[Review] Ghosts and Goblins

REVIEW # 00000000 01001110


My heart says…

Ghost and Goblins is more than a game, it’s a real challenge. And it’s one of those titles that, just hearing the name, you feel simultaneously depressed for the toughness and excited for the glory you will achieve if you manage to beat it. At least for me it’s one of THE arcade games, the one that I usually associate with the coin-ops I’ve briefly played when I was a kid. “Have you played Ghosts and Goblins?” was more than a question, was a “password” to understand if you were tough enough to talk with someone about video games. For these reasons this game has a soft spor in my heart and I can’t hel but love it (and hate it).


Splash screen

The splash screen itself is rather straightforward and not particularly impressive but what I woul like tohighlight is the intro sequence that introduces us the plot of the game.

What the hell Arthur was doing half naked on the grass with a woman on her knees next to him? Probably the plot is a bit different from what we thought?


Sometimes is really hard to see what you have to do in Ghosts and Goblins. For example sometimes it’s difficult to see where a ladder is if it’s the same color of the background. Plus the game suffer from a well know problem in the NES: everything that stands on the edge of the screen appears even on the opposidte side. This means that if an enemy is leaving the screen for example on the rifgt, in the precise moment he crosses the border of the screen half of his body appears even on the left for a moment. And this smoetimes can be annoyng because every step you talke in the game there’s an enemy smarter and more powerful than you ready to kick your ass.

More than this the graphics are not so looked after, since the setting is quite bare sometimes. However I cannot say that visually is a bad game, but probably with a bit more care it could have been for sure better.


The team behind Ghosts and Goblins really didn’t make much of an effort when it was time to write down a plot. In the end it’s the old damsel in distress plot. An evil devil kidnaps out titular hero’s wife/girlfriend/sex buddy and he travels all over the world to find her. Stop.


At first Ghosts and Goblins looks like a common platformer. But as you make your first step in this world, you will regret the moment you fired up the cartridge. If you look at a single level you’ll notice that is very short but still you have quite some time to complete it. Even the number of enemies is, actually not that great (for example in one of the Super Mario Bros. games, in a single level you can see dozend os Goombas and Koopas) but the problem is that in GnG everithing is specifically designed to be hard as nails and to make you swear like a trooper. Every single enemy follows a path and has an attack that is deadly in 90% of cases and you need perfefct timing and good reflexes to keep yourself alive.

Does it look easy? It’s fucking not!

Plus, there’s no lifebar: first hit you’re naked, second hit you’re dead. And there’s a high possibility that you’ll get the first hit after 10 seconds: and now I dare you to complete the rest of the level with your life hanging by a thread!

You only have a fistful of weapons and the first one is, of course, the weakest of them all, so I repeat something I’ve heard in the past in an espisode af the AVGN

No matter what happens, GET THE KNIFE!

The knife is probably the best weapon in the game and you don’t want to lose it. Seriously don’t even try to get another weapon, keep your knife as it were the thing you care for the most in your life. Drop it only at the end when you see the shield. This is the only weapon that can kill the last bosses. Seriously, any other weapon is absolutely ineffective.

Among all the enemies the hardest to defeat are the devils: they chase you with an unpredictable pattern and it’s very difficult to avoid them and to dodge their shots. They’re so hard that in comparison the end bosses are as easy as the final boss in Gradius.

The game is merciless and the desingers probably hated all the people that went to the arcades back then because GnG is almost impossible. I managed to beat it only via the NES Mini otherwise I would still be at first stage.

Not only the game is ruthless and unforgiving but it doens’t even rewards you! After you beat it once (so probably after playing it 5 years) you don’t get any congratulation screen, oh no, you are told that that was only an illusion devised by satan himself and that you have to play again from the beginning! Was it hard to create a game with 14 stages instead of completing twice 7 stages? The message as you complete the first hals of the game is worse than an ice bucket challenge and you feel very depressed to start it all over again, but then, after other 5 years when you finally complete the game what is your reward?


Congraturation. This story is happy end. Thank you.

Being the wise and courageour knight that you are you feel strongth welling. In your body. Return to starting point. Challenge again!

Are you kidding me? A message in the worst engRish ever heard? even worse that all your base are belong to us???


Yes, you’ve seen right. 4/10. Ghost and Goblins is already damn complicate by itself, there’s no need to fuck up also the controls! I’ve tried both on my original NES with two different controllers (and I assure you they’re both 100% working) and on the NES Mini ans the response is the same. First of all there are moments that requires perfect timing and pizel perfect jump in which ACCIDENTALLY the combination d-Pad + Jump simply doesn’t work. I think I’ve spent three hours in the fucking stage where you have to jump onto moving platoforms because when I had to jump out of the platform and land on the hill I coulnd’t make a long jump but only an high jump, ending hopelessly in the water.

Second: it looks like the D-Pad has its ownintelligence and most of times instead of running left or right, Arthur simply ducks. And the problem with ducking is that if you duck and then you push left or right you cannot lift up! you have first to press up and then you can run. Unbelievable. Same thing to go off the stairs: you arrive at the bottom of the staircase and it’s hard as fuck to go left or right and in the meantime there are already 3 enemies around you.

This is really annoying because it adds insult to injury. You’r hyper-concentrated trying to dodge the enemies and you and all your effortsare shattered by dell controls. Rage level over 9000!!!


The game tune will be engraved in your mind for a long time. Probably because it’s good, but most likely because you’ll play the same stage for so long that you’ll end up knowing the music better than your national anthem.


The only 10/10 of the game is, of course, the longevity. Ghost and Goblins is know as one of the toughest game to beat on the NES, even if it has unlimited continues. It’s often unfair and frustratig and this only serves to increase its longevity. The fact that, once you beat it you have to beat it again is discouraging and the only idea to start it all over again makes most of players say just “go to fuck”. I don’t know how many people have actually beaten it twice.

Final Score 74/100

Yes, I know, it’s a poor grade for a game of such an importance. But the dull controls and some questionable visual choices lower the final grade. And of this I’m sorry, because in the end this is a game I like even if it’s terribly hard. But I have to be frank with you. It’s an excellent game but with a few adjustments could have been a surely better game.

Year: 1986

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Genre: Platform

Game Mode: Single Player, Two Players

Original Platform: NES (ported from Arcade)

From same developer/publisher:

  • Track & Filed (1983)
  • 1942 (1984) and sequels
  • Castlevania (1986)
  • Metal Gear (1987) and sequels
  • Bionic Commando (1987)
  • Mega Man (1987) and sequels
  • Street Fighter (1987) and sequels
  • DuckTales (1989)
  • Final Fight (1989)
  • Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (1990)
  • Little Nemo: The Dream Master (1990)
  • Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers (1990)
  • The Little Mermaid (1991)
  • TaleSpin (1991)
  • Darkwing Duck (1992)
  • Cadillac and Dinosaurs (1993)
  • International Superstar Soccer (1995)
  • Resident Evil (1996) and sequels
  • Silent Hill (1999) and sequels

Inspired to:

If you liked it you can also try:

  • smash your thumb with an hammer

Other chapters of the saga:

  • Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (1988)
  • Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (1991)
  • Makaimura for WonderSwan (1999)
  • Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins (2006)
  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Gold Knights I (2009)
  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Gold Knights II (2010)

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. I don’t know how anyone can beat this game without save states. The last level in particular is completely fucking ridiculous. I think that anyone that can do it without cheating is probably secretly a robot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      You’re probably right…all those fricking devils are a nightmare!


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