Friday, 28 July 2017

Indie Nuggets #5

Ghosts'n Demons (2013)
By: BonusJZ Genre: Platform / Fighting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: PC First Day Score: 41,800
Also Available For: Dreamcast, WonderSwan Download For: Android, iOS

Capcom have often seemed a little reluctant to return to the Ghosts'n Goblins series over the years which is a little strange considering how popular the original arcade games were. Sure, we got SNES and PSP sequels (of sorts) and a couple of spin-offs in the Gargoyle's Quest and Maximo games but not many 'proper' sequels, especially when you consider how hugely popular they are. Just think of the potential for a proper full-on new adventure on one of the current systems - whether an indie-style 2D game or a flashy 3D example, it could be the most awesome thing ever! Sadly, nothing major seems to be forthcoming but they did release a little-known entry in the series on the WonderSwan called Makaimura, and thanks to talented fan BonusJZ, it had now been coloured-in and released on PC (and Dreamcast) for everyone to enjoy!

Has Sir Arthur fallen into a mass grave? Eeek!
As a result, it will be immediately familiar to the many fans of those games. It begins with a short intro showing Sir Arthur's girl getting kidnapped by some horrifying ghost (or indeed demon). Our heroic knight is hot on their heels but six stages now stand between their reunion, each of which is split into at least two sections. These are unsurprisingly filled with the usual ghosts, zombies, bats, ogres, and (dark) lord knows what other abominations. Fortunately, our hero is again equipped with an unlimited supply of lances to throw through their stupid heads (which sometimes fall off), and numerous other weapons can be picked up along the way. Some are new like the crossbow and crucifixes and some we've seen before like the axes and daggers, but all are more than sufficient for monster killing.

Oh dear, as if fire alone wasn't bad enough...
Selecting the right weapon is more important than ever though, as enemies are even more numerous. For the most part it's business as usual though - hard, unrelenting business that might drive lesser players to dark corners, gibbering and whimpering in the shadows. Okay, it's not quite that bad but it's definitely a mighty challenging game, as you would expect from this series, official or not. Some of the standard enemies now take more than one hit and new ones sometimes rise from beneath you or drop down on top of you, for example, and there are no restart points either. Most of the stages will seem quite familiar though. Things start off in a graveyard (how could they start anywhere else?) before moving onto castles, both large and small, and treacherous fiery caverns. There's even an underwater section in the form of the main castle's moat complete with gloopy occupants.

Look - there are even fancy weather effects now!
There are lots of treasures to grab too (including some secret ones). It's all been very nicely converted over from the creaky old black and white WonderSwan version. The OpenBOR-powered audio/visuals are pleasing enough - the classic music is great and the graphics are authentic and colourful with some great sprites, especially the bosses - and both help keep the spirit of the original games alive. There are even scan-lines! Control of Sir Arthur could take a little getting used to for some. Not because it's bad, it's just slightly different. You can't shoot up or down anymore, for example, but you do have a couple of new moves in the shape of a downwards stomp and jumping sword thrust. Despite a few new bits and pieces though, it's a lovely tribute to the games of 30-odd years ago and a challenging-yet-enjoyable game in its own right. Take a key for coming in!

RKS Score: 8/10

Here's a trailer for the game. If you like the look of it, head over to BonusJZ's website where you can buy the game on a 'name your own price' basis :)



  1. It is the WonderSwan version coloured in by the looks of it.

    1. Yes, apparently so! Thanks for the heads-up :)

  2. I suspect it would be hard to update the old GnG without losing its soul. The PSP update was a great game and had good options to counter the difficulty. However in essence, the gameplay style is old fashioned and if anything would have to resort to having an indie feel and release to it I think as it would only really call to a niche market.
    Plus, Capcom would have to think of someway to make it so they can sell DLC for it... :P

    1. Haha, very true on the last count for sure! :) I know what you mean though, some games just don't update to modern styles well, even if they try to keep it traditional. I'm still surprised they haven't tried though.