Ghouls 'N Ghosts
(known as Dai Makaimura in Japan)
Second game of the main Ghosts 'n Goblins saga, this game (released in 1988 initially as an arcade game as well) introduced various new concepts, some of which would remain in later games:
- Multidirectional weapon attack
- Armor upgrade and weapon magic
- New weapons: Discus, Sword and Psycho Cannon
- Treasure chests, either filled with goodies or with the dreaded magician.
This game, the second to use the CP2 chip, was also an arcade hit, and many ports were made as well (Sega Genesis, NEC SuperGrafx, Sharp X68000, Commodore 64, ZS Spectrum, Amiga, Atari ST, Sony Playstation I and II, and cellphones). A slightly different version was released for the Sega Master System, with similar maps, magic shops instead of chest goodies (magicians still show up often), boss rooms, various individual armor part upgrades that actually affect your mobility, weapon magic switching, a new spell, and finally a health meter that rises with the armor upgrades and that can be recharged at magic shops.
The dificulty level, though still quite high, is easier to handle than the previous game, probably due to Arthur's new abilities. Many new enemies were introduced as well, but some would remain as classics, like the hi-rank red arremers, called Red Arremer Kings, or Astaroth's clones (it is not known if the real Astaroth was among them, but its unlikely). Of course, the basis of the game is still the same as before: Arthur fights his way to Lucifer's lair, but is eventually returned to the starting point to look for a weapon that can destroy his fiery rival. If he's hit once, he loses his armor (even if it's been upgraded) and is left running around in his boxers, and another impact reduces him to skull and crossbones.
This time weapons may appear from either jars or chests. Arthur's arsenal is as follows:
- Cavalry Spear: still Arthur's standard weapon, can be thrown at four directions (up, down, left and right) flying in a straight line until it dissapears from the screen. Decent attack power. The spear's spell is the Thunder magic: Arthur summons a lightning bolt and then redirects it to both sides.
- Dagger: a faster but weaker version of the spear. The dagger's spell is the Double magic: Arthur summons an invulnerable ghastly clone that follows him while attacking at his command, but that dissapears after a while.
- Great Axe: can cut through enemies without dissapearing, but its sluggish and it slowly goes upwards when shot horizontally. Decent damage. The axe's spell is the Exploding magic: Arthur is surrounded by a fiery blast that destroys closer enemies, though the range is quite limited.
- Fire Bomb: newer version of the torch, it does a short arc (when it's thrown vertically, gravity takes its toll) and then falls, bursting into a flaming wave that advances a bit, scorching whatever is in the way with decent attack power. The bomb's spell is the Fireball magic: Arthur sends four circling fireballs, two for each side, to burn his foes.
- Discus: one of the new weapons, can be thrown at four directions flying in a straight line, and whenever it finds roads in the way (when thrown horizontally), it will adjust its direction to match the road's accidents. It does slightly higher damage than most of the regular weapons. The discus' spell is the Mirror magic: Arthur materializes a mirror that can hurt closing enemies, and also protect him from certain projectiles.
- Sword: hand-to-hand weapon, it can't be thrown, but has high speed and attack power to compensate. The sword's spell is the Thunder Dragon magic, which releases twin serpents of pure electricity that circle at both sides, then fly away destroying everything they touch.
- Psycho Cannon : the equivalent to the cross, it's the only weapon that can destroy Lucifer. Given to you by Saint Michael, it flies in a straight line with incredible attack power, but dissolves quickly, decreasing in power as well until it dissapears. Better armor gives wider range and the ability to nullify enemy proyectiles. You can only obtain this weapon inside a chest on your second run of the game, and you have to be wearing the magic (golden) armor.
Jars carried by enemies are still here, but the goodies they carry are safer than chests:
- Red Armor: gives 200 points each.
- Big Red Armor: gives 500 points each.
- Arthur icon : gives you an extra life.
This game introduced treasure chests, but some 'prizes' often involve the dangerous magician:
- Silver Armor: may appear when you are running around feeling the breeze in your boxers. This is your standard armor.
- Magic Armor: golden suit of armor that may appear if you've kept your silver armor safe, it will enable you to release your weapons' magic power.
- The Magician: this time he's not only common, he pops-up way too often. This tuxedo-like being hides in many treasure chests, and will ambush you with a fast spell, then flee. If the spell connects, you will be turned into either an old man (if you're armorless), or into a duck (if you're donning armor). As an old man, your abilities are greatly reduced, but as a duck, you can only jump and move (though you're smaller). The spell will fade after a few precious seconds.
This game is a huge improvement when looking back to its predecessor, be it in story-telling, graphic level, sprite size/details or music themes. The multidirectional attack and the weapons' magic didn't affect the movility too much, so the controls are still quite easy to grasp. If you liked the first game, this one will most likely please you as well.
Arthur, even though successfully rescued the princess and vanished the ghoul realm from his homeland, knew that eventually someone would try to open the gates to the Makai once again, and thus decided to search for mystic knowledge to be ready for his dark adversaries if that fated day were to come.
Three years have passed since the events from the previous game. Arthur returns from his travels to be witness of a new demon raid from the ghoul realm, and hurries back to the castle, only to be blasted into the air and see his beloved princess Prin-Prin fall to the turf; her soul, among with many others, is taken by Lucifer to empower himself and merge the human realm and the Makai once again.
Arthur must once again face the hordes of dark enemies and mutated beings waiting all around the ghoulish landscape. However, this time he's prepared, and sets on his dangerous task armed with the knowledge obtained in his travels: The Power of Magic.
Some of the info and artwork was obtained at Rob's now-defunct site 'The Ghoul Realm'.