Ghosts 'n Goblins
Lemon64 - GB64 - C64 Game Endings - Longplay on YouTube
Another Coin-up conversion from a Capcom license, and a fairly good one as well by Chris Butler, the man who made Commando the year before. A catchy ghostly tune, but gets repetitive after a while. The game graphics is very well done and gives that nice ghoulish feel with smooth scrolling and all. But this is a fairly tough game though. I remember I never got longer than the second level back in the 80s and with the help from Vice I could now appreciate the whole game.
And its not a very long game, you can play through it in a little over 5 minutes if you play flawlessly. This was very common for games of this era. The challenge lies in the fact that you only have 5 lives, or actually 10 since if your knight bumps into an enemy or projectile/fire you loose your armor. The next hit kills you. However, fortunately the hero can pick up a piece of armor if he gets to certain spots. This armor is often placed in spots where you could "save" it just in case you get hit. The whole game consist of 4 fairly short levels, most of them sidescrolling right to left, but some has some scrolling up and down. As you take enemies they drop loot and weapons, a torch or a knife. I dont know but the only difference I saw was that the torch arcs downwards while the knife acts just like your sword. At the end of each level you will face a boss - well basically the same big monkey jumping back and forth, except the last level where you face a flying dragon.
Its a hard game basically because the monsters spawn randomly and sometimes a zombie can come up just next to you meaning you have to be quick on your reflexes. It also has an annoying feature that your shot has to go off screen or "land" either in the ground or an enemy before you can shoot another one. A steady shooting frequency might have made it an easier game, but at the same time since you are allowed a shot the moment the other one "lands" you can spam shots fast when close to e.g a boss which certainly comes in handy at the end dragon (which I had to play over and over for 10 minutes before I beat it, even with Vice). The ending is rather dull where you rescue the princess (hero sprite walks toward princess sprite on black screen), and extremely short before you start all over again. Again, it amazes me how little effort was put into these games, and still they sold hundreds of thousands copies! Man, I wish I could go back and start my own software company knowing this. :)