Ghouls 'N Ghosts in an action-platforming game originally published in 1988 by Capcom for arcades. The game has since been ported to several home computers and consoles. It is the second entry in the notoriously-difficult Ghosts 'N Goblins franchise. Three years after Sir Arthur rescues his true love Princess Prin Prin from the evil Astaroth, Lucifer (or Loki in some versions) brings forth an army of macabre minions and steals the souls of several helpless victims; among the souls stolen is that of Arthur's beloved. Once again, Arthur dons his trusty armor to fight the demonic hordes and rescue these lost souls.
Ghouls 'N Ghosts gameplay is nearly identical to that of its predecessor, but with a few notable exceptions. Arguably the most significant addition is Arthur's new ability to fire any weapon vertically up or down. Most of the original game's weapons are present and a few new weapons have been added, as well as a new set of magically-infused Golden Armor. When equipped, the Golden Armor allows Arthur to charge his current weapon to perform a powerful magic attack. Each weapon has its own unique magic, save for the Psycho Cannon.
Weapons & Magic
- Lance - Fires a lance in a straight line. Thunder Magic fires a powerful magic bolt vertically from the top of the screen towards Arthur's position, which then splits horizontally to the left and right. This weapon is called "Sword" in some versions.
- Sword - A strong melee-only weapon that is swung in a short arc. Thunder Dragon Magic unleashes a flaming dragon upward that attacks sky-bound enemies. This weapon is called "Super Sword" in some versions.
- Axe - Hurls an axe in a straight line. This weapon can penetrate objects, but has a slow rate of fire. Exploding Magic summons several large explosions around Arthur's position.
- Torch - Lobs a torch in a short arc; upon impact with the ground, a line of damaging flames extends across the surface. Fireball Magic creates four fireballs that swirl outward from Arthur's left and right sides. This weapon is called "Fire Water" in some versions.
- Discus - Fires a bladed disc in a straight line which will follow the contour of any platforms on contact. Firing while crouching causes the disc to move along the ground's surface. Mirror Magic creates a temporary protective shield ahead of Arthur's position.
- Dagger - Fires a dagger in a straight line. This weapon is comparatively weak, but it also has the fastest rate of fire in the game. Double Magic creates an invulnerable shadow clone of Arthur that mimics his movement and attacks for a short time.
- Psycho Cannon - Only available on the second playthrough. Fires a blast of powerful magic in a straight line for a short distance. This weapon cannot be charged, although its range is increased while wearing the Golden Armor.
The game features five Stages, each of which is split into two distinct areas by a checkpoint.
The Execution Place, a mass grave at the edge of the Demon Realm, is where Arthur begins his long quest; however, the murderous skeletons, swooping vultures and hair-trigger guillotines located here will attempt to bring his adventure to a very sudden end. This area is also a tribute to the first Stage of the original Ghosts 'N Goblins, complete with remixed music. The Stage's second half at the Floating Island on the Lake features strong winds that slow movement to a crawl. Past the island's poisonous forest, a giant demon known as Shielder protects the exit by spitting fireballs.
A constant stream of demonic turtles bounce down the slope leading to the The Village of Decay, a destroyed human settlement. After crossing a gigantic ant lion pit, Arthur is ambushed by an upgraded version of Firebrand known as the Red Arremer King. Further ahead, earthquakes and demonic flames plague the Town of Fire, a sweltering ruin terrorized by the hell-hound Cerberus.
Arthur finds himself riding a treacherous elevator up through Baron Rankle's Tower; quick movements are required to avoid being crushed against the ceiling in this auto-scrolling area. At the peak of the Horrible-Faced Mountain, Arthur boldly leaps across the outstretched tongues of several demonic statues before battling a living storm cloud called Gassuto.
Giant bones litter the floor of The Crystal Forest, a cave system leading directly into Lucifer's castle. At the halfway point, Arthur descends down the slippery slopes of The Rotting Grotto, stepping across several man-eating plants to land on the back of Ohme, a gigantic immobile worm infested with smaller creatures that collectively act as the Stage boss.
If pain was like food, then Lucifer's Castle of Evil Demons would be a feast. The entryway swarms with skeletal dragons and a gauntlet of four Red Arremer Kings as an appetizer. After climbing an ominous spiked ladder, Arthur does battle with Astaroth, the final boss of the original Ghosts 'N Goblins. Once Astaroth is dispatched, Arthur is assaulted by two Shielder heads attached to the walls of the next room. Twin Astaroths flank Arthur for a surprise rematch further ahead, followed by a trio of Gassutos. Past one final Shielder head and a legion of demonic insects, Beelzebub guards the Stage exit.
After completing this Stage, Arthur receives a message that he cannot defeat Lucifer without the Psycho Cannon, a weapon blessed by the goddess of battle. In the series' tradition, Arthur is sent back to the first Stage, where players must complete the full game a second time. While wearing the Golden Armor, players can discover the Psycho Cannon in certain treasure chests on the second playthrough.
The enormous Lord of Hell sits atop his throne, firing lasers from his mouth and hands and stomping his feet in a last-ditch attempt to exterminate Arthur. However, his evil strength is no match for the power of the Psycho Cannon, which Arthur uses to destroy Lucifer once and for all before reuniting with Princess Prin Prin.