Ghosts 'n' Goblins logo

ELITE £19.99 * Joystick

After the success of US Gold's Ghouls 'N' Ghosts conversion, which received a Format Gold in these hallowed pages, it was inevitable that its predecessor would make its way to the 16-bit machines.

For the six people that have just landed from Mars and don't know anything about the game, the plot tells of brave Sir Arthur, valiant knight and bold warrior. While resting with his girlfriend after a particularly tough quest, an evil demon swooped down and swept away the fair maid to a dark and dangerous hiding place deep within a mountain.

Arthur quickly dons his magic armour and sets off to the rescue, passing through the various creature-infested sections of the demonic realm. He must fight off zombies in the graveyard, ghostly flying monks in the forest, tattooed ogres in the ghost town and bats in the caves.

Initially Arthur is armed with an endless supply of sawn-off lances to throw at foes, but occasionally a creature carries a pot containing treasure or new weapons, such as torches, axes or daggers. If one of the creatures manages to land a hit on poor Sir Arthur he will lose the protection of his magic armour - one more hit and the brave hero turns into a bag of bones for the vultures to pick at.


Given the time that Elite had to bring out this conversion, it's not surprising that the game is extremely close to the arcade original. In fact the only difference is that you aren't asked to put any money in! All the introduction and intermission scenes have been included, from the abduction of Sir Arthur's love to the map of the game before play.

One thing that was missing from previous conversions was the grave spirit that emerges to turn Arthur into a frog, but a few blasts into a gravestone on the Amiga version and hey presto! Out comes the spirit! A lot of care has been taken over both sound and graphics to recreate the feel of the coin-op, and it certainly shows. Both are superb.


Anyone who has played the arcade version to any extent will be able to quite easily get into the action, but this also means that they may complete it fairly quickly. However, even if you do get to the end, it's still great fun to pick up and have a bash at every now and then.


Despite its age, Ghosts 'N' Goblins is well presented, highly playable and an enjoyable romp. Techno-snobs shouldn't be put off simply because the follow-up is available, since the prequel has a feel and charm that Ghouls 'N' Ghosts somehow lacks. Veterans of the coin-op should get hold of a copy, even if it's just for nostalgia's sake, and newcomers to the tales of Arthur and his foes could do a lot worse than take a brief visit to this weird and wonderful world.

Ghosts 'n' Goblins logo

Es war einmal... ein kleiner Ritter namens Arthur, dessen Abenteuer die Automaten Freaks landauf, landab zu begeistern vermöchten. Einige Zeit spatter ergötzten sich die Jünger des C64 an seinen Erlebnissen. Doch dann fiel der tapfere Ritter in einen laaangen Schlaf, aus dem er erst viele Jahre später wieder erwachen sollte.

Als die Jungs von Capcom klein Arthur vor gut einen halben Jahr von Prinzessin Amiga wachtküssen ließen, schickten sie ihn probehalber zuerst einmal in die Nachfolgeabenteuer von "Ghouls 'n' Ghosts", ehe jetzt die Originalvorlage des ersten Teils umgesetzt wurde. Hier wie dort wurde die Angebetete unseres Helden von bösen Dämonen entführt, weshalb sich der wackere Ritter mal wieder in bester Hack & Slay Manier durch sechs Level voller Plattformen, mehr oder weniger gruseligen Monstern un riesigen Endviechern schlagen muß.

Nach der ersten Feindberührung ist die Rüstung futsch, der nächste Treffer kostet nicht die Unterhosen, sondern eines der anfänglich sechs Bildschirmleben. Unterwegs findet man Zusatzpunkte, Extraleben und vier neue Waffen wie Weihwasser oder Fackeln, die man gegen die ursprüngliche Standardausrüstung (Lanze) eintauschen kann. In jedem der ziemlich langen Level gibt es markante Stellen, von denen aus man nach einem Lebensverlust weitermachen darf. Dazwischen informiert eine Übersichtsgrafik über den bereits zurückgelegten Weg.

Der gravierendste Unterschied zwischen "Ghouls 'n' Ghosts" und dem verspäteten Vorläufer prangt schon auf der Packung: Aus unerfindlichen Gründen läuft Ghosts 'n' Goblins nämlich nur mit 1 MB. Unverständlich deshalb, weil die Grafik zwar hübsch bunt, dem anderen Arthur-Epos aber weder in puncto Qualität, noch vom Umfang her überlegen ist. Gleiches gilt für den Sound: eine stimmungsvolle Adaption des Original-Arcadesoundtracks aber sonst? Na gut, die Loadingscreen flackert fröhlich im Interlace-Modus, man darf jetzt in einem kurzen Intro der dämonischen Entführung persönlich beiwohnen, die Kollisionsabfrage wurde verbessert, und auch das Scrolling ruckelt nur noch sehr dezent.

Ansonsten hat sich aber kaum etwas geändert: Immer noch bleiben ca. 30% des Screens ungenützt, schon wieder sind die Sprites ein bißchen klein ausgefallen, und zudem scheint mir die Joystickabfrage nicht mehr ganz so exakt. Hinzu kommt, daß auch hier die Grafik ab dem zweiten Level deutlich abfällt. Was der Motivation schon einen Dämpfer verpaßt - besonders, da der beschwerliche Spaziergang dismal ganz ohne Continues bewältigt werden muß.

