We analyze, or rather we survive on Switch the return of Sir Arthur, an Old School work as superb as it is overwhelming.
“Don’t you know that recklessness is not bravery?”, Don Quixote
We could spend the next 2-3 paragraphs reeling off a classic as important as the mythical and iconic – never has a knight in very horterisimo gallumbos been so fierce – Ghost ‘n Goblins, one of those works of art that Capcom gave birth to as churros in its time golden and creature of Tokuro Fujiwara, name linked to that golden Capcom -read here the curriculum of master Fujiwara …
But we will not do it, we will only say that although full of virtues and pioneering, that first adventure first arcade and then consoles in several generations of Sir Arthur in search of his beloved Prin-Prin (the name is wonderful) has gone down in history just like others like the NES Battletoads for one element: Its insane difficulty … One touch and we lost our armor, two and we lost our lives, and to restart the level or continue from the checkpoint if we had arrived – the eastern torture of passing and reviewing the game for the real final battle we leave it for another day.
An unexpected return
Like other Capcom IPs – has anyone said Dino Crisis remake? – languishing, Ghosts’ n Goblins was not expected again, since Sir Arthur’s last adventure was in a distant 2006 for a distant PSP, 15 years ago. But it seems that Capcom is recovering that ability to surprise, and that is what it did when announcing Ghosts’ n Goblins Resurrection – an unsubtle title – exclusive to Switch.
But stop filling in, editor, and answer the question: Is Resurrection a worthy heir to the saga? It’s hard? Well, in a time when retro difficulties have almost become a genre -hei, Souls-, this installment may be the most difficult of the entire saga perfectly. Because it’s been a long time since Cuphead that you haven’t faced such a difficulty.
The Ultimate Ghost ‘n Goblins
What is Resurrection? Well, it is not exactly a new canonical installment, but rather a remake / reboot that uses the same story from the original arcade -the kidnapping of Prin-Prin at the beginning in the middle of the country scene by whom fans of the saga already know-, to immerse ourselves in some familiar scenes taken from Ghosts’ n Goblins and also from Ghouls’ n Ghosts and Super Ghouls’ n Gouls, arcade and the Super Nintendo installment respectively. It is a mixture, a ‘cocktail’ of all the elements and levels of the games to make up the definitive Ghost ‘n Goblins, and therefore it is a mixture of nostalgia and novelty, known areas and enemies and surprises.
Its structure is that of a 2D arcade platform Run ‘n Gun in which we must overcome 5 levels, with their enemies, challenges and Final Bosses until we reach – no, Capcom, we are not going to say -‘ the final challenge ‘ . And immediately we see the eyebrow of someone thinking “only 5 levels? Pffff that gives me 2 hours of Twitch at most ”. And 5 or 10 hours too, it depends on your ability, the chosen difficulty and the frustration … Fujiwara’s magic, which is still in top shape and wanting to put it on ******, unfolds right at the beginning of the Campaign, when we see that the first level is actually two, because we can choose between two variants: the initial level of the arcade, and the initial level of Ghouls ‘n Ghosts mixed with that of Super Ghouls’ n Ghosts.
From here, the madness begins: those initial notes that every fan knows, and the enemies that we know will appear begin to appear. The visuals, the backgrounds… It’s all there, but redone, remixed, and suddenly the enemies of the first level of the Ghouls ’n Ghosts arcade mix with the Super Ghouls’ n Ghosts scenery and its variations of the terrain in real time. And so with the rest of the levels, although letting us choose is not always done, so there are not 10 levels, but 7. A shame, because they could have used more levels of the games that make up the saga. But of course, Fujiwara-san has an ace up his sleeve: Darkness.
Lights and darkness
Do you remember that the original Ghost ’n Goblins had to be played TWICE to reach the true ending? Guess what to do in Resurrection … In case you need more challenges, when you give the game the first lap, the ‘Dark’ versions of all levels are unlocked, in which the enemies and dangers are rearranged, repositioned as if a new game chess is involved. And all this with twice the difficulty than in the first round to reach that ‘Secret End’.
