I feel like at almost every stage of my gaming life someone has talked about wanting a new Ghosts ‘n Goblins game.
It’s one of the most persistent, most wanted franchise returns, up there with the likes of Legacy of Kain. Fortunately, Capcom just made our dreams come true with the brand new Resurrection.
And the good news – or bad depending on your point of view – is that it is exactly what you’d expect from a new Ghosts ‘n Goblins game. In fact, one could even argue it’s a little too faithful.
Let’s just say the game’s difficulty is never in question and you’ll probably be spending most of your playtime with Arthur in his trademark underpants. The enemy waves are unrelenting, you’re going to be punished, time and again, but perhaps unlike a Dark Souls where you feel you’re making progress and mistakes are usually your own, Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection is often pretty cheap in how it catches you out.
Like when you’re starting to climb a ladder and a giant ogre has thrown a stick up in the air and it comes careering down on your head, or you can’t move in time to stop being charged by a pig or you’re trying to climb some steps and are being continually stamped on. You’ll even find some stages where you can barely move without being attacked by something.
The key art is a pretty good indication of what the game is like 80% of the time, quite frankly, and if that’s not your cup of tea, I’d probably advise looking elsewhere. But in fairness, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise to Ghosts ‘n Goblins fans, and, in theory, should be exactly what you’re looking for.
The original game was renowned for being harsh, brutal and unfair. The enemies kept coming and you had to hope you were able to kill them quick enough or be able to get out of the way in time. At least with Resurrection there’s more weapon types to choose from like exploding potions and spinny spiky wheels.
There were always those platforming sections that made you feel total rubbish at video games and then you’d get to the bosses on your last legs and have to hope you had enough left in the tank to see you through to the next level. Spoiler alert, you probably didn’t.
Resurrection is pretty much exactly what you should expect from a Ghosts ‘n Goblins game in 2021. But on top of the usual fare, there’s Challenges of varying skill to beat (about as close as Switch will ever come to Achievements, honestly) and an Umbral Tree which lets you spend Umbral Bees you find in each level and gain new skills – like Arthur gaining triple the power when he’s almost stark naked.
As you can probably already gather, the game’s trademark humour is very much intact. Arthur’s armor deteriorates each time he’s hit and quite early on you can be wearing all your chain armor aside from a breast plate and leggings. You’ve got pigs rolling down a hill chasing you like bowling balls and then there’s an Ogre that rips its own head off to fire at you from the heavens (This exposes a nice little weak spot on its belly which you can throw your lances at)
But I also feel that this time Capcom have learned something from Resident Evil over the years and made the game much darker than you might expect. Some of the sections are pretty horrifying, actually, like the entire screen turning into a mouth which is gradually closing in on you with its sharp teeth. Eesh!
Resurrection lets you play straight through each zone to get to the final boss if you’d like, but you can also revisit previous stages and even try out an alternate path. This is a good way of gathering more Umbral Bees and levelling yourself up to be better prepared for later stages. Multiple playthroughs can also make the experience different as well, with the equivalent of a New Game +.
When the game was first announced, I found myself a little unimpressed with the graphics. They just looked a bit off to me, and while I felt a similar way when I first tried the game, I gradually got more and more used to the style – though, at times, it still looks a little rough on some levels.
What I was impressed by is the environmental changes as you move through levels, things that were impossible to really capture in the original game. Platforms deteriorate underneath you, there’s fire to jump through and slopes to fall down. Capcom have even made good use of the foreground, with enemies gradually jumping into the action from anywhere on the screen. It’s a nice touch that feels right at home in this particular game.
I really worked my way into Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection and some of the later levels need to be seen to be believed. A lot of the time the game isn’t even remotely fair in the enemies it throws at you, and there are some sections that truly test the patience, but all in all, this is a solid side-scrolling platformer that more than pays homage to its predecessor. There’s just enough tweaks in here to make it suited to today’s gaming expectations, but also plenty to keep fans of the original happy.
Know what you’re getting yourself in for – maybe download the Capcom Arcade Stadium and try out the original there first – before diving in. While Resurrection isn’t always perfect, it absolutely feels like a fitting return for our favourite little knight and that’s more than good enough for me.
+ Destructable environment adds real dynamism to the action
+ Umbral Tree has some nice upgrade options
+ Ability to try different sections within a zone to keep things fresh
+ Challenges and New Game + options keep up replayability
– Some sections can be frustrating, really cheap and brutal
– Even the easiest difficulty is going to be too much for some
– Graphics look a bit rough at times
Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection is now available on Switch
Tested on Switch
Code kindly provided by Capcom