Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (April 2014)|
|Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts|
Box art for SNES version
|Release date(s)||SNES version
|Distribution||Cartridge, Direct download (Virtual Console)|
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, originally released in Japan as Chōmakaimura (超魔界村 Ultra Demon World Village?), is a side-scrolling platform game produced by Capcom originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991. It is the third game in the Ghosts 'n Goblins series. The game was included in the video game compilation Capcom Generations: Chronicles of Arthur for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, as well as in Capcom Classics Collection for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox and Capcom Classics Collection: Reloaded for the PlayStation Portable. A remake of the game was released for the Game Boy Advance which features an additional game mode with new stages. The original SNES version was released for the Wii Virtual Console and was released for the Wii U Nintendo eShop on May 16, 2013.
The player takes the role of the knight Arthur, who must once again rescue the Princess from the demons. The antagonist this time is the Emperor Sardius (known as Samael in the Japanese version), who has kidnapped the Princess in order to obtain the whereabouts of the Goddess' Bracelet, the only weapon capable of destroying Sardius. After making it to Sardius' castle, Arthur must return to the beginning where the Princess hid the bracelet in order to destroy Sardius permanently. After re-doing his journey, Arthur defeats Sardius with the bracelet and returns the Princess to the kingdom.
Arthur starts the game with an ordinary suit of armor, which may be upgraded up to three times. No matter how upgraded, his armor falls off following any touch by an enemy, leaving Arthur defenseless and clad only in his underwear, at which point he will die if hit again. Arthur can always get his defenses back by finding new armor, which is in hidden treasure chests throughout the game. The first upgrade from the ordinary starting armor is to the bronze armor, which allows Arthur to use the more powerful, magical versions of his weapons. From the bronze, Arthur can upgrade again to the golden armor, which allows him to unleash special magical attacks unique to each weapon by charging with the attack button. The golden armor also comes with a sun shield, which may be used to block one projectile before breaking. The final upgrade comes in the form of a moon shield, which, in addition to blocking up to three projectiles, reduces the time needed to charge Arthur's magic attacks. Projectiles cannot be blocked while Arthur is moving, so in order to use the shields for defense, the player must stop and wait to be hit while facing the correct direction. For expert players, this means that aside from the reduction of charge time granted by the moon version, the shields are virtually worthless except in certain key situations (such as the boss of the sea level), as it is usually much easier and practical to dodge incoming attacks.
Weapons also have a huge role in gameplay, as they determine not only the speed, trajectory, amount, and damage of Arthur's attacks, but also the specific "magic attack" that can be charged and unleashed with the possession of the golden armor. As with armor, weapons can be found in various hidden treasure chests throughout the game, and can additionally appear as a random drop from enemies. All weapons come with unlimited ammo. Experienced players will find that all weapons are not created equal, and while some are generally good all the time (such as the dagger or its magical iteration), others are at best unwieldy and at worst practically unusable, depending on the situation. However, balancing that to some degree is the fact that some of the better charged magic attacks are linked to the more unpopular weapons, making them a viable alternative assuming the player has the golden armor.
Another key feature is the "Double Jump", which allows Arthur to leap into the air, and then leap again. The unique feature which makes this double jump different from its more common iterations is the fact the player has no direct control of Arthur's movement once in the air. The second jump can change direction, but that is the only control players have. This adds greatly to the difficulty and challenge of the game, as it essentially affords no second chances or last minute adjustments. While aggravating to many novice players who view it strictly as a frustrating control flaw, more experienced players and fans of the game find the quirk to be an enjoyable, challenging layer to the gameplay that can be overcome and even exploited with practice.
Lastly, a system of hidden treasure chests add a unique twist to the game. Arthur is dependent on these chests for all his armor needs (weapons can be picked up from chests or enemies), and as the upgraded armors in turn provide the most powerful weapons and magic, finding the hidden chests becomes very important for survival. The unique aspect of the treasure chest system is that they are hidden and can only be accessed by moving through certain specific areas of the screen, which causes them to appear. This can make discovering the chests a challenge, as frequently the key to making a chest appear involves an unnecessarily reckless and difficult leap or movement through a dangerous area that might otherwise be completely avoided. Additionally, chests can be unearthed using the charge magic of the crossbow, which, instead of dealing damage to enemies, causes any hidden chests on the current screen to reveal themselves.
The treasure chests, when opened, may contain one of seven weapons: a lance, a dagger, a crossbow, a flame, a scythe, an axe, or a tri-blade. However, they may also contain a bear trap or an evil magician who, if the energy ball he releases hits Arthur, can turn him into either a baby (no armor), a seal (Steel Armor), a hornet (Bronze Armor), or a female peasant (Golden Armor), for five seconds.
Sticking with tradition, players have to complete the game twice in a row, the second time with a special weapon (the Goddess' Bracelet, which only appears during the second playthrough), before being treated to the true ending. At the true ending the evil boss Sardius, resembling a huge demon in golden armor, is confronted.
The crosses in the game were modified from the original Chōmakaimura, where they resemble church crosses; in Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, they appear as ankhs. The final boss was also renamed from Samael to Sardius.
The PAL version also removed certain enemies in the game, like the third fiery skull on level 1. It is unclear why these changes were made as it made little overall difference to the difficulty of the game.
A straight port of the Super NES version of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts is featured alongside the arcade versions of Ghosts 'n Goblins and Ghouls 'n Ghosts in the video game compilation Capcom Generation: Chronicles of Arthur for PlayStation, which was also released for the Sega Saturn in Japan as Capcom Generation 2. This PS version of the game is also included in Capcom Classics Collection for PlayStation 2 and Xbox and Capcom Classics Collection: Reloaded for PlayStation Portable. The aforementioned ports are notable for having removed the slowdown which plagued the original Super NES version.
The Game Boy Advance version, released simply as Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts in North America and Europe and as Chōmakaimura R in Japan, features an "Arrange Mode" that enables the player to choose from redesigned levels and bosses based on the original Ghosts 'n Goblins and Ghouls 'n Ghosts, depending on their success in keeping the bronze armor, or a higher difficulty tier of the standard levels set upon keeping the golden armor. Unlike the Normal Mode, in Arrange the Goddess' Bracelet is already accessible during the first playthrough. Unlike the Capcom Generations/Classics Collection ports, the Game Boy Advance port retains the slowdown of the original Super NES version, even in the redesigned levels.
The original SNES version has sold 1 million units during its release, making it one of Capcom's top-selling games of all time.