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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Capcom

Ups: Perfect port of NES Gn'G; revisit a foundational video game.

Downs:  Not a port of arcade version; beat it twice?!

System Reqs:
Game Boy Color (also compatible with standard Game Boy).

sshot1-01.jpg (6190 bytes)A few months ago, there was some rumor of a PSX version of a Ghosts n’ Goblins package that included the arcade version, the NES version, and (the all-time greatest) Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts. Whether the thing came out and I just missed it or it disappeared to the bottom of Capcom’s development roster to make way for more Resident Evil type games I can’t say for sure. What I can say is that everyone’s favorite bearded knight is playing now on your local Gameboy Color—not a perfect concession to the full anthology, but a concession nonetheless.

Ghosts n’ Goblins has a special place in the hearts of old school gamers everywhere—it’s got everything, side-scrolling monsterscapes, powerups, impossible boss creatures, a mind-numbingly repetitive soundtrack, an opening scene that takes longer than your first life…everything. And of course, because it is one of the hardest games ever created (along the R-Type and Rygar arcade lines) it has this certain snobbish "ubergamer" cast to it. In the days of yore, if you could beat GNG on less than a dollar, you were king: king, baby.

sshot2-01.jpg (3580 bytes)Well, Gameboy Color has brought this foundational game to pocket land, with a few tweaks that (despite any protests by the purists out there) makes it an even better game. For one thing, there are passwords that allow you to continue, meaning that you no longer have to leave your system on for days at a time when things like eating or working interfere with your true calling—saving that ubiquitous princess/girlfriend from that equally ubiquitous demon-like supermonster.

The game is a direct port of the NES version, which is great since that version was incredibly good, but which is semi-disappointing in that it isn’t the arcade version, which was much better. Oh well, though. Like Gameboy’s R-Type conversion, GNG suffers a little from its backlit nature; things occasionally disappear into random shadows that make gameplay frustrating at times. But it really isn’t enough to destroy the experience, which one might just call, if not orgasmic, at least as satisfying as a good massage and a case of Corona.

sshot3-01.jpg (5380 bytes)Did I forget to mention the so-called story? A demon captures your girlfriend; you have a problem with this and decide to get her back. Along the way you encounter various, well, ghosts and goblins who feel that your woman is better off without you and try their damnedest to stop you from finding her (and their damnedest is not too shabby); you try your damnedest to stop them from stopping you until you finally give up in frustration and kick something. Then you try it again.

Oh yeah, you do have to play through this game twice to fully finish it. God I hate that. What kind of idiotic idea is that? Obviously, it cuts down on cart space, and on development time, but really… If GNG is where that trend started (now popularized in such standard bearers as the RE series, Dino Crisis, and just about everything else in the world) then I would like to make the following curse public: "Damn you, Ghosts and Goblins, and damn your entire family!" But, that bit of hostility aside, this game is a landmark superstar in the history of games, and a fun, challenging, nostalgia-ridden experience. If you have a love for the classics, don’t pass this one up.

--Brandon Hall