[[quoteright:256:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/GnG_Stage1_NES_Secret1.png]]

->''[[FakeLongevity THIS ROOM IS AN ILLUSION AND]]\\
[[BlindIdiotTranslation IS A TRAP DEVISUT BY SATAN.]]\\
[[NewGamePlus GO AHEAD DAUNTLESSLY!]]\\
[[NintendoHard MAKE RAPID PROGRES!]]''
-->-- '''The text that appears when you beat the game for the first time'''

''Ghosts 'n Goblins'' (known in Japan as ''Makaimura'', "Demon World Village") is Creator/{{Capcom}}'s infamously NintendoHard {{action|Game}} {{platform|Game}}er from the 8-bit era. It pits intrepid [[KnightInShiningArmor Knight in (and occasionally out of) Shining Armor]] Arthur against endless hordes of undead, demons, GoddamnedBats, and the titular ghosts and goblins in a quest to [[SaveThePrincess save his sweetie]], [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses Princess]] Prin-Prin, with only two HitPoints to his name. As with a great many games of its time, its first appearance was in arcades, followed by ports to home platforms, including the UsefulNotes/ZXSpectrum, {{Commodore 64}}, {{Amiga}}, and UsefulNotes/{{NES}}. Later on, it appeared in updated form on the UsefulNotes/GameBoyColor, UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance, and UsefulNotes/PlayStation, and in 2007 was released on the UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} VirtualConsole.

The game received sequels in ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' (''Daimakaimura'' in Japan) for arcades and the SegaGenesis, ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' (''Choumakaimura'') for the UsefulNotes/{{SNES}}, ''Makaimura for UsefulNotes/WonderSwan'' (yes that's really its title), ''Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins'' (''Gokumakaimura'') for the UsefulNotes/{{PSP}}, and ''Ghosts'n Goblins: Gold Knights'' (''Makaimura: Kishi Retsuden'') for [[IOSGames iOS]]. Also inspired a separate series comprised of ''[[VideoGame/GargoylesQuest Gargoyle's Quest]]'' (''Red Arremer: Makaimura Gaiden'') for the UsefulNotes/GameBoy, ''Gargoyle's Quest II'' (''Red Arremer II'') for the NES, and ''Demon's Crest'' (''Demon's Blazon: Makaimura Monshou-hen'') for the SNES.

Compare the ''Maximo'' duology (''[[VideoGame/MaximoGhostsToGlory Ghosts to Glory]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/MaximoVsArmyOfZin Army of Zin]]''), which is a spiritual successor/spin-off.

Arthur himself has made an out-series appearances in ''VideoGame/NamcoXCapcom'' and its sequel, ''VideoGame/ProjectXZone'', (playable in the former, AssistCharacter in the latter) as well as the ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom'' series (AssistCharacter in [[VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcomClashOfTheSuperheroes the first game]], then full-blown playable in [[VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3 the third]]) The Red Arremer is also a BonusBoss ([[SNKBoss AND HOW!]]) in ''VideoGame/SNKVsCapcomSVCChaos''. Red Arremer (Firebrand From Gargoyle's quest) was added in the UpdatedRerelease, ''Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3'', where he has special dialogue with Arthur.

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!!This series provides examples of:

