Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts
(known as Choh Makaimura in
Third game of the saga and also the first one to appear exclusively for home systems, this game was one of the first titles released for the Super Nintendo (1991), and thus introduced some of the most frecuently used effects allowed by the hardware, like high-quality music, transparency, rotation and mode7. The results were quite nice, and the final product was more than worthy of its predecesors' legacy. Years later, this game would be ported to Sony Playstation I and II, among with the previous ones in compilation packs that included other CAPCOM classics as well.
A Gameboy Advance port of the game was also released in the year 2002, but this was not just a clone of the SNES title, but a remake with an arrange mode featuring extra stages (three remakes from the previous games, and one original), different item placement for the existing ones, a save feature, path selection based of your state at the end of a stage, and brand-new bosses, some of them old classics like the Dragon or the Unicorn, but also new faces like Vulba Ro or the Red Arremer Joker, the true overlord of the red arremer tribe. However, the music wasn't as good as the SNES version due to GBA's limited sound hardware, and many parts of the game suffer from severe lagging in FX-rich areas, something that probably could have been corrected with some more time of development.
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts introduced the gold-for-credit exchange, double-jump, shields and magic weapons (bronze armor). However, it also removed the multidirectional shooting, the game physics feel a bit sluggy compared to the previous two games, and this is the easiest among the first three titles (there are still some insane areas, like the last stage revisited... *Points Nebiroth*).
Weapons are obtained from pots and chests, just like the previous title. Arthur's ever-growing arsenal can be upgraded with sorcery to create magically-enhanced weapons. Of course Arthur can still cast the spells sealed within them:
The ever-present items and enemy-carried pots are here as well:
Treasure chests are back, and this time the Magician is not the only unpleasant surprise they may hold:
QUEST 1: THE DEAD PLACE
The Haunted Graveyard - From this forgotten cemetery, zombies arise to attack the living. Only the brave of heart will survive a journey through this cursed land.
The Forest Of Fear - Inside this dark tangle of branches lies the ruins of an ancient castle. Within its walls grows an unearthly plant that feeds on whomever or whatever passes through its domain.
QUEST 2: THE ROTTING SEA
The Graveyard Of Ships - Long ago, this thriving harbor was home to hundreds of sea-faring men. But now the entire port is laid to waste, and only the ghouls remain.
The Sea Of Despair - Between the human realm and the Phantom Zone lies the Sea of Despair. Its storm-tossed seas have caused the ehartiest of adventurers to go insane.
QUEST 3: VERMILION HORROR
Crucible of Flame - Deep within the earth, the flame of evil brightly burns. Its glow forebodes despair and darkness to all who venture here.
Towers of Molten Steel - The sight of these twin towers strikes terror into the hearts of men. Within these walls, the ghouls of the Phantom Zone practice their darkest evils.
QUEST 4: THE GHOUL'S STOMACH
To enter the frozen lands of the Emperor of Evil, you must first pass through the vile Ghoul's Stomach.
QUEST 5: THE DEEP CHILL
Ice Forest - The blizzards constantly blow in this frozen world of ice and snow. Many have tried to conquer this land; none have yet returned.
Ice Wall - A wall of sheer ice surrounds the palace of the Emperor of Evil. All attempts to scale the ice have met with doom.
QUEST 6: THE CASTLE OF THE EMPEROR
The entrance to the castle holds many traps. Pay close attention or disaster will strike quickly.
QUEST 7: HALLWAY OF GHOULS
A few hundred yards ahead lies the throne room of the Emperor. Only a gauntlet of ghouls stands in your way.
QUEST 8: THE THRONE ROOM
Inside, Sardius awaits! Only the power of Guinevere's enchanted bracelet can destroy the Emperor of Evil.
The following stages are only available in Arrange Mode from the GBA port:
EXTRA QUEST 1
Remake of the Village of Decay stage from Ghouls 'n Ghosts. Taken by the Ghoul Realm, this village is once again inhabited by deadly Rock Turtles, Antlions and Ogre Mayflies. The second area is full of Fire Killers setting fire to windmills. The area is guarded by the mighty Red Arremer Joker.
EXTRA QUEST 2
Remake of the fiery cave stage from Ghosts 'n Goblins. The first half you have to travel through huge cliffs traveling on floating rafts, avoiding the occasional Rose Bud enemy. The second area is a set of frail bridges over a river of lava. The bridges are protected by a lone Red Arremer Ace that will follow and attack you all the way if you fail to eliminate it. You have to hurry if you want to make it to the other side before the heat and lava bursts destroy them, but be careful of the Blue Killers hiding under the bridges. The area is guarded by a remake of the Dragon boss from the original Ghosts 'n Goblins. Don't worry, this is way easier than the original.
EXTRA QUEST 3
Remake of the first stage from Ghosts 'n Goblins. The first area is swarming with Zombies and Weredogs, and a strange full moon fills the sky, growing unnaturally big. The checkpoint is guarded by a Red Arremer Ace, and the second area is a lake filled with petrified Woody Pigs that revive when touched. You'll be attacked from all sides by Flying Knights and Bats, so try to calculate every jump. The area is guarded by the King Unicorn, a remake of the Unicorn demon from the original Ghosts 'n Goblins. Again, this is easier than the original.
EXTRA QUEST 4
A completely original stage, this underground lake is inhabited by a huge acuatic beast named Vulba Ro. You'll have to travel through the area doing many dangerous jumps while avoiding water currents, Bats, Flying Knights, Fire Killers and Vulba Ro itself, who will tirelessly attack from below. Vulba Ro will destroy some areas of the stage to trap and devour you. At the end of the stage you will face this huge beast. This battle can be pretty tough if you don't finish it quickly.
This game was greatly enhanced in terms of graphics and BGMs compared to the previous titles. Stages like the sea of despair ride or the rotating ghouls' stomach, with non-average platform elements were not seen in any of the previous games. Arthur's sprites are quite similar to his previous incarnation, but the enemies' sprites are way more detailed (and some bigger) than before. The MIDIsh music from the previous game is replaced with rich themes, some of them almost sounding as CD-quality stuff (like the Deep Chill stage theme). The only flaw is probably the game's physics... they just feel weird and sluggy after playing the first two games. Perhaps the slowdown in Arthur's falling speed would be intended to give more control over the double jump, but it is still too slow compared to previous games. Also, there are areas that tend to lagg for no apparent reason (and the remake has even more such areas). Taking those low points in consideration, this game is still more than worthy of your time if you enjoy your everyday walk in the graveyard wearing your trusty underwear.
Snapshots (Original Game)
All hail, dauntless knight Arthur! Years ago you quelled the terrifying phantoms of the Ghoul Realm who hexed the earth, and rescued Princess Prin Prin. Since that time you've journeyed far over the world seeking the powerful weapons of White Magic.
But now the kingdom is shrouded under an eerie spell. Sardius, the Emperor of Evil, has snatched Princess Prin Prin away to the slimy crypts of the Phantom Zone. The Ghoul Realm has revived, and the Creatures of the Undead haunt the land.
Once again, you must survive the dangerous journey into the depths of the Ghoul Realm. You'll swat at horrid ectoplasms and ghouls whose touch is deadly. Vampires will swirl around your head. Voracious plants will snap at you, hungry for bones to gnaw. The earth will crack, the seas will swell, and the fiends of darkness will engulf you. Your courage and skill will keep you moving through overwhelming terrors. And on the path, a mighty weapon - Magic - awaits!
Buckle on your sword, Arthur. It's time to begin your quest!