Retro Game Nostalgia: Super Ghouls’n Ghosts Review

With its ridiculous difficulty, Super Ghouls'n Ghosts proves just how bad at video games I truly am.

Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls are easily some of the most difficult games out for the current generation of gaming. Even when you master the combat system and get a good start on your build, the game provides you with a challenge. However, replaying this game for a Super Ghouls’n Ghosts review makes those games look like a handheld walk through a park made of cotton candy.

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Before going into my review, I have to say that this game is possibly one of the most difficult challenges you will ever face in your life. Calculus looks like garbage compared to this game. Many ancient Babylonian scholars argued that it is easier to successfully raise a child than it is to beat Super Ghouls’n Ghosts. For that reason, I was unable to get very far. I wasn’t even able to clear the first stage this run through.

Sound

As soon as the music starts playing on the first stage, my heart starts pounding. It fits the game perfectly and does a great job of providing atmosphere. The sound effects, too, do a good job of making the game stand out. The sound of losing your armor makes me shed a tear every single time.

Graphics and Level Design

The character designs are great. The red-haired zombies still look quite frightening and Arthur looks dapper in all forms of his armor. Most striking, though, is the Arthur in his boxers. This comedic design choice really stands out when you’re trying your best to make it between platforms without getting hit by an enemy.

Since I couldn’t even beat the first level, I can hardly speak on the level design for Super Ghouls’n Ghosts. I remember the first two levels vividly from childhood, but even with that previous knowledge, I had the hardest time swimming through swarms of never ending zombies and jumping between land fragments in between tidal waves. Only thing I can say for sure on this part is: the game is designed to kill you.

Gameplay

Super Ghouls’n Ghosts is a hard game. I cannot reiterate that enough. Replaying it to write this review was a huge challenge. It gives you a variety of tools to overcome the various challenges, but some of them are much less effective than others.

The game suffers from enemy clutter so much, especially in the beginning, that you can experience graphical slowdown, which makes jumping to and from where you want to go quite difficult. Not only that, but the clutter can make it so that when you get a treasure chest that has a weapon you don’t want, you can’t avoid picking it up without running into an enemy and dying.

With that aside, the game has one amazing feature: the ability to switch directions on your second jump. This makes maneuvering passed enemies a bit easier, but there will still be times where the jump is overshot or undershot you and run into something or fall off a platform and die.

Verdict

The appeal of Super Ghouls’n Ghosts really comes down to what your idea of fun is. Do you like something that’s a little challenging, but manageable? Avoid this game like it’s got the plague and you owe it $20. Do you like to get unreasonably mad at video games? Then go out, get this game, and get something to repair your wall because in about three continues, your controller is going to be stuck making a hole in there somewhere.

There’s just something about Super Ghouls’n Ghosts. When the average person plays it, it’s a train wreck filled with enough rage to power a school bus to Mars. When it’s played by someone with skill, though, it is an art form. Unfortunately, the author of this review isn’t quite good enough to pull that sort of play off.

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For its fickle nature, I’ve decided to give Super Ghouls’n Ghosts one thumb up and a Nicolas Cage star rating.

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Author
Joseph Rowe
World traveling English teacher, writer, and aspiring front-end developer.