Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins Review

It’s been 14 years since we last saw Arthur. After Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Capcom’s once great series surprisingly vanished. Gamers have wondered what happened to their favorite ghost smiting knight, but luckily they have to wonder no longer. Ultimate Ghosts n’ Goblins is the third title in the classic series, and the first since the SNES. While the game is a rehash of the series, many of the aspects of the game herald back to Capcom’s earlier days. But will it be enough to introduce an old-and long dead-franchise to a new generation of gamers? Or will this title appeal only to the retro crowd?

The game starts off with a nice animated movie which establishes the plot and motivation for your character, in addition to letting the PSP show off a little of the colorful graphics in UGnG. I have to admit, I am a pushover for the "save-the-world-from-the-Evil-One-and-while-you,re-at-it-save-the-princess-too" scenarios. The opening scenes go by quickly; the musical score, action, and nice setup of the storyline give the game a nice touch.

You’ll find yourself once again taking control of Arthur. Of course, since he’s the good guy, he gets all rights and privileges associated with being a good guy, such as having the ability to pick up weapons, power-ups, health packs, and an assortment of items, which enables him to fight and battle the huge assortment of monsters he faces on each of the six levels. The preferred method of fighting is by throwing your weapon at the enemy. At any given stage during the game, you come upon a variety of utensils which can be used for destruction. There are fireballs, short swords, long jousting lances, whips, crossbows, fire bottles, boomerang scythes, and some variations of these weapons. In addition, you,ll be picking up articles to add to your inventory menu such as magic spells, warp staffs, armor, bonus points, and special gold rings.

UGnG-like the previous games in the series-is a side scroller with fast paced action. The goal is to reach the end of each level while fighting and surviving an endless onslaught of monsters. This aspect of the game is straightforward but entertaining, due to the variety of baddies that try to snuff out your life. You,ll encounter fire-breathing snakes, ghosts and goblins (of course!), rock creatures, bloody flying eyeballs, gruesome purple brains, flying bats, spiders, and a host of other enemies. The control system of the game incorporates the use of the left d-pad/left joystick, and the right controller buttons. Square activates the firing/throwing of the weapon, circle releases special magic, "X" allows you to jump, and triangle opens the sub menu. Game control is about par for the course, and no one should have any difficulty with the control scheme, a problem present in past games.

Gameplay starts out like any other platformer, but soon starts to evolve into an obstacle course where split second timing is a must for survival. Added to this, you have to keep a constant vigil in defending yourself from the hoards of attackers coming at you, behind you, above you, and in front of you. Let,s put it this way: your thumbs will be getting quite an aerobic workout when you play this game.

The beginning stages of the game were a little frustrating. Take your eyes off of the game screen or focus too much on one aspect of the action, and you can kiss your armor goodbye-literally. This part, to those unacquainted with the game, will make you laugh. Arthur,s armor can only take so much damage, and when things get to critical mass, his armor explodes and poor Arthur is left standing in his skivvies. Humorous, yes. But you won,t laugh for long as this condition leaves Arthur totally defenseless. Small fireball attacks or strikes from weak enemies-which would normally bounce off-now take on a very deadly meaning. One touch, and you’re done.

Although the beginning levels are hard going, this is a condition of a mindset rather than a weakness of the game design. This title requires lots of dedication and practice. Each segment and level of the game brings on new challenges such as learning the way obstacles and moving platforms work, and how to time jumps. Some levels seem to be impossible to finish when first played, but after some serious practice, the levels can be circumvented successfully. As stated previously, on your mission to conquer the foes you,ll be adding a good deal of magic, shields, and items to your inventory. These items can be equipped and used in your fights. This inventory system helps to give the game an added dimension to gameplay, making the game more than a common hack ‘n slasher.

If Arthur dies during battle, he respawns at the location of death, or from the very beginning of the level. This is dependent on what difficulty level you select for the game. But this brings up another point: repetition. It will be rare to run the gauntlet with just one run through. Each segment of the game will demand that you repeat it several times in order to complete it. If you see this as a challenge to your gaming skills, this facet of the game will not deter your enjoyment. However, if you are a gamer that expects to just breeze through without the required training, this aspect of the title will be annoying, to say the least.

The graphics in UGnG are colorful and a little old school looking, but not in a bad way. I enjoyed all the various monsters and their powers, as well. Seeing a rock monster explode really is a unique experience, as he is blown to bits with a healthy spurt of innards splattering in all directions. The animation and special effects are smooth and entertaining, and add a lot of ambiance to the title. In addition, the musical score is a nice selection of the familiar game themes done in full orchestral arrangements, albeit a little too narrow in variety and scope.

As far as replay value, the game comes in three difficulties, Novice, Standard, and Ultimate. It is a good idea to enter this game on the Novice mode, as this will give you the maximum advantage in surviving to the end of the game. However, since gameplay is relatively short, going through the game on a more difficult level may be fun for some.

Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins takes an old school approach to making a side scrolling platform game, but improves upon the concept by making gameplay extremely challenging. To be successful at UGnG, a gamer must be totally dependent on critically timed moves, jumps and actions. There is a certain amount of repetition in the game, and this may frustrate some. But overall, UGnG proves to be a solid title for hardcore platformer fans and the young (or young at heart), and is a title gamers can enjoy, whether or not they were a fan of the older titles.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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