out.
Ghosts n Goblins: Resurrection is not as difficult as the original title (notwithstanding legendary difficulty) but it is a challenging title. It’s a very good game that pulls you in and will have you playing the night away before you realized it.
I think I completed the game in around about 4 hours, something like that. That said, as I mentioned at the start, you can choose your own path for the first few levels, so I do need to go and complete those ones too. Completing the game also unlocks shadow versions of the completed levels, which add an extra challenge for those looking for more.
As of the time of writing this review, there are no plans to bring out a physical version of this game. However, I would be very surprised if Limited Run or one other such company didn’t snap up the change to bring this game to collector’s shelves. It would be a must-have for me.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can buy your copy of Ghosts n Goblins: Resurrection from the Nintendo eShop today.