Games: Returning to torment gamers again, Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection updates ghoulish 1980s-style side-scrolling slaughter for the Switch generation
Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection (Switch)
IT WASN'T just Mario who spent the mid 80s saving videogame princesses: Arthur's rescue mission caused many a 10p to be squandered in seaside arcades as players guided our plucky knight through Ghosts 'n Goblins.
A combination of infamously punishing difficulty and Python-esque medieval design made the game a global hit, and it was promptly ported to everything that had a microchip. 36 years on, series creator Tokuro Fujiwara has returned to the well for a glorious reimagining on Nintendo's Switch.
Ghosts 'n Goblins' sadistic reputation is well earned. Take a hit and our armour-clad hero was reduced to gambolling around a graveyard in nothing but his pants. We've all been there. A second spelled death, sending players to the start of the level.
Even if they had the coin-swollen pockets and hummingbird reflexes required to see it through to the final boss, players were told they didn't have the correct weapon to kill him before being unceremoniously dumped at the beginning to do it all again. Those hard enough to properly see it through were rewarded with some infamously bad translation – "Congraturation. This story is happy end". Gee, thanks.
For Resurrection, Arthur and his love are once again relaxing in a field when the Demon Lord pops up to snatch the princess away. Cue a gauntlet of ghoul-slaughter to rescue your gal.
Re-imagining everything from the original games, Resurrection digs up familiar enemies, bosses and locations, giving each a cartoonish lick of paint without ever losing its retro charm. Each of the five stages is stuffed with all manner of horrors for Arthur to send back to hell with one of eight throwable weapons.
Once again, the platforming is incredibly precise, requiring pinpoint accuracy as you can't control your momentum mid-jump, a la Mario. Yet while the game is famous for its brutal difficulty, today's gamers aren't quite the sunshine-dodging grafters that frequented 1980s arcades – millennials are given a fighting chance through four difficulty levels along with some pain-cushioning bells 'n' whistles.
For starters, you don't have to finish the game in one sitting, while collectible Umbral Bees unlock a series of upgrades and magic spells to help Arthur on the battlefield. A second player can even lend a real-life helping hand, joining the fray as a ghost assistant.
Returning to torment gamers after three decades, Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection is a nostalgia trip for the nimble-fingered. And while its golden age charm has been thoughtfully preserved, you no longer need a sock-full of coins to conquer some of gaming's most iconic turf.