It's been more than ten years since I slogged my way through the original Ghosts 'n Goblins on NES, and, sad to say, my impression of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts for SNES didn't end up being much better. The game is very similar to the original in terms of the setup, but it's clearly superior for many reasons. The graphics are much better, and there's a lot more variety in the stages, but the bigger upgrade is that the weapons system has been enhanced. Like the original game, there's a variety of weapons you can make use of such as a spear-like lance weapon, a dagger, torch, and an axe, but in this game you also can gain bronze and gold armor which dramatically enhance your weapon. Much like the spread gun in the Contra games, the bow and arrows gives you double firepower and was an easy favorite for me, but the one-hit penalty that is the series' trademark and that causes you to lose your armor and the power-up is a major bummer. This unforgiving life system and the high level of difficulty which oftentimes just seems unfair end up really sucking out all the enjoyment from the game. The game does provide an options menu that lets you adjust the difficulty level and increase your number of lives as well as a level select cheat code, but even with limitless save states when playing it via Switch Online the game rarely felt more than just a pain to make any sort of progress through.

For its time I can see why it was well-received by some gamers, but from a modern standpoint there just seem to be so many better ways to spend my time than replaying the same stage over and over and over again just to make a tiny bit of progress. To top it all of, as with the original you have to beat the game twice to see the actual ending, and to add insult to injury you have to beat the final bosses with a powered down weapon. Ugh! This is a game that I really wanted to like, but in the end I have to lump it in with its predecessor as games that I'm glad I'll never have to play again. Too bad! Other games in the series have gotten good reviews, including the most recent release from February of this year, but as for me it's going to be quite some time before I feel compelled to face another dose of this particular brand of pain.


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