There is a difference between a difficult game and an unfair one. There have been many difficult games that continue to be well loved years or even decades after their initial release. Dark Souls, Super Meat Boy and Contra are examples of this. what these games have in common is they give the player most of the tools needed to win. Great control, a variety of power-ups and carefully designed levels. The player only needs to bring their skill. While it may be lacking in some areas, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is another fun classic that is worth playing during the Halloween season.
As part of the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts was an early release on the SNES and later ported to the PSP, PS2 and GBA. You play as a knight named Arthur who has a soft spot for a princess that repeatedly gets kidnapped by demons (or an evil god depending on whether Nintendo censored the game you play). You fight through several 2D side-scrolling stages while battling a wide assortment of monsters.
Fortunately, you have a little bit of help. There are treasure chests spread throughout the game and while they may contain a trap, they usually give you a special weapon or a suit of armor. Unfortunately, most of the weapons are not very reliable. In my opinion, the dagger and the crossbow are the best weapons to use. The former is very fast and flies in a straight line directly in front of your character. The crossbow is weaker but adds a second line of fire at a 45 degree angle to hit foes located above you.
Arthur does not have much in the way of defense. He wears a steel suit of armor which is destroyed when hit by a monster. He must then run around in his underwear until he is killed with another hit or finds a new suit of armor. If Arthur finds a new suit of armor while wearing another, the new suit will upgrade his defense. The bronze armor enhances your weapon but can still be destroyed with a single hit. The gold armor gives Arthur the ability to cast magic and when used with a moon shield gives up to three extra hits.
This game heavily relies on figuring out enemy patterns and trial & error. Arthur will die many times in a typical playthrough but the challenge is manageable. However, you may want to set aside some time as the game forces you to play through it TWICE before beating it. The Princess has a special bracelet that unleashes massive firepower and you have to find it during your second playthrough. Keep in mind that this game was released before constant auto-saves were used!
With all of that said, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is a little easier than its NES counterpart. It is on Nintendo’s Virtual Console and I encourage you to check it out.