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Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins PSP

Published by Capcom
Developed by Capcom
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins an introduction

Few games on the PSP can boast a heritage like Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins. The first game in the series, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, arrived in the arcades (in Japan where it was known as Makai-Mura) back in 1985. Sequels arrived in the form of Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts on a variety of formats. Not forgetting the two hugely impressive Ghosts ‘n Goblins inspired Maximo games that appeared on the PlayStation 2 of course. Whilst they were all different games the goal was essentially the same in every one of them. Arthur, the legendary knight had to rescue the princess from the forces of hell. Those who have played the games will remember how Arthur’s armour used to fall away when he was attacked until he was left with only his boxer shorts. They will also remember how difficult the games were and how frustrating they could be too.  

What’s the game about?

The dark forces of the Demon Realm are once more trying to mix their blood with that of the royal family. The legendary knight, Arthur, has stopped their previous attempts but now the Demon Realm has a new ruler who is both more powerful and more evil than anything Arthur has come against. Arthur learns of the new ruler’s plot to steal the princess, the only heir to the throne, and at once heads to the castle to protect her. It’s too late though because the princess has already been captured. Arthur must, once more, enter the Demon Realm to rescue her before all is lost.

What’s good about the game?

Those hoping for a similar experience to previous games in the series will be pleased to find that Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins has succeeded in this respect. In fact the game stays true to its prequels in many ways. The game is once again a side-scrolling platform game where poor Arthur is plagued with all kinds of enemies. Once again you’ll see his armour fall apart as he’s attacked until he finally ends up running in his boxer shorts. Once again we have a game that’s completely unforgiving in terms of its difficulty levels. There are three difficulty levels (Novice, Standard and Ultimate) but rest assured none of them are soft options even though Arthur can now double jump and perform other actions that he previously couldn’t. The number of power-up items in the game is also great to see. The ferocity of the challenge means the game isn’t going to be completed in a weekend and it may take weeks unless you’re a genius at the game, which in some ways is a good thing. The game feels at home on the PSP. You can use either the analogue stick or the directional buttons to move so you use whatever method you prefer. The game actually looks quite impressive even though you’re playing from the classic side-on perspective.

What’s bad about the game?

Of course it’s all well and good having the classic formula reused for Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins but if you were looking for a different scenario you may feel disappointed. In fairness to Capcom though, it just wouldn’t have been the same if the story or the game structure had been different. In an age where most consider games to be getting easier, it’s quite jarring to play a game that actually makes you want to pull your hair out at times. Even on the easiest difficulty setting (novice) there are moments when the game will really test you. In fact the only game in recent memory that challenged me so much was Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox.  Of course having a fierce difficulty level has its advantages but when the easiest of the three difficulty levels just doesn’t feel anything like easy there’s something wrong. Occasionally it’s not always easy to see where you’re jumping too and the fact you can’t change direction mid-jump makes the game more difficult than it should be. Enemies can appear mid-jump and it’s impossible to do anything about it.  It would have also been good to have been able to fire diagonally too. Having to revisit levels to collect those very well hidden gold rings you may have initially missed and that can only usually be obtained if you’ve acquired certain power-ups to enable Arthur to reach them, is also kind of irritating.

How does it look?

Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins is essentially a 2D game that’s adorned with a sprinkling of pleasing 3D effects. Whilst it’s a little strange to see the series back in the classic 2D style after the 3D Maximo games, it was certainly one that’s worked extremely well on the PSP. The game just looks like how you would expect a PSP version of Ghosts ‘n Goblins to look. Of course keeping with a 2D viewpoint also means there are no frame rate issues and no awkward camera angles to contend with which is a blessing with a game that can be as difficult as Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Deaf Gamers are going to have no problems with Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins. The small amount of dialogue that’s in the game is all in text. In fact there’s no speech in the game which means there are no issues for deaf gamers. There are no captions but to be honest they are not really needed as enemies that take you by surprise have no audible warning that would put deaf gamers at a disadvantage.

Final thoughts.

Your opinion of Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins will really depend on whether you’ve played the past games in the series or whether you like games that simply offer a fierce challenge. The game stays true to the previous games in the series and in some ways that’s a positive thing and in others it’s not so good. Some will be annoyed with the game’s difficulty but those who persevered with the previous games in the series will appreciate that Capcom haven’t watered down the difficulty just to suit modern tastes and in some respects that deserves to be praised.

Overall Game Rating: 7.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins is a title that's going to thrill fans of the earlier games in the series because it remains true to the original formula. The difficulty at times is punishing and this may be off-putting to those who are used to the easy rides that most games provide now.