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Wanna get your ass kicked by a video game? Look no further than Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins. This update of the classic arcade series adds some modern RPG and adventure elements to the mix, but backs it up with the hard-as-nails action that the series has always been loved (and hated) for. In fact, Ultimate is easily the hardest GnG yet. If you can get used to the turbulence, though, it proves to be a pretty fun little ride.
As usual, you play the stalwart knight Arthur, who double-jumps gaps and chucks spears to save the virtue of his princess. This time he's got ten or so levels to traverse, packed with all manner of ghosts, ghouls and yes, even goblins. He'll need all the skill you can muster, as well as a huge variety of power-ups, to even hope to see the end.
Capcom must've known this game was a bastard, because it kindly offers three vastly different difficulty levels. Almost everyone should start with novice, which gives you nine lives per game, tones down some obstacles, and - gift of gifts - lets you restart close to where you died. Once you're comfortable, standard mode offers a fresh challenge. Ultimate mode, however, is akin to the classic games on difficulty-boosting crack, and should only be attempted by sadists and professionals. It truly is something else.
We won't lie: we were intimidated at first, and our initial forays into the demon realm did not go smoothly. There were too many items ("what the heck does this do?"), too many enemies, and too many unforeseeable deaths.