Retro Game of the Day! Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts by the Gods of Game Development at Capcom, though they were never failing in their efforts to wrap wonderful videogames with hideously terrible box artwork. Seriously, it's a wonder they ever sold anything.. This 1991 release on the Super Nintendo was the third in a series of some very prominent games, how does it hold up compared to the first two?
When the first Ghosts 'n Goblins was ported to the 8-Bit NES, it was an early platformer that could have given Mario a run for his money were the game not so difficult. Capcom jumped ship when they licensed the sequel Ghouls 'n Ghosts to Nintendo's rival Sega for their Genesis, and that was a pretty big deal for a top-rated game back in the day. Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts' singular appearance (it never again showed up on Genesis or any other 16-bit machine!) on the new Super Nintendo was kind of a return to form, then.
The game released close to the SNES' launch and so that meant two things: 1, the game would have unheard-of colorful and detailed graphics to show off, raising the series' standard to a higher benchmark - and 2, thanks to the SNES' crawly-slow processor, the game would flicker and slowdown all over the place. And that, it sure did.
And so, SGnG limped along, but at least it looked (and sounded) wonderful as it did. The control was smooth enough not to hamper things further - however, the game designers removed Knight Arthur's ability to shoot up/down and gave him a goofy-looking "heel-tap double jump" instead. Also, in my opinion the game felt a lot less inspired than the previous installment - the worlds all looked and sounded very lovely, but by now it was beginning to feel a bit stale, a bit also-ran - sort of like the dev team was told "okay, the last iterations of GnG sold - we will make another game!" but perhaps they weren't quite as hyped up at the notion this go-round.
Otherwise, I will say this about the game - like it's predecessor, it had some sticky points, but overall the whole ordeal was a massive degree easier than the original Ghosts n Goblins. #2 and #3 still get a lot of flack to this day as being somewhat difficult to complete - not so, and especially not compared to their fist. They are not what you would call a walk in the park, but any somewhat self-respecting gamer should be able to plow through this game (both quests) with no huge difficulty.
Overall, the game is impressive - they used some exploitative Mode 7 effects (spinning, scaling the screen, etc) for some gimmicks, nothing too heavy-handed however. I will still say the Apex of the series was with #2, style-wise and gameplay-wise - but this is a close second, and one that I'd love to see more games built like.