Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts (GameBoy Advance) review
by Dain Q. Gore
Originally written September 22, 2002
My preorder of SGnG on GBA finally arrived. Some first thoughts:
Exquisitely redone intro/title screen. Attract mode is alright (from what I has seen).
The overall look is much improved due to the clarity of the GBA screen; and, in fact, due to the re-proportioned sprites, the gameplay seems more tight...in some instances the enhanced look of color, resolution and larger (proportioned) sprites fooled me into thinking some of the original level art had been redone. It kind of seems more zoomed in and wastes less space. In other words, the best looking version of SGnG, bar none.
Outlandishly hard of course, the gameplay proper actually seems a tad sped up in Arrange Mode. The "difficulty" depends on the path you choose (see below).
You can save a game, which neatly enough displays your status, score, armor, lives, and current weapon.
As most had previously surmised, you can "choose your destiny" from three paths starting with level 2. This is all based on what grade of armor you are wearing. Standard armor immediately throws you into the "Easy" path with no other choice, whereas the other armors allow choice between Easy (old levels), Medium (new levels), and Hard (enhanced old levels). As if the original levels were easy to begin with!
The new levels. I haven't had a chance to play but one level, which is a redux of the Town level in Ghouls 'N Ghosts. This does in fact include the orginal enemies (as far as I lasted, at least, up to the Sand Lions). The turtle-shells are (slightly?) redone and have a neat Mode-7 tilt as they bounce. Of course owning to the zoomed play space their bounding is not as high as in Ghouls 'N Ghosts.
In addition I played the Ghost Ship level in Arrange's Hard path, and it was indeed harder still, with extra chest mimics and pendulums placed just so that anyone that had mastered the SGnG levels of old would be in for a real treat.
Other than that I used my continues up to the Normal/"Easy" path's (older levels) conclusion just for good practise. Needless to say it was as challenging as ever, but I found a renewed interest in even the older levels due to the overall new "look" (re-proportioned sprites and enhanced resolution).
The sound is fine. It seems to have been resampled at a smaller khz than the SNES version, as it does seem a little tinny and has less voices, but still retains almost all of the mood of the original score. A worthy sacrifice in exchange for so many other outstanding features.
Slowdown, yes there is slowdown, but it is not nearly as bad nor as frequent (at least from my experience) as the SNES version. It is obvious when it occurs, but I can easily say that it is not as profound or as distracting to the gameplay as it was in the SNES version.
All I can say for now is that the review I read on Gamespot did not begin to do justice to how much better and complete this game feels and plays now, in my opinion.
There are enough new things in this game that I can unequivically recommend it, of course fans already own it. I really am amazed at how much can be done with a GBA, but this one takes the prize.