Certainly a heavy stipulation to tag onto any resolution is the line “unless I die in the process,” but with a game as sinisterly difficult as Ultimate Ghosts’n'Goblins it may just come down to that. Given to me as a christmas present, I dove right in on December 25th and chose the Normal Difficulty level as I always do. Sometimes I glance at the stigmata known as “Pussy mode”, but never do I venture through a game in that hopped up love fest. After about an hour it became clear to me that this game had in fact bitch slapped me into a submissive, drooling, little worm of a game player. I could finish the first level, but the number of lives I escaped with was less then needed to get through the other eleven, much less one more.
My tail set snuggly between my legs, I returned to the title screen, closed my eyes, asked god for the salvation of my noobish soul, and accessed the Easy Mode. It was with nothing short of inconcievable terror that I soon found out that even on the wimpiest of wimpy settings I was not going to be able to easily best this game. I am now what the mini-level map indicates as roughly half-way through the game, and it has really come to the task of playing a single level with no regards to how many lives I lose, simply knowing that I will eventually have to play it again once I’ve mastered all of its dark secrets to get through with as few lacerations as possible. Do not take any of this in the wrong way, it is an absolutely delightful game to play, it is simply so difficult my soul tears at the very fabric of reality to escape this meek shell of existence.
All of this surprises me especially because there is no Metroid like promise of nudity when the game is beaten within a single human lifetime, in fact the noble knight becomes buff after any naughty ghost or wayward skeleton peers in the right direction. No sooner do I experience the euphoria of donning full golden armor worthy of Arthur himself when an ethereal specter winks, blows me a kiss and transforms me into a frog, or skeleton, or pre-pubescent boy who only wants to go home and removes the necessary double-jump ability that is the only thing keeping me alive. Slamming the jump button as I fall to my endless doom in a pit of black only strengthens my desire to beat the game, so that my dreams may finally be free.
I give it a 7 out of 10, it is really a sweet remake of the classic 2d game, though really a sequel in its own right I call it a remake because no sprites or graphics have been re-used. In fact, the entire franchise was re-done in full and beautiful 3d graphics that are not wasted with the 2d presentation. If it were longer, and not eye-gougingly difficult, it could earn an 8 out of 10 or even the mythical 9 out of 10, but due to stress, anguish, and simple spite for making me realize the heights of my own noobism, its score is lowered. If you like a challenge, or worse yet need one, then this is certainly up there as one of the hardest games around these days. I don’t believe there would be much of a time investment, were you to pick it up and instantly master every facet of it, but such a human being only exists in fantasy as the developers have most likely killed them already, so that their secrets are lost forever.