Ghost House for the Sega Master System is a fun romp through a haunted house where, for each stage, your goal is to kill five vampires. The vampires are locked in caskets awaiting the poor fool (in this case a pointy-eared lad) who dare let them out.
The levels are packed with monsters. There were only a handful of different creatures, and they're all pretty easy to defeat ... but, man ... they are everywhere. Before fighting a vampire in the main event, you need to find the key to his casket. The keys are held by random monsters, and are rather easy to come by.
The vampire fights are horrendously difficult. After opening their casket, the vampire flies out (in bat form) and haphazardly zips and zooms throughout the room. As far as I could tell, the vampire was only vulnerable to attacks when he's in his human (are vampires even human?) form. As he zigs and zags, you have no choice but to dodge him as he tries to ram you (all the while dodging the other monsters swarming the screen).
Your hero can either arm himself with a sword (which you have to "catch" by landing a jump on, as it flies towards your face), or simply use his rather sizable bare hands. The sword is only good for about five or six strikes... so, if you're saving it for the vampire fight, you'll have to employ your Super Mario "jump on the enemy" attack or just run like hell.
The play control is pretty solid in this game; however there are some mechanics in the game that are a bit irritating. For instance, if there's a ladder coming up to the platform you're standing on, there's about a 50/50 chance that you'll fall to a lower level as you walk past it. Otherwise, besides some minor collision detection issues... it's quite good.
For a 21 year old game, the graphics are decent. They're pleasant, cartoony and appealing to the eye. The color palette is nice, but repetitive. The music is catchy; however, as with most games of this era, the tunes can be a bit repetitive. There's a terribly annoying "walking" noise, which sounds like a stuttering honk that takes a little while to block out.
In closing, Ghost House was one of my first Sega Master System experiences. Though incredibly difficult, the game didn't feel "cheap". I felt compelled to play, and try to get further each time that I died. I'd recommend for anyone looking for a challenge on the Sega Master System.