Commodore User

Ghosts 'N Goblins
By Elite
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #34

Ghosts And Goblins

How many games and adventures can you think of where a fair maiden is kidnapped and imprisoned by a nasty character only to be rescued by a young prince? The answer is a hell of a lot. The plot is standard folklore and goes back to legends like Orpheus and Beauty and the Beast down the ages to Superman and King Kong. Some of the stories are naff, and some are classics. The same goes for computer games.

Ghosts And Goblins falls into the classic variety of such implementations. It's a faithful representation of Capcom's coin-op of the same name and Elite's second major arcade conversion of the year.

Whereas Bombjack was flawed in several places Chris Butlet, whose previous work on Commando was fine but nothing special had done a great job packing all the elements of the original into the C64.

Ghosts 'N Goblins

The gameplay is straightforward. Scroll right across the screen fighting off the nasties until you reach the dragon's lair wherein your girl is incarcerated. Nothing new, nothing original but furious joystick clenching, fire-button-stabbing action.

You begin in a haunted graveyard where zombies rise up out of the ground like a scene from Spielberg's Poltergeist. From here on, it's only you and your wits separating you from an early death. You have two lives. The first touch from a nasty makes you jump out of your armour the second touch reduces you to a pile of bones.

If you fail, as you undoubtedly will many times, the game won't sent you right back to the beginning. You'll start from a predetermined point along the way if you stab the joystick quickly.

Ghosts 'N Goblins

Chris has done well to squeeze all the elements in the arcade game into his conversion, but don't expect the whole game to be there. There's a good seven or eight levels in the original but only four could be crammed into the conversion.

From the graveyard you proceed onto level two, the Ice Palace. This is the best bit as you negotiate goblins and moving platforms and then proceed on to a house filled with nasty little gremlins which leap out the window at you. The final section is a house patrolled by great white trolls.

At the end of each level you'll have to kill off Ikaaku, the gatekeeper in order to collect a key to move onto the next level. To come there's a selection of bats, fireball spitting icicles, demons and a particularly niggly bridge where flames leap up and consume your knight unless you're very sharp.

The final challenge is the dragon that kidnapped your girly in the first place and it's autofire on (well, it is for me!) to break down the ten segments of the dragon's body.

There's nothing special here, just a very good implementation of an excellent arcade game. My only real gripe is that I'd like to have seen a slightly larger character. The knight is only one sprite high, whereas the arcade character is huge. That's the limitations of the C64 as much as anything else. Though I suspect some day we will see ways of getting round this. There are people who have already found ways to use the whole of the screen and border, so I reckon it's only a matter of time. Meanwhile as long as the action's as good as this I'm not going to complain too loudly.

Mike Pattenden

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