Capcom has been on a roll as of late when it comes to rejuvenating long-lost franchises. Devil May Cry is getting a new sequel this March; Resident Evil 2 has a stunning looking remake coming our way; and even Onimusha is getting the remake treatment, even on Nintendo Switch. But there’s one franchise that hasn’t been touched in a few years that deserves a comeback -- Ghosts ‘n Goblins.
Getting its start in arcades and on the NES, the GNG series has grown quite a bit over the years, with sequels for SNES and Sega Genesis; as well as spin-offs that have worked their wonders on a number of platforms. But as of late, the series has been dormant, and it doesn’t deserve to be.
So, with Halloween right around the corner, let’s talk about why Ghosts ‘n Goblins deserves to be on the comeback trail, and how Capcom can do it.
Say what you want about the Dark Souls reference, but the original Ghosts ‘n Goblins games are hard. We’re talking “you have to go through the game twice and the second time around with a particular weapon while everything tries to kill you” hard. The original alone is enough to make you tear your hair out; but then you’ve got Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins putting up an immense challenge.
Reintroducing these games would remind gamers what “hardcore” gaming is all about, just as the Mega Man games did with their Legacy Collection releases. Players could discover them all over again and put their skills to the test, or at the very least push themselves to see the true endings. They deserve a second chance in this day and age of gaming, especially with the challenge level that Capcom put in place. Good luck getting through this, speedrunners.
The quality of the games is still excellent, even after years of release. The original Ghosts ‘n Goblins remains a timeless classic, and with a Halloween vibe to boot; Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is a superb sequel with some new abilities thrown in; and Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is easily one of the best SNES games in existence. (Yeah, I said it -- it’s wonderful if not frustrating.)
And giving these games the re-release treatment would hit the spot, especially if Capcom includes a number of filtering options or even just the ability to play in classic CRT mode, like they did with Final Fight: Double Impact a few years ago. Throw in some unlockable goods and you could have a collection worthy of the Ghouls name. Plus, price it at $20, like they did with the Capcom Beat-Em-Up Bundle, and you have an instant seller on your hands.
And for that matter, throw in Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins, because a. It deserves a chance to be played on the “big screen,”; and b. it’s great in its own right, as tough as nails as it is.
For that matter, why just stop at the Ghosts legacy? The series helped spawn some interesting spin-offs that have been fantastic in their own right.
First off, Demon’s Crest. Featuring the demon Firebrand that tormented our hero Arthur in the original game, Crest is a thrilling adventure that nails the creepy atmosphere of the series, while introducing new gameplay nuances and fun music that’s still a blast to listen to. We know Capcom is fully aware of this game, as it’s re-released it on Wii U eShop and other formats.
For that matter, how about the Maximo games? Initially introduced on the PlayStation 2, the original and its sequel, Maximo vs. Army of Zin, have been terrific, re-introducing the concept in highly effective 3D and making the games as enjoyable and challenging as ever. Seeing them in remastered form would do the trick for us as well, especially on the Switch. Taking these games on the go would be a treat.
And what the hey, let’s throw Cannon Spike in there. That shooter hasn’t seen the light of day since the Dreamcast days; and it features a modified version of Arthur -- a gigantic armored type, but still -- that would fit the series. (We included a gameplay clip below.)
Finally, look at how Ghosts ‘n Goblins continues to be an inspiration to today’s games. Arthur, Firebrand and a stage from Ghouls ‘n Ghosts were recently featured in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Ultimate spin-off; and we’ve even got a slick costume pack available for Street Fighter V where characters can be dressed up as your GNG favorites -- even the demon king!
So we know Capcom is aware of the strength that this series provides. Chances are it’s just waiting for the right opportunity to bring it along again. But I’m telling you, if Konami can bring back the Castlevania series (well, two games anyway) for next week’s release of Requiem, then Arthur sure as hell can make his comeback with Ghosts ‘n Goblins. C’mon, Capcom. We need him -- and the rest of the monsters -- now more than ever.