Gaming, Nintendo

Feature: The Haunting History Of Capcom’s Ghosts ‘n Goblins Series

From ghosts to glory, and all that’s inbetween.

Capcom is keen to keep its classic properties in the limelight, as evidenced by regular compilations of popular titles like Street Fighter and Mega Man. Along with the announcement of Capcom Arcade Stadium, the company also revealed a resurrection of one of its oldest properties with a new entry in the long-running Ghosts ‘n Goblins series, which is known as Makaimura (“Demon World Village”) in Japan. The original arcade game, released way back in 1985, was designed by Tokuro Fujiwara, previously of Konami’s Pooyan and Capcom’s Higemaru, and later of other seminal Capcom titles like Bionic Commando and Sweet Home. While the Ghosts ‘n Goblins franchise will be familiar to anyone who grew up during the ’80s and ’90s, its fame has waned in recent years – which is why we thought a refresher might be in order.

Early side-scrolling platforms like Namco’s Pac-Land (1984) and Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. (1985) were light and cutesy, but Ghosts ‘n Goblins has a markedly darker tone. The hero is a knight named Arthur, whose girlfriend Princess Prin-Prin is kidnapped by the forces of the underworld, led by the demon lord Astaroth. By default, Arthur is equipped with throwing spears, though treasure chests will regularly pop out of the ground, giving Arthur different weapons like daggers, torches, axes and crosses (or shields in the overseas version). He begins wearing a suit of armour, but a single hit will cause it to shatter, reducing him to his boxer shorts. Another hit will turn him into a pile of bones, sending him back to an earlier checkpoint.

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