PSP import day (Every Extend Extra and Ultimate GnG)

So my import copies of Every Extend Extra and Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins arrived today from NCSX. I haven’t had a chance to play GnG yet, but here’s my thoughts on EEE.

I spent about 2 hours with Every Extend and its definately a winner. The core gameplay is essentially unchanged from the original PC version. Its a shooter/puzzle game where you don’t shoot, you blow yourself up. Formations of enemies float across the screen and you try to explode yourself at the right moment to net you the largest chain. Every time an enemy is caught within your circular blast radius, they explode and inturn trigger their own blast radius and detonate any enemies within, and so on and so forth. The larger the chain, the bigger the score. Scoring is not optional in this game, it is essential. Every time you blow yourself up, you loose a life. You earn extra lives (extends) by scoring points via chains and gems.

Once you have survived the stage long enough, you get to fight a boss. They are all varied and creative, but the basic pattern for destroying them is the same. Hit them with a small chain, hit them with a larger chain, then hit them for x damage over any number of chains (each point in the chain is worth one point of damage). Once the boss is dead, its onto the next stage. Stages are like skins in Lumines, each has its own graphics and soundtrack.

There is a nifty player controlled in game difficulty as well. Picking up the pink gems that some enemies drop will increase the game speed. You speed up, the enemies speed up, the tempo of the music changes, everything. When your speed is maxxed out, picking up the pink gems will give you a 10k bonus

The game does a good job of escaping Lumines marathon playing sessions. Instead of facing all the stages in succession you travel on a branching path depending on how well you did. So unlocking new stages isn’t a matter of playing the game for an hour long session, you just have to get better at scoring. In the coarse of a single game you will see 7-8 levels, each lasting 2-3 minutes.

Once you beat the game a single time caravan mode (basically a score attack mode on a single stage) and boss mode are unlocked. Boss mode will let you fight all the bosses in succession or just practice against a single boss. There is also a souped up port of the orignal PC game included.

I would say this is Mizuguchi’s best use of sight and sound so far. Playing with headphones is near orgasmic if you are into his special brand of insanity. If think Synaesthesia is a gimmick, this game probably won’t change your mind, but much like Lumines, the core gameplay is solid enough to still recommend it.

I’ll try to put up some impressions of GnG later, but between this and the Dead Rising demo I haven’t gotten any work done today.

Been looking forward to this one for months. Got the US version reserved and plenty of other stuff to occupy me til it releases here. Thanks for the report, though.

I was just able to ‘rank up’ into the 3rd bracket of levels. I guess they aren’t new skins, just more difficult versions of the existing skins, disappointing. The higher brackets are very hard, there are more enemies and new patterns of enemies. Every set of enemies destroyed also leaves behind suicide bullets. However, the biggest challenge is trying to hit the long initial chains on the boss before time runs out.

When you get an A rank on a level, you move up to the next bracket of levels. From the way the level grid is laid out, it looks like it is possible to level down as well if you aren’t able to maintain your rank. If you die and get a crap score, your rank is Dot Eater, funny nod to ikaruga. Although the dot eater rank in ikaruga was a challenge in and of itself, here its used as a badge of shame.

Hopefully when this game comes out in the US it won’t feature full motion video of madonna and backstreet boys prancing around while you blow things up.

Why are you not playing Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins?

I played it for about 20 minutes. Its pretty much the antithesis of the New Super Mario Brothers. Its hard as hell and filled with secrets. I am not kidding, like every 2 inches you are triggering a treasure chest or something if you jump in the right spot.

Its hard, hard as or harder than the originals. I am playing in Beginner Mode (the main menu has beginner, normal, and hard) - thankfully it gives you 7-8 lives and you respawn right where you die. Killing the first boss gave me a pair of boots that lets you double jump. There are a ton of weapons in the game, but it appears you can only carry one at a time.

The game looks and sounds sounds great. There really isn’t much else to say, its like the old GnG turned up to 11. My only complaint is the lack of air control when you are jumping, I can’t remember the last platformer I’ve played that handled like that. I can definately see why Edge magazine gave it a 9 in their last issue, those brits love their retro games and this is a fine example of how to update a classic. Its a solid old school action platformer, and a nice break from the metroidvania type games that have become the norm.

Oh, and capcom was nice enough to put one of those nifty PSP dpad covers in the box. I wonder how I went so long without one. It was worth 50 bucks just for the dpad.

Did I mention it was hard? Seriously, its really really hard. Its full of cheap deaths, tough enemies, and tricky jumping segments. That being said, its still a buttload of fun (at least in beginner mode, I would assume the harder modes don’t let you respawn where you die).

UGnG got a 9.5/10 in Play magazine. They totally drooled over it. In fact, it’s probably one of the most positive reviews I’ve ever read.

I haven’t read the review in edge yet, but getting anything over an 8 from them is like getting 127% at IGN or a 9.8689 at gamespot.

That’s called staying true to your roots. I am so looking forward to both of these games. Perhaps I’ll import them.

Cheap deaths? Goddamnit. Sounds more like Ghosts 'n Goblins than Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. Shit.

Yeah, cheap deaths as in 10 seconds after you kill the level 2 midboss, a giant red wave of lava blood shit comes flying at you very quickly out of nowhere. If you don’t happen to be already on a platform and jump out of the way in time, yer dead. I haven’t run into any prince of persia style instadeath floortraps yet.

Oh, and there’s some purple witch thing that pops up if you sit around for more than 5 seconds and turns you into a grasshopper or a chicken if you don’t dodge her pixie dust.

good times. Serisouly, its fun. It sounds sadistic, but the game is basically a paraody of itself in how hard it is. I don’t know what its going to throw at me next.

Gotta consider the source. Was it reviewed by Halverson? Because if it was, it gets like a 9.0 for being a new action/platform game right out of the gate.

That’s the goddamn truth. I bought Dr. Muto based on their glowing review and I haven’t read that magazine since because of it.

So even the “beginner” mode is hard? Damn

Hard is one thing, insta-deaths avoidable only by trial-and-error after bosses is shitty design. Still, I’m probably going to enjoy this. Is it just the two difficulty levels?

The beginner mode is much more doable however than any Ghouls & Ghosts game ever has been, but I don’t think Capcom ever meant for the game to be relatively easy, that’s just not the Ghouls & Ghosts way. Seriously, they’re would just be something missing in the game if you could win it in a matter of hours instead of the marvelously infuriating, “just one-more-time” factor it becomes. That said, there’s no way it’s anywhere near as devious as the other modes. The other modes will pack layer after layer of difficulty on you. It won’t just be a narrow platform, it’ll be a narrow platform with spiders around it, that crumbles the second you touch it, that sways back and forth on water and that is protected by a barrier that will fling you backwards and generates every three or four seconds randomly. (Just an example, I haven’t actually encountered this, but I wouldn’t surprised if there was something like it.)

The game is glorious, BTW. It makes me very glad they got much of the original team to work on it. The level designs are creepy, twisty, hellish nightmares packed with really random events and secrets. They have that wonderful sacrifice to any kind of logic other than whatever is needed by the game that early games always had. Eyeballs and lava and spikes and thunder and rickety platforms and spiderwebs and crumbling caves galore. Enemies creep, crawl, dash, slide, burst out and rush from every corner and they’re all nasty, ugly, hellspawn creepy crawlies that carry on the series’ macabre design proudly. In fact, this game may have the best enemy design in the series, and the most variety.

The game mechanics are a fusion of the Mega Drive Ghouls & Ghosts and Super Ghouls & Ghosts for the SNES. It has that perfect jumping control that is infuriating in its limitation, a design choice that demands you learn the precise in which the game wants you to control Arthur with no concession to any of your whining. It has the Mega Drive’s weapon control, but the SFC’s weapon variety and charging up and magic spells. As in all the games, depending on what weapon you own, your platforming strategies change rather dramatically and there is no prevailing one weapon that will own all.

The bosses are tight as well. The whole game is just one of those renaissance packages that comes together to really define the series and is not to be missed by anyone who is not a complete and utter wimp.

I swear to all the gods though if I get to the end and it tells me I have to go through the entire game again to find some bracelet…


I always felt half the challenge of the franchise existed because of the jumping control(or lack thereof). It’s just one of those games where you see death coming long before it actually occurs and you are left helpless to fend against it, more often than not jumping kills rather than the obstacle challenges.

As far as the ‘true’ ending…someone on GAF seemed to mention a collectathon requirement.

Beats having to play the game twice in a row in one sitting.

First 9 this year- first 9 since World of Warcraft.
And as to ‘Brits loving retro games’, pshaw. Especially Edge.
The review is rather good- UGnG is described as the first game since Wipeout Pure to make the PSP ‘essential’.
Mostly as a total genre deconstruction, then rebuilding it in experimental form, as different items totally change the gameplay.
It is also the first game to completely take advantage of the PSP, from what they so. A great lesson in game design and hardware deconstruction, I think it read.

I can’t help but wonder if Capcom is going to pull a Capcom and rip the beginner difficulty level out ala devil may cry 3. This would pretty much render the game inaccessable to the majority of the gaming population.

Didn’t PGR3 get a 9?

And the retro comment wasn’t meant to be derrogitory, but the fact that the only retro mag in print comes out of the UK has to mean something. And I can’t think of a single print mag that has reviewed any shmups in the past 5 years apart from Ikaruga, much less import Cave games.