* AdvancingWallOfDoom: In Stage 3 of Ghouls and Ghosts, the screen scrolls hazards downward, eventually coming to a ceiling that crushes everything (unless you escape to the right.)
* AfterBossRecovery: Defeat the boss in underwear to get back your armor.
* AmbidextrousSprite
* BalefulPolymorph: A magician who likes to hide in treasure chests does this if you don't kill him fast enough. Being hit by his magic turns you into MANY different things depending on game/armor status, including a girl, duck and seal that all can't attack, and an old man that can...but slowly. Another transformation is a bee whose "flying" hitbox can actually be beneficial and allow you to walk across lava.
* BladderOfSteel: Simply putting a Save option on the SNES version would have made it a ''lot'' less frustrating.
* BladeOnAStick: Arthur's default weapon is a Lance, which the Japanese version originally called a "yari" (spear).
* BlindIdiotTranslation: The NES version is full of this, as evidenced by the quote at the top of the page. The arcade version isn't ''quite'' as bad; it still has the same mangled grammar and syntax, but at least everything is spelled correctly.
* BlockingStopsAllDamage: ''Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins'' introduces shields which will unfortunately break after a number of hits. It is possible to obtain an unbreakable shield from a witch though, after which anything block-able can be stopped with impunity.
* BossRemix: The boss themes in ''Ghosts 'n Goblins'' and ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' are remixes of the themes of the levels leading up to them (although the boss remixes for Stages 3 and 5 of ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' use the level musics from Stages 5 and 3, respectively).
* BossRush: In the sixth stage of ''Ghosts 'n Goblins'', the bosses from the previous stages show up again.
* BottomlessPits: Not nearly as common as in most other platformers that use them, but they're definitely there.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: Lucifer and Samael, the final bosses in ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' and ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' respectively, were renamed Loki and Sardius respectively (except in the arcade version of the former, where he was still called Lucifer).
* {{Cap}}: In the original game, there can be no more than three zombies on the screen at a time. Other enemies have similar caps.
* ChainReactionDestruction: Bosses like to explode in that manner in ''Ghouls n' Ghosts''.
* CheckPoint: Only works on death or when you insert 25 cents within 10 seconds.
* CleanDubName: In the console ports of ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'', Lucifer was renamed Loki in the localized versions, while Samael became Sardius in ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts''.
* ClownCarGrave: The zombies just keep... on... coming. Forever. And they're not the only ones.
* CrazyPrepared: According to the ending of ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'', Arthur had spent ''three years'' improving his weapons because ''he knew'' the demon world would be restored eventually. Not that it did him much good...
* DamselInDistress: Princess Prin Prin is kidnapped in every single game she appears. Technically she gets killed off in ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'', but since Arthur is fighting to save her soul from Lucifer and restore her back to life, it essentially amounts to the same thing. It's a wonder why she never [[ReconstructedTrope takes exception on it and evolves]] into RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething territory.
* DegradedBoss:
** Happens to some of the bosses. For example, the Shielder in ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' shows up in the penultimate stage, but only as a head and an arm mounted on the wall.
** Astaroth, the final boss of the original game, shows up in all later installments as either a late-game boss or a mere EliteMook!
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: You kill the Devil himself by beating him over the head with a shield.
* DirectionallySolidPlatforms
* DifficultyByRegion: The American release has the mercy of MeaninglessLives, but the Japanese version has no visible continue option (you have to use controller commands when pressing start).
* DoubleJump: Arthur gets the ability to do this in ''Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts.'' It does not make the game any easier.
* DualBoss: In the first game, the bosses of the second stage are twin versions of the cyclops from the first stage. Likewise, the boss of the sixth stage are twin versions of Satan, the flying devil boss from the fifth stage.
* DubNameChange: The official name of Arthur's beloved is "Princess Prin-Prin" (as displayed in the ending of ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts''), although some of the earlier localizations renamed her into "Princess Tamara" (in the Genesis version) or "Princess Guinevere" (in the SNES version, a reference to King Arthur's own beloved). However, most official documentation (even for the Japanese releases) don't even bother mentioning her name at all and simply refer to her as "The Princess".
