Ghosts ‘n Goblins Ressurection is Capcom’s attempt at bringing back a once-beloved franchise to the modern age. It is more of a re-imagining of the cult-classic game that makes sure to stick to the roots and doesn’t stray away from the original formula. As a result, we have a beautiful, almost picture-perfect iteration of the Ghost ‘n Goblin series that should prove to be a delight for both fans and newcomers to the series.
I will admit that I didn’t really fully experience the original Ghosts ‘n Goblins or its successors, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. I did try these games but the difficulty was far too punishing for me to even attempt to clear them. Coming to this modern re-imagining, I was expecting to face the same brutal difficulty but hoping that I will be able to push through it, and thanks to the multiple difficulty choices, it was possible to finally play through the game without being embarrassed about cheating at the game, or by lacking challenge.
If you are a newcomer, the best choice to start the game is either with the Squire difficulty or Knight. In the case of Squire, the player can take multiple hits from enemies and the overall number of enemies is also reduced so it is easier to progress through the different levels. In Knight, which is what I picked for my playthrough, I could take at least three hits while the enemy count was just enough to maintain a high challenge. Checkpoints are also an important part of the difficulty choice, with Knight offering multiple checkpoints throughout a level.
So why do these checkpoints matter so much? It is not easy to understand this if you haven’t played the game or the series before, because it is brutally difficult, to say the least. Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection is a run and gun platformer that can give Cuphead a run for its money. It might not be as artistically engaging or deep as Cuphead but there is plenty of challenge offered at every level with boss fights thrown at the end.
The story is pretty self-explanatory and a typical ‘damsel in distress’ narrative that sets our Knight Arthur on a quest to save the Princess of her Kingdom from the Demon Lord Astaroth. This takes Arthur through diverse locations ranging from a graveyard to the fiery depths of hell as he battles all kinds of bizarre demonic creatures. Arthur can find eight different types of weapons with the possibility of equipping at least two of them at a time, and he can also use magic to his advantage. This has to be unlocked through a skill tree that requires blue-colored shinning spirits which are scattered across every level, hidden or otherwise.
It can’t be stressed enough, you need to stay on your toes in Ghouls ‘n Goblins Resurrection and be prepared to die, again and again. The game is difficult even on the Knight difficulty which gives the player one extra hit point to save their skin, and multiple checkpoints so that they don’t have to retry through a complete level. In my journey playing as Arthur, I simply lost count of how many times I died due to a stupid mistake, or just because I had the wrong weapon equipped for a situation that would have been easier with another weapon. The issue that I found here is the randomization of these weapons that you usually pick along the way, but once you unlock the ability to equip two different weapons at a time, it is easier to deal with these situations.
The magic and skills upgrade system is not that complex but it does allow a degree of customization for Arthur. I do feel that it is not essential to complete the game but acts as a nice bonus to clear a swarm of enemies. Arthur can use magic to summon a bolt of lighting, turn enemies in frog or stone, or he can unlock skills like the ability to equip two weapons at once. Some of the magic has a higher tier of upgrade that improves their efficiency or damage. The cooldown timer that is tied to magic makes it harder to abuse the system thus the main focus is mostly on Arthur’s ability to throw weapons at enemies. He starts with his classic Lance but can get other weapons including a magic fireball or bow.
This is not a game where you just pick up and play through a level. It can take some time to go through the different levels and the map screen can sometimes offer two different routes to take for Arthur. Once you reach the end, don’t expect to see a normal ending because the only way to see the true ending is to play through the game again at a higher difficulty. This was true for the original Ghosts ‘n Goblins so it is nice to see Capcom maintain this requirement for the true ending of the game.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection is not an easy game, but it can be incredibly fun if you can spend the time to understand its simple but addictive gameplay loop. Enemies can be brutal or feel unfair at times, and the game never stops throwing all kinds of enemies at the player, but the trick to beating most levels is to maintain a cool head without panicking because this is a game that can truly test your wits. Platforming is fairly basic but with some tricky jumps mixed in with a swarm of enemies that can lead to frustration, but I feel that is part of the experience rather than a sign of bad game design.