Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection is the latest attempt to bring an iconic franchise back into the spotlight, seeking to modernize the formula that made the original Ghosts 'n Goblins a success way back on the NES. For the most part, the game succeeds at what it sets out to do, but longtime fans of the series may find themselves reminiscing about the classic game by the time the credits roll.
The elevator pitch for Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection is as simple as they come. Players take on the role of Arthur, a gallant but dopey knight trying to rescue his love, a princess, from the evil clutches of a demon lord. Standing between him is an army of monsters and platforming challenges, coupled together to create the meat of the video game.
For the most part, the core platforming and combat aspects of the game work well, especially in the first two zones. Fighting off hordes of zombies, skeletons, and the other monsters that infest the path to the game's final level feels mostly as it did in Ghosts 'n Goblins and its SNES sequel, Ghouls and Ghosts. It doesn't push the platforming genre forward at all, but there is beauty in the simplicity here.
Being a new take on an NES/SNES franchise, though, players can expect some brutally difficult levels, especially depending on the chosen difficulty setting, of which there are four. Each difficulty setting tweaks the number of hits Arthur can take and makes some changes to the respawn system, with the highest difficulty, Knight, essentially replicating the win parameters of the original. Those that opt for Knight are in for an experience worthy of the Ghosts 'n Goblins name, while the lowest setting, Page, is good for those that just want to work through the platforming sections.
Of course, Capcom has added a few new elements for players to enjoy. Throughout each zone, players are able to find Umbral Bees, typically obtainable by completing a challenging platform section of a map quickly, or placed in some other hard-to-reach spot. Umbral Bees allow a player to unlock new abilities from the Umbral Tree, which is essentially a perk system. There's a broad range of what these abilities do, ranging from abilities that turn enemies into frogs to additional weapon slots.
The Umbral Tree is the most refreshing addition in the game and by far the most significant. Not only does it incentivize players to replay levels in order to find more Umbral Bees, but the abilities make the game feel a lot more modern without destroying the core experience. It isn't necessary to use them for any purists out there, but they do tend to be fun to use, particularly where active spells are concerned.
Those spells don't have terrible cooldowns, plus some of them are capable of clearing the screen of monsters in a pitch. Without context, that doesn't sound overwhelmingly impressive, but too many enemies at once is a death sentence when the platforming and combat challenges blend together, which happens frequently.