RetroMo: A Look Back At Super Ghouls n' Ghosts
Before we tackle Ultimate, we take a look back at this brutal handheld work of genius.
"Oh, I beat Ghosts n' Goblins in two hours." "Ghouls n' Ghosts? Man, that game was easy!" You people that spout these little tasks are LIARS. The reason I say this is because with every chapter that Capcom releases in the series, the challenge rises. The challenge level with the original Goblins was staggering enough as it is, but it got even further with Ghouls when you had to complete the same quest TWICE. This week's forthcoming Ultimate Ghosts n' Goblins release for the Sony PSP looks to be even harder than anything before it, but, before we tackle it later this week for a full review, we thought we'd take a look at a game that was just as staggeringly hard.
I'm talking about Super Ghouls n' Ghosts for the Game Boy Advance. Many considered to be just another port from the SNES title of the same name from years ago, but, man, are you wrong. It does contain the original game, but it has a little something extra to challenge all walks of gamers. Yes, even those who manage to whip through the likes of Ninja Gaiden Black in a matter of days.
The game, as we remember it on the SNES, is considered one of the best sequels released for the system, as it keeps true to the rhythm of the series while significantly bumping up the challenge level. The hero, Arthur, can no longer fire in all directions, but back to left and right fire- the way he did in the original Goblins. However, he's now got a double jump to his advantage, helping him reach great distances and upper platforms. There's also some new weapons introduced in the game, including power-up armor, a crossbow, and many more. But even with all this new stuff in your arsenal, you still have to contend with monsters aplenty, and completing a huge, epic quest TWICE in order to save your beloved.
Now, the Game Boy Advance version of the game is very faithful to the SNES one. The music is slightly different, and the slowdown issue hasn't been repaired, but the game is still a masterstroke in design, with old-school thrills carefully packed into a GBA cartridge. The gameplay is still great, the graphics look nice, and the Arrange Mode is...WHA?! An Arrange Mode?
That's right. One of the big things that made Super Ghouls n' Ghosts stand out from the other SNES ports on the system is its Arrange Mode. If you thought the main game of Super was tough, hoo boy. You haven't seen anything yet.
The Arrange Mode is made up of a series of stages remixed from the first three games. You'll have to start with familiar levels from Super before you find yourself revisiting levels from Ghosts n' Goblins and Ghouls n' Ghosts. If you end up keeping your magical armor by the end of the level, you can actually choose your route as you progress through the Mode. But good luck with THAT.
In this Mode, gamers have to contend with faster enemies, sharper aimers, and classic foes that refuse to lay down for anyone or anything. As a result, you have to work. HARD. You may even find yourself launching your Nintendo DS across the room or spitting the game out of your Game Boy Player while the system is still on in brutal disgust over your inability to beat a certain level. Yes, it's that hard. But with hard work comes the rewards, just like with Ninja Gaiden.
These new stages are actually pretty cool, retro-flavored but moderately designed to have the same look as Super Ghouls n' Ghosts. It was such a trip going through the Troubled Forest again, with tree ghouls throwing spears and the big stomping boss at the end, jumping around. Now, good luck getting to this stage.
I didn't regret playing Super Ghouls n' Ghosts for the Game Boy Advance. My main regret is that I wasn't better prepared for the mounting difficulty the game provides. It is hard as a sucker can be, but those who persevere will be treated to the best handheld Ghouls to date...until Ultimate arrives later this week, anyway. Something tells me that game's going to hand me my ass.