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: [[AvertedTrope Not in the SNES version.]] [[NewGamePlus She actually]] [[HarderThanHard makes it worse.]]
* {{Expy}}: Knight Arthur is technically not KingArthur, but just some knight who happens to be named Arthur. And the princess he's saving is officially called "Prin-Prin", but has undergone a few name changes between different localizations.
* FakeLongevity: You'll have to play through the game twice to see the true ending. This applies to every installment of the series.
** Losing a life to getting back into the game: 13 seconds. Getting a game over to getting back into the game: 24 seconds. Considering how hard the game is, this adds a LOT of playtime to the game and make it seem much longer than it actually is.
* FloatingPlatforms
* GoofyPrintUnderwear:
** If Arthur takes a hit while armored, his armor falls off, revealing [[RealMenWearPink strawberry-print]] undies (though merchandise and cameos often depict them as hearts). If Arthur takes a hit while in this state, he gets StrippedToTheBone.
** Arthur instead has vertical stripes in the UsefulNotes/WonderSwan game.
* GoombaStomp: Mostly absent from the series, but Lancelot can do it in ''Gold Knights''.
* HitboxDissonance: Your player collision area in the first three games is rather small compared to the player sprite.
* HyperspaceArsenal: Arthur's basic attack is to fling an endless number of lances from nowhere. Other weapons have similarly [[TrouserSpace plucked-from-thin-air]] projectiles.
* InexplicableTreasureChests: In ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' and ''Super'', random treasure chests can somehow materialize from thin air.
* ItemAmplifier: In the sequel ''Super Ghouls and Ghosts'', picking up turquoise and golden armor gives your weapons more power and in the latter, the ability to charge up your attacks.
* JumpPhysics: Present but not highly distinguishable. Jumping from foothold to precarious foothold isn't as big a part of gameplay in ''Ghosts 'n Goblins'' as it is in [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros some]] [[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog other]] [[VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry platformers]], and Arthur's jump isn't all ''that'' much more controllable than a real-life jump.
** Commodore 64 wouldn't allow jumping over a tombstone if you were right against it; you needed a single pace back before jumping over. The "good" versions don't have this quirk.
** Also see DoubleJump above.
* LagCancel: Believe it or not, the original arcade version of Ghosts N Goblins has this (and you'll need it). Arthur is normally very sluggish, and he'll usually take a while to get up from a crouch, but you can alleviate this by tapping up on the stick. You can also boost his rate of fire by tapping forward after you fire.
* TheLegionsOfHell: Most enemies are, in one way or another, fighting for the Devil himself.
* Level1MusicRepresents: Starts with the original, lasts all the way through ''Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins'', and becomes Arthur's theme for ''NamcoXCapcom'' and ''MarvelVsCapcom3''.
* NewGamePlus: The page quote kicks it off.
** To make matters worse, it's a ''hallmark'' of the series (with the exception of ''Ultimate''), as well as...
* NintendoHard: This game is basically the epitome of hardest games ever made, EVERY enemy is designed to make you lose your patience to an explosive degree, The Ghosts, The Ogres, THE RED ARREMERS, on almost every level. [[spoiler:Level 6, IS THE UNHOLY GRAIL OF THE 8-BIT UNDERWORLD.]]
* OneBulletAtATime: Varies depending on the weapon. e.g. you can only have two lances on screen at a time, but up to three daggers.
* OrpheanRescue: Arthur's goal in the second game. (Still SaveThePrincess, however, because that's who he wants to rescue.)
* PerfectPlayAI: The Red Arremer comes close.
* PowerupLetdown: The torch and the axe in the first game. Made more insidious in some versions because the [[PowerUp Power-Ups]] appear in a specific order -- the torch will appear before the (very, very good) sword will appear. Later games made all [[PowerUp Power-Ups]] random, although they include many more let downs, too.
* RandomNumberGod: You can't trust memorization against some of the series' tougher foes like the Red Arremers. They'll zig when you swear they would've zagged.
* RecurringBoss: The original game has significantly fewer distinct boss types than there are levels.
** Also Astaroth comes back in every game, even when he's not the BigBad anymore.
* {{Satan}}: The recurring BigBad of the series is Astaroth, and Satan is his lackey. In ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'', the BigBad is Lucifer (Loki in the American Genesis version). In ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts'', the final boss Sardius is called Samael in Japan. These are all separate entities. And in ''Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins'', Astaroth is still there as the FinalBoss, but there's a TrueFinalBoss after him: ''Hades''.
