Sunday, 5 February 2012

Super Ghouls'N Ghosts (SNES) - Replay

Super Adventures in Gaming Replay - Game 7

It's been nine months since I last played this game, if you can even call what I did 'playing'. I mostly just wandered into zombies. I doubt I even made it more than four screens into the first level.

But that was then.

I've played a lot of platformers since then. Games like Super Meat Boy, the Castlevania games, Ninja Gaiden, Shadow of the Beast... I must have gotten at least a little better at the damn things by now surely?

So okay Super Ghouls'n Ghosts, I'm ready for a rematch.


FOUR MINUTES LATER.


Well obviously I need a little time to work out what I'm doing first. It's been ages since I last played it, and back then I didn't even know I could double jump.

Back to the start of the game then.

Awesome. I'm finally back up to where I got to on my first play. This time I'm not going to make the mistake of getting dragged behind those bars and fireballed to death by the flaming skull creature.

The game's a platformer, and I control a little knight called Arthur (of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 fame!) with two hit points and infinite lances to throw at things that bother him. I can't steer him in the air mid-jump, but I can double jump to make a sudden change of direction.

Hey, there's a chest over there. I don't remember seeing one of these in the game before.

The chest had a new weapon inside! Torches that explode when thrown. To be honest I can't tell if it's an improvement over what I had before. It's definitely not making it any easier to hit these dogs leaping around at me.

The tricky part of this is that while I'm focused on not being pounced by the dog, those two skulls down there are spitting fireballs at me. But I can't steer in the air, so if I jump to dodge the fireballs, I'll likely end up landing on the dog.

They've already shattered Arthur's armour and left him in his boxers. The next hit will kill him.


SOON, AFTER THE NEXT HIT KILLED HIM


Well, I screwed that up. Even losing a life is enough to get me sent right back to the start of the level. And then I screwed that up too. Got killed on the very first jump, shameful.

Weirdly there's a chest there now that wasn't there before. I guess they must just appear randomly.

New armour! It seems to have upgraded my torch attack into blue fireballs too. Now I might actually make some progress.

Son of a bitch. The green armour isn't any better than my starting armour, it still breaks in one hit! The game's basically just toying with me now.

"Wow you've been playing that same section of the game for a long time Ray. Here, have some better armour so at least you'll have a chance of seeing something new in the game... nah, I'm just fucking with you."

In fact I'm half convinced that they even put this slowdown in deliberately to throw off my timing.

I've finally reached something new! This must be where they take all of Arthur's skulls each time he's killed. There's so many skulls piled up here that they're overflowing out of the mouths.

This section's so easy that they must be giving me a chance to rest for a second. Hopefully they'll give me a checkpoint too while they're at it.

I've finally left the trees behind! At last I'm free of zombies, skulls, wolves and ladders.

A tidal wave? Well that probably ain't good.

Okay, what the fuck? I just got insta-killed by a screen full of water.

The game has a limited number of credits, but I must be collecting more of them somehow as I go, as I should have way less than that considering how many times I've gotten Arthur killed. The game doesn't want to let me escape.

Still no checkpoint. Plus I got hit at the very first jump again.

But I have learned something. It seems I've actually been triggering these chests to appear myself by standing in a certain place. Like in this case, walking close to the right side of the rock is the trigger.

Sometimes enemies drop items that look like extra lives or armour pick-ups, but they only ever give me points. Actual armour pick-ups seem to be incredibly rare, so if I ever lose my armour it's generally gone for good. 

No no NO! What the fuck are you doing? I was trying to duck, not climb down the ladder. I didn't even SEE the ladder.

Now I'm stuck trying to climb back up while getting shot from both sides by fireballs. What a bloody stupid place for a ladder.


LATER.


It turns out that to survive the tidal wave I have to be standing on a rock when it hits. It would have been really nice to have been given a clue about that the first time around. Or, you know, a CHECKPOINT.

Anyway, I used my awesome reflexes to dodge this clam's attacks, then went and got myself killed by the next one.

You'd think I'd be sick of this map appearing every time I died by now. And you'd be totally right.

I especially hate the way it immediately scrolls over to the right, like the part I'm stuck on isn't even worthy of its attention.

"You don't want to see the boring water level, come look at this over here... oh man, you'll love this part when you get here," it whispers, into my mind.

Uh... I opened the chest at the start, and a wizard came out. And then the wizard turned me into a baby. I've found a new way to make the game harder! JOY!

Fortunately it wore off after a few seconds. But I can't believe I'm still having trouble with the first section of this game. I guess I really haven't gotten any better at playing games in the last few months. I'm playing on the regular difficulty by the way, like I do with every game to keep things fair. But I did try the easiest difficulty for a bit, and I honestly can't tell the difference.

FUCK I GOT STUCK ON THE BLOODY LADDER AGAIN AGH I HATE THIS GAME SO MUCH I JUST WANT TO REACH THROUGH THE SCREEN AND ACROSS SPACE AND TIME ITSELF AND STRANGLE THE DESIGNER JUST AS HE FORMED THE IDEA IN HIS MIND TO PUT THIS DAMN LADDER HERE.

