Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins Review / Preview for the PlayStation Portable (PSP)

Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins Review / Preview for the PlayStation Portable (PSP)

Sir Arthur is back, and controlling him is about as easy as steering a cruise ship through a China shop – but what else is new?

Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins may not be the “ultimate” version of the series but it has its niche. This is not a game for everyone, and by everyone I mean those that expect a walk in the park, or graveyard for that matter. Even on the easiest setting Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins is designed to tease, torture, torment and transgress. In other words it’s #%$&*+! hard! As a 2D, side scrolling, platform game with a lumbering character that is frustrating to control at the best of times, it’s a wonder that this game has any fans at all. But don’t discount the cult of sadomasochists out there who beat themselves up over it. One must be of the attitude that no game will get the best of you because if you want to tackle Ghosts ‘N Goblins, you’re going to be seriously annoyed at the challenge that awaits you in this game. But then again, it’s all about the bragging rights of completing it, isn’t it?

Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins screenshot

Lulled into a false sense of security from his last adventure, (if you were man enough to complete it), the great knight Arthur is once again thrust into action. The evil overlord has escaped from his underground lair and has kidnapped the princess. Arthur dons his not-too-resilient suit of armor and heads out into the forbidden forest to confront all varieties of ghosts and goblins which come at him from above, below, behind, beside and in front. Arthur must be careful to defend himself from daggers, spears, spikes, pinwheels-of-death, pitfalls and a variety of assorted creatures and traps. He’s not very fast, nor is he very agile. If he takes too much damage his suit of armor will be destroyed leaving him to run around in his trademarked heart-imprinted underwear. Taking a hit after that will result in Arthur turning into a crumpled heap of bones. It may look funny but there’s nothing funny about having to start the level over from the beginning.

There is good news for gamers of different skill levels. However casual gamers should just hit the Back button now. Turn away now, while there’s still time. For those of us willing to head into the abyss, let me preface you on the horrors that you will encounter. First of all there are three different skill levels: Novice, Standard and Ultimate. I admit that for the majority of this review I had to stick to the Novice level, and it still kicked my ass. In this level you can take more hits and you don’t get thrown back as far when a monster strikes you. You also don’t have to start at the beginning of the level like you do when you play at the Ultimate level. You also only get one hit before the armor falls away in Ultimate. The Standard difficulty level is similar to the arcade game and the other home versions of Ghosts ‘N Goblins.

Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins screenshot

Arthur has a few new moves and some new weapons. He still has the dagger and the lance, but now he has a multi-firing crossbow, a knife that has a lock-on targeting system as well as a whip that he can use in close combat situations. These new weapons work well and are quite responsive, even if Arthur himself is a bit slow to respond to commands. He’s got a new dash moves that speeds him up a little in addition to being able to climb up some of the environment. He’s also able to use some magic spells which adds some variety to the mix but really doesn’t make things any easier.

Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins looks very much like the original arcade version, which is good if you’re a purist but might be construed as lazy on the part of the developers since the PSP is capable of so much more. Keep in mind that it’s all in 2D and the game is relatively short. Aside from the three difficulty levels there are no extra modes, mini-games or multi-player capabilities. The entire package is as bare bones as Arthur is under his suit of armor. It’s old-school all the way and you have to take it at face value.

Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins screenshot

You’re not going to get to the end of all three difficulty levels in a weekend so you’re pretty much committed to purchasing this game. However, if you’re not sure that you have what it takes, rent this game for a day or two and if you don’t get past the fourth level, then do yourself a favor, return it and buy yourself an Archie comic.

Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins screenshot


  • New 3-D characters and environments enrich the side-scrolling adventure!
  • New weapons, magic and armor help Arthur overcome difficult challenges
  • New and improved moves for the heroic Arthur
  • Double-jump in mid-air, grab onto ledges and much more
  • New save feature allows gamers to revisit cleared stages at anytime
  • New level-up system for more powerful abilities and attacks
  • New difficulty settings that provide their own unique challenges for every gamer: Novice – An easier mode for those not familiar with the series. Standard – The default setting for those wanting a challenge Ultimate – A setting reminiscent of past Ghosts’N Goblin titles
  • Extra lives mean starting where players left off and not at check points
  • Expansive environments – Five main stages, each with multiple sub-missions, hidden paths and bosses to conquer.

    Rating out of 5 Rating Description


    Looking very much like the original arcade game, this is an old-school, 2D, side-scroller. Not exceptionally pretty.


    Arthur moves like he’s on valium and vodka, but he’s got some new weapons and moves to spice things up a little.


    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    If you like the old-school graphics, then you’ll like the old-school sounds. Thankfully the music is not as repetitive as it could be.


    Play Value
    The replay value will come in when you have to “re-play” the levels over and over and over and over…


    Overall Rating Good
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
  • Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins Preview

    Sir Arthur returns with new some moves and some new tricks. by Vaughn Smith

    >The original arcade version of Ghosts & Goblins is still one mean S.O.B. It ate quarters like Grimace eats Quarter Pounders and Capcom didn’t go out of their way to make the NES console version any easier. In fact, the series certainly isn’t known for it’s coddling that’s for sure, and that includes not only the original G&G, but the sequel Ghouls and Ghosts, Super Ghouls & Ghosts (SNES) and the Maximo series on PS2.

    If the Ghosts & Goblins / Ghouls & Ghosts / Maximo series are known for anything, it’s the insane level of difficulty that would have seemingly normal gamers hurling their controllers in manic fits of impromptu rage. Enter Ultimate Ghosts & Goblins on the PSP and heed this warning now – the PSP IS your controller so don’t throw it! I learned how to fix my NES and Genesis controllers thanks mostly in part to the frustration factor of the G&G games, and yet, I couldn’t stop playing them.

    If I didn’t know any better – and I don’t – I’d say Capcom and Sony are in cahoots. I mean, come on. It’s called “Ultimate”…do you think it’s going to be easy? People hucking their PSPs at the wall means the same people buying new PSPs. It’s all a cash grab. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be first in line to play it. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Sir Arthur.

    This new game, comprised of 3D polygons rather than old school sprites, but still taking place on a 2D side-scrolling plane promises to introduce new moves into Sir Arthur’s somewhat limited array of combat tricks. Capcom suggests that as gamers progress they will be able to double jump, fly and cast cool magic spells on enemies. As well, while previous games in the series have been linear affairs, Utlimate will be far more wide open with branching paths available at certain junctions and warp points which will allow backtracking so that you’ll be able to obtain items previously inaccesible the first time you went through. It’s also been revealed that gamers can save anywhere. Hmm…that might ruin the smashability factor.

    Capcom hasn’t decided on a North American release just yet, but you can bet your shiny gold suit or armor and your polka dot underwear that Sir Arthur will be bringing this battle to our continent sometime in fall 2006.

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