Capcom's notoriously difficult arcade classic Ghosts 'n Goblins now has a modern adaptation so put on your boxers and let's give it a go.
Just like many fans of classic games, I had a lot of fun playing Ghosts 'n Goblins in my life. Although its stiff controls and high degree of challenge aren't for everyone, I find that it still holds up as a must-play classic arcade game that's still enjoyable to play nowadays. Over the years since its initial release, there haven't been many attempts to bring the series back even though Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins for PSP did a decent job with its striking 3D graphics and tried-and-true gameplay. Now that Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection is here, how does it hold up? For starters, I can definitely say that it's challenging and its controls are very authentic as well; stiff jump mechanics, 90°-only projectiles, and all. This might be good news for long-time series veterans but is the package as a whole worthwhile?
What I think your enjoyment of Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection will boil down to is whether you enjoy repeating scenarios over and over again before being able to make progress. If yes then you can have an excellent time with this but if not, you'll likely find yourself getting incredibly impatient with the many unfair and surprise deaths that litter the stages within Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection's campaign. Although the original was surely a difficult game, you could argue that its difficulty was fair for the most part but in this game, you'll die from the floor unexpectedly retracting underneath your feet, platforms that move in unpredictable ways, enemies swooping in from behind the foreground, and a lot more frustrating ways that'll make you want to rip your hair out. Therefore, the challenge mostly relies on your ability to memorize such hazards before replaying segments which many gamers will likely find annoyingly tedious.
When it comes to graphics and sound, Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection looks decent and features a familiar yet updated soundtrack. I found the art style to be quite charming as if it was inspired by Terry Gilliam cartoons but I can definitely see more die-hard fans not enjoying this approach. However, one thing I think we can all agree on is that the animation is very clunky as if it's from an old-school browser game. I wish the characters and enemies moved with more fluidity and finesse because as it is, the sprites can come off as rather cheap-looking. Overall, there's not much to write home about on a presentational level yet there have been worse retro revivals.
Finally, allow me to discuss some odds and ends. There are 4 difficulty settings to choose from and I stupidly picked the hardest one which has way too many enemies and you can only get hit twice which resembles the classic game. To help with the difficulty, you can play cooperatively with a local friend where they control the Three Wise Guys who can assist you in various ways. You'll also unlock spells after finding certain collectibles which can turn the tides in your favour if you use them strategically. It may not be true to the original but these spells are a welcome and novel addition. Speaking of being true to the classic game, some stages simply don't feel like Ghosts 'n Goblins levels and I frequently found myself thinking that I was simply playing some generic 2D action game and not a remake of a familiar experience. Specifically, the original has a consistently dark and mysterious tone but that's regularly missing here.
Ghosts 'n Goblins is a classic that has stood the test of time. Unfortunately, the same thing can't be said about Resurrection as it takes a bit too many missteps in trying to bring the arcade classic into the modern age.
- + Gets the classic Ghosts 'n Goblins gameplay right even with its stiff controls
- + Decent music and charming art style
- + Spells add a fun layer of strategy
- - Difficulty relies more on memorization and repetition than anything else
- - Animations are kind of clunky
- - Some levels don't feel like Ghosts 'n Goblins