EVENTUALLY.


I finally made it back over to the water section, survived the tidal wave again, killed the killer clams... then misjudged a jump and overshot the ground. It's tricky to land on a tiny piece of ground when I have no control over my jump.


EIGHT MINUTES LATER.


Hey, this is new. Creepy plant-land.


TWO SECONDS LATER.


Well at least now I know those orange things aren't just harmless background objects.

Back to the start of the game then.

Huh, I reached a checkpoint?

OH THANK FUCK I'VE FINALLY REACHED A CHECKPOINT! YES! It took me an hour and ten minutes to get here, but I have finally gotten out of that forest!

One moment of happiness in 70 minutes of gameplay, doing good there Super Ghouls'N Ghosts.

Oh that's nice. The ground beneath me just dropped to form a hill, with me at the bottom, and a flaming battering ram at the top.

I'm not entirely sure I could have been reasonably expected to react to that in time.

I actually tried jumping this normally first time around, cracked my head on the stone block, and fell straight into the water. To make the jump I had to jump towards the water, then double jump just before I hit the surface.

After killing the evil orange plant things blocking the way first, of course.

There's probably a trick to this bit, like maybe I need to dodge left when I hit the ground, then jump back over. I tried just outrunning the battering ram and got battered.

I'm sorry, but I just can't bring myself to do that entire evil plant-land section again. There's no saves or passwords, but I'm going to quit anyway.


Super Ghouls'N Ghosts is like running a marathon uphill. On ice. Sure it's possible to make progress, but it's exhausting and painful, and one slip is going to send you right back down again. Somehow I doubt most people who've played the game ever saw much of it. Then again, I suppose most people who'd try it these days know exactly what they're getting into. The challenge obsessed uber gamers who've actually finished the game (twice for the good ending) probably even love it.

6 comments:

  1. I can't understand why people like this series. Way too hard

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  2. You have to be the kind of guy that loves hard games. Like me. Honestly, if there isn't any challenge to what I'm doing, I feel like I'm wasting my time. That's just me, so feel free to hate on this all you like.

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  3. A large set of cojones is required to enjoy games like GnG.

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  4. I actually dont even like hard games, but super g&g is one of my all time favorites. I bought it for the SNES back in the day when I was a little kid, and was initially enraged at the rediculous difficulty, even to the point you were of cursing the designer, but then as I was reboxing it to return/trade I noticed that the back of the box specifically warns you about the difficulty. I think its something like "not for the faint of heart" or actually it was probably something even more generic like "...it will be a difficult journey..." that every fantasy platformer includes in it's synopsis no matter how eroneous it ends up being, and thats why I didnt notice it at first. So I decided that it was totally my fault and kept coming back to it over the years, and now that I've learned all the tricks, it became one of my all time favorite games (it was also much more forgiving once my snes broke and I had to play it on an emulator).

    If you have the blue armor, you can still pick up green and standard armors which is basically like taking a hit. And the other weapons are valuable later in the game but in the first 2-4 levels the worst thing you can possibly do to yourself is pick up a weapon other than the dagger. I got to a point at the end of the level where I hit a chest on a platform ahead of me above some murder liquid, and instead of an armor, out came the worthless fire flask. There was no way around it, it was either jump to that platform and have my death laser neutered, or jump to my death in the murder liquid below.

    I chose death.

    Because at least then I could keep my dagger.

    Anyway you should try SG&G again with an emulator and use save states to try and get past those first 3 stages, they are pretty creative themselves, but once you get past that first 8th of the game, you'll be treated to some of the most innovative, interesting and well drawn/designed levels in video game history. And also I personally found the last half of the game easier, the enemies take more hits to die but there are less of them, giving you more room to maneuver.

    If you are determined not to use save states like you say in your rules (although you break your rules all the time), try the psp sequel "Ultimate Ghosts n' Goblins". Its much easier, has a kind of health bar and save-able store-able upgrade-able backup magic.

    If you have a psp I have an extra copy that I bought after loosing my original, if you want to review or just play it

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  5. By the way, the blue armor has the magic upgrade of the green but takes an extra hit before you die. And the dagger is the best because its the fastest to fire and when upgraded it turns into a mega death laser.

    Had to cut those parts out of my post to make it fit, and I dont want to rewrite the missing paragraphs in full so theres the missing facts from my deleted second paragraph.

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  6. Hard? Definitely. But I'm also one of the folks who has always loved this game. I've never fully beaten it, as you have to play through it twice like pretty much all GG games, but I have beaten it the first time. The game is very much about memorizing the things that happen in the environment, as knowing what's going to occur will make it easier to deal with enemies.

    You'd have HATED stage 1-2. Auto scrolling raft ride where you have to dodge enemies, AND jump over obstructions, then a boss.

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