Review: Ghouls 'n Ghosts (MD)

Arthur must go forth to save his beloved Princess and destroy the root of all evil!

When you look at this game today, it's hard to believe that it was one of the very first Megadrive releases. Sega did an amazing job of reprogramming the Capcom arcade original for their 16-bit console - the port isn't quite arcade perfect but you have to look closely to spot the (minor) differences. Graphically it's brilliant, with nice bright colours and some lovely bold sprites. The only seriously negative point is the sprite flicker, which gets quite bad on some of the larger bosses, but this was a common problem in many early Megadrive games so it's forgiveable.

The music is simple, but effective - the main theme is a real classic and will stick in your head for weeks. Sounds effects are also nicely handled.

Set over a series of horizontally (and sometimes vertically) scrolling levels, G'n'G puts you in the armour of Arthur - a bold knight trying to rescue his accident-prone better half. Thankfully there's a wide range of weapons available to assist Art in his quest - lances, knives and throwing stars, to name just three. You can also pick up a suit of gold armour which boosts the attack power of Arthur's projectiles and allows him to release a 'super move' by charging up his power meter. Contact with a baddie results in our plucky hero losing his armour, continuing the fight in nothing but his underpants!

Conclusion

The game certainly packs a stern challenge - once you've completed it you have to go through the levels all over again - a fact that some people may find annoying, but others will love. The G'n'G series is infamous for its difficulty and this conversion is 100% faithful in that respect!

Only bettered by the excellent Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts on the SNES, the game remains one of the best MD platformers and is worth checking out even if you've already downloaded the aforementioned Nintendo classic.

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