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Cuphead Vs Ghosts 'n Goblins: Analysis

During the past 10 years, a myriad of difficult games have begun to emerge. As a matter of fact, these games took inspiration from the old NES/Master System era. An era which put our skills as players to test, and nudged us to surpass our limit. Unfortunately, not every gamer managed to finish these games, but at least, they had the honour to enjoy the experience while it lasted.

Personally, I couldn't finish a handful of difficult games such as Dead Cells. However, I'm planning to go back to it just so I can see if my skills have improved. It doesn't bother me if I can't finish it today because there's always another chance. Who knows, it could take me 10 years to finish it, and still, it's no big deal to me. The fun lies in trying to push one's skills to their limit and go beyond.

Dead Cells is not the only brutal game out there. There's also Cuphead and Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins. Two games that are capable of crushing you to pieces because of how difficult they are, especially  Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins. You may be wondering why I picked the PSP remake. Well, it's because the remake is forgiving compared to the SNES and especially the NES releases. In addition, the PSP version looks way more polished than the other previous entries in my humble opinion.
With that being said, I'm delighted to be writing an article where I compare both Cuphead and Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins. Before I start the article, I should inform you that I'm not doing this comparison to show which one is better. I'll be analyzing every aspect from both games, and give my own perspective. Hopefully, you enjoy it.


The Pacing

Both Cuphead and Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins have a rapid pace where they nudge the player to constantly jump, shoot, and avoid attacks. Firstly, I'll start with Cuphead, which has two types of gameplay. One is a section where you're fighting a number of bosses one after another to unlock the next world and the other one is a platforming level where your goal is to survive and reach the end. Be aware, in Cuphead you're allowed to receive three hits before you die.

At the Beginning, Cuphead is fairly easy. It starts teaching you the basics and introduced you to the overall cartoonish world. The first bosses are a piece of cake. Same for the platforming levels. However, the moment you step into the 2nd world, that's where the brutality begins. The game then introduces a unique feature where your fighting bosses in a horizontal shoot em up style. Now, for those who aren't accustomed to Shoot' em up ( abbreviated Shmups) will find it difficult to quickly adapt. Hence, they'll find themselves dying all the time.

Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins isn't only hard, but it's the very definition of excruciatingly difficult. Unlike Cuphead, Ghosts 'n Goblins focuses entirely on being a run & gun platformer. Players have no time to rest as enemies keep pooping up right and left to no end. In addition, Arthur can receive a maximum of 2 hits before he turns into a skeleton. If you're lucky enough and get your hands on an extra armor, you score an extra chance to survive, but for how long.

I have already mentioned that Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins is easier than its predecessors. One of the features this version has included is that once you die, you can start from a certain checkpoint. However, once all of these checkpoints are lost. You have to start all over again from 0. This brutal mechanic makes Cuphead look like a cakewalk, personally.

The Visuals

A lot of you may find this comparison unfair. But personally, I think these two games remain one of the best most visually appealing platforming games ever made, and they still hold up. As you already know, Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins was initially released back in 2006 on the PSP. Nonetheless, despite the hardware being inferior to the PlayStation 2, it managed to look visually stunning, and colorful with a breathtaking world.

Personally, the closest games I can compare Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins to in terms of visuals are Demon's Crest on the SNES and Gegege no Kitarou for the original PlayStation. These mentioned games have done justice at depicting a demonic world as both an eerie and vivid. When I look at games like these, I can't help myself but wonder "how will these game look like if they received an anime adaptation or a full 3D animation?" One can only dream.

The visuals in Cuphead are jaw-dropping, heart melting, and mind boggling. It's what every kid who grew up with the old classic cartoons wished to see one day become a reality. Cuphead is the result of what happens when a creators invents a travel machine, and goes back to the past. The aforementioned was the first game by Studio MDHR, a Canadian indie game development studio consisting of brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. Its development began in 2010 using the Unity game engine, and it was developed from the brothers' homes in Oakville, Ontario and Regina, Saskatchewan, respectively.
It's obvious that cartoons produced by the Fleischer and Walt Disney animation studios played a major role in the creation of Cuphead. However, Cuphead wasn't meant for children. It may look cute, but it's a hellish world full of hardships and especially deaths. The developers have succeeded in depicting a colorful world that sends you back to the old gold 90's, but at the same time, it reminds many of Ghosts 'n Goblins and other difficult retro games that were made in the past.
So, which one of these two games are more appealing? That's debatable for many, but the clear answer is Cuphead. Hopefully, if Capcom revives Ghosts 'N Goblins, it should be made using cel-shaded graphics.

Trick Twist

Cuphead has no chill. You may start celebrating while a boss is suffocating in his death, but you may forget about that beam which is coming towards you. It happened to me so many times when I made sure defeating a boss will make his last attack invisible. In the end, I was wrong. That's not how Cuphead works. I believe this will teach a lot of us to be aware of our surroundings until the boss fight is finally over.

On the other hand, Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins has no chill as well. I remember the first time I finished the original game. I felt happy for seconds only to get hit with the truth that everything I went through was nothing but an illusion by Satan, and I was forced to start all over again. 

I gave the PSP remake a chance thinking that Capcom has comeback to its senses and removed that trick twist, but I was wrong. It's much harder than the original as players will have to collect all the golden rings to unlock the true ending. These rings are difficult to obtain, especially the last ones.
At the end of the day, in Cuphead, you're playing to have fun and finish the game. Meanwhile, in Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins, you're playing to survive while you're on the verge of death.

Do you prefer Cuphead or Ghosts 'n Goblins? Let us know below!


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