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Level 1
Ghosts 'N Goblins (Level 1)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 25, 2011   |   Episode 21 (Show Archive)  


Welcome to Level 1. Every week we look at a random game's very first level. It doesn't matter what kind of game it is or what system it's for -- we're here to dissect the game's first level and see what it tells us about the rest of the game. I promise you an eye-opening experience in each episode! This week we take a trip back to the graveyard and check in with Sir Arthur. That can only mean one thing: It's time to check out the first level of Ghosts 'N Goblins for the NES!
Ghosts 'N Goblins (Capcom)
[ Release: 1990 - Console: Nintendo Entertainment System ]
Ghosts 'N Goblins
Ghosts 'N Goblins
Generally speaking, I'm the kind of guy who looks to look forward. When it comes to games I like to start at the beginning and go in order, that way I get to know what the character is going through from one game to the next. But things are different for our 21st episode. This time around I'm taking a look at an older game we initially passed over. This week I'm playing through the first stage of Ghosts 'N Goblins.

Longtime fans of Level 1 will remember when I played through Ghouls 'N Ghosts, Capcom's 16-bit sequel. You may also remember that it's one of my favorite games of all time, regardless of the punishing difficulty. In this episode we explore the origins of Arthur and how he saved the woman of his dreams (the first time). We've decided to have a little fun with this episode, telling it entirely through flashbacks. Curious? Let's press start and see where the first level takes us!

Level 1 - The Graveyard: This is the story of how I saved your mother and rescued the world from total destruction. You've heard your mother's side of the story before, but now it's my turn to tell you what really happened. She thinks she
Ghosts 'N Goblins - Level 1: The Graveyard
Ghosts 'N Goblins - Level 1: The Graveyard!
knows what happened, but for most of the story she was locked in a castle waiting for me to show up and mount a heroic rescue. She sugarcoats everything, making it all about feelings and flowers. Don't listen to her; this is the real story of how I saved your mother.

So it all started in the graveyard. Yes, I know, all of my stories start in the graveyard. Look kids, that's just how it was when I was your age. We were always hanging out at the graveyard because it was quiet
Ghosts 'N Goblins - Level 1: The Graveyard
Ghosts 'N Goblins - Level 1: The Graveyard!
and secluded. We could do whatever we wanted there, usually without the cops giving us a hard time. All that changed the night your mom got kidnapped by a flaming gargoyle. That's really where this story starts.

It didn't take long for me to set out on my journey to save your mother. I grabbed my very best armor (the one your grandfather had given me when I turned 18) and raced through the graveyard in hopes of finding your mom. The graveyard was a dead end ... literally. It was reanimated zombies everywhere the eye could see. I had to watch where I was walking, as my footsteps seemed to be waking them from their eternal slumber. I'm not going to lie to you, kids; this was one of the scariest moments of my life. But I knew that your mom was counting on me. I couldn't let her down.

One after another, I slayed those pesky zombies. I didn't even let them get close to me. The last thing I wanted was to turn into a brain-eater, I had too much on my mind as it was. So I cut them down and
Ghosts 'N Goblins - Level 1: The Graveyard
Ghosts 'N Goblins - Level 1: The Graveyard!
ignored the crows flying above my head. I ran as fast as I could. I ran past ominous hills, rumbling tombstones and trees that haven't been watered in decades. I ran until I found a dead end. This time it really was a dead end, not just a clever play on words. There was a huge river keeping me from the forest where your mom was being kept. Things did not look good for your pop.

Mini Boss - Firebrand the Gargoyle: Just as I was getting ready to turn around and find another way to your mom, I saw a large gargoyle perch on
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Mini Boss: Firebrand the Gargoyle
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Mini Boss: Firebrand the Gargoyle!
a tombstone. He looked at me and laughed, perhaps because he knew how difficult my adventure was going to be. I looked him dead in the eyes and shot him my death stare. You know that look I gave your Uncle Ron? It was exactly like that! I wasn't messing around; I was out for bloody vengeance.

I charged that beast and shoved my lance directly into his heart. Okay, so maybe it wasn't that simple. There was a little back and forth. He knocked me down a few times and I'm pretty sure I nicked his foot with one of my volleys. But in the end it doesn't matter what the fight looked like, just as long as I defeated the nasty beast once and for all. With him out of the way I noticed a large raft made out of grass and mud, I boarded it and hoped for the best as I crossed the river.

