This game is pure hell. PURE. HELL
Why then do I love it so much? What moment did I have with this game that taught me a valuable lesson?
Well? In 1989, a young 9-year-old love platform gaming. Since I had trained vigorously in the Mario series and experience Ghost’N’Goblins first level, I have used my knowledge and memories of Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania action platforming skin. Birthed by Mega Man, my platforming skills were at a high level where all I had to do was base my control on timing and slow down the game provided. Although I never beat Ghost’N’Goblins, that try again attitude resonated with me playing difficult games that earn you respect because of the progress that was made.
Sometimes when I gamed on older consoles, I would go for high scores or try to beat the game in one sitting or how fast I can get through everything. I would record passwords the game provided and return to it when I was ready. When the 16 bit days came, my taste in games grew and changed at the time. Actraiser is a prime example. I was drawn in by the platforming that was shown on the back of the box. I didn’t realize the sim part of the game and had to learn how all of it worked. I made my paths and pleased the people. I just wanted to get back the action part of it. I know its further in the lifespan of the 16 bit but that’s how I learn to love different genres in the 16-bit era.
Ghouls’N’Ghost though is a different beast. Understanding the mechanics of the game, the progress in the game was going to be challenging to say the least. I had to pay attention to patterns and respawning of enemies as well as choosing the right weapon, dodging enemies, knowing the level layout, and dealing with the Sega Genesis controller. Now, I did play Super Ghouls’N’Ghost and got to learn that game also. What I didn’t expect though was the requirement in the game.
“I HAVE TO DO ALL OF THIS OVER AGAIN” was a quote a yelled in my room at this rental copy of a game. Ghost’N’Goblins was our Demon Souls or “Souls” genre of gaming. A high difficulty with no saves. You want the true ending, you going to work at the game to earn it. I battled the Mega Man bosses at the end of those games but I didn’t have to do their whole level with one particular weapon to enter the final boss.
Death after Death to make progress. Hating that jump back when hit. Getting frustrated that I lost my focus on the pattern that is being displayed and just spending to much time on certain section made me realize: Quitting entirely to play something else that is enjoyable is alright. I didn’t like giving up on games at times because I have the determination to get through a game.
Now that I am older and think about the series, I have learned that sometimes, a game isn’t for you. It also may not be a game for you at that period of your life. See, when I got to Super Ghouls’N’Ghost, I was aware what was coming. I knew that I would have to redo the game with that particular weapon. I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t a quitter. I accepted for what it was and knew that I may never beat any of these games but I would enjoy the experience. I would work on getting better and take my skills to another level. Work with what you got.
So I have Bloodborne. I have recognized a lot of its problems and put the game to the side. At the time of this writing, I am dealing with Ori And The Blind Forest and dealing with its problems. I know if I stay working at it and continue to give my best, I will make progress. When it stops being fun, quit but don’t fully give up. Ghouls’N’Ghost taught me that lesson. If I could return to it, maybe I could finish it and revisit some of the troubling parts.
I think a lot of players of this age will never know the work and skill it took progress in games in the 80’s and 90’s. It would be hard for them to adapt to the limitations those games were at but I think if they built up their skills and pattern recognition of today, they should be able to apply it to the past. If History of those games is long lasting, then they should find out why games like these provide the moments we cherish. As for me, Ghouls’N’Ghost is a moment of gaming I hope to continue to carry throughout my gaming years
It still is Pure Hell and that will never change. I, for one, have come to embrace it. Now, Treasure’s games, on the other hand, is another level of Pure Hell Of Fun. That’s another moment for another time.