Ghosts 'n Goblins

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Ghosts 'n Goblins
Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins logo.png
The Ghosts 'n Goblins series logo as seen in Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins
Genre(s)Run and gun, platformer
Creator(s)Tokuro Fujiwara
First releaseGhosts 'n Goblins
  • JP: September 19, 1985
Latest releaseGhosts 'n Goblins: Gold Knights II
  • NA: August 12, 2010
Spin-offsGargoyle's Quest, Maximo

Ghosts 'n Goblins (Japanese: 魔界村, Hepburn: Makaimura, lit. Demon World Village) is a run and gun platformer video game series created by Tokuro Fujiwara and developed by Capcom. The first entry in the series was Ghosts 'n Goblins, released as an arcade title on September 19, 1985. The series has subsequently been released on and ported to a variety of game consoles and mobile platforms and spawned several sequels and spin-offs.

The main series contains seven games: Ghosts 'n Goblins, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Makaimura for WonderSwan, Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins, Ghosts 'n Goblins: Gold Knights, and Ghosts 'n Goblins: Gold Knights II. The series focuses on the knight Arthur's quest to save princess Prin-Prin from the demon king Astaroth. The primary spin-offs include the Gargoyle's Quest and Maximo game series.

The series as a whole has sold over 4.4 million units and stands as the 8th best-selling Capcom game franchise.[1] It has gained a reputation among players for its high level of difficulty.[2][3][4][5]

List of games[edit]

Release timeline
1985Ghosts 'n Goblins
1988Ghouls 'n Ghosts
1990Gargoyle's Quest
1991Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
1992Gargoyle's Quest II
1994Demon's Crest
1999Makaimura for WonderSwan
2001Maximo: Ghosts to Glory
2003Maximo vs. Army of Zin
2006Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins
2009Ghosts 'n Goblins: Gold Knights
2010Ghosts 'n Goblins: Gold Knights II

Main series[edit]

The main series consists of run and gun platformers with players controlling a knight named Arthur who must battle through hordes of the undead in order to rescue the kidnapped princess Prin-Prin (also known as Guinevere, or not named altogether depending on the game/translation) from the demon king Astaroth. Arthur's health and magic level is represented by the armor he wears, with Arthur capable of finding better armor and various weapons in treasure chests hidden throughout the game stages; even so, regardless of how powerful the armor Arthur wears is, he will lose it with a single hit. Once losing his armor Arthur is left only wearing his boxers (an image which has become iconic for the series).[2] In most of the main series, once completing the game the player is forced to re-play the game's stages at a higher difficulty level in order to receive the game's "true" ending. The series has gained a reputation among gamers for its high level of difficulty.[2]

Gargoyle's Quest series[edit]

The Gargoyle's Quest series is a group of side-scrolling adventure games with mild role-playing video game elements. Players control the character of Firebrand, a character who is based on an enemy in the main series.

Maximo series[edit]

Maximo is a 3D hack and slash platformer series developed by Capcom for the PlayStation 2. The games are based on the Ghosts 'n Goblins universe and feature original character designs by Japanese illustrator Susumu Matsushita.


Appearances in other media[edit]


Mega Man series[edit]

X Capcom series[edit]

  • Namco × Capcom – Arthur is a playable character. Astaroth, Nebiroth, and Red Arremer Joker appear as bosses along with several Ghosts 'n Goblins mob characters. The Demon Village is a major location in the game as well.
  • Project X Zone – Arthur is a playable character. Arremers appear yet again as standard enemies.

vs. Capcom series[edit]

Comics & Manga[edit]

Wan Pakku Comics[edit]

In 1986, Ghosts'n Goblins was adapted into a manga by Sawada Yukio and published by Wan Pakku Comics, released as a five-part story in the anthology series Hisshō Tekunikku Kan Peki-ban (必勝テクニック完ペキ版).

Comic BomBom[edit]

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts and Gargoyle's Quest are two of the video games featured in the manga titled Rock'n Game Boy, by Shigeto Ikehara and published by Comic BomBom October 1989 to December 1991.