Level 1 - The Forest: It took a few tries, but I eventually made it to dry land. I thanked my lucky stars that I didn't die in the river and set out to find your mother in the forest. As I walked through the clearing I heard noises
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Level 1 - The Forest
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Level 1 - The Forest!
above me. At first I didn't think much of them, as nothing bad ever comes from the sky. But the shrieks kept getting closer. I turn around to discover a floating ghost swooping towards me. Now kids, understand that I'm not afraid of no ghost. Your old man has busted plenty of ghosts in his days. It's the kind of thing that makes me feel good. But this ghost was different; it had a spear in its hand.

I ran deeper into the forest, hoping to avoid the deadly specter. Up ahead I see a formation of floating soldiers, each marching in lockstep with the commander. I hid behind a tree and hoped these trained killers wouldn't see me. As the first group passed I quickly exited the tree and ran towards the large door. What I didn't expect were more soldiers. This time I couldn't hide behind a tree, I was forced to take them on one at a time. With the large door in my sights, I managed to take
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Level 1 - The Forest
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Level 1 - The Forest!
down all three soldiers, but only after getting behind them. Little good their shields do from the back.

Boss - Killer Cyclops: I knew something was wrong as I approached the large doors. Those soldiers must have been guarding something, but what? I ran to the door and gave it a tug. Nothing. I had traveled all this way to save your mother only to find the door was locked. It's just my luck. Disheartened, I decided to look around for a key. And that's when I met the Cyclops!

I don't remember if I heard his growl or felt his punch first, but I do know that he sent me flying. He hit me so hard that I flew at least twenty feet. I would have gone farther, if it wasn't for the large tree
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Boss: Killer Cyclops
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Boss: Killer Cyclops!
I slammed into. The hit knocked my armor completely off, leaving me in nothing but my boxer shorts. One of these days I'll have to tell you the story of why I'm not wearing any clothing under my armor. Trust me, it's a hoot.

After being humiliated by the Cyclops, I decide to stay back and throw my lance at him. I have a few to spare, so I start out by weakening him. He doesn't appear to have any long range attacks, but I don't intend to wait here and find out. Just as he starts to show sign of dizziness, I rush the Cyclops and throw holy water on him. This was the first time I had ever used the stuff, so you can imagine my face when the beast goes up in flames. It
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Boss: Killer Cyclops
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Boss: Killer Cyclops
was like that time Uncle Ron got too close to the fireworks and burned off his eyebrows.

With the Cyclops out of the way, I went back to gather up my armor. As I was putting everything back together I noticed a small key fall from the heavens. I prayed that this would be the key I needed to open the door. It was. I felt a little better about myself that day and knew that it was only a matter of time before I saved your mother and had you kids.

What Have We Learned Today: Yes kids, it takes a long time to tell the story of how I saved your mother. These things don't happen overnight, it takes a long time to search the world over for my kidnapped beauty. And did I mention
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Level 2
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Level 2!
the enemies I had to slay along the way? I'm telling you, this is epic storytelling here. But every story brings me a little closer to your mom and makes me a better person. Without these trials I wouldn't be the man she fell in love with. Now run along and get ready for dinner, we'll tackle the next leg of my journey another day.

What Did We Miss: Wait wait wait ... before you kids go, let me give you a tease that will make you come back for more. There were so many perils along the way that I could go on forever, but I'll skip to the good parts. Like
Bob Saget
the story about the fire dogs and the ice world. Oh, and at one point I got tangled up in vines. And when I eventually got to the castle, the devil sent me back to the graveyard to do it all over again. Yes kids, I made this epic journey twice. That's how committed I was to the love of my life. Now, with that in mind, get out of here and let me sharpen my lance in peace.

What Bob Saget Says: "Hey, dude, you can't go around stealing my material! None of this stuff is original; it's just you riffing on my How I Met Your Mother role. You even refer to it several times as How I Saved Your Mother. Very original, buddy! If you really want to be me then bust out a song about the Olsen Twins or tell me your dirtiest Aristocrats joke. And for crying out loud, curse a little. It wouldn't kill you to drop a few F-bombs here and there. Think about what you're teaching your children here. This isn't a story about falling in love. It's a story where you kill zombies and blow up a Cyclops. Not cool, man. Not cool at all!"


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