And to animate that second round even more, they are literally darker versions of those levels that you have already traveled, covered with a veil of darkness, new enemies and elements to complicate everything more – for example, a dodgy platform area that now also has a veil of mist to limit vision. Of course, if you opt for the simplest level of difficulty, you will miss this content, since the game itself limits you by understanding that you do not want a greater challenge.
HERE YOU COME TO DIE
The good thing about Ghost & Goblins is that it has several difficulty options at the beginning and during the game, but it does not matter because basically you are going to die over and over again. Capcom’s joke is to offer us as soon as we start the game if we want to choose the Hardest level instead of Hard, Normal or Easy. If you are experts in Run ‘n Gun, you can choose this difficulty called’ Legend ‘-you will pass it **** anyway-, but if not, opt for another of the minor ones, although honestly the grace of this game is the same as the original or others such as Cuphead or the Souls series: breaking your horns and hands until you pass the level, so we do not recommend getting off ‘Caballero’ (Difficult)
Once in full play, each level is divided into areas, and within these there are checkpoints in the form of banners that we are unlocking. When you die, because it will be a constant, the game gives you a choice:
- Restart from the beginning of the area
- Restart from the beginning of the level
- Restart from one of the checkpoints
- Restart from the beginning of the area or a checkpoint by lowering the difficulty level
This is Ghosts’ n Goblins, it was a school for many games and players, so like recent experiences like Wallachia it is a constant challenge to your reflexes. You cannot stay standing in an area looking to clear the way and advance, because the enemies have respawn -and they can appear right under your feet-; You can’t try a ‘speed run’ and pass your enemies either, because you need a few moments to see where they appear, when they appear.
Capcom’s friends will have had a good laugh thinking “you’ll see when they pass by here”, because what seems like a clear path on a screen full of enemies, can suddenly sink at your feet; or having to open a path by throwing a stone column; or see how the undead emerge from the walls; Or suddenly a wizard comes out of nowhere or a ball-spitting plant, and you already have a blast of projectiles at you to worry about in addition to enemies on foot.
Is the game unfair? It is a huge and wonderful piece of ca ****, because when you make yourself the pattern of an enemy, suddenly another comes to you with some movements and a different way of facing / approaching it, and then another one, and suddenly you have to worry also of coffins – stocks that are in the ground, and platforms that move. But it is never, never unfair, rather all the elements are placed with watchmaker’s precision so that it costs work, but is passable, to force you to decide quickly, to react.
Depending on the difficulty chosen, your Sir Arthur will take more or less hits before dying. And for those who overcome the situation, the lowest difficulty level -Page- allows you not to have to restart a level, no zone or checkpoint, but the game will respawn you right where you fall. The bad? That this takes away a lot of grace and difficulty from the game, in addition to blocking part of its content. There are still the enemies, the Final Bosses -it’s like a meeting of old friends every time we see a familiar one- and the difficult platform areas, but it makes it more of a walk than a challenge.
Spells, weapons and skill tree
One button to jump, one to shoot, one for magic … This is an arcade, the control is easy to learn, but Resurrection seeks to have a minimum complexity to master. As in the original, here it is not possible to shoot diagonally -except for the crossbow-, only in 4 directions, nor is there a double jump. Sir Arthur’s range of motion will seem ‘limited’ to some, but like Cuphead, here the implementation is extremely measured: the hit-boxes are calculated to the millimeter, and we can live, die or kill by a slim margin of a 1mm, being a joy for example jumping on an enemy and exploding it by shooting downwards.
The weapons you know are there, such as knives or spears to hit at medium – long distances, but Resurrection includes new ones, such as spiked balls ideal for armored enemies, or a mace that explodes everything at close range. The best thing is that the game will allow us to carry several at the same time and alternate between them in real time. Of the total of 8 different weapons, we can carry up to 3 at the same time, which adds a strategic touch to the gameplay.