Corocoro Comic[edit]

Ghosts 'n Goblins, was one of the video games adapted into a manga titled Famicom Ryu (1985-1987) and Nekketsu! Famicom Shounendan (1986-1987), published by Comic Coro Coro.

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts is one of the video games featuring in the manga titled Cyber Boy, by Nagai Noriaki, Published by Coro Coro Comic and Shogakukan, from 1991 to 1993.

Archie Comics[edit]

The series would later be included in the Archie Comics Worlds Unite crossover along with various other Capcom and Sega franchises, with the Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man comic lines providing the backdrop.[11]


  • Arthur: A knight in the service of princess Prin-Prin. Arthur is the primary protagonist of the Ghosts 'n Goblins series. The usage of the name Arthur is an allusion to King Arthur of Arthurian Legend.
  • Astaroth: A demon king and the primary antagonist of the Ghosts 'n Goblins series. When near death he transforms into the undead demon king Nebiroth, a separate entity and personality from Astaroth. The name Astaroth is an allusion to the Astaroth found in medieval demonology.
Firebrand as he appears in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
  • Firebrand: Known as The Red Arremer in Japan, Firebrand is the primary protagonist of the Gargoyle's Quest series. He belongs to a race of gargoyled demons known as the Red Arremer Tribe, considered the elite warriors of the demon king Astaroth. He is considered a hero among his peers, and as such he has been nicknamed Red Blaze (a title shared with his ancestor in Gargoyle's Quest II, also named Firebrand) due to his bright red skin and prowess with fiery magic. The Red Arremer tribe appears as standard enemies in the main Ghosts 'n Goblins series, while a fiery blue silhouette of a Red Arremer serves as the series' logo.
  • Breager: An evil conqueror from another dimension that serves as the primary antagonist in Gargoyle's Quest. Firebrand is sent to destroy Breager and save the Demon Realm. In the prequel game Gargoyle's Quest II, Breager also attempted to conquer the Demon Realm but was defeated by Firebrand's ancestor.
  • Grimm: The grim reaper who frees Maximo from limbo and aids him on his journey in exchange for killing Achille.
  • Lancelot: One of Arthur's knights with a unique jump attack. He is kidnapped and brainwashed to fight Arthur. The usage of the name Lancelot is an allusion to Lancelot of Arthurian Legend.
  • Lucifer: Translated as Rushifell in Gargoyle's Quest and Gargoyle's Quest II, and alternatively referred to as Loki (Ghouls 'n Ghosts), Hades (Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins), and Satan. Lucifer is an extremely powerful noble in the demon realm and serves as the end-game boss in many of the games in the Ghosts 'n Goblins franchise. In the Gargoyle's Quest series he functions as both a rival and assisting character, testing and then aiding Firebrand in reaching his full potential. Lucifer despises Astaroth (who he frequently overthrows to rule the demon realm), though he is an ally with Nebiroth.
  • Maximo: The primary protagonist of the Maximo series. Maximo is a king who is slain by his adviser Achille. He strikes a deal with Grimm, the grim reaper, in order to rescue his betrothed, Sophia.
  • Perceval: One of Arthur's knights and a powerful short-range fighter with a unique dash attack. The usage of the name Perceval is an allusion to Perceval of Arthurian Legend.
  • Phalanx: A rival demon to Firebrand and the primary antagonist of Demon's Crest. Using the power of magical Crests that he stole from Firebrand, he rules and oppresses the Demon Realm. His chief general is Arma, who confronts Firebrand multiple times during his quest to destroy Phalanx.
  • Prin-Prin: Princess Prin-Prin is the ruler of the human realm—Ghouls 'n Ghosts specifies the Kingdom of Hus—and the last human with royal blood. She serves as the primary foil of the Ghosts 'n Goblins series. Astaroth kidnaps her in order to use her royal blood to invade the human realm. Although always referred to as Prin-Prin in Japan, she has been called both Prin-Prin and Guinevere in the various American releases. The usage of Guinevere is an allusion to Guinevere of Arthurian Legend.
  • Sardius: Known as Samael in Japan, he is the primary demon antagonist and end-boss from Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts.
  • Sophia: The primary foil of the Maximo series. Sophia is Maximo's betrothed, kidnapped at the beginning of Maximo: Ghosts to Glory.


