Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins PSP Review

The Ghosts ‘n Goblins games will always have a place in the history of gaming. It may not be a game like Mario, Pac-Man or Sonic, it may not be a game that everyone has played but for those than have got their hands on one or more incarnations of the game over the years there is no doubt they remember it. Why? Well that’s simple, Ghosts ‘n Goblins one of the most difficult series of games ever. It was testing gamers’ patience long before the likes of Ninja Gaiden and Viewtiful Joe were even thought of. Oh, and there is that underwear thing…

It’s may be 15 years since Arthur last graced our gaming screens on the SNES but the story is still the same as it always has been with the heroic knight battling evil demons in an effort to rescue the princess at the end of his adventure. As Arthur progresses throughout the levels, things start to get more interesting. Not only do the levels get harder as you go along they also introduce new features. Arthur begins the adventure with his trademark lance but soon after he will be able to upgrade to a multitude of other weapons incusing the like of crossbows, bombs, knives, whips and others. There is also the option to use spells that clear a small section close to Arthur which is good if you feel an enemy got too close and you need to get rid of him quickly. Even though you are stocked up with loads of weapon to take the fight to the demon you still need to be quick and have lightening fast reflexes to get through the levels – did I mention that his game is really hard?

Another blast from the past is the inclusion of Upgrades. On your adventure you will find all sorts of items that make life easier (well a little bit easier) for Arthur. These include the likes of double jump boots, shields and upgrades in magic. Of course, series mainstays such as the inability to control Arthur once you have begun a jump are still here. A brand new feature for the series is the option to grab on to the side of ledges if you miscalculate your jump, this means you will only tear half of your hair out rather than making yourself bald in the process of playing the game.

For this edition of the game, Capcom have decided to drop the sprites that many gamers loved all those years ago and instead have gone the polygon route. Personally I think this was a big mistake as part of the charm of the original was the art style of the game and in the move to polygon this seems completely lost. The game now looks very blocky, all the characters on screen seem to lack a distinct personality and the backgrounds also look drab and disappointing. A quick look at the game’s boxart at the top of this page easily shows you how good the game would have looked if it used a sprite or cel-shaded approach. I am not usually the kind of person that goes around damning all things related to modern day gaming but in this game I will – “Damn modern day gaming, damn it to hell!

Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins is not for everyone and there is no way I could recommend it across the board to everyone that owns a PSP. Most gamers today want instant gratification and that is not a phrase that is anywhere near Ghosts ‘n Goblins vocabulary. If you are the kind of person that likes to play your PSP on the bus/train on the way to work then this game as not for you as it will get you so roiled up you may head butt your boss once you get to your destination. If you play games to relax after a bad day then this game is also not for you as it will honestly do its best to make your day about ten-times as bad as you ever thought possible.

Only play Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins if you are looking for a challenge. It’s harder than Halo 2 on legendary, it needs more effort than an endurance race in Gran Turismo and it make the “wind assisted” platform jumping in Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels actually seem like a whole lot of fun. There may be three difficulty options available when you start -Novice Mode, Standard Mode & Ultimate Mode – but they might as well be called Really Hard, Extremely Hard & Urge to Kill Rising. Heh, but at least you can save between levels now, now that’s innovation! The game most definitely lives up to its predecessors of yesteryear but that is not something that will put a smile on everyone’s face.

Please excuse me while I go grab some sellotape to put my PSP back together.

7.4 out of 10

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