Doesn't come more tricky then Ghouls 'n Ghosts. But is it worth 800 points?
Arthur can be controlled with either the remote, classic controller or Gamecube controller. The remote is the best of the three, because it has all that is required (digital pad, attack button and the jump button) so unless you have big hands with sausage fingers there is no need to use the Classic, or Gamecube analogue control because poor Arthur only moves at one speed.
As if its not enough that Arthur has to worry about killing hoards of evil bloodthirsty monsters and saving the princess from Loki, but his shoddy armour which falls apart the moment it gets hit, as if that isn't enough he suffers from sever Osteoporosis and he will shatter into a pile of bones the next time he takes damage. Jumping is also dangerous as you can't change the speed or direction mid air, this can lead to falling into pits of death or a monster.
In order to earn more lives you must get 30000 points, this can be achieved by killing monsters. Some enemies carry containers which hold either weapons or statues worth 200 or 500 points. The game is kind enough to give you unlimited continues, however every time you use a continue your score gets reset to zero, if you get to the highest score it is saved. This does add to the replay value to try and get a higher score.
Scattered around the levels are hidden chests which become available when Arthur passes through an invisible trigger, thankfully most are easy to find. Chests contain either armour, weaponry or an evil wizard.
There are two types of armour in this game: Plate and Gold, if you are wearing any armour you will get Gold, if you not you will get Plate. Gold gives your weapon an additional power which can be activated by pressing and holding the attack button and releasing it when the gauge is full, the power varies depending on the weapon used. This is a nice touch but I would of liked to of seen a bit more variety in the powers, I feel that the daggers are the only weapon that possesses a unique power, the others seem tacked on.
Most weapons are projectiles that you can fire in four directions up, down, left and right. Different types of weapons have there own unique strengths and weaknesses for example the daggers can be thrown quickly and has good range however they don't do much damage. Various different weapons are nice and do slightly require a change of tactics during each levels. The four directions that you can fire in is such a nice feature for a 2d game it makes me wonder why they didn't include this in the sequel Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. (Review coming soon!)
The evil wizard will cast a spell and if it hits it will turn you into a duck if you're wearing armour or an old man if your not, the duck can't attack but can move quite quickly, however the old man can attack but moves very slowly, this effect wears off after about seven seconds. It is possible to kill the wizard, however this is made difficult because the timing has to be so accurate, he will appear and flash briefly then when he is about to fire you can destroy him (It feels so good!)
For a game released in 1989 the graphics have aged quite well, it has a colourful charm and the background art really fits the theme of the game. The monsters make a few repeat appearances but that can be forgiven as most monsters have several animations. A few minor graphic blemishes and slowdown problems occur when a lot is happening on the screen such as the first boss fight and towards the end of level two.
The music is memorable and keeps you going through the touch environments. Sound effects are bootleg even considering the time it was made, sometimes you hear static and some sounds are just very bland. The thud I hear when successfully hitting a boss is satisfying.
If you like easy games or excellent sound quality then this isn't for you. It's got plenty of replay value and will keep you hooked for hours on end. This game would make a challenging addition to your virtual console collection! Whether you're going through it for the first time, or trying to get a higher score, well worth a download.
Strengths: Replay value, challenging, good graphics, nice selection of weapons, fun boss fights, enjoyable levels
Weaknesses: Too difficult for some, disappointing two player mode, sound quality