The Ghosts 'n Goblins franchise was created by Tokuro Fujiwara (also known for producing games in the Mega Man franchise) and is produced by Capcom. Toshio Arima served as lead programmer and Ayako Mori composed the score for the original arcade release in 1985.


Makaimura Ongakutaizen
Soundtrack album by
Ayako Mori, Tamayo Kawamoto, Mari Yamaguchi, Tomohiro Masuda, Nobuhiko Isa, Harumi Fujita, Yuki Iwai & Norihiko Togashi
ReleasedDecember 28, 2005
GenreVideo game music

The original score for the initial arcade release of Ghosts 'n Goblins was composed by Ayako Mori. The music developed for the game's first level, entitled "Graveyard, Forest & Ice Palace," has since become recognized as the official theme for the franchise, appearing in a re-mixed form in every entry of the main series as well as making cameo appearances in other Capcom games such as Mega Man 7 and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Tamayo Kawamoto composed the score for Ghouls 'n Ghosts, the next entry in the series, followed by Mari Yamaguchi for Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (with Tomohiro Masuda and Nobuhiko Isa handling the GBA re-release), and Masaya Tsunemoto and Kazuhiro Kotani for Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins. The score for the Gargoyle's Quest spin-off series was composed by Harumi Fujita (I)[12] and Yuki Iwai (II) (with Norihiko Togashi handling the Game Boy re-release of Gargoyle's Quest II).[13]

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the franchise, Capcom released the Makaimura Ongakutaizen in Japan on December 28, 2005. This 7 disc boxed set featured over 350 tracks and was a complete soundtrack for the series to date featuring the complete scores of not only every entry of the Ghosts 'n Goblins and Gargoyle's Quest series, but also of every PC and home console port of each game therein. This collection quickly sold out and was praised by various video game music review sites. In reference to the series' soundtrack as a whole, one reviewer noted:

With each of Makaimura's original scores, Capcom's composers and sound programmers pushed various consoles to the limits to produce high quality scores. With Makaimura, Daimakaimura, and Choumakaimura, the series evolved admirably to refine a dark action-packed orchestral sound that fitted the scenes of the games. The classic series is especially strong thematically, remembered not just for the first stage theme but for other striking compositions. The series has demonstrated plenty of diversity over the years with the Baroque-influenced approaches to Makaimura for WonderSwan and the Red Arremer titles, the exceptionally ambient score to Demon's Blazon Makaimura Monshou Hen, and the dabs of avant-garde and rock influence in the classic series. All these factors considered, the series has secured the legacy of being one of the most musically and technologically influential video game franchises.[14]

Though selling for around $100 upon its release, the collection was highly sought out by fans and continues to fetch a high price on Internet auction sites such as eBay.

Capcom released a soundtrack for Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins on September 30, 2006.


The Ghosts 'n Goblins franchise stands as Capcom's 8th best selling game franchise, having sold over 4.4 million units.[1] It is generally well regarded by critics, and somewhat notorious for its traditional high level of difficulty.[2][3][4][5] Additionally, the franchise frequently makes cameo appearances—the character of Arthur in particular—in other Capcom titles, the latest of which being Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

The main series starring Sir Arthur and Princess Prin-Prin was initially released as an arcade title in 1985 and subsequently re-released and ported to a variety of home computer consoles. It continues as an active intellectual property for Capcom with its latest release in 2010 on Apple's iOS. The NES release of Ghosts 'n Goblins was rated as the 54th best NES game of all time by IGN[2] and the 124th best game on a Nintendo console by Nintendo Power.[15] The game is considered by GameTrailers to be the world's second most difficult game ever made.[5] As of 2008, the original Ghosts 'n Goblins is Capcom's 18th best selling title, having sold over 1.6 million units. Similarly, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts is Capcom's 42nd best selling title, having sold over 1 million units.[16]

