Ghost ‘n Goblins: Resurrection is a video game that time forgot, developed to transfer gamers to the prime time of the Super Nintendo where visual appeal fulfills gameplay cruelty, spectacular and pummeling in equivalent parts. The stack of remains Resurrection accumulated throughout my playthrough made me swear like a sailor, and yet I left singing its applauds as one of the very best throwbacks I’ve ever played.
Legendary hero Arthur and his more well-known set of shorts go back to be lit on fire, knocked into pits, and chomped by a cavern made from teeth, much to the annoyance of the gamer and pleasure of Capcom’s designers (which is led by Tokuro Fujiwara, who directed the initial 1985 Ghost n’ Goblins video game and SNES follow up). You can nearly hear the latter group stating “Gotcha!” after each death that the gamer didn’t’ see coming. While classic in its character motion and action characteristics, the level styles are wickedly creative and constantly altering, keeping you in a continuous state of panic in enjoyable and scary methods.
Skeletons quickly increase from their tombs as Arthur inches forward, and there’s constantly some sort of air-borne risk placed to knock him into a pit. The action needs split-second reflexes, however much more memorization of opponent patterns and positioning, which is established by passing away. An edge can be acquired through Arthur’s weapon of option, be it the rapidly tossed daggers, the dispersing fire of holy water, or a handful of other beneficial tools that can finish any enemy. The action is simplified in scope; you simply leap and shoot in four directions, but it feels incredibly dynamic, making everything you do feel skillful.
All levels deliver wildly different challenges that make good use of the same moveset, yet players have some agency in how they progress through it. From the outset of the adventure, a choice between two levels is given, delivering either a shorter playthrough or the option to backtrack to missed stages to take on new horrors and earn more Umbral Bees. This oddly named collectible is a form of currency used to purchase useful spells, such as being able to turn every enemy onscreen into a frog or rain down lighting on them. The wealth of skills is worth the effort, as some can be game changers in specific stages, much like getting the right weapon for a boss in Mega Man.
The entire game can also be played cooperatively, with the second player controlling a trio of ghosts called the Three Wise Guys, who can be swapped on the fly. Each of the guys aid Arthur in different ways, like being able to create a protective shield or lift him across a gap. It’s a cool idea for co-op play that helps take some of the sting out of the game’s difficulty. While the second player isn’t experiencing the core gameplay, they can still have a significant role in the outcome.
Even with the aid of a friend, the game is quick to alert you that you can lower the difficulty if situations are too challenging. If that doesn’t produce results, you can activate a magic metronome to slow the game’s speed to a crawl, giving you a hell of an advantage to fill enemies full of lances, safely bound up crumbling staircases, and grab Umbral Bees that may zip past you otherwise. If you think the game is too easy, the metronome can also be used to speed it up and make it more challenging. If you just want to see the entire game without any cares in the world, the lowest difficulty setting lets you instantly respawn where you die, although some of the late-game surprises are removed when played like this.
After the final boss is slain, players can restart their adventure to experience a slightly rearranged playthrough. This again holds true to the series’ roots, with transformed stages and new challenges within them. This is an awesome reason to play an amazing game again, and also gives the player a chance at earning every skill.
As much fun as I had getting my butt handed to me by Resurrection, one of the best parts of it is the visual design. It looks like a storybook drawn with pencils and colored to make every moving element pop. Yes, some of the classic enemy designs are fairly uninspired, and the worlds are fairly plain in details, but together they leap off of the screen and frame the action perfectly.
Ghost ‘n Goblins: Resurrection is a game of try and try again, and should you not have the chops to make it, has built in solutions to allow you to keep making progress. I didn’t think I needed another Ghost n’ Goblins game, however Capcom showed me incorrect, and now I desire more.