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The Trials Of Sir Arthur

Super Ghouls 'n GhostsFighting game fans have been getting acquainted with Capcom's Sir Arthur in Marvel vs Capcom 3, but the character has much more than an appearance in one game to his credit.  We're talking about the valiant knight who has saved Princess Prin-Prin from the worst demons known to man or beast several times (sometimes clad only in his boxer shorts).  Starring in the various Ghosts 'n Goblins and Ghouls 'n Ghosts titles, Sir Arthur has traversed some of the most difficult gameplay in the history of the platformer genre.  In case you're just getting to know Arthur, Hardcore Gaming 101 has taken an exhaustive look at the many games featuring him as well as the two spin-off series that have been sparked by his adventures.  How difficult are these games?  Well...

Ghosts 'n Goblins begins with our hero, Arthur, having a picnic with his girlfriend, Princess Prin-Prin, in a graveyard in the middle of the night in nothing but his boxers (bad idea). I guess nobody told them to stay out of video game graveyards, because they all have monsters and zombies and crap, and this graveyard isn't an exception. So a big winged demon named Goblin King (dubbed "Satan" originally) appears out of nowhere, kidnaps Princess Prin-Prin, and teleports away to wherever. Arthur, of course, is not going to put up with this crap, so he dons his suit of armor (why in the hell wasn't he wearing this to begin with!?) and goes after her, Mario-style.

I doubt that Arthur could have ever guessed that his attempt to save her would land him in the most difficult platformer game ever made. If you haven't played GnG before, I assure you that's not an exaggeration. The first level is reallydifficult, especially for a beginner. In later levels, the difficulty becomes so extreme as to make it, for all intents as purposes, nearly impossible. Excluding any of you video game playing robots who can beat Battletoads in your sleep, nobody should expect to make any real progress in GnG, because it is NOT going to happen. Ever. Ghosts 'n Goblins is widely considered to be among the most difficult games ever made in any genre, and it has gained an even higher level of infamy due to the game forcing you to replay the entire game at a higher difficulty setting after you beat the game (you're informed that the final room is a "a trap devised by Satan".) Then you need to kill the final boss - a demon named Astaroth - with the weakest weapon (in the Japanese version, this is a was changed to a shield in all other versions.) Needless to say, Princess Prin-Prin is screwed. As if it wasn't challenging enough, having to beat it twice is extremely frustrating, and couldn't possibly have been intended to do anything other than make an already impossible game even more comedically difficult.

I've played most of the games in the series because apparently I'm a glutton for punishment.  For instance, I rented the Super NES installment, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, several times when I was younger and never managed to pass the second level.  There are fantastic gaming moments in this series, but it's just a shame that most of us will never see them thanks to the crushing difficulty levels and frequent frustrations. The arcade games were meant to be quarter-munchers, yes, but perhaps the home versions needed to even out some. We're weren't jamming coins into the Super NES back in the old days, after all.  The Sony PlayStation Portable sequel, Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins, is much more manageable thanks to the addition of an honest-to-goodness life meter, the ability to continue a lost game, and plenty of powerful weapons.  If you're only going to play one game in the series, then consider it recommended (and it's available from the PlayStation Network, too).