23/03/2021

๐Ÿฐ⚔️๐Ÿ‘น Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection | Review | Nintendo Switch | 9/10 |"The Boxers are Back" ๐Ÿฐ⚔️๐Ÿ‘น

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There’s no beating around the bush here, Ghosts ‘n Goblins has a really rich history for both Capcom and myself. 

The Mega Drive version is one of the most played titles in my entire game collection and I have a lasting memory of being in Leeds for a Play Expo and staying up until 4am in my hotel room on the Friday determined, DETERMINED to finish the game (which I did, #justsayin’).

Any incarnation of G ‘n G is monumentally tough and whilst I don’t particularly enjoy games that brandish a high level of difficulty as the main focus, G ‘n G is so endearing with its music, goofy running animation and kecks-sporting hero, Arthur, that it’s hard to get angry at it – but you will. It also effectively features infinite lives and regular checkpoints, so whilst it may be a war of attrition, it’s a war that can be won.

For those unfamiliar with the series, it began in 1985 with Ghosts ‘n Goblins and each entry (spinoffs aside) deals with our jaunty knight, Arthur, on a quest to rescue Princess Prin-Prin from the demon king, Astaroth. 

A 2D side-scroller, you’ll make your way through various spooky stages, hurling lances, knives - and various other weapons that quite frankly should be avoided at all costs – as you leap past zombies, ghosts, screen-filling bosses and various environmental hazards.

Ghouls ‘n Ghosts Resurrection is the first new entry in well over a decade and I was really looking forward to the release as it’s a simple formula and was being developed by Capcom themselves as opposed to being dealt with by a third-party team, all was shaping up groovily!

The fundamentals are very much unchanged, you play as Arthur on a rescue mission and he still charges around in surprisingly delicate armour with a wonderfully over-gesticulated run. Good. However, much like Lizard Cube’s recent Streets of Rage 4, the focus is on a refinement of the formula and updating it with modern sensibilities as opposed to a massive overhaul. 

With four difficulty modes, challenges, secret areas, upgrade trees, the choice of two massively different routes and a 2-player mode, this was really ticking my boxes! The multiplayer is really interesting as it adds the second player as a ghost which can scroll through three separate incarnations, each with different attacks and rechargeable abilities, meaning that you have to work in tandem with Arthur to get through the stages by creating platforms, taking out enemies or using temporary shields. It makes the game more frantic but is a genuinely fun way to play and feels like a fully-fledged separate mode and not something tacked on, awesome.

The call-backs to classic G ‘n G tunes, re-imaginings of them as well as the new tracks are all absolutely on point and the new visual style, whilst now moving away from pixels to come across as a sort of smooth diorama, completely won me over - especially when those arms and legs start windmilling! The level design takes a lot of inspiration from the original games and those familiar with the series will definitely be seeing old faces and obstacles as well as some fresh twists.

The controls are also ultra-responsive - a must in this game – and so you can’t blame the controller for the deaths you will surely see…many, many times.

Ah yes, the difficulty. It’s still very much present, entrenched as it is in the very DNA of the series. You will be crushed, eaten, attacked, pit-stricken, burned and engulfed by waves over and over, this is a game that is a challenge on any difficulty setting and simply wouldn’t be G ‘n G without it. 

"Right, I’m off to swap this awful potion-bomb for some knives…"

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