** There's also a demon bee boss named Beelzebub, which is sometimes another name for Satan.
* SaveThePrincess: Every game is about Arthur rescuing Princess Prin Prin. Even in the second game, where she's killed by Lucifer, it's Arthur's goal to rescue her soul and bring her back to life.
* SequelDifficultyDrop: ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' is considerably easier than ''Ghosts 'n Goblins'' (though still NintendoHard), thanks largely to Arthur gaining the ability to throw weapons vertically and (with the Gold Armor) use magic.
* SingleUseShield: In ''Ghosts 'n Goblins'' and its sequels, the player character's armor disappears after one hit, but they do have the benefit of starting each life with armor equipped. ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' also offers a shield powerup which can block one projectile attack only.
* SpinOff: The main series spawned the ''[[VideoGame/GargoylesQuest Gargoyle's Quest]]'' trilogy, a spinoff series starring Red Arremer/Firebrand, [[MauveShirt one of the enemies]] from ''Ghosts 'n Goblins''. And in those games, Lucifer from ''Ghouls 'N Ghosts'' ([[{{Woolseyism}} cleverly renamed]] to Rushifell in English) is [[spoiler:your WorthyOpponent, but not actually your enemy]].
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''Maximo: Ghosts To Glory'' is technically not part of the series, but was very obviously inspired by it. ''VideoGame/MediEvil'' too.
* SuperDrowningSkills: The numerous small pools of water in Arthur's path might as well be filled with lava or SpikesOfDoom. Averted in ''Makaimura for Wonderswan'', where Arthur actually can swim. It makes sense when he has armor, but WHEN HE'S IN HIS BOXERS?!
* ThemeNaming: Some of the members of the Red Arremer family are themed after playing cards, with Red Arremer King in ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'', Red Arremer Ace in ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts'', and Red Arremer Joker in ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Advance''. Now where's Queen and Jack?
** [[TomatoInTheMirror Arthur and Prin-Prin.]]
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks
* TimedMission
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: You'd think so, but no. If an enemy in the series gives you trouble, is usually because they don't follow a set pattern at all (case in point the Red Arremers and the Ogres from stage 2.)
* TheUnfought: Satan appears in ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts'', where he abducts Prin-Prin in the game's opening sequence, but he never actually fights the player as an enemy.
* {{Unwinnable}}: The NES version had some bosses immune to some attacks. If you had the wrong item, you can't even get the screen saying you didn't get the shield.
** The fourth boss in ''Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' is a stationary slug. It can become this if Arthur happens to be carrying the short-range broadsword.
* UpdatedRerelease: ''Goku Makaimura Kai'' for ''Goku Makaimura'' (''Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins''), which includes the original game and a revised mode that drops the RPG elements for a more Arcade-like experience. (Sadly, it's [[NoExportForYou Japan-only]].)
** The GameboyAdvance port of ''Super Ghouls n' Ghosts'' could also count as this. It includes an all-new "arranged mode" with branching paths and new levels.
* {{Wallmaster}}: Some enemies appear uncomfortably close.
* WeaponizedOffspring: In ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts'', the boss of the first stage is a giant bird which spits eggs out of its mouth which hatch into smaller, groundbound bird monsters which attack you.
* AWinnerIsYou: The first game, typical retro game ending, followed by the GameOver screen in the NES version.
* WombLevel: The fourth level in ''Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts'' is called "The Ghoul's Stomach." It's appropriately spooky.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: Prin-Prin.
* YoungerThanTheyLook: According to Arthur's bio in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'', "Though he looks like an old man, he's really only 28 years old."
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: THIS ROOM IS AN ILLUSION AND IS A TRAP DEVISUT BY SATAN. GO AHEAD DAUNTLESSLY! MAKE RAPID PROGRES! . After defeating the Ghosts 'n Goblins FinalBoss, Arthur is forced to replay the entire game, on a harder difficulty level --of all things-- to get the genuine end.
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-->''[[{{AWinnerIsYou}} CONGRATURATION]]\\
[[EarnYourHappyEnding THIS STORY IS HAPPY END.]]\\
[[ThankingTheViewer THANK YOU.]]''\\


-->''[[BlindIdiotTranslation BEING THE WISE AND COURAGEOUR]]\\
[[KnightInShiningArmor KNIGHT THAT YOU ARE YOU]]\\
[[GoodFeelsGood FEEL STRONGTH WELLING.]]\\
[[GoodFeelsGood IN YOUR BODY.]]\\
RETURN TO STARTING POINT.\\
CHALLENGE AGAIN!''