Developed by TOSE and published by Capcom for the PlayStation Portable in 2006, Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins is a remake of the classic arcade game Ghosts ‘N Goblins (and its even better sequel, Ghouls ‘N Ghosts), combining them together with new levels, new enemies, new weapons, new armour, new bosses, and new 3D graphics.
The new 3D graphics are actually quite excellent. Probably because they’re being used in a 2D, side-scrolling format. They are also enhanced with cool explosions and lighting effects, making them look fairly modern and attractive. Especially on the PSP‘s small screen.
The gameplay in Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins I think is flawed. Yes, there are lots of cool new additions, like cauldrons that turn Arthur into other things (like a tiny version of himself, or even into a rather plump woman!), and lots of secret areas to explore, but what mars the game from my point of view are the controls. Or rather: the control of Arthur I found to be both lacking, and unfair. I felt like I was constantly battling with the controls, rather than controlling an agile gaming hero… It led to much frustration and eventually giving up on the game.
While it’s true that the Ghosts ‘N Goblins series is known for its relatively high difficulty, there is a fine line between “difficult” and “unplayable”. Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins is so ridiculously difficult that it is bordering on unplayable. Which is a real pity because it does have all the makings of a classic – beautiful graphics, cool scenarios, lots of variation, a sense of humour, and the excellent ‘double jump’ from the SNES remake.
I did read somewhere on the internet that this was “the best game in the series”, but – again – that just isn’t true. Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins is too finicky, controls-wise, to challenge either the arcade original, or the Super Nintendo version.