Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Top 30 Hardest NES Games Ever. Day 7

Ghosts and Goblins

Yeah, I know.  This one is probably a huge shocker for most people.  Ghosts and Goblins is considered by many to be one of the toughest games on the NES, and I'll not deny that the game has some completely unforgiving areas that were programmed by the devil himself.  However, there is one major factor that greatly diminishes the overall difficulty of this game:  Unlimited Continues.  Thanks to unlimited continues, you can fight those Tattooed Thugs, Red Devils, and the White Dragon over and over and over, until you get it right.  All of the enemies in this game have very specific behavior patterns, and unlimited continues means that you'll have endless opportunity to study those patterns, exploit their weaknesses and eventually break on through to the other side.

I'm not saying Ghosts n' Goblins is easy.  Out of hundreds of NES games, it's right at home in the top 25 and for good reasons.  The enemies are brutal, particularly the red devils who require precise timing in order to defeat.  You only get what amounts to a single hit point, and suits of armor (which grant you an extra hit point) are few and far between.  The level designs are demanding with their precision jumps over chasms and onto moving platforms and the incessant barrage of enemies.  Enemy placement is one of the games most devious aspects.  There is always a tattooed thug on the ladder just above or below you, a blue bird always flying right into the path of your jump, or a red devil perched on a cornice that will attack as soon as your foot touches the ledge. Oh, and every now and then, you'll be turned into a frog.  The game insists that you have quick reflexes, a sharp eye, and nerves of steel.

You'll need all of those to beat Ghosts n' Goblins, but you'll be armed with those unlimited continues I mentioned.  Also working in your favor is the fact that most of the levels are extremely short.  Compared to other platforming games, the levels in Ghosts n' Goblins pass by pretty quickly once you get to know them.  GnG experts can probably clear a level with no deaths in about 2-3 minutes.  All told, this means that once you are a master, the game takes about a half an hour to beat each quest.  And once you get really rolling and have the levels memorized and all of your strategies plotted out, you can roll through this game with relative ease and have a lot of fun doing it.
Oh sure, there are still plenty of spots where I get stuck and very frustrated.  Sometimes it is as early as level two in the second half of the city in the building that is lousy with tattooed thugs, blue birds, and goblins.  Occasionally it is level three in the blue part of the cave.  But most usually it is trying to climb the tower in level 6, with all of the red devils and that white dragon, that usually gets me.  Particularly since you need that damn shield!  So make no mistake, Ghosts n' Goblins is an extremely tough NES game that puts even the most skilled players to the test, but the fact that you have unlimited chances to take it down keeps it a bit lower on this list.  Take away those continues and this game makes the top 10 easy.

1 comment:

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