And also the magic returns -which we can cast even without wearing armor-, such as the ability to create a clone of Sir Arthur to fight alongside him along with new ones -we are very fan of Medusa magic. Their use requires holding down a button to deploy them, and then there will be a time penalty until you can use them again.
But here is that nothing of what we have said is useful if you do not take account of the skill tree: Ghost ‘n Goblins comes with a’ skill tree ‘that will open up new skills for you – at first you only carry a weapon and no magic. The key is that each branch of the tree is worth a series of tokens called ‘Threshold Bees’, creatures like fireflies that suddenly appear in the middle of the levels. You must find them to unlock more skills, so exploration becomes an added element to the gameplay. And in fact, it is important, because although it may not seem like it, the game has quite a few secrets – there are even shortcuts between levels – and collectibles. If you try to hit the jackpot and get past the Umbras Bees without evolving into Sir Arthur, you’re going to cry blood the further you advance – if you advance at all.
What, really? Has even Ghost ‘n Goblins succumbed to the multi? Well yes and no: Resurrection has a new local cooperative mode for two players, but it is not exactly how you imagine. One player controls Sir Arthur, the other three spirits with offensive and defensive moves to help the character out. It is a fun detail, but as a cooperative it is not exploited and it also takes away from grace by making the gameplay much easier for player 1.
Animated Malleus Maleficarum
If the power of the RE Engine, the visually jaw-dropping graphics engine used in the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes, is applied to a 2D environment, what is the result? Well, Ghost ‘n Goblins Resurrection, a visually work of art that moves at 60 frames – a little less in Switch’s portable mode.
Each scene has a quantity of static and animated details to stop to contemplate them -but if you do it you DIE-, with constant effects, changes in real time of the color palette, unexpected weather effects, etc, and the best: See the original designs of the enemies on the screen, those who made up the arts you saw on the arcade panels or the instructions.
Although there is a ‘but’, rather a dividing element: Artistically the game is beautiful, but Capcom has decided to animate the enemies as if they were cut-out paper puppets, instead of going to a more realistic animation. Its animation is fluid, and we have loved it, but it is a point that will clearly divide opinions because other people will find it ‘‘ ugly ’or simple, a stud in the graphic section.
And on a musical level, remixes of original songs along with other new compositions make us smile, while their accelerated tempos help us to get into the situation. The variety is great, and always looking for that classic touch, more harpsichord and violins than rock guitars to get an idea.
Ghost ’n Goblins Resurrection is one of the biggest challenges to your reflexes and your ‘gamer’ stripes that you are going to encounter this year – and last year and the next at least. Frustrates? Bad thing. Reward? At the same level that frustrates. It is beautiful on a visual level and a return to a very basic type of game in the controls and very demanding in difficulty, although with several options for anyone to approach and have fun with it. It could have a little more of everything – more levels, more secret challenges – but as it is, it is already a gem for fans of the arcade, the classics and the challenges. Of course: let’s celebrate an ode for the Joy-cons who fall in the act of duty, because what button-pounding awaits you.
- It’s the ultimate Ghost ‘n Goblins
- His demand and the funny bad milk of Fujiwara and his team plagued everything with dangers, enemies and constant surprises. Kudos to the precision of the hit boxes and the implementation of the control.
- Visually beautiful without a doubt, seeing the designs of the saga come to life is great
- The upgrade tree, secrets, magic activation and Umbral Bees add an exploratory and strategic touch to the gameplay
- The Dark versions of the scenarios and their surprises and visual and playable readjustments … Increases replayability, although they are undoubtedly for pad champions
- The Magic Metronome, which can speed up the tempo of the game in case even your reflexes and fingers want more challenge.
- The Magic Metronome, which can slow down the tempo of the game and takes a lot of fun out of it.
- That they have not put the option to choose a level in all the worlds. 2-3 more would have been luxurious
- The local coop is more of a curiosity than a playable option, really
A game with a remarkable finish that we will enjoy and remember. A good buy, highly recommended for lovers of the genre. It is well cared for at all levels.