• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatAtari 8-bit
PublisherBrothers Production

Main review

Ghastly Night was originally developed in 1994 but was left gathering dust on a floppy until it was finally resurrected and released some fifteen years later at the end of 2009. And, although it very clearly takes cues from Capcom’s arcade classic Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins both for gameplay and graphical stylings (the first level just happens to be a multi-level graveyard which is populated by zombies rising from the ground and vulture-like birds patrolling the skies), the push scrolling has been replaced by a flick screen system.

And that’s not the only thing to change; the hero initially carries a sword and has donned a suit of armour to protect him from creatures of the night but both have their issues; despite the long blade, the sword only works when a nasty is quite literally underneath it and, regardless of any weapon flailing that may be happening, something nasty will occasionally sneak past and make contact. Bumping into something just the once isn’t fatal however and, as with Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins, our hero loses the shiny suit of armour… but in this case the sword he was desperately waving about to defend himself goes at the same time so, along with being likely to catch something nasty from running around at night whilst completely starkers, he’s in deep supernatural trouble.


There are collectable items scattered around that replace the brave knight’s lost armour or give him what appears to be a magical projectile weapon which fires crystal balls across the screen, but reaching the icons for these features is tricky in itself and actually keeping hold of them for any length of time almost impossible and completing the first stage will prove ridiculously hard.

So although its muse and the sequel might both be difficult games to get into, Ghastly Night takes this several stages further and is probably about as close to impossible as these things get. Even players who opt to use the alternative version included in the archive which dishes out infinite lives will still find it frustratingly difficult to get anywheres with because there are just so many places where something will try to kill them.

For anybody wanting something in a similar vein on the Atari 8-bit there’s always Hobgoblin instead; whilst the two games might not share a visual style but are reasonably similar as far as the action is concerned and, whilst GR8’s game might also have a steep difficulty curve, it’s nowhere near as harsh and noticeably more playable for it.