Monday, October 16, 2006

Ultimate Ghosts N' Goblins from Capcom!

Recently, I was invited to review Ultimate Ghosts N' Goblins from Capcom. I've played the game for a week and a half now and quite frankly, I'm loving it. Now before you think I've sold out and will throw a good review on anyone that sends me a free game, let me refer you to the Branded Newb archive: My GameTap post on 3/30/06:

The new TV offering consists of 5 original channels and over 250 on demand video clips. My favorite part of the press release: Capcom adds Ghouls and Ghosts to the GameTap lineup. [image included]
So you see, I'm a fan of the series. Back in the day, I couldn't get enough of the original. Maybe it was some subconscious knight in shining armor aspirations or maybe it was a much deeper dude in boxers throwing lances thing. Who knows, don't judge me! Needless to say, I was kinda excited about playing the updated version.

For me, the new PSP version didn't disappoint. Now I have to caveat this by saying that I would probably never want to play this on a console, my expectations of console games is pure current-gen old-school free. However, as the device gets smaller, so does my expectations (it's why I love bubble breaker on my cell). Ultimate Ghosts N' Goblins is a great handheld title because it's fast paced, you can play in short bursts and there's not a single thing to read, it's all eye candy goodness.

First the pro's: Visually, it looks great. All the levels have a unique look and feel with appropriately unique environmental obstacles. You definitely don't get bored the first time through (more on this later).

The controls are classic so there's a learning curve to become twitch proficient but I kinda like that they're simple. I get self-conscious when I'm contorting myself wildly in public.

The gameplay is a basic sidescroller "get through without getting smacked" affair. This lends itself to a satisfyingly fast-paced experience. What's interesting about this version is that they've put in a bunch of auxillary goals. I find myself spending more time trying to explore the whole level rather than bashing through it. Must find more chests!

The con's: You can't beat the game by just getting to the end. The game requires you to play through until you've successfully mastered each level (that is, picked up all the gold rings scattered about). Since there are only 5 levels, you find yourself getting major deja vu... like staring at the menu at Taco Bell. This can get rather frustrating since there are certain levels you don't want to redo... Level 2-2, I will OWN you!

The bosses don't mean much. I don't know about you but I kinda like boss levels in general. They're a nice conclusion to a level and when you beat a tough boss, you get that great sense of accomplishment. I don't get that sense here. The bosses are fairly easy, have easy to hit sweet spots and are pretty cheap with the loot. I like loot, give me more loot.

The game has its fair share of jumping obstacles and if you're like me, you rack up the falling deaths. To stay sane, I found myself using the flying shield item all the time. Now this gets fairly annoying since the shield goes away after a while, causing you to have to warp to another level just to get more. I didn't like how it made me feel to be a flying shield addict. I'm just a "social" flying shielder, seriously.

Overall, you can expect to have a pretty good time. It's not going to win any game of the year awards or break any new ground in terms of innovation but it's a good staple to have in the library.

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