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Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins

Bottomless pits, flying enemies your weapon can't reach and a hero that can't course-correct in midair. The classic 2D platform action game  Ghosts 'n Goblins, in all of its incarnations, has been brutal. Everyone used to love 'em, but times change. Most gamers aren't looking for punishment like this anymore.

Fortunately, Capcom has noticed the sea change. The new game retains everything that made Ghosts 'n Goblins exciting in the first place, while adding stuff like a life meter to make the game bearable. The result should be a game that oozes nostalgia without the searing pain of cheap deaths.

The game's setup is classic - a gallant knight must battle the lord of the underworld to save "the princess." Yeah, she doesn't even rate a name. That's not why people used to play games, though. The clever tricks and traps, tough battles against canny enemies and Halloween atmosphere are what makes the Ghosts 'n Goblins series so much fun.

This is the sort of adventure where foes appear from nowhere while you're trying to make precise jumps and uncover invisible secrets; it's sort of like a macabre Super Mario Bros. that hates you. Sort of. But that's tempered by the 2006-era tweaks - you actually start on the same screen you died on when your next life picks up. When you've got waves of lava and kamikaze devils launching at you, these sorts of things are important. This game is a heady blend of old and new, and if everything works out, should be the traditional white-knuckled action game the PSP has so far lacked.

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