A lesson in great game design.
The year was 1985. Batman: The Dark Knight was about to revolutionize the comics industry, Gauntlet had brought four-player gaming to prominence in ways never before experienced, and a funky little company named Capcom was about to spring on an unsuspecting public a title that would redefine the platform genre for years to come: Ghosts 'n' Goblins.
With squeals of joy, the gaming world salivated as Capcom announced this year that it would finally join the revivalist movement and rerelease its classic arcade games on the PlayStation and Saturn. If Namco and Konami could do it, certainly Capcom would be a likely candidate. However, the cheer was quickly brought to a halt when Capcom was denied its share of the retro spotlight because of the overcrowding of the genre on the PlayStation. While it probably would have been OK with Sega of America, well, we all know about that.
However, no sooner than Capcom of America announced that it would not be bringing the Capcom Generations series to the States, Volume 2 hit the shelves in Japan. Likely the most desired compilation of the bunch, Generations 2 features the classic Ghosts 'n' Goblins, Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, and Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts on one disc, the first two being arcade titles, and the last being the old Super Nintendo title.
While the games certainly look dated now, the innovations made at the time are still awe-inspiring when you consider when the games were released. While Ghosts 'n' Goblins suffers the most, the game is still as challenging as it ever was. The two subsequent games introduced elements like being able to shoot up, double-jumping, and scrolling parallax. By the time of Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, the SNES's broader color palette was used to stunning effect (at the time, of course). Besides, when you think about it, Arthur (the hero of the series) has always been able to do something Capcom's other side-scrolling mascot, Mega Man, has never been able to do: duck.
Although it's odd that we've had to wait for what seems like an eternity for another chapter in the G 'n' G series, this is a nice reminder of what has come before. Although the graphics are dated, this collection is practically a must-have for any gamer. Everything is in English, except the game titles, making this an easy import. Plus, finish the games, and secret bonuses await the patient gamer. If Activision can release that collection of Atari 2600 "classics," Capcom should have been able to release this too. Anyone who has harbored thoughts of getting this collection should do so at the earliest convenience. The score doesn't tell half the story. If this were a new game with a Castlevania-level leap in graphics and innovation, it would be at the top of the heap. A lesson in great game design.