Ghosts and Goblins: Resurrection – Old School Rage
If you’ve been gaming for a long time… Capcom’s Ghosts ’n Goblins series is one that has most likely lefts its marks on you.
It certainly did with me having spent plenty of time with the humble Commodore 64 port during my formative years.
I don’t know about you, but seeing the series come back after a 15-year absence certainly brings those feelings of pain up from the deepest depths. But here we are with Ghosts ’n Goblins Resurrection and it’s time to dive in and find out how bad it’s going to hurt all these years later.
The base story is as it always was: the Knight Arthur is tasked with rescuing his beloved, taken by evil demons. What stands between them is fighting his way through 5 levels filled with demons, platforms, hazards and more.
If you’re familiar with the series, it’s no surprise to say that what story is there is as was with the previous games. Arthur, the Knight is tasked with rescuing his beloved who has been taken by demons. To rescue her, you’ll need to fight through 5 challenging stages.
The challenge? Well, it’s to be expected and honestly for most fans of the series, I think it’s something truly desired.
For those who are mere mortals like myself, however? Don’t run away quite yet, as Ghosts ’n Goblins Resurrection brings some concessions to allow you to get some enjoyment out of it.
It’s an idea I love in theory, as where the earlier instalments were tailored for arcades where the expectation was to kill an unwary player off in mere moments. For those playing at home? You expect a game to be less punishing and give you more of a chance to succeed.
Even for less experienced players.
Which Resurrection delivers on. Whether it’s the removal of lives, adding more checkpoints during each stage, or even letting Arthur’s armour take more hits before being destroyed… it does help in making the game approachable for less experienced players.
I certainly found that to be the case for conquering the main stages once I’d gotten into the game. Lowering the difficulty was enough to let me make my way through whilst still being challenged by the game. It certainly was no pushover, that’s for sure.
That completely changed once I reached the end of stage bosses. These sequences aren’t just challenging, they’re brutal. I found them to last as long as the stages themselves, and where the main stages offered plenty of checkpoints, here you’re not quite as lucky as you’re expected to do it all in one go.
Mess up and take too many hits? You’ll be right back where you started to try again.
The only way I survived the first one was by using another pair of features it brings to even the challenge – lowering the game’s difficulty level (which lasts until the stage is over), and slowing the gameplay speed down.
The latter certainly helped in being able to avoid some of the attacks, even if it helped drag out the encounters even more. But after spending an hour bashing my head against that first boss encounter any, and I mean any advantage I could take was welcomed with open arms.
That didn’t help with the encounter at the end of the second stage though. I loved the concept, in which Arthur needs to take down a giant dragon. It’s a battle that is dragged out even more and even slowed down, getting to the second phase without taking damage was too much for me.
I wish these fights were shorter as restarting so often wouldn’t have induced such pain, but alas it’s not the case. It’s also out of place for the series as the equivalent fights in prior games were nowhere near as lengthy.
For all the changes made to make Resurrection approachable by less experienced players, the boss battles really managed to undo a lot of the positive results.
This is certainly a shame, as the rest of the game has had so much love put into it.
The overall movement and controls felt right here – Arthur isn’t a nimble character, so expecting fluid and responsive movement would be very out of place. His gait has a solid pace to it, with his jumps echoing back to those earlier games with their fixed leaps and lack of control once airborne. Handily, his attack abilities aren’t just limited to horizontal attacks but also vertical ones.
The challenge in the main stages comes from the platforming, and there’s some solid level design at work here. What impressed me above all was how the stages aren’t static. You’ll find several sequences where the stage would break apart and shift, creating new routes and paths you’ll need to take to progress.
The sense of surprise it brings up makes persevering through the tougher segments somewhat worth it.
Ghosts’n Goblins Resurrection is a game that I’m genuinely torn on. On one hand, it sticks to its traditions and does so pretty well. It offers a tough challenge, particularly from the end of stage bosses is par for the course, and it contributes to being a worthy successor to them.
At least if you’re someone who lives and breathes the series and is more than up to the challenge.
But you’ll likely be in the minority here.
For the rest of us, those checkpoints, difficulty tweaks and speed options help, but they ultimately don’t go far enough, as proven with the boss battles. There could have been some great steps to equalising the game for us mere mortals, but the length and intensity of them will certainly turn many of us off.
I’ve got to hand it to Capcom for sticking to their guns with the game’s difficulty, but at the same time… it’s something that ultimately stunts the game, leaving it for the truly dedicated fans only.
Rob is that weird hybrid of a developer and a writer. Having been enjoying games since the days of loading 8-bit oddities from cassette tapes, nothing excites him more than finding games which draw him into the zone or offer something slightly unconventional.
When away from review or development duties… he’s making videos diving into examples of older and lesser-known titles… to avoid screaming “This belongs in a museum” into the void anywhere near as often.