Another Capcom/SNK duel: the enemy companies meet again for a match between the CPS and the Neo Geo, in a "timeless" Versus. Even if they both run on 16-bit system with close capabilities, Magician Lord and Ghouls'n'Ghosts were released more than two years apart: 1990 and 1988. The Neo Geo has an advantage about technology, in addition to the experience and evolution of the genre during this time period. The technical "gap" is not huge, and that indulgence won't really be required to judge the sensational Ghouls'n'Ghost against the impressive Magician Lord.
Phantasmagoric worlds represented in the one and the other are truly sublime, and yet very different. If we can notice some empty landscapes here and there, we are treated to a
nice graphical variety, both in terms of backgrounds that with the characters and Bosses. If Magician Lord made a big sensation upon its release, the same can be said for
Ghouls'n'Ghosts which was for the first time in theaters in 1988. GNG provides greater variety in his bestiary and beautiful reliefs, while ML goes for details, vibrant colors and
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Despite it was released two years after, Magician Lord fails to ridicule his rival on the animation part: worse, GNG absolutely nothing to envy it! If both are not decomposition and
smoothness models, the Capcom soft is a bit more fluid for the movements of the hero, but it also does better on the amount of small animated details here and there. The pace is a little
more dynamic in ML, and if it's not bad so far, it can't really match its opponent in this chapter.
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Ghouls 'n' Ghosts
Neo Geo considerably distance CPS on the soundtrack. Not only the music is more inspired and have better sampling, but the sound effects are also a way stronger caliber. The additional 22
megs there are probably not for nothing in this, anyway the SNK musicians gratify us with epic themes and slamming effects. Capcom makes a quite decent soundtrack for a set of 88' and CPS
operates properly, but even on a purely creative level, it is less good.
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ML and GNG have something in common: they are literally monsters of difficulty! Magician Lord features eight robust stages against five monstrously hard that must be cleared twice in
Ghouls'n'Ghosts. ML is more prone to scoring and discovery, with various passages (secret or not) in levels, not including the various forms of warrior that make you want to return to try them.
His rival is more about the different weapons and armor that both offer a variety of gameplay that hooks the player, but in both cases, the challenge that is offered will particularly
attract seasoned gamers.
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The character is smaller in the game of Capcom, focusing on the dexterity and the platform phases more than the fight. The stages and enemies are varied, offering a constantly renewed challenge and the desire to discover more. Arthur may collect two types of armor (steel and gold), allowing him to take a hit before getting in his underwear, but also to launch a magic attack with the golden one. There are six different weapons, but some are more interesting than others. It becomes strategic when it's about deciding you take a weapon or not. Like in Magician Lord player re-start from last checkpoint when dead. This latter offers a gameplay that differs significantly from that of its competitor: the sprites, including Elta, are a little larger. The fight is more the main thing than in GNG, but the platform part is still very present, and relatively difficult. Six transformations can be obtained through the elemental spheres. You can also collect power-ups to increase your shots on three levels. Elta has three life points, while his transformations increase this total to six. Our rivals are incredibly difficult and prove addictive for the brave who dare venture there. Room for improvement is important in both, but Ghouls'n'Ghosts takes a slight advantage on the gameplay: a little more accurate and ultimately less daunting, GNG remains a benchmark for a "platform game"of 1988.
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Magician Lord and Ghouls'n'Ghosts are almost at par in this comparison. If they both aged a little, GNG - yet the elder - is a little more meritorious regarding its realization: not as impressive
as his rival, but licked, with a particularly good animation for