Ultimate Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins PSP Review

Ghosts ‘n Goblin and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts are both remembered for not only being classic games, but also for demanding a lot from those who were brave enough to step into the boxer shorts and shiny armour of Arthur, the games pint-sized and bearded knight. They were difficult games without a doubt, but were compelling enough to keep the interest of many players around the globe.

We now arrive at Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins, a PSP exclusive adventure that retains all the elements that brought fame to the series and fortune to Capcom. Traditionally the adventure takes shape when the princess is kidnapped and Arthur’s quest is therefore to save her from the clutches of evil, hopefully avoiding the indignity of being stripped down to his boxer shorts along the way (nearly dead in other words).

Capcom this time have been much more merciful to players who just couldn’t stand the extreme difficulty of previous games in the series. You’ll be met by three difficulty levels upon the beginning of your quest, the ultimate difficulty is obviously going to face you up to the massive challenge that – depending on whom you may be – either gave you immense satisfaction following progression or spoiled your enjoyment whilst playing earlier games in the series. Standard is a little more forgiving, whilst novice allows people like us to get off the first stage and continue progressing without any real hindrance. The difficulty levels are well poised and offer enough differences to test the amount of skill in your fingers, ranging from the amount of lives you begin with to having to start an entire stage all over again on the nasty ultimate difficulty after merely losing a life, it‘s cruel, but thankfully not forced onto you like it once was.

Arthur’s new adventure has you journeying through some nicely designed levels (forests, castles and swamps amongst them), judging jumps, and killing monsters with axes, daggers, whips, magic and more. Following completion, levels can be returned to at anytime, and as Arthur’s skills improve you are then able to explore areas of the levels that were unreachable in the knights earlier form. The game may seem as short as the games protagonist at first, but you’ll soon realise that this is all an illusion with a surprise being sprung on many players towards the end of the game, plus there’s various sub-missions to undertake as well as secret paths to seek out.

The attractive 3D graphics are also a first for the classic series, but unlike the similar Maximo, the game is still played from a side view, but now enhanced by 3D characters and backgrounds. What remains is the charm and humour, but now with a sharper and more vivid look. The results are beautiful on the PSP’s LCD screen with everything bouncing out at you, all wanting to be equally noticed.

Ultimate places all the series’ traditions on a plate without really adding any further – game changing – ingredients. It might be a new game, but this is as old skool as you are going to get, and does little to push towards dramatically changing the face of the series. Arthur’s return is therefore a shining and majestic one, and with this said, hardcore fans should be content with everything here, whilst we recommend those new to the series to give Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins a try.