Ten Minute Game Review: Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts (SNES)

Something a little new… and a little old.. here at Alexkidman.com.

A quick bit of introduction here, and an admission.
I own too many games. Perhaps not as many as the recently-profiled-on-Good-Game Kevin Chan, although I was surprised when he claimed to only own a thousand games or so. I don’t have a house *full* of games, and I easily clocked over the 1,000 mark earlier this year. I also shocked a LOT of people I know by selling off largish chunks of the collection earlier on (choice comment that I actually got: “Will your children thank you for selling off their inheritance?”). That was a space decision, and largely precipitated by the fact that I kept staring at games that I either had no particular desire to play, or time to play, or large enough social gatherings to play.
That cull having been done, I still have far too many games… and precious little time to play them, what with work (which includes mandatory game playing — not a bad gig to have, for sure, but not as much fun as it sounds when you HAVE to play through something in a day flat, and you don’t much like it in the first place), family, and the intermittent indulgence in that thing they call sleep.
Enter the 10 minute game challenge. Modelled on existing ideas — most notably the Games For Lunch blog — but with more of an eye to whether it’s worth keeping a game that’s already in my collection still there. Great games get kept. Ordinary ones (or ones that I no longer have any interest in — my time for lengthy RPGs, or games that ONLY work in Multiplayer is severely limited) go to either eBay or those that want them*.
Oh, and unlike many of the “review things really quickly” sites, I’m not looking at new games, simply because that’s part of my day job. This will be (essentially) retro only. And with that in mind, on with the show:

Game #1: Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts

Format: SNES
My Copy Is: Unboxed and yellowing at the back

My copy looks nothing like this. There's no box, for a startMy copy doesn’t look like this, largely because this is a box. I don’t have one.

Ah, Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts. I don’t think I’ve fired up a copy in several years — I’ve also got a Japanese copy of the GBA version kicking around, picked up in Tokyo on one of my all-too-rare work trips. Awesomely hard, and a game with some family history. I’m sure my long-suffering mother would still have a nervous twitch if I fired up the music from the Amstrad version of Ghosts ‘N Goblins, the immediate predecessor in this game series. Time now, though, to dust off the cartridge, note how yellow the plastic at the back of it is — from memory it was a second-hand pickup — and get playing.
Quite why King Arthur has to perform this quest himself is never explained. Whatever happened to a King having an Army?
A manly man. He's wearing sold steel over boxers.. and nothing else.

Ten minutes later: Wow.. this game still holds up. Sure, it’s tough — in ten minutes I only just make it onto the ghost ship, but most of that is due to my own errors, and especially my own greed. While many gamers hate tough games, I couldn’t call the balance in Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts anything but superb — it’s risk and reward stuff all the way.
The creature design is still superb — I have a particular affection for the ghosts who break up beautifully when hit — and the music is evocative. If my Japanese was better, I’d try to track down the soundtrack, as it’s a great score. Oddly, I don’t think I have the Megadrive version of this game, which is the true arcade conversion. I guess I’ll find out when I go through my Megadrive collection.
The Ten Minute Verdict: A keeper. The very definition of a ten minute game, too — I can pick this up, throw a few daggers through a few zombies and then get on with my day. I still don’t know what the shields you pick up do, though — does anyone?
*Note on this: Don’t ask me for games if I don’t actually know who you are. Given the age of the stuff I’m going through this probably isn’t a concern, but if you’re a mate, you’re more than welcome. If you’re someone I don’t know, go buy your own…

About the author

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

Comments

  1. Nice one Alex, keep it up. I look forward to many more reviews that will save me multiple 10 minute periods of evaluation. I feel your pain, I also have a stack of games that are somewhere between keepers anmy next eBay listing.

  2. I’m sure I have space in my collection for Secret of Mana if you don’t have time for it anymore.
    Either that or we should see how much of the game you can finish in ten minutes.

  3. Certain titles may be reviewed for 10 minute game review, but are in no danger of leaving the collection. I’ll let you work out where SoM fits into the scheme of things.

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