US GOLD £24.95 * Joystick
In days of old when knights were bold and nasty demons ran off with pretty girlies, there lived a brave knight named Arthur. Three years after he succeeded in rescuing his sweetie, the beautiful princess Hus, the nasty creatures of the Netherworld have risen and made off with her a second time. Unsurprisingly, Arthur is more than a little miffed, so armed with a plentiful supply of throwing lances and a sturdy suit of armour, the knight sallies forth into the ghostly regions to save his love.
The actual gameplay of Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts is in the same format as its predecessor Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. Arthur, under your control, runs along leaping across platforms and blasting various spirits. You begin with an infinite supply of sawn-off lances to hurl at attacking nasties, but you can upgrade weapons along the way by picking up pots dropped by skeletons or by opening chests. Occasionally, a magician emerges from these chests and turns you into a bow-tie wearing duck, which is surprisingly useful for dodging the odd particularly annoying flying wotsit thingy.
If you open a chest to find a suit of armour, you will be blessed with a mega-weapon, such as flares (no, not flare armour trousers), lightning or a “wall of death”, depending on the weapon you currently have. You begin in the graveyard at the edge of the town, as in the first game, but take a different route through the underworld, passing guillotines, swamps, giant skeletons and deserted windmills to name but a few. At the end of each area is a large and fearful guardian creature, which requires a number of blasts before it dies. Once it has been despatched to its evil source it leaves a key for access to the next level of the underworld.
If you manage to fight your way through all the levels and reach the heart of the spirits’ domain then you can take the Princess back to safety… but for how long this time?
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
It is no good. There is no avoiding the phrase ‘arcade quality’. In fact, it is remarkable how similar the Amiga conversion’s graphics are to its arcade counterpart.
The sprites are wonderfully drawn and the animation is as slick as you could hope for, with not a flicker to be seen as they whiz about the atmospheric backgrounds. Every creature has a separate character and there are plenty of them too!
The sound is of an even higher standard than the graphics. The lack of effects is more than made up for by the stunning music. The ‘Power LED off’ trick has been used to get the best quality sound possible from the machine and has enabled sound wizard Tim Follin to produce the most stunning effects.
The tunes range from jolly cartoon ditties to hypnotic Tangerine Dream-style pieces. Let us hope to see (and hear) more from these guys soon.
Arcade conversions are often good fun for a few goes, but the appeal fades after you have spent hours playing and still get absolutely nowhere. Once you start playing Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts, however, it is hard to drag yourself away. Sure the going is hard, and it will take you a good while to get through, but instead of frustration at not getting off the level, determination sets in, pushing you to beat just one monster more.
Every level has a totally different atmosphere, thanks to the change in graphics and music in each, so that you just keep playing to see the next level and hear another tune. The going is extremely tough, so it is doubtful you will finish the game too soon, but just try to stop yourself going back to play until you succeed!
These days it is a good idea to reserve judgement on an arcade conversion until you have played it for yourself. Just going on a big name is not really enough. Well, I am happy to say that Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts is a first-rate conversion worthy of any arcade gamer’s attention. The look and sound could be straight from a coin-op machine: some of the most impressive seen on a licensed conversion for a long time.
The pleasure of Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts transcends the audiovisual delights on offer, though. The playability of the game will keep the most adept players waggling their joysticks for hours. It is still not that often you see licences of this quality on a home machine, so Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts is certain to please fans of the original; but whether you have played the coin-op or not, you should give it a try. You should not be disappointed.
Amiga Format, Issue 7, February 1990, p.p.32-33
t is getting on for five years since Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins first appeared on your old 8 bit machines, and even more since the arcade machine held sway in arcades from Blackpool to Benidorm, so it is a surprise to see it back again. A surprise, but not an unpleasant one.
Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts is the belated sequel from Capcom that appeared earlier this year to the kind of welcome you would expect for a long lost friend. It was a game that inspired countless clones, so it is somewhat ironic to find how close this is to its predecessor.
The first two sections of level one are simply updates on the graveyard/marsh theme that Goblins began with. Nevertheless it won’t deter hungry gamers from playing the horizontal fantasy, and rightly so – the game changes rapidly after that.
If you can remember the original plot, Arthur, the fearless knight, went off in search of his princess, and blow me if he has not gone and lost her! Cue frenetic cross screen fighting as he battles to get her back.
Do not think that this is purely a copy of the first game, because there are many updated features to be seen. Arthur still loses his armour and is reduced to his skiddies, but he can unlock chests to find more. He can also get himself transformed into a duck, which is a pain until you need to get into those little places. It is also possible to double up with a doppelganger and grab some super weapons to help you in your struggle. And you are definitely going to need them because this is one hell of a tough challenge – in fact too hard in some places.
Before you even get into this conversion though, you are going to notice the sound. The loading tune is one of the bst I have heard for a long time – Jethro Tull meets Happy Mondays at a warehouse party. Following that there is a different tune for each level and more for the high score table and continue option. Software Creations, who were responsible for Bionic Commando and before that Bubble Bobble, programmed the conversion, and they have done an excellent job. Graphically it is very impressive too, and it bares strong comparison to the coin-op.
It has been a good year for conversions. With 16-bit machines programmers are no longer having to force a quart into a pint pot, and that is proving to be to everyone’s benefit. Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts deserves to be up there at the end of they year.
CU Amiga, January 1990, p.p.30-31
US Gold, Amiga £19.99
How many times must brave Arthur rescue his fairytale princess? - after saving her in the original Ghosts 'N' Goblins and then last month in C64 Ghouls 'N' Ghosts he's got to do it all again in the Amiga version!
Yes, Princess Hus has yet again been abducted by a nasty demon. Once more Arthur dons his suit of armour and sets off to perform another mammoth rescue operation.
The first of five levels is set in a graveyard with scythe-wielding zombies, vultures, and guillotines to watch out for. On contact the nasties destroy Art's armour, leaving him in just his underwear and vulnerable to death if hit a second time. To defend his honour Art can lob lances, which can be swapped for axes, daggers, and fire-bombs (Robin's favourite!) - by collecting pots left behind dead (?!) ghouls.
If Art manages to get past the fire-spitting demon at the end of level one, he is trapnsported to earthquake city with its crumbling bridges, rock turtles, and bats. Level Three differs from the rest in that Art travels upwards on a rising platform and must be guided carefully through the ledges of a tower while avoiding hordes of airborne creatures.
Level Four is set amongst the skeletons of long-dead monsters with waving hands and a sea monster to defeat. The fifth and final level is even tougher: Art must get to the top of a large castle inhabited by all manner of demons, including a huge end-of-level insect, before taking on Lucifer himself. If the red devil is defeated, Art can at last have some peace - at least until Elite release the Amiga version of the prequel; Ghosts 'N' Goblins!
Zzap! Issue 58, February 1990, p.69