Review: Ghosts 'N Goblins

from Jeff Rovin's "How to Win at Nintendo" book

submitted by Yashiro Nanakase

Ghosts 'N Goblins

Type: Horror Search & Destroy.

Object: Your name is Arthur and you're a knight. Whilst you are picnicking with the princess, a demon swoops from the sky and spirits her away. Hurrying after them, you must pass through 7 gates (the 7 circles of Hell? -ed) and fight the Devil himself in order to save her.

Layout: The screen shows each of the 7 stages through which Arthur must pass: the Graveyard and Woods, the Ghost Town, the Underground route to the Castle, the Castle, the Underworld, and Lucifer's Chamber.

Scroll: Arthur moves from side to side or up and down, depending on the phase of gameplay (you mean like Life Force? -ed)

Hero's Powers: Arthur comes equipped with armor, a weapon (usually a javelin) 3 lives, and the ability to jump or crouch. (If you jump off a tombstone in the first level, you'll go farther) As he travels, Arthur can exchange his weapon for any other weapon he finds. (If you don't want to make the swap, simply jump over the weapon) The arms are Javelins, Swords (and I thought they were knives...-ed), Axes, Crosses (they halt any attack pronto), and Torches, which not only burn whatever they touch but also temporarily create a wall of fire. Many monsters also cart along jars which, if slain, they leave behind; in them may be Armor, a Helmet (aka Extend, which adds 1 life) or a dark Time Disc, which increases one's lifespan (heh, he's trying to create continuity...-ed) Finally, whenever Arthur slays a Gatekeeper, a Key falls from the sky. Retrieve it and it restores Armor which Arthur may have lost, and also allows him to proceed to the next level.

Hero's Weaknesses: Being touched by a foe or projectile will cost Arthur his Armor; being touched or hit a second time will cost a life. Falling from a cliff or ledge, just once, will kill the knight. He can also become a frog. An object Arthur must avoid is the light Time Disc, which decreases his lifespan.

About Your Enemies: There are a whole slew of enemies, most of which have pictures in the instruction book.

Menu: There are one- and two-player games (seperate games for alternate players) (Thanks, I couldn't figure that out myself. -ed)

Timer: The player has 2 minutes to get through the Graveyard, 2 to get through the woods, 2 to negotiate the first part of the Ghost Town, 3 to make it through the building of the Big Men, and so on. The more difficult the level of play, the more time you have. Points: Arthur earns points for killing monsters, from 100 for Ravens to 10,000 for the Devil. Points are also awarded for finding the Magician and also the Yashichi, a disk-like object worth a substantial 5,000 points.

Patterns: The landscape is always the same, though the monsters vary. For instance, Green Monsters, Ravens, and Flying Knights are always in the same place; Zombies and Forest Ghosts pop up in the same general area, but in different places. Weapons are found all over the place.

Par: This tends to be a relatively low-scoring game, especially if you speed ahead of the Zombies, Forest Ghosts, Petite Devils, etc. without killing them. A moderate killing spree (violence in video games, the early days...ed) will earn you 7,000 to 10,000 points per stage (that is, Graveyard, Woods, Blue Devil Ghost Town, Big Men Building, etc.)

NES Advantage: The turboing of your weapon is VERY useful.

Rating: An extremely difficult game, requiring unprecedented coordination, Ghosts & Goblins is NOT for beginners. At times--like the 900th time you try and get through the Big Men Building--it's as much fun as having your gums tattooed. But you can't say you don't get your money's worth...

Challenge: A+

Graphics: B+

Sound: B