“Ghosts ‘n Goblins” is Two Decades Old This Year

Out of all your favorite upright arcade games, chances are Ghosts ‘n Goblins gave you quite a bit of trouble and stole more than one pocketful of change. Commonly thought of as one of the hardest arcade games to master, Capcom and developer Tokuro Fujiwara’s 1985 arcade title turns 20 years old in 2015.

Knight Arthur’s Quest

Playing as a knight named Sir Arthur, the gamer takes on the scrolling platform game in a series of levels. The ultimate goal is to rescue Princess Prin-Prin who has been captured by Satan, King of the Demon World. The knight has to conquer all sorts of enemy beasts like goblins, zombies, bats and demons on the way to facing the final boss at the end of the level.

Game Difficulty

There are many reasons why the game is so difficult and retains that reputation to this day, regardless of which platform it is played on. Sir Arthur can only get hit by an enemy twice before losing a life. As soon as the life expires, the level restarts either at the beginning or the halfway point, depending on how far the gamer progressed. In addition, each life is only good for about three minutes of playing time. Speed is of the essence to finish the level before a forced restart. If the player eventually reaches and defeats the final level, they’re told to go back and repeat the entire game over again to fully complete the challenge and beat the game.

Legacy of “Ghosts ‘n Goblins”

It seems unlikely that a game causing such extreme frustration would succeed, but Ghosts ‘n Goblins became Capcom’s 8th most popular gaming franchise of all time and spawned an entire series of follow-up titles. Altogether, seven titles make up the franchise, including the original and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Makaimura for WonderSwan, Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Gold Knights, and finally Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Gold Knights II. In total, all of the entries in the series sold 4.4 million units for Capcom. Celebrate the classic arcade’s 20th birthday this year by locating a unit in a local arcade or purchasing one for your home collection – just don’t expect to beat it quickly.