Commodore User

Ghosts 'N Goblins
By Elite
Commodore 16

Published in Commodore User #38

Ghosts 'N Goblins

How excited all you C16 and Plus/4ers must get at the prospect of loading up an arcade conversion onto your cruelly ignored machines - especially one which has already proved to be an enormous hit in its C64 format.

I won't insult you all with the scenario of Ghosts I know you've been waiting for it in desperation. Just prepare to do battle left to right across your TV screens.

First impressions aren't too favourable. Having seen a lot of the C64 version through its development and, in its completed form, I had to force myself to have a severe amnesia attack so as to stop myself judging this by unfair standards. [Having twelve pints at lunchtime wasn't necessary though - Ed]

Ghosts 'N Goblins

The immediate problem is with the characters. They look as if they're surrounded by a black cage. There's a large block around each one which is at its most noticeable as they move in front of any coloured background. As your knight climbs the ladder in the graveyard he looks like he's in a glass lift. The problem simply disappears of course against many of the darker backgrounds in the game.

The other problem the blocks throw up comes with your knight makes contact with the other characters. What looks like a gap isn't one quite simply. Don't make the mistake of thinking you've still got time to kill a zombie if he's half a step away. Forget it, the blocks make contact and phut! A life gone.

There is a good reason for the blocks though and that's speed. For a C16 game, Ghosts is very quick and quite smooth in its scrolling. Full characters would have slowed it down considerably. I know which I'd rather have, you get used to the blocks pretty quickly and the game is still playable.

Ghosts 'N Goblins

Whilst we're on minuses there are quite a few omissions in this game. Most upsetting of all you'll be dismayed to hear is that Elite only managed to get two levels in. Even separate loads would have been acceptable for at least one more level. Add to that a distinct lack of demons and venus fly traps and worst of all, no dragon, and you'll understand my disappointment. I don't except the C16 to look like the C64, or have the depth, but I know there are ways and means of getting round these things.

The lack of various nasties may explain why Ghosts is so niggly to complete. The gatekeeper at the end of the first level (there's two at the end of the second) is very hard to beat indeed. It's easy to get as far as them with so few obstacles but you'll have a job finishing them off.

There's no real sound to speak of, and many other little holes I could pick in this game, but I think I've picked enough because the overall impression I get of Ghosts is that it's a lot better than its flaws suggest. For one more level I'd have given it a Screen Star as unreservedly as I gave the C64 version one. You deserve more value though.

Mike Pattenden

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