The Halloween Grab Bag!
The Monsters of Ghosts 'n Goblins!
by: Protoclown

In the classic Ghosts 'n Goblins for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), you take on the role of the brave Sir Arthur, a knight who wears full plate mail but seems to prefer spending the majority of his time running around in his underwear. He's trying to rescue his beloved Princess Prin Prin from the dastardly clutches of the evil Astaroth, and yes, that is her real fucking name. These games are notorious for their insane difficulty, which is why as a child I don't think I ever got past the third level. Lo, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and tossing angrily of the controller. As an adult I've been able to progress slightly further into the game before I become blinded by my manly, frustrated tears of quiet rage.

Arthur and his lady Prin Prin share a nice romantic picnic dinner in the haunted cemetery swarming with the restless dead.

One of the things that made the game so difficult was how useless your armor was--a bat could shit on it and it would immediately be discarded in favor of the latest in Calvin Klein's tighty-whitey line. And from there, a single hit would kill you, because looking fashionable often doesn't align with wearing large plates of metal. The game was full of all kinds of spooky, deadly creatures that would end your quest to reclaim your prop girlfriend right quick. We're going to look at some of these monsters now and analyze why they are such huge assholes.


Everyone is familiar with your typical run-of-the-mill flesh-eating zombie by now, since they are ubiquitous in every genre from horror to romantic comedies. You'd better be extra careful to watch out for the zombies reanimated by the evil energy of the Demon Realm, however. If these red pajama zombies happen to get their rotting claws on you, they will tackle you, pin you down and whisper spoilers to every movie you've been looking forward to right in your ear.

Green Monsters

The green monster is a deadly plant that sprouts from fallen corpses and while they remain stationary, they do spit poisonous venom at you, as plants will often do. If your Arthur gets too close to one of these plants, they will pin you down and smear lipstick all over your collar, so that when you finally do reach your goal of rescuing Princess Prin Prin, she will look at your shirt and quietly mutter something about knowing this would happen all along and thinking that it's time to break up.


These ravens have been corrupted by the dark energy of the Demon Realm. Plan on parking your fancy steed anywhere near where these birds are camped out? Well, I hope you have money for a steed washing, because they are going to fly by and poop all over the damn thing. This is the main reason why you never see Arthur's horse anywhere in this game. He knows better than to even bother bringing it with him.

Flying Knights

Assholes of the highest order, these flying knights will swoop down upon you and try to swipe your credit card. If successful, they will then sign up for the most embarrassing bizarre fetish porn sites that you can imagine, racking up tons of debt and causing you the humiliation of calling your card to contest those charges to Blindfolded Knitting Diaper Sluts, because why, of course those weren't your charges, you would never sign up for such a thing! It must have been your cousin, he's such a total perv.

Wraiths (Pig Spirit)

These angry flying pig spirits look like Shy Guys from Super Mario Bros. 2 that have had a close encounter with a steam roller. They are armored in a protective tortilla shell and have duck feet, which is something that pigs get when they make a pact with the Dark Ones. I'm not going to bore you with all of the fine print details and legalese of this dark pact, but lets just say that there were some pretty heavy negotiations to get that little addendum. If you get too close to them, they will let out an embarrassing loud fart and then point the blame on you, slowly shaking their head in quiet shame once everyone has turned to have a look.

Blue Imps

These little guys are nicknamed "Killer" in an ironic sort of way by the bigger monsters. They'll say "Hey, what's up, Killer?" but the tone they take makes their complete lack of respect totally obvious, like "Hey, I know you could never kill anything at all so I'm going to call you 'Killer' and then my friends and I will all snicker and laugh because that's like totally not what you are at all". So as you can imagine, they have quite a chip on their shoulder. They don't try to actually kill you, because oh my god what if they tried it and they didn't succeed and then they would just never live down the embarrassment, and if they thought the nickname was bad enough now... so they mostly just buzz around in your ears and sing Starship's "We Built This City" over and over, because it's the most annoying song they know, even beating out "This Is The Song That Never Ends".

Petite Devils

These tricky little scamps like to leave delicious dessert treats all over the Demon Realm to tempt Arthur into eating them, knowing full well that he has the diabetes. They especially like to leave fresh baked pies sitting in window sills, just within Arthur's trembling reach.

