Ghouls 'n Ghosts review - Sega Megadrive

Read Original Review PDF for Ghouls 'n Ghosts

Ghouls 'n Ghosts box artBrave Sir Arthur the Knight is back, once again searching for his girlfriend who has been kidnapped by Lucifer!

The mission of mercy is set over five scrolling levels, starting in the graveyard, then moving to hell desert, up a castle's battlements, down through icy underground caverns and finally inside a castle dungeon.

Our hero can run and jump and is initially armed with a lance that can be thrown left, right, up or down - but it's best to throw it in the direction of the nearest baddie. These horrors come in a multitude of shapes and sizes: vultures and skeletons are among the first to be encountered, and later worms and even Cerberus (the mythical three-headed dog) bar your progress.

Being hit results in you losing your armour, meaning that you must go on in your undies - another hit means death. Some thingies, like the Venus flytraps, kill you automatically, but either way death comes quickly and frequently.The end of level guardians are huge and deadly and must be shot repeatedly to finish them off. Needless to say, they don't just stand there while you attack, but unleash various forms of attacks to be avoided! It's a tough game. But did anyone say it would be easy?

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" What a stunner! Not only does Ghouls 'n' Ghosts have some of the best graphics and sound you're likely to see and hear on a console game, it's also one of the hardest games you're likely to play. But even though it'll have you cursing with frustration, it's so good you just keep on coming back for more. The game is packed with surprises - the giant end-of-level guardians are all highly original, the spooky soundtracks are superb, the sound effects are excellent and some of the baddie sprites are incredible. Add this all together and you've got a game that really shouldn't miss. "

" What a brilliant game! The graphics are wonderful, and the sound is great. My only qualm is its difficulty - it's very hard, and I think some people will have trouble with it. It's worth persevering though, as they don't come much better than this. I particularly like all the little touches that make the game so enjoyable, such as the array of weapons and foes. When the hurricane starts blowing, running becomes harder - an excellent visual effect. Although there are only five levels, each one is graphically unqiue - you really want to see the next level! Do yourself a favour - but this game now. "


Overall Score92%

Retrospective comments


When you look at this game today, it's hard to believe that it was one of the very first Megadrive releases. Sega did an amazing job of reprogramming the Capcom arcade original - the port isn't quite arcade perfect but you have to look closely to spot the (minor) differences. Graphically it's brilliant, with nice bright colours and some lovely bold sprites. The music is simple, but effective - the main theme is a real classic. The game packs a stern challenge - once you've completed it you have to go through the levels all over again - and it kept me busy for months.

The only negative point I can think of is the sprite flicker, which gets quite bad on some of the larger bosses, but this was a common problem in many early Megadrive games so it's forgiveable.

Only bettered by the excellent Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts on the SNES, the game remains one of the best platformers on the 16-bit Sega.

Tris Wicks - 05 Nov 2008, 01:01 GMT

This is better than the SNES version, at least because this is arcade perfect. Incredible.

Richy Girth - 04 Dec 2008, 13:22 GMT

Well this game was a deliberate conversion whereas Super Ghouls n Ghosts was a totally different installment/sequel to Ghouls.
The graphics are definitely not identical. The PCE:TG version was closer. MD GNG does resemble the arcade graphics well, but when I found a machine in Margate one summer of '91 after I had owned the MD version for a while, I noticed the visual differences right away. But until that moment, from blurry screenshot comparisons I too was fooled.

I can see why got such a high rating though, and I'll never forget how obsessed I was about getting it, being a big Ghosts N Goblins fan before... So it was like my second bought game for the MD and I played it to death. The mechanics of the game are pretty much there and to be fair, with the graphics that the arcade version had, It was amazing to see that they did it on the megadrive as well as they did, and that impressed me with both programmers and machine...and for years it was the most perfect version available in the UK on official release. (It beat the shit out of the US Gold versions...Another 'ST port to Amiga' wasted opportunity.)
This game'll always be in my top three games of all time, and I love this version too, I still think though, with the superior graphics handling abilities of the SNES seen in Super Ghouls N Ghosts, that a SNES version of the original might have taken the 'most arcade perfect version' title from the PCETG..

Dan - 30 Jan 2009, 13:41 GMT

Great game, but I did preffer the SNES version - just. However, this was still absolutely fantastic and, if anything, more replayable than the SNES version.

Hated the weapon you had to obtain though, and that blue bomb thing - yuk!

Robin - 15 Apr 2009, 12:40 GMT

I was actually glad that the SNES version was different to the arcade because I could then play two games! (got both versions). This version was okay although I thought the graphics could have been better, but it satisfied my curiosity enough. The SNES version was very challenging compared to this. I think the SNES programmers were very clever as well incorporating well level designs, adding more levels, removing the sword, and improving the fire weapon greatly. It is a shame that these type of games are now out of style, but it would even look better on a PS3 designed game. Imagine that, a PS3 sidescroller similar to little big planet except its ghouls n ghosts!

Richy Girth - 16 May 2009, 22:14 GMT

Sounds like Ultimate ghosts 'n goblins on the PSP may be the game for you, Robin. :)

digi-d - 15 Dec 2012, 16:41 GMT

It was PCE SuperGrafx Daimakaimura (Japanese Ghouls n Ghosts) that was graphically superior (but audibly inferior) to the Sega Megadrive version - although these days the Saturns Capcom Volume 2. version is closest yet to arcade version.

Tim Chuma - 22 May 2013, 08:41 GMT

This was one of the games I got with my Megadrive for Christmas along with Revenge of Shinobi, I can't even believe it. I only managed to fully beat it by cheating. You could get stuck if you picked up the wrong weapon at certain points.

Mean Machines Issue 1 - October 1990
Platform Game Sega Megadrive
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