Halloween 2012 (Review): Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, Don’t Be So Evil. Don’t Be So MEAN.
Super Ghouls ‘ Ghosts is a game that is so hard it will make sitting on your balls feel like a Summer breeze. Seriously. I don’t know what Capcom’s problem is with this series but every single entry has been inappropriately difficult to a degree that as a kid it felt like borderline child abuse. This SNES entry is a particularly sore spot for me because the graphics and sound are so beautiful that I’m regularly lured in to give it another shot. Always with the thought that maybe, juuust maybe this will be the time I make it if not close to the end (LOL) at least to the midway mark. Of course, this has never happened. So why am I bothering to post about this game at all if it’s such a frustrating experience?
Because it’s Halloween, remember?
If you haven’t been to an arcade, pizza parlor, bowling alley or laundromat since the mid 80’s then you’d be forgiven for having never heard of these games before. In it, you control a little lance tossing Knight named Arthur placed with the task of rescuing some hottie royal broad from hordes of the undead and a uh…a demon or something. I can’t remember the exact details (check the booklet).
Cute right? Everything is great at the beginning: Walking around at first you’ll notice that the music is nice and spooky, the hand drawn sprites are beautifully detailed, and the environments populated by zombies, coffins, and all sorts of other cool enemies really do a great job of setting a creepy mood. It all feels pretty good.
For a brief moment that is.
The honeymoon comes screeching to a halt once you try and do something stupid. Y’know, like control your character? In a game filled with all kinds of wonderful horror cliches, hitting that
fucking jump button for the first and every time after is by far and away the most terrifying aspect of this thing. Y’see once you make your decision to leap from one platform to the next, that’s IT, you are totally committed. There are no fancy midair shifts in direction or anything like that. Now yes, I know that plenty of other old 2D platformers share that mechanic but in this game a little dexterity would really come in handy. Enemies are coming at you NONSTOP and the design of each stage constantly has you running across surfaces that aren’t flat but actually very hilly and uneven. Meaning that whether you find yourself under or in an elevated position of an enemy, you’re going to naturally have this impulse to jump to get out of the way only to be greeted by something else waiting to knock the armor right off of your pasty, white ass.
Oh and by the way you only get three “hits” before it’s lights out. There are some health powerups scattered about here and there sure, but by “scattered” what I really mean is “email me and let me know what it looks like if you ever find one.”
This being a sequel to an arcade title (and the even more impossible to complete NES port, if you can believe that) I guess it makes sense for a company to crank up the difficulty. After all, the primary function of those games is arguably to squeeze every last quarter out of a poor kid’s pocket before he turns to a life of crime and alcohol but COME ON. SNES games back in those days ran as high as 70 or 80 bucks so the least capcom could do was toss us a few codes or something, Is it too much to ask for an infinite lives or invincibility cheat to have as an option? Ok, actually…looking at gamefaqs now (I’m surprised these walkthroughs don’t end as suicide notes) it looks as though there are two cheats programmed in. One is a level select and the other is…a…wow…an “extra” challenge mode. Good God, Capcom y’know you guys sure do have some serious brass over the-
AHH, the fuck is that!?
Ok. Sorry. Anyway, in the end Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts is pretty much your typical side scrolling action fare boasting better than average visuals and “featuring” a potentially homicide inducing challenge level. At 800 points on the Virtual Console, I can really only recommend it as a masochistic curiosity (unless of course you happen to be on any behavior sustaining medication).
2 out of 5 Ghost Mushrooms.
Fun fact: I could watch the old commercial for this on a loop for days: