Category: Arcade Classics

Ghosts ‘n Goblins

Ghosts and Goblins

Ghosts ‘n Goblins took the baddie-battling, princess-rescuing formula and went Medieval, casting Knight Arthur in the hero’s role and pitting him against the combined forces of Hades. Strapping into his suit of armor, Arthur ran to the rescue, braving six levels of ghosts, goblins ‘n much more.

Designed as a scrolling action game, Ghosts ‘n Goblins only required three skills: running, jumping and firing. If it moved, it had to be killed. Arthur began the game armed with throwing lances, but new weapons—fire, axe, dagger and cross—were available by killing certain enemies (those carrying clay pots).

With those implements of demonic destruction, Arthur wended his way through a graveyard, a dark forest, a run-down town, a series of caves, across a bridge and on to the castle where the Princess was held. Each stage was filled with scary beasts of every kind—zombies, ghosts, giants, demons, skeletons, etc.—each capped off by a particularly hideous boss. And just to save you several hours’ worth of frustration, you can only kill that devil boss at the end with the shield weapon. Try anything else, and you’ll find yourself flying back to level one with a teardrop in your eye, bucko.

Ghosts and Goblins

Arthur began the game with the customary three lives, but that was where the suit of armor came in handy. The first hit on Arthur’s mortal body smashed the armor off, leaving Arthur alive but wearing nothing but his Medieval skivvies. Another hit cost one life, but extra suits of armor were conveniently stashed at certain points in the game if Arthur survived that long.

A hit both in the arcades and on the then-new Nintendo Entertainment System, Ghosts ‘n Goblins won players over with its fundamental action game play and its cartoony, yet somehow still creepy graphics. A sequel, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, was released in 1988, adding flashier graphics and new power-ups (including the power-enhancing golden armor) to a brand-new story line. And yes, it did involve rescuing that perpetually victimized princess from the devil again (when will these royals ever learn?).

Galaga

Arcade Classic: Galaga

Galaga

Galaxian may have been first, but Galaga was the title that defined the series. What had begun as a simple take-off on the popular Space Invaders theme turned into one of the most popular and long-lasting hits of the arcade’s golden years.

Like Galaxian, Galaga put your spaceship at the bottom of the screen, ready to blast at the waves of aliens who swooped down to attack in formation. The aliens now looked more insect-like, flying onto the screen at the beginning of each stage before lining up in their usual formations.

As you passed through waves of alien fighters, special bonus rounds would pop up regularly, offering chances to score extra points without the fear of getting dive bombed. The sound effects and graphics were also improved, but none of these changes were what kept gamers flocking to Galaga machines for years to come.


Get the Galaga app and play on your phone!


Galaga’s real hook was the infamous “tractor beam,” a power possessed only by the Boss Galagas, the winged beasties at the top of the screen. At random intervals, the Boss stopped in mid-dive and fired off its tractor beam, sucking your ship up into the alien fleet. But that was only half the gimmick. As long as you had another fighter left in your stable, you had a chance to get that fighter back. When your captured ship made its next dive, if you shot the Boss that captured it, the stolen vessel would descend to join your current ship, giving you double the firepower. It was a brilliant move, one that actually encouraged players to waste their lives in the hopes of expanding their power.

The new features made Galaxian instantly obsolete, as Galaga machines began to command long lines in arcades around the globe. A handful of sequels followed, but none could match the phenomenal success of Galaga. Like Centipede, Ms. Pac-Man and a handful of others, the game became a living legend, a permanent fixture in many arcades. Almost two decades after its original release, Galaga remains one of the most playable games in arcade history, still pulling in spaceship jockeys after all these years.