Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Ghoul School

Go To

Ghoul School is an early entry in the survival-horror genre of video games having been released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in the year of 1992. It was developed by Imagineering and published by Electro Brain.

You play as Spike O'Hara, a delinquent from Cool School (which later gets turned into GHOUL SCHOOL! ...ya, get it?) who comes across a magical skull which keeps growing bigger. He decides to give it to Dr. Femur in the science lab at school for studying. The next day, he returns to find that the school is overrun by monsters.

Spike must travel through over 200 rooms in the school looking for items in order to save Samantha Pom-Pom. The school cheerleader and Spike's secret crush.

In the end, the game comes off like a B Horror Movie with no script, and remains a Cult Classic for the few gamers who've heard of it.

It was infamous for its buggy controls, poor hit detection, and weird set-up. The game had a lot of Guide Dang It! moments including the elevator sequence and the basketballs in the gymnasium.

Has nothing to do with Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School.

This game provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: If you don't have the manual, then you won't get the story behind it. The game goes immediately from title screen to the start of the game. Also aversions, because even with the manual there are a couple things it specifically refuses to tell you, like how to work the elevator.
  • Always Save the Girl: Spike's reason for entering the school and taking on the army of the living dead.
  • Back Tracking: An annoying amount. Because you won't know where to go without a walkthrough, you're bound to do a lot more than is necessary too.
  • Batter Up!: A baseball bat is the weapon Spike begins the game with.
  • Big Bad: Cornea King
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: The Frankenstein's Monster. Some other one-time regular monsters like Bootoven and Note-orious could qualify. Due to their uniqueness,though, it'd be hard to classify them as regular enemies.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: The halls and classrooms all look much the same, with only a few distinct-looking areas such as the gym and auto shop. It makes getting your bearings hard unless you break down and make a map.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: In the classrooms are TVs you can smash in to get apples that restore health points.
  • Dunce Cap: You see one in classrooms sometimes, but for some reason they look like wizard hats.
  • Gravity Barrier: Crates, walls, ... very early on too.
  • Guide Dang It!: Quite a bit to the point where it seems like the whole game is a physical manifestation of this trope.
    • The aforementioned elevator shaft for one example.
  • Haunted House: Cool School
  • Improbable Weapon: Spike resorts to some pretty weird things in trying to find off the monsters, like a towel and sandwiches.
  • King Mook: The Final Boss is a slightly scaled-up version of the pink eyeball enemies who appear all throughout the game.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The various anti-monster laser guns you find lying around were previously the tools of the trade of the Spirit Ridders, a group of anti-ghost experts.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The... sandwich.
  • Magnet Hands: Even when Spike flips himself upside down to walk on the ceiling those guns/baseball bat/wet towel/...sandwich don't leave his hands.
  • Meaningful Name / Punny Name: Dr. Femur is a school scientist who studies bones. Spike O'Hara has... spiky hair. Samantha Pom-Pom is a cheerleader. Cornea King is a giant eyeball creature. The trope even applies to many enemy names as well.
  • Metroidvania: One of the earliest examples, long before this genre had an actual name.
  • Missing Floor: There's no real connection between the left and right halves of the school. The only way to get to said other half is by getting on the roof via the aforementioned elevator event.
  • Palette Swap: Not quite in the way one may think, but many enemies are very similar to each with a change in attire and in behavior. ie: Optik, Blinky, Dumb-Bell, Grouchy Gore-Met, & Quarter-Pound. Basically, any of the enemies belonging to the giant eyeball class of monsters.
  • Red Shirt Army: The manual's storyline mentions most of the football team, and then a team of anti-ghost exterminators, entered the school to deal with the supernatural. Implicitly they were all killed to make the situation seem more dire.
  • Respawning Enemies: One of the few games of its generation to avert this. If you kill an enemy, they're gone for the rest of the playthrough. This makes all the Back Tracking a bit more tolerable.
  • Side View: The game scrolls from left to right, as was typical of Metroidvania games such as this.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Implied, with the presumption that the school is a high school, before a round of {[Bowdlerise}}-ing, given that, according to Word of God, the weapon found inside the nurse's office was originally known as the Spinal Tap, and its manual description mentioned one of its former Real Life purposes: to inject anesthetic into the spines of women to ease the pain of childbirth. This was (unsurprisingly) changed at Nintendo of America's request, and the weapon was promptly changed from a syringe to a Static Stun Gun known as the Spinal Zap in the final game.
  • A Winner Is You: You battle through a school full of monsters to rescue the girl and then... as you're watching the aftermath of the adventure: SHE STEPS AWAY FROM YOU. Uh-huh. That's right. You do all the work and you don't even get the girl in the end.