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Ghosts 'N Goblins

aka: Ghost 'N Goblins, Ghosts 'N Goblins Mobile, Makai-mura
Moby ID: 582
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Description official descriptions

Ghosts 'N Goblins is a sideways scrolling action platformer spread over six levels, each of which must be completed within three minutes (or a life is lost), taking in forest, village, mountain and cavern settings with increasing difficulty.

Arthur the brave knight must rescue his beloved Princess from the Demon King Astaroth and his forces - amongst them are the various undead (ghosts, zombies), bats, ogres and goblins. Other challenges include moving platforms, ladders and water/fire hazards.

The player can walk left and right, jump, and is also equipped with a lance to use as a weapon. Getting hit by enemies causes Arthur to lose his armor and run around in his underpants, getting hit again will cause the player to lose a life. As in most games in this genre, the player can pick up power-ups such as daggers and bombs during the course of the game, giving the player greater firepower.

Spellings

  • Ghosts & Goblins - Alternate spelling
  • 魔界村 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Arcade version)

This programe is programed by
Sound Composer (uncredited)

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 74% (based on 57 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 190 ratings with 5 reviews)

An excellent Capcom platform game with a few cool features

The Good
Tokuro Fujiwara only developed two games for Konami before moving over to Capcom where he created Ghosts 'n Goblins (魔界村 Makaimura), which received top marks from various computer magazines at the time. It was certainly a refreshing change from the vertical shoot 'em ups – such as Galaxian – that invaded the arcades back then.

King Arthur is having a quiet picnic with his girlfriend, Princess Prin-Prin, when a demon kidnaps her and takes her back with him. Vowing to go rescue her, Arthur navigates the six areas full of zombies and demons with a variety of weapons. Access to the next area is blocked by a gate guarded by a boss, who must be defeated to get a key.

Graphically, Ghosts 'n Goblins looks quite nice for its time, and there are plenty of smooth animations everywhere you look. The overhead map looks excellent, and it is nice the game lets you know how long you have to walk until you get to the castle. The map is useful for checking whether you made it to one of the checkpoints. For the sound department, the background music changes every two levels, and so does the boss music. It is the type of music that you can always remember.

Normally, when you are hit by an enemy, you would lose a life. However, this is not the case in the game. When you are hit by an enemy, you are stripped down to your underpants make up for its difficulty. Get hit by an enemy one more time, and you are reduced to a pile of bones. There are only two checkpoints in each area; and if you don't cover a certain distance, you are sent back to the start of the area. This high difficulty is common in other games Fujiwara has developed, not just Ghosts 'n Goblins.

To make matters much worse, you are sent back all the way to the first area again, once you defeated the final boss the first time, and the difficulty gets ramped up. Imagine how many people were furious that they inserted a lot of coins into the machine for nothing. When you defeat the final boss for the second time in a row, the game awards you with no ending and you are sent back to the first area once again. Then, it's just a matter of seeing how far you get without losing all your lives.

The Bad
Apart from the difficulty, I found nothing bad about Ghosts 'n Goblins.

The Bottom Line
Ghosts 'n Goblins is an excellent game, released around the time when Capcom was beginning to make more high-profile games. The graphics and sound is very good, and there are a few features that make up for the difficulty. Its success in the arcades warranted a release on the popular eight-/sixteen-bit systems of the time, with the Amiga and NES versions being more faithful to the original game than any other version out there.

Arcade · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2016

Rescue your beloved from the legions of hell

The Good
In Ghosts 'n Goblins, you are the legendary King Arthur who is having a picnic with your beloved Princess Prin-Prin. Suddenly, a huge demon emerges from his castle and, for no reason, decides to steal her from you. You put on your shining armor and go after him. This will not be an easy task as Arthur needs to slay zombies and other legions of hell that get in your way using a series of weapons, including the lance, dagger, flaming torch, axe, and shield (or crucifix). Depending on what weapon you use, some of these weapons can take more damage to enemies. You start the game with a crap weapon, but you can get better weapons along the way, if you destroy the sack that some enemies carry.

There is one feature that is missing from other early games. GNG gives you a second chance at trying to complete all six levels without touching any enemy. You normally wear your suit all the time unless you touch an enemy or you are shot at. You don't die, but instead, lose your suit. If you get touched a second time, you turn into a skeleton. This feature means that unless you are bad at playing games, it is likely that you get to the restart point – the point where the game lets you continue from where you died.

The Amiga version looks and plays exactly like the coin-op version. You see, besides the fact that you can use the five weapons available in the original game, you have to go through graveyards, forests, ice palaces, villages, and castles. Get through all these locations and you get to fight the final boss and save the princess. The graphics are about as clear as the original version, although they look a bit brighter. Also, when you die, the game presents you with a map, indicating the distance you must travel in order to complete the game. The bosses that you defeat at the end of the levels are drawn nicely. I especially liked the flying demon at the end of level five.

The music is a real pleasure to listen to, especially in the later levels. I have played the coin-op version two years ago, and I remembered it quite well. It had you playing all six levels twice before you can actually rescue your girlfriend. The Amiga version, though, has you completing all the levels just once before you are declared victorious.

The Bad
For an eighties game, GNG is a bit difficult. Every now and then, you will find yourself falling down into hazards like fire or off the edge of the screen if you mis-time your jumps. In the first level, zombies have the tenancy to rise up from the ground at the spot where you are at, making sure that you lose your suit immediately. The only way not to let this happen is if you keep moving and don't stop.

