Trying to go back to about 35 years of videogame history, Ghost 'n goblins undoubtedly stands out among the arcade productions that at the time firmly established the general concept of difficulty in video games, definitely more geared towards achieving the simpler game over. This approach prompted the player to try copiously to succeed in completing the level while remaining glued to the cabinet.
As the years go by, Capcom he then tried to propose the same type of experience to the public but, except for the parenthesis of Gouls ‘n Ghost, sequel to the previously mentioned title (and spiritually also present in the brand's new 'resurrection' project) and a timid hint of rediscovery with a PSP chapter dated 2006, the series now seemed destined to end up in oblivion.
After years of hibernation, however, the adventure of Sir Arthur and his sober boxers has been resurrected by Tokuro Fujiwara, former director at the time of the original chapter, and today the author of a love tribute to that series that has represented so much for many passionate gamers: Ghost 'n Goblins Resurrection.
Each century has its Arthur
The operation conducted by Capcom manages to faithfully reproduce the essence of the original run 'n gun from 1985, while refining the mechanics and adding some game dynamics in order to make the experience as suitable for a modern scenario.
The journey through the events proceeds following the story of Sir Arthur, a proud knight ready to cover his underwear decorated with a virile strawberry motif with his authoritative armor. Once again we will accompany the brave hero on the stubborn mission to rescue the beloved sapphire-haired princess and her kingdom, victim of the subjugation of the demon Lord.
Right from the start, the game intends on the one hand to show one of its main differences with the previous chapters, on the other hand to dispense a first warning to the player who for the first time enters the dangerous territory of Ghost 'n Goblins by bringing a big news: there difficulty selection.
If until now those who can define themselves as veterans of the series have had to live with frustrating memories related to the complexity of the game progression, Capcom has opted for an approach that allows even the less experienced to enjoy the experience without necessarily passing through curses and various insults.
However, this addition undermines what should be the experience in its purity, tending instead, in its realization, to distort the very nature of the game if faced at the lowest difficulty, in the absence of an adequate middle ground.
This is because starting Ghost 'n Goblins Resurrection by relying on the charitable mode Paggio, will make the entire run too simple and unchallenged, with respawns that will always project you to the exact point where the defeat occurred and a much greater resistance to enemy attacks. Opting for this choice will also preclude some challenges and secret items scattered around the level.
Instead, approaching the modality Squire, the game structure differs drastically, immediately proving rather difficult and tedious for those not accustomed to the genre. It will then touch much higher levels of complexity with the modalities Cavaliere e Legend, the latter recommended as a default by the game as well as a courageous choice by those who fear nothing in life.
A leap into the dark
In an attempt to meet the player, the developers have well thought of allowing Arthur to launch the weapons he has at his disposal following the directions arranged along the four cardinal points, which in the long run will prove to be an undoubtedly apt choice. Another novelty is the introduction of magical abilities which, if recalled at the right time, can offer support to the player in a moment of difficulty.
This last mechanic, however, appears very little in keeping with the pace of the game, often too frenetic and confusing in its 'run' to allow us to stop the action for a few seconds, or the time necessary to allow the spell to do effect.
Every single skill will be represented in a tree diagram which shows the cost and effects for each of them, making equipment available by reaching a certain number of fireflies collected in the levels. However, with some exceptions, these power ups do not appear as an element capable of providing effective support to the player.
The only thing on which Sir Arthur can therefore count in battle are his weapons: an arsenal of eight tools that give the possibility of approaching the fight in a different way, whether it is through a dagger thrown straight by straight, the arrows of a crossbow shot diagonally two by two or a spiked ball that follows the contour of the ground.
If in the more action phases the game does not present any kind of problem, the same cannot be said when you are faced with some section platform in some of the most advanced phases of the game: Sir Arthur's jump is in fact too heavy and woody, constantly at risk of failure and that does not go well with some level design choices that specifically require greater dexterity and speed in advancing on the platforms. An aspect of the gameplay that can produce much more than a few headaches for the player on duty
In the event that you pass the internships helpless (as much as possible), at the end of each of them there will be a good one boss fight waiting for you, ready to drastically raise the level of challenge. Most of these clashes, some more than others, present an inspired and curated realization from every point of view.
To mark your arrival towards the final stages of each level, a timer positioned on the screen will show you the expiration of the 7 minutes that you will have available to complete each scenario. This, however, will undergo a restart at each respawn regardless of where your departure occurred, making it almost completely useless for gameplay purposes.
Two is better than one
The addition that undoubtedly turns out to have a greater positive impact on the gaming experience is the inclusion of one local cooperative mode: by sharing the joycon with a friend, in fact, Sir Arthur will be joined by a floating spirit, ready to provide the brave knight with adequate support so that they both come out unscathed from the most dangerous situations.
From creating additional platforms, to lifting Arthur weight and dragging him for several meters, each of the three available spirits will significantly change the approach to the game for both players, which will become simpler but also in need of good synchronization of the players in order to avoid exclusively the death of our protagonist. In fact, the ghost in question will not suffer permanent death in case of killing, but will be rendered unusable for a few moments.
A medieval fairy tale
On the strictly playful side, Ghost 'n Goblins Resurrection therefore presents some uncertainties which, although they do not drastically affect the enjoyment of the experience, can cause some annoyance during the 7 hours of play necessary to complete it (timing subject to personal skill). Regardless of this, on the technical side, the title shows no sign of stumbling.
Il RE Engine used by Capcom proves once again to be a versatile and decently performing tool: the game constantly runs at a good resolution, both in portable and in docked versions, with a frame rate set at 60fps, which does not drop even in the most agitated situations.
The stylistic rendering of the work is absolutely enviable, boasting of a fairytale atmosphere and a two-dimensional style that shape a suggestive medieval imagery, enriched by the animations of the characters made as if you were staging a puppet show on the screen. Everything is softened by the classic soundtrack reworked for the occasion with an orchestral tone that goes perfectly with the general mood of the settings.
Ghost 'n Goblins Resurrection is the right love letter to fans of the very first arcade chapter, capable of giving the same emotions, both pleasant and negative, experienced at the time of numerous Game Over in the game rooms. A demonstration in great style of how to pay homage to one of the flag bearers of the videogame challenge, who, albeit with some small uncertainty, has awakened from a lethargy that lasted far too long.
We remind you that if you are interested, Ghost 'n Goblins Resurrection is available for purchase on the Nintendo Switch e-shop at a price of 29,99 euros.