Top 100 SNES Review: #53 – Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (1991)

This Game Did Me Dirty.

One play through was already enough of a wasted life, none the less two. 

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Title ScreenSydlexia’s Ranking: #53/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

The en vogue thing to say is that Ghouls n’ Ghosts was the original Dark Souls: both are bone crushingly hard and guides are almost worthless. Your only option is to Git Gud.

And get good I did. I overcame frustration and not once did I throw the controller in disgust. No matter how many times screwed and scorned, I stayed steady and plugged away. Reaching the final boss was going to be the height of my retro gaming achievement. Defeating the reincarnation of an earlier boss, I thought I had done it.

Then, the princess says you need a bracelet, a bracelet that she has hidden somewhere in the world. With this, you are thrown back to stage one to repeat all your trials and tribulations but on an even harder threshold.

I have been broken.

Super Ghouls n' Ghosts story
Fourth of July party perhaps?

[STORY]

A knight runs into a castle as fireworks go off. You embrace a girl. A demon steals her. You end up in a graveyard.

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Map
A little ditty plays with every death as you view the map of things to come. 

[GAMEPLAY]

Seriously, this game does not care. There is no limit to how it will mess with you spanning the gamut from acts of god to magicians that turn you into a baby.

A BABY FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Baby
Let’s just say that this played out as expected: not well. 

Level One. 

Every time I reached a new apex of ability, I was thwarted by some random event or planned catastrophe. What makes this game so difficult is that the expected events, even when known, or almost impossible to deal with.

At one point, a big tsunami will wipe out the entire field of play including you unless you are on a sturdy rock. This happens a few times, making you lull to sleep, and then a dastardly shellfish comes surprisingly from the depths. If it hits you with its pearl, it’s instant death into the water. If you try and jump over it at the wrong time, you’ll run into it, and it’s instant death into the water. If you try and use particular weapons, you won’t hit it but it will hit you for an instant death into the water.

You replay the level up to this moment until you finally breakthrough. Then: a double tsunami that you didn’t expect. Death again.

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Tricks
That shellfish looks innocuous, but it represents untold minutes of your life wasted.

Third Level. 

Peeling the layers back on this one was gleefully masochistic. First, you have to deal with gremlin angel beasts that fly at you from a variety of angles while avoiding the flame throwing mouth of wolf beasts as you dodge lava flowing from stone fixtures in the floor and ceiling. I consistently would reach past this stage, but only with my b-day suit to spare.

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Impossible
B-day suit in the sauna. 

The next part is almost unforgivable: you have a sequence of jumps onto small stone pillars that leave very room for error. Jumping in Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts isn’t like other games. A single jump allows you to control the trajectory of your poorly clad knight, but a double jump locks you in. Once you hit B for a second time, your fate is sealed.

This means that each jump as to be executed with perfection BEFORE the jump even occurs. Taking my time to line up my spacing to ensure success, the stone columns began to quickly descend back into the lava pit taking me with it. I gave up the ghost for the umpteenth time.

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Ice
Sometimes quick thinking is rewarded like during this unexpected avalanche, but at the same time, this is exactly the kind of thing the game would trick you into doing and kill you for. 

Random.

Even if you are able to excel with the known, the game will eat you alive with the unknown. Enemies have mostly regular attack patterns with the one variant trick up their sleeve. The zombie that usually takes their time out of their coffin will be suspended in midair and come right at you. Or perhaps that angel demon fire gremlin that usually flies up and then right will perform a swoop attack right off the bat.

Then, there are the treasure chests. While sometimes containing a magician that will TURN YOU INTO A BABY, it often times has a weapon. The weapon you have fundamentally change the entire game. Each weapon has a certain amount of damage it performs as well as direction it can be thrown in. If you have the wrong weapon for the wrong situation, may the gods look upon you with favor.

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Engrish
English is my second language. 

[CONCLUSION]

Git Gud for one round at least.

Other People’s Takes:

  • Wizard Dojo: Though Arthur’s jumping is much stiffer than Mario’s, as he is unable to change direction while in air, leaving the platforming to be ridiculously precise.”
  • Every Game Ever:Are you one of the two people on Earth that found Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts too easy? So easy, in fact, that you finished it twice in a row just to get the proper ending?”
  • Blog For Non-Losers: You may stare at the TV for a moment, utterly stunned at what just transpired. Perhaps your mind can’t comprehend what just happened. You’re back at the first level again, and you have to start the entire game over again in order to get the true ending.”

Author: Casual But Smart

I review the top 100 books, movies, albums, and games of all time.

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