After nearly a decade away, Ghosts ‘n Goblins makes a return – and this time also on PC. I’ve played a lot of the classic, difficult NES games, but this series has somehow escaped me thus far. So, I went into Resurrection with a fresh mindset.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is one of those side-scrolling action platformers infamous for its difficulty level. As in, it’s quite literally considered to be one of the hardest video game series ever created. Resurrection is no different, but underneath that is actually a pretty well-made game.
Like, the mechanics themselves are very simple – most of the game is just a two-button platformer – but the levels are very creative to make up for it. You’ll go from the classic cemetery full of zombies to a frozen wasteland with demons flying all over, and then somehow end up riding a dragon into the clouds. It’s not just the setting though, these levels often introduce new mechanics of their own and some even offer multiple paths to go through when clearing certain sections. There is a nice sense of variety there and the mix between platforming, combat, and boss fights is well-balanced – at least, for the most part.
I say that because there are some problems here core to the design of the game, regardless of what difficulty you play at. Never is it fun to commit to a jump only for an enemy to spawn where you’re landing before you can even react. And no, it’s also not fun when an enemy spawns right on top of you when you’re just moving normally. These examples are both based on the game’s RNG enemy spawns – a form of fake difficulty that honestly shouldn’t be receiving defense from anyone.
The difficulty is much better off when it isn’t relying on RNG – which fortunately is the majority in this game’s case. Tight platforming, hordes of enemies that can easily knock you into the void, and boss fights with some truly challenging attack patterns – it’s not an easy game by any means, but it is a fun one for those that are up to the challenge.
And that difficulty is even customizable. There are four difficulty levels and each allow you to take more hits as you go down – with the bottom two reducing enemy spawns on top of that. You can even adjust the difficulty mid-stage just for that stage if you’re really stuck at one part. To be honest, I would probably not recommend this game if these features were not included. I have no shame in admitting I played on squire difficulty – two below the top. This makes the bizarre RNG design choices a lot more bearable and allowed me to actually enjoy the underlying game for what it should be – a fun platformer with a nice sense of challenge to it.
Because even on that difficulty, I still had to retry segments over and over – it is not like the challenge is completely lost. Still, Legend difficulty is there for those that want the classic experience, just be warned that the RNG stuff really becomes an issue the higher you go. I tried it, but I simply don’t have the time to put up with it – my four hour playthrough would have been easily five or six times the length due to all the deaths.
So with the difficulty made manageable, really, my biggest complaint then would be with the overall movement. Like, this is a 2021 2D platformer that retains that same stiff movement and controls that you would find on most NES games of the day. Little to no movement while airborne, slow character speed, floaty jumps – it’s all there in its full glory. To some, this might not be a problem – it might even be a positive – but it’s something I didn’t like about NES games I played then and still not something I am a fan of now. It doesn’t kill the experience, but it leaves me wondering what a “true” modern Ghosts ‘n Goblins game would look like – one with proper controls and levels designed around them.
As for the graphics and music – both are fine and I really don’t have any complaints there. The graphics are a bit stylized and the animation is definitely not the usual, but it doesn’t look bad. The music is actually a lot better than what I was expecting and I enjoyed the variety offered there.
On the performance side of things, the game immediately shoots itself with the 60 fps cap. This is easily a game that could benefit from an unlimited fps option, but it simply doesn’t do that. It is at least a stable 60 fps and I had no issues playing through the entire thing at 1440p.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection, although incredibly difficult, is a fun enough 2D platformer for those into the genre. It has some nice level design, some simple, yet effective game mechanics, and difficulty options that actually make the game playable by modern standards. It doesn’t completely shed some of the problems of its older counterparts – and I may not be able to speak for fans of the older ones – but I did have a good time with it and would recommend it if you can catch it on sale.
Quote: Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection, although incredibly difficult, is a fun enough 2D platformer for those into the genre. Maybe not worth it at full price, but recommended if you can catch it on sale.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection retails for $30 USD on Steam, but you can get an official Steam key for 10% off using my Gameplanet partner link. The game is also available on Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.