Whenever I’m asked “What’s your favourite video game?” I always answer “Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts” without thinking twice. New gen consoles may have all the pretty graphics, and all the open worlds, but no game will ever have quite the same charm as this one. From the ginger zombies, to the main character’s spotted underwear (or the fact that the main character appears in just his underwear, for that matter!), SGnG is an absolute old school masterpiece.
SGnG is a side-scrolling platform game made by Capcom for the Super Nintendo and released in the awesome year of 1991 (Same year I was born. Coincidence? I don’t think so…) It’s the third in the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series, which has seven games and a few spin-offs, but possibly the most well-known out of all of them. It’s been featured in some of Capcom’s Classic Collections on different consoles and was also granted a remake for the Game Boy Advance.
Honestly, there’s not much to the story and, as much as it pains me to say this, it’s nothing more than the old sexist cliché of: Helpless princess is captured, valiant knight must save her. That is literally all you know of the story. You’re not even told the characters’ names or where they’re from. Just – BOOM – princess is captured, now run after her! But hey, before you start rolling your eyes, remember that some of video game’s most beloved gems have this exact same storyline (I’m looking at you, Mario).
The first thing that will hit you right off the bat is the super catchy and memorable music. It is, to this day engrained into my brain and I’ll start humming it at the most random times. But I assure you when I hum, I do not hum alone. You’re almost always certain to find people who know it just as well as you do and get super excited about it. It isn’t one of those annoyingly catchy songs though, it’s actually some pretty great music.
Now you’ve started to play and you’re looking pretty nice in your shining armour. Just don’t let any monsters touch you or your armour will break apart and fall off untill you’re half-naked. Then you die if something touches you again. Not so fun now, is it? That being said, the armour’s lack of defence is what makes the game so wonderfully difficult to beat. There’s nothing quite as despairing as facing otherworldly monsters in your undies. Your armour isn’t as useless as it may seem though. You can upgrade it up to three times with items you find hidden in the maps. These upgrades affect your weapon more than it does your defence, though, since your armour will still fall apart at the slightest touch, even at its most upgraded form.
You also find different weapons throughout the game (there’s a specific place to grab each weapon, so if you find one you like, stick to it because you may not find it again later) and that means every player has their preferred weapon style. All I will say though is if you don’t use the bow and arrow, you are wrong in your wrongness.
Other than run and attack, you also have the power of doing the oh so traditional double jump, which in this game is quite a double-edged sword. It’s great you can reach higher places and all, sure, but you also lose your ability to control your movement once you’re in the air. You can only change the jump’s direction. Mastering this can make or break you, so it’s important to really get the hang of it early on. You’ll probably get a few laughs at the way he jumps, too, but the glitchy graphics totally give this game its charm.
I replayed this game countless times as a kid, even though I never made it past a certain level. I’d hand the remote to my older brother when I wanted to see a bit more of the game, since he could get past levels I knew I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. I decided to dig up my old SNES and give this game a try as a grown woman and I’ve gotta say: It’s still just as hard as I remembered it. I managed to get even further into the game, which was like Christmas to me (I mean, it’s pretty priceless having even more levels to play from your favourite game), but I’ve yet to beat it.
If you’ve never played it and don’t have a SNES just lying around, Nintendo have made it available in the Wii and Wii U eShops. If you’re looking for some challenging old school fun, this is your go-to game. I really can’t recommend it enough.