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Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins

This ghoulish, side-scrolling action title has a very simple premise - you're a knight given the task of running constantly to the right (and sometimes up), fending off the fangs, claws and death touches of a metric ton of creepy-crawlies. You start out in a full suit of armor, but each time an enemy hits you with its death touch, you lose some. Eventually, you're re-slaying the undead while wearing only heart-covered boxer shorts and a beard.

That's the basic set-up, as it has been since this series first appeared in the arcades. However, the remaining details of this preview may prove very difficult to write. One crack GamesRadar editor literally refused to stop playing the game long enough to write anything down, and the other managed only to scribble the word "awesome" 14 times over three pages. Want the CliffsNotes? This one's looking solid.

As one might expect from a game whose ancestors were arcade-ruling token-gobblers, finely tuned gameplay is Ultimate G'nG's stock in trade. This is one of the most instantly playable games you'll ever touch: tilt the analog stick to the right to run until you reach an obstacle. When that happens, either jump (and eventually, double jump) with this button or kill it with that other button. Repeat as needed.

Of course, the devil - as well as the wizard, the crazy, eyeball thingy, and about a zillion ghosts - is in the details. The is obviously an old-school game, but it feels wonderfully cutting edge as well.

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