Welcome to the Witching Hour. This is the time when shadows gather to hide the monsters watching as you pass. The breeze carries whispers from souls long dead and humans must share the Earth with creatures from other realms. Join The Inner Circle every midnight in October as we bring you a list of thirty-one monstrous experiences that just might leave you wondering if you are truly alone in the dark.
It may be hard to believe now but there was once a time when buying a game made by Capcom was practically guaranteed to be a worthwhile purchase. Remember that back in the 80’s and 90’s there was no public internet where we could easily look up game reviews. We had to base our purchases on monthly magazine reviews, word of mouth, game rentals or in-store displays. Past experience with a developer or publisher also went a long way and when we saw Capcom or Konami on the box we could usually be assured that we didn’t waste our money. A great example of Capcom’s prowess from back then is Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts.
Despite the unique title, this game is part of the Ghosts & Goblins series and was originally developed as an exclusive for the SNES. You can play it today on the Wii U or New 3DS Virtual Console. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is a 2D action-platformer and I will tell you now – the games in this series are harder than Hell. In some ways I feel this particular game is more approachable than the rest of the series but you will still be in for a challenge.
You play as Arthur, a medieval knight who was just relaxing with the princess he loves when she is kidnapped by a demon. It’s up to you to traverse beautifully detailed leveled, slay legions of monsters and put an end to the evil lord Sardius once and for all.
Unfortunately, Arthur is not particularly resilient. In most cases he can withstand one hit in his armor which will destroy it and he must then run around in his underwear. There are a number of treasure chests placed throughout each level that will spawn a random power-up. If you’re lucky enough to get an armor power-up then your weapon gets a boost and possibly withstand an extra hit (or three).
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts offers a number of weapons with their own unique playstyles. These don’t seem particularly well balanced as some weapons are immensely useful and others are borderline useless outside of specific areas. You’ll probably focus on one or two weapons that suit your tastes and ignore the rest when they appear.
While the game is very difficult, most of the challenges are actually fair due to the stellar controls. You’ll need precision platform jumping and supreme reflexes to avoid hazards as they pop-up. The kick in the pants is that you actually have to beat the game twice in a single playthrough. You know that feeling when you persevere through a tough game and finally beat that last boss? Yeah, you’re told that you need a special weapon to defeat the arch-demon and you are sent back to the beginning of the game. Enjoy your trip through each level again in your quest to put Sardius down once and for all and see the true ending of the game. This is a bit easier to do on the Virtual Console versions of the game because they offer save state support but relatively few players ever bother to go that far. Respect to any of you who have actually beaten this game; especially if you did it the old-school way without save states.
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is a great addition to your Halloween game backlog provided you enjoy a challenge.