109. Ghosts’n Goblins

Ghosts’n Goblins (1986, NES) by Capcom

Current Leaderboard for 2 Loops (speedrun.com)

Some games have a reputation that proceeds them.  These games are notorious for their legendary status as a quarter-munching test of patience, skill, and fortitude.  The level of difficulty reserved for a special kind of game, one in which you must prepare to play.  This aint like picking up a quick game of Pac-Man; you have to be ready to play Ghosts’n Goblins when you boot this bad boy up, or you’re in for a world of pain.  Luckily for myself, I got as ready as I ever could, and although I was unable to get a “clean” run, I am very proud of myself for my 2-Loops PB and encourage other runners to check this game out.  Let me tell you why.

Remember that this game came out in 1986, and was a relatively big game for its’ day. When this Capcom arcade port came to the NES and Famicom, the Japanese market was switching over to the new “Famicom Disk System” floppy disk format (which the US never got, sadly), and Capcom made a big gamble making this game a cartridge-based game.  This is a story for another time, but that really puts the graphics, music, and gameplay into perspective.  In ’86, most cartridge-based games were simple and small, arcade-style games like Mario Bros. or Donkey Kong.  This was a must-own game for the NES in its’ day, with colorful graphics, good music, and solid controls.  So why do people seem to hate this game so much?

This game is too hard.  It’s extremely fair for what it’s worth, but it’s very challenging.  The faint of heart shall not apply.  So many 80’s kids never saw level 3 in this game, much less beat 2 loops of it.  I was one of these kids.  This game is notoriously difficult.  You can only get hit 2 times and armor refills are rare and well hidden.  You can only attack a specific number of times before the game makes you wait for your weapons to go off-screen, making some of the faster enemies very difficult to kill without taking a hit (specifically the rage-inducing Arrimers, also known as the lil red devils), if not outright impossible in some situations.  Tough platforming (with admittedly janky controls) and random spawns make this a toughy.

Luckily the speedrun does some cool stuff to help alleviate the pain and even the playing field.  We use a frame-based manip to control spawns and hordes, but it IS quite tough to keep up (I usually messed it up by the end of stage 2 in the 1st loop).  We also use damage boosting to skip large chunks of the game, especially in levels 5 and 6 which are insanely tough otherwise.  This is a seriously tough speedrun, but it’s actually quite easy to learn, and since Loop 2 is just a harder version of Loop 1, learning 2-loops is almost money-in-the-bank if you learn the 1st one.  This is a feather-in-the-cap speedrun for your profile, and man what a fun run it is!

In conclusion, I cannot stress this enough; if you’re a skilled gamer/speedrunner looking for a challenge, the Ghosts ‘n Goblins speedrun is severely underrated and is a blast!  And you, your viewers, and your friends will love watching you take it on!  Don’t miss out!

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