Big Men

Like his smarter, faster, more muscly cousin Abobo, Big Man decided to get into the video game bad guy line of work. But he's kind of bitter because the Demon Realm really kind of sucks (there are like, no women there), so he likes to take it out on those around him. If he happens to catch hold of Arthur, he will swipe his cell phone, copy down the number, and then that shit will be written in every truck stop bathroom stall from one end of the Realm to the other. And it's not like Arthur can just stop mid-quest to get a new phone. What if Prin Prin escapes and tries to call? She wouldn't know his new number.


Bats are bats. They're gonna fly overhead and shit on you. I mean, it's a bat, which is basically a night bird, what are you gonna do. They will also one day inspire emotionally unstable Bruce Wayne to dress up in bat pajamas and run around Gotham City every night beating people up, so they're not all bad.

Golem Towers

These perfectly innocuous white towers suddenly turn red with sad-face when you get near and will breathe fire in your general direction. It's not that "friendly fire" you may have heard about either; this stuff is downright nasty. They're not really trying to kill you though, they just want to melt your shoes. Because there are all kinds of sharp rocks and dirty needles and used condoms and stuff lying around in the Demon Realm, and they know it will really hurt to step on them with your bare feet. Plus you might get the AIDS if you plant your foot in the wrong place. Fucking jerks.


These skeletons start off just as skulls lying innocently on the ground, but when you get close, they can't contain their excitement any longer. They jump for joy, bounding out of the ground and running over to give you a hug. Once they get their bony mitts on you, they pin you down and then say "Oh. It's you," in a really disappointed tone before crumbling back to the ground in an apathetic pile. And believe me, after several repeated instances, this can have a devastating blow to your self-esteem.

Red Arremer

These pesky red demons will swoop down upon you, pin you down and say "Isn't it weird how most of these creatures just pin you down and do something really annoying instead of actually attacking you?" Then he will shit in his hand, shampoo your hair with it, kill you, and fly away.


This is the horrible result when a unicorn abuses steroids. Once beautiful, majestic four-legged equine creatures, the unicorns are now powered by the rage of their own ugliness. They shoot tufts of armpit hair at you, and believe me after their transformation they have plenty to spare. If they manage to catch you they will tie you up and make you watch their dance recital performance piece, because they haven't really accepted their new ugly reality yet. And the last thing you want to see is one of these guys in a tutu.


These are incredibly shitty dragons that you will encounter in this game. Do you see any treasure at all in this dragon's lair? Even though there are fat bags of cash just sitting around everywhere you go, you won't find a single one in the dragon's abode. As you might imagine, this causes the dragons to feel somewhat inadequate. If they manage to defeat you, they will make you sit down and listen to all of their problems and insecurities, forcing you to offer them free therapy as they try to choke back their tears.


Yeah, that's right. Satans. As in there are multiple of them. Basically these guys just like to flash you, as you can see in the above picture. They swoop in all menacingly, darting around and shooting projectiles at you, but it's all a big ruse, nothing more than a careful setup for the moment when they pull their wings back and hang in the sky all spread-sataned, forcing you to gaze upon their dangling demonic junk. And if you pretend not to notice, they won't let that slide either. They will look down at their crotch, raise their eyebrows knowingly at you and mutter "saw my dick" before blowing you a kiss and then windmilling the hell out of that shit.


Astaroth is such an incredible asshole that he has a face on his head and then another face on his stomach and then still yet another face on his throne for good measure. They were going to call him Three-Face, but it's a good thing they didn't, because now that's an actual DC Comics character, which is something I wish I was making up, but I am not. Even the Masters of the Universe villain with three faces was called "Man-E-Faces", because Three-Face was just too dumb, and this is from the toy line that gave us a character named Fisto. But I digress.

When you beat Astaroth he pulls a "psych!" and sends you back to the beginning, because lol, none of that shit that resulted in tufts of angrily pulled hair surrounding your chair actually mattered. This guy basically creates the dreaded scenario we've all had nightmares about: you're just about to graduate college, but then when you think you're done you realize that you're one fucking credit shy of being able to graduate, and now you have to start college all over again from scratch, which doesn't make any kind of sense but that's how dream logic works, and then you wake up in a cold sweat and realize oh thank god, it was all just a dream, and then get up and prepare for your soul-crushing corporate job that is slowly draining the life out of you.

And if you somehow manage to get past this entire platoon of assholes, TWICE, this right here is the thanks you get:

Some textbook example shitty Engrish and Prin Prin embracing you while hearts fly through the air. Yeah, where were those fucking hearts when I was getting my ass kicked back there, Prin Prin? Maybe I could have used some of those so I could get hit more than once before ending up in my underwear.

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