The Bottom Line
Ghosts 'n Goblins is a classic game where you go through six levels in order to rescue the princess. Zombies and other enemies get in your way, but you can use up to five weapons, although only one can be carried at a time. However, the less effective the weapon, the more damage that enemies can take. As I mentioned above, the Amiga version looks and plays exactly like the coin-op version, including the game's interface, graphics, and sound. Unlike other games, GNG gives you a second chance at completing the level without taking damage. If you are looking for a decent coin-op conversion of GNG, then check out the Amiga version.

Amiga · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2006

Quite O.K. port for the Amstrad CPC. Kinda too hard and cut off though..

The Good
I really adore the graphics, the music and the atmosphere they create. And this one is a bit a different than the original game the port is based in.

What I like the most is the music. Instead of the classic arcade tunes, a different soundtrack was written especially for the CPC that is maybe one of the most amazing themes I have ever heard on the CPC. Actually the sounds/instruments that were used have a very unique sounding, one I cannot describe, a heavy bass sound, some sounding like cymbal some like deep underground drums, I really cannot describe but it's quite different and more reach in sounds and atmosphere than any other CPC tune you might have heard. It has remained in my mind since the first day I have played this game in 1989.

I also find the graphics quite appealing for it's time and not only. And the dark gothic themes are very well presented here despite the low resolution of the CPC. The sprites are smooth enough and there is even hardware scrolling used but only when the player reaches an edge of the screen (and the action freezes). Proper scrolling is not very easy to do on the CPC and this one was maybe one of the first games to do it for it's time. I think that technically both in music and graphics the game is really well done.

The Bad
There are a lot of cutoff's from the original. And some even make the game even harder than it is. Ok, there are no weapon bonuses and neither can the player shoot up or down but it's not very important as the fact that when the knight is hit he instantly turns into bones instead of losing his armor and getting another chance.

Also there are only 3 levels instead of the 5-6 (or more?) of the arcade. Still, it's not that bad since the controls/movement are nicely done and it gets quite playable in the easy levels. Learning it, despite it's difficulty, one case sometimes reach the beginning of the 3rd level but then the hell begins. It's doable though since I have seen people bringing the game to it's knees.

The Bottom Line
I was expecting quite a worse port for the poor Amstrad but I was positively surprised. This is one of the few good classics on the CPC, I believe you will adore the music and you will like the mood that the minimal graphics create. And quite the reductions in gameplay from the original and it's difficulty, I think it is quite fun to play for a while and the frustration in the later levels might fade out as someone learns how to play in specific levels. Check it out if you are into CPC games or if you ask for a challenge!

Amstrad CPC · by Optimus (75) · 2008

[ View all 5 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Ghosts 'N Goblins released for Windows(via Steam) on Capcom Arcade Stadium Andrew Fisher (695) Aug 22nd, 2022
US Release for the C64. Edwin Drost (7551) Mar 24th, 2017
Wonderswan version should be split GTramp (81867) Nov 30th, 2012
C16 port - split entry? Rola (8131) Aug 23rd, 2012

Trivia

8-bit computer ports

The 8-bit computer ports made by Elite Systems and released in 1986 are all shorter than the original arcade game. The game is only 4 levels long (instead of 6) on Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64, only 3 levels long on ZX Spectrum, and only 2 levels long on Commodore 16. Interesting fact of all these ports is that they are rather average titles but each of them stands out for different reasons: The gameplay in the Spectrum version, the Amstrad version's graphics and the music from the Commodore 64 version.

Red Arremer

The famous Red Arremer mini-boss was actually based on Capcom programmer Toshio Arima.

1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Ghosts 'n Goblins appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Atari ST MIDI music

The Atari ST version has a special trick. The developers programmed the MIDI interface to play the game music. If you hook a MIDI synthesizer to the ST, the game music will play over your MIDI device.

Commodore 16 version

The C16 port is even shorter than the C64 version, as it features only the two first levels, with simplified gameplay (one weapon, less enemy types). There's no music and no title screen picture.

Japanese title

Japanese title Makaimura translates into "the deceptively cute Demon World Village".

Sales

According to publisher Capcom, Ghosts 'N Goblins has sold 1.64 million copies worldwide since its initial release (as of June 30, 2016).

Spectrum version

The Spectrum version does not load on Spanish +2A or +3 models, as their ROM mapping is slightly different from the UK models. An unofficial patch is available however.

Awards

  • Commodore Force
    • December 1993 (Issue 13) – #68 “Readers' Top 100”
  • Commodore Format
    • March 1991 (Issue 6) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)
  • Happy Computer
    • 1986 - Runner-up as Action Game of the Year
    • Issue 04/1987 - #5 Best Game in 1986 (Readers' Vote)
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #39 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
  • Zzap!
    • January 1990 (Issue 57) – 'The Best Games of the 80's Decade' (Phil King)

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  • The Ghoul Realm
    Fansite dedicated to the history of and information about Ghosts 'N' Goblins.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by faceless.

Commodore 64 added by Quapil. Commodore 16, Plus/4 added by Rola. Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo 3DS added by CrankyStorming. Arcade added by 666gonzo666. iPhone, iPad, Android, Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. FM-7 added by Infernos. NES added by Kartanym. Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 added by Sciere. DoJa, Windows Mobile, BREW added by Kabushi. ZX Spectrum, Atari ST added by Martin Smith. Game Boy Advance added by Freeman. Wii added by gamewarrior. Game Boy Color added by Satoshi Kunsai. Amstrad CPC, Amiga added by Katakis | カタキス. PC-88 added by j.raido 【雷堂嬢太朗】.

Additional contributors: Satoshi Kunsai, Guy Chapman, Scott Monster, Martin Smith, Freeman, monkeyislandgirl, Atom Ant, formercontrib, Rola, CalaisianMindthief, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, Kam1Kaz3NL77, FatherJack, RetroArchives.fr.

Game added December 16th, 1999. Last modified October 11th, 2023.