The main series went on a minor hiatus after the release of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts in 1991. Capcom general producer Noritaka Funamizu explained that the Ghosts 'n Goblins games take a long time to develop and were not popular in Japan; as a result, Capcom had taken a net loss on previous installments and were wary of producing a new entry.[17] With the exception of the largely overlooked Makaimura for WonderSwan which was released only in Japan, and a re-release of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts on the Game Boy Advance, the main Ghosts 'n Goblins series did not see a major release until Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins on the PlayStation Portable in 2006. The return of the series received mixed to positive reviews. GameSpot noted that the entry would appeal to fans of the original, but that many of the old-school game mechanics including level design and jump mechanics, along with the traditional level of difficulty, may not appeal to the current generation of gamers.[18] These concerns were echoed by such sites as GameDaily and AtomicGamer.[19] Other sites such as IGN[20] and GameCritics[21] praised this adherence to the series' old-school mechanics and traditional level of difficulty, while noting that the new health, armor, and waypoint systems as well as tiered difficulty options went a long way in adjusting the difficulty for new gamers. Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins was also the first entry in the series to employ 3D graphics, a fact praised by most reviewers: "The 3D graphics enhance the 2D gameplay by giving the world a sense of depth without interfering with the gameplay, and the whole package simply glows with vibrant color and lighting effects."[18]

The Gargoyles Quest spin-off saw a series of releases between 1990 and 1994. The introduction of RPG elements in Gargoyles Quest was praised, however reviewers noted an uneven level of difficulty. Demon's Crest was highly regarded as "one of the finest action titles on SNES, and without a doubt the crowning achievement of the Ghosts 'n Goblins line" by critics however went largely unnoticed in terms of sales being labeled a "major flop." Similarly, the Maximo spin-off sub-series was initially well-received, though criticized for being difficult and inaccessible. Ghosts to Glory (2001) achieved PlayStation 2 Greatest Hits status in the United States selling more than 400,000 units in North America. IGN ranked the game as the 6th most difficult game on the PlayStation 2.[4] A sequel, Maximo vs. Army of Zin was released in 2003 with better critical reception but faltering sales, ultimately leading to the cancellation of Maximo 3. The future of both the Gargoyles Quest and Maximo spin-off series is unknown.


  1. ^ a b "Capcom release lifetime sales figures". Edge. 2008-05-25. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Ghosts n' Goblins: The Top 100 NES Games of all Time". IGN. 2010-04-06. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  3. ^ a b "Ghosts n' Goblins: Can't Beat It? Spend Some Money On Virtual Armor". Inside Social Games. 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  4. ^ a b c "Most Challenging PS2 Games of All Time". IGN. April 27, 2005.
  5. ^ a b c "Top Ten Most Difficult Games". GameTrailers. August 12, 2008. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
  6. ^ Official webpage for Puzzle Makaimura in Capcom Japan
  7. ^ Official webpage for Puzzle Makaimura Revenge in Capcom Japan
  8. ^ Official webpage for Puzzle Makaimura Final in Capcom Japan
  9. ^ "Photographic image of flyer" (JPG). Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  10. ^ "Photographic image of poster" (JPG). Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  11. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (2015-02-26). "Capcom and Sega Join Forces for Worlds Unite Comic Book Crossover". Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  12. ^ "Otoya". Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
  13. ^ Makaimura Ongakutaizen (Media notes) (in Japanese). Various. Suleputer. December 28, 2005.CS1 maint: others (link)
  14. ^ "Makaimura Music Collection". 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2005-12-28.
  15. ^ "NP Top 200". Nintendo Power. 200. February 2006. pp. 58–66.
  16. ^ "Capcom release lifetime sales figures". The Game Gene. 2008. Archived from the original on 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  17. ^ "An Interview with Noritaka Funamizu". Next Generation. No. 28. Imagine Media. April 1997. p. 70.
  18. ^ a b "Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins Review". GameSpot. 2006-08-29. Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  19. ^ "Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins Review". AtomicGamer. 2006-08-29. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  20. ^ "Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins Review". IGN. 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  21. ^ "Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins Review". GameCritics. 2006-08-29. Archived from the original on 2007-11-22. Retrieved 2010-11-02.

External links[edit]