Last year on The Witching Hour we looked at a brutally difficult video game – Super Ghouls & Ghosts. Now it is time to go all the way back to the beginning of one of the most infamous franchises in video game history. This time we look at Ghosts ‘n Goblins.

As was often the case for video games from the mid-1980s, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is a 2D side-scrolling action game. You play as a knight named Arthur who apparently enjoys hanging out near cemeteries in his underwear with his girlfriend who in some versions is named Guinevere. After the lady is kidnapped by a demon (or Satan, again depending on which version you play, Arthur battles all manner of monsters including ogres, unicorns and of course, the undead.

Arthur does not have much protection from the forces of evil. His armor can only withstand one hit before he loses it. Should Arthur be struck again he will die.

Adding to the game’s challenge are the weapons that Arthur can pick up. In most games power-ups aid the player but that is very debatable in this game. In fact, some weapons actually seem to make things even more difficult. In general, you want a weapon you can throw ahead of you in a straight line. The default lance does this but try to get the knife if you can since it is considerably faster.

I promise that the red demon pictured above has caused a huge number of deaths in the game; possibly more than any of the other monsters found in Ghosts ‘N Goblins. He has the most annoying flight patterns and is nearly impossible to hit with some weapons like the fireballs. Interestingly enough, one of these demons features in a spin-off series, Gargoyle’s Quest, where is a playable character.

The final breaking moment in this game comes at the end of the sixth level when you defeat the final boss. The game puts you back at the beginning of the first level and expects you to play through it again in order to get the true ending. To this day I have not bothered to complete the second playthrough.

If you want to play Ghosts ‘N Goblins yourself, it isn’t hard to find. The arcade game was ported to the NES, Commodore 64, Game Boy Color and is currently available on the Wii U and 3DS eShops. If you’re craving a challenging game with monsters to play during the Halloween season, check this one out.