A shocking revelation

Today I spent hours playing Ghosts and Goblins on the Capcom Classics Collection. The game is an absolute classic and it is also nearly impossible. It took me about a thousand lives, but I finished the game…only to be told that it was all a dream and I’d have to do it again. So I did.

Sometime during the second playthrough it struck me — this game sucks. I know it sounds like blasphemy to a lot of people, and it sort of disturbs me to say it, but it’s true. This game may have a cult following but it’s a piece of crap.

The game is not hard because it is well designed. It is hard because its controls are horrendous. Jumping doesn’t always work and it is nearly impossible to climb up ladders. The collision detection is also spotty. To add to the fun, many enemies have almost random patterns. Perhaps that is a sign of good design, but in a game that controls so poorly it’s just torture.

So why do people love Ghosts and Goblins? I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. First, like all classics, the nostalgia factor is high. I remember playing the excellent Commodore 64 port in the 80’s and those memories still creep to the front of my brain and trick me into liking the game. Secondly, the graphics, music and setting are excellent. The game is the stuff of a million ghost stories and instantly connects with the player. Finally, older gamers remember a time when games were hard and Ghosts and Goblins was one of the pinnacles of difficulty. I, too, enjoy hard games, but this is not the one to celebrate. Ghosts and Goblins sucks.

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17 years ago

If I played a game like that, I probably wouldn’t have my PSP anymore. Hard games are one thing, but if it’s hard because of shitty designing and controls, I flip out.