When it comes to a lot of Master System ports of popular arcade games they generally miss their mark. Sega's 8-bit hardware was just not powerful enough to support some of the major 16-bit games of that era, leaving the door wide open for the proliferation of the Genesis, Super NES, and TurboGrafx-16. But when it came to Ghouls N Ghosts it seemed as though all the conventions and limitations were thrown completely out the window.
Perhaps it has something to do with that fact that Ghosts N Goblins (the prequel to Ghouls N Ghosts) was originally an 8-bit game, and even though the graphics have improved in this sequel, the overall game still feels much like it did when it was featured on the NES. Outside of the downgraded graphics and sound, Ghouls N Ghosts is almost exactly like its bigger brother, which should make even the most hardened Master System owner smile.
Purists could gripe that the game isn't quite as fast, but since it never actually affects the game play I can't say as I minded that much. The presentation is so impressive that it's hard to believe that this was made for the Master System; oh sure, it never looks as good as the 16-bit systems, but considering how bad most Master System ports were, this really proved that the system could do amazing stuff with the right people behind the project.
Not only does the game keep just about every level, but it also manages to add a brand new upgrade system that is unique to this version of the game. Instead of just upgrading different weapons, you now have the opportunity to change your armor, boots, and other such items. With different kind of magic, weapons and effects, this new system actually works rather effectively.
The game isn't without a few flaws, though. I found some of the jumping to be a little on the unresponsive side, something that really made the platforming elements extremely frustrating. Also, not all of the levels are fully represented, and many are scaled way back to fit on the 8-bit cartridge. And the bosses, while represented, look a little silly in their 8-bit clothes. These minor problems don't really affect the game's sense of excitement, but deserved to be mentioned.