Kurzum: Wer (wie ich) den Automaten kenn- und liebengelernt hat, wird von der neuen Amigaversion ein bißchen enttäuscht sein, es fehlt einfach der Flair des wirklich Großen. Alle anderen find in Ghosts 'n' Goblins ein recht ordentliches Action-Spielchen, das durchaus seine Qualitäten hat. Wer allerdings schon "Ghouls 'n' Ghosts" daheim hat, kann sich sein Geld auch sparen - sooo groß ist der Unterschied nun wirklich nicht! (ml)

Ghosts 'n' Goblins logo

PRICE: £24.99

Way back in the mid Eighties, Elite were the software company to license coin-ops. It was a time which brought them a great deal of kudos and financial success. In the early days of eight bit conversions everyone had a copy of Commando and Ghouls 'n' Ghosts.

How times have changed. That was five years ago and Elite have long fallen away as a major force in the industry having shown little interest in licensing coin-ops since. It's only belatedly that the 16 bit conversions of their classics have begun to appear.

Worse still Elite have to follow the US Gold conversion of the arcade sequel Ghouls 'n' Ghosts which won them awards after its release last Christmas. Ghouls clearly sets the standard by which this should be measured, with its brilliant sound and all round playability. Sadly the challenge seems to have proven too strong for Elite.

Whilst Ghouls is a superior coin-op with updated graphics and ideas, US Gold were able to convert it without great difficulty. So why does Ghosts 'n' Goblins require a meg? Its sales and appeal are restricted, yet there is little in the game which an Amiga couldn't cope with.

This isn't to say that the conversion is poor, simply that in the face of current competition that it looks a bit lacklustre. It follows the arcade's graphics closely but the sound is dire - although it was hardly a sonic wall of noise when it first appeared.

That said, the challenge posed by the game is undiminished and obviously, most would say, that's the main thing. True, but you'd expect that. Recreating the arcade spirit and finish is what separates real quality releases.

So then, Ghosts 'n' Goblins can be recommended but with deep reservations about its overall style and more significantly about its relevance when set against the current wave of 16 bit original product. Arcade conversions are fine but they need freshness, unless they are cult classics (which it could be claimed with some justification this is) and extremely well produced. Ghosts is simply too little far too late.

Ghosts 'n' Goblins logo

Elite/Out Now/£19.99

Amiga review Paul: When is a sequel not a sequel? When it comes out before the original. The conversion of Capcom's original arcade Ghosts 'N' Goblins was out on the Speccy aeons ago but has only just made it onto the 16-bit; a good few months after its sequel Ghouls 'N' Ghosts. This is a bit of a pity 'cos 'Ghost now looks a bit old hat by comparison.

The scenario is the ol' rescue the princess routine. Between you and your lost love are a ghoulish collection of horrors, plus ladders, ditches and moving rocks. It's all very nicely animated with monsters coming out of the scenery and sprites moving as smoothly as a Gilette shave. The action is fast and furious with barely enough time to adjust your codpiece between battles. With only two lives to play with the game is also less than easy.

If I hadn't played Ghouls 'N' Ghosts I'd have been pretty impressed with this game. As it is, I kinda feel that I've seen it all before, which is unfair seeing as Ghosts 'N' Goblins came first (long before the chicken let alone the egg). New or not, it's still great fun.

Ghosts 'n' Goblins logo

Elite, Amiga £19.99

Arthur is a bold knight and chivalrous gentleman, so when his lady love is kidnapped by the Demon King he instantly springs into action. Grabbing a clutch of lances he begins his challenging quest through six levels. The first level is fairly conventional, horizontally scrolling with lots of baddies to shoot - including zombies rising from the ground. Some enemies carry sacks with weapons in them, ranging from the useless firebomb to the speedy dagger. More protection is provided by Art's armour, one hit strips him down to his undies but he can still carry on until the next hit.

Later levels include an ice palace, a burning bridge and plenty of moving platforms to jump on: making for one of the most imaginative coin-ops around, which Ghouls 'N' Ghosts so brilliantly followed up.

Scorelord It's almost four years since the classic C64 version won a Gold Medal, still utterly brilliant due to great gameplay and programming. The Amiga version looks good as well, with more colours than the ST version and more background detail than Ghouls 'N' Ghosts. But the programming is disappointing; the scrolling is somewhat jerky horizontally and awful diagonally on level two. When the action heats up, things slow down. Still, this doesn't seriously affect gameplay and it remains a very good game. Worth a look.
Phil King The bad news is the poor programming: especially the terrible memory efficiency resulting in a 1Mb only game. The collision detection also seems a bit dodgy, though thankfully it's on the generous side. And for some reason Arthur can't turn around in mid-jump as he could on both the coin-op and the C64 version - very odd. The good news is that the technical anomalies are made up for by the classic coin-op's supreme playability.