reviews\ Sep 17, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Ultimate Ghosts'N Goblins - PSP - Review

It’s been proven countless times that many video games series excel in two dimensions, yet developers still seem hesitant to make them on the big home consoles. Well, at least we still get them on handhelds, right? Capcom has brought a beloved classic to the PlayStation Portable in the form of Ultimate Ghosts’n Goblins.

Ultimate G&G plays very similar to the older ones. You play as Arthur on his quest to save the princess from Demon Realm’s clutches. The style of gameplay is a very classic approach, where the difficulty lies in platform jumping and enemy placement, while the graphics and feature diversity have evolved to appeal to the current generation of gamers.

The gameplay is still very much like the original. Your hit points in Ghosts’n Goblins are represented by suits of armor. Your physical appearance changes with each level of armor you obtain, and will also downgrade each time you are attacked. When down to your last hit point, Arthur will be in nothing but his boxers and the next attack will kill him. However, falling into pits is an immediate death.

Ultimate Ghosts'N Goblins PSP screenshots

Luckily the stock of lives you can have at any time is huge. Usually bosses even give you an extra life when destroyed. Ultimate G&G isn’t an easy game by any means, so you’ll be glad to have a nice collection of “chances.”

Arthur starts with his classic lance as a weapon, which he can throw up, down, left or right. As you progress many more weapons start to pop up. Some have advantages in certain situations, while others are just plain better weapons all around. Of course the better weapons show up less than the others. Sometimes the type of weapon you have can even dictate how well you progress in a level, making it easier or harder than it should be.

In addition to new weapons, Arthur can now find shields to defend himself with. Some shields can do even more; for example, the Dragon Shield has wings on it, allowing Arthur to fly on it for a limited amount of time.

There are also abilities and special suits of armor along Arthur’s quest. Double jump is one that’s learned early on, but later you can fly with a certain suit of armor as long as you want.

Ultimate Ghosts'N Goblins PSP screenshots

If you’re able to find the Warp Staff for a particular stage then you are able to backtrack to that exact stage. When you complete an entire chapter you can actually revisit the chapter without a Warp Staff, but you can only start at the very beginning of the chapter instead of a specific stage. This is really nice for going back to collect hidden items, since you can play older levels with all your new abilities.

The level design is excellent, and the graphics are crisp and run extremely smooth. Platform placement and enemy paths create a balanced yet unforgiving difficulty. Each level looks very different from the last, and most even plays very differently.

Ultimate G&G is a pretty short game, but there are hidden items in each level that experienced players can attempt to collect. Also, the level of difficulty keeps players from breezing through the game, since some levels will require practice and patience. Overall I think most people will enjoy this game. Getting started takes some time, since it’ll likely be very difficult at first. But if you stick with it, it ends up being a very fun game.       

Review Scoring Details for Ultimate Ghosts'N Goblins

Gameplay: 8.4
The different weapons and armor each bring a totally different play style to the table, and players need to adjust their strategy accordingly. The way Arthur controls can feel unnatural at first, but becomes easier as you play the game.

Graphics: 9.2 
The environments are very colorful, Arthur’s different armor sets are extremely detailed and varied, and weapon and enemy design is wonderful.

Sound: 9.5
The soundtrack fits the game’s setting perfectly, and is great music on its own. The sound effects are what you’d expect from an arcade game like this, but with the quality that might surpass what you’d expect from a handheld game.

Difficulty: Medium-Hard
There are three difficulty options, but even the easy mode can’t help you with some of the difficult platform jumping that awaits you. This is a tough game.

Concept: 8.0 
The handheld seems to be where all the 2D games go, and while I’d love to see them on home consoles I’m at least glad they’re going somewhere other than “away.”

Overall: 8.9
The difficulty might turn a lot of gamers off (it almost did for me) but if you give it a real chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Ultimate Ghosts’n Goblins are a very well-made 2D side-scroller that shouldn’t be overlooked. The hidden content and multiple difficulties should give even the most seasoned gamer some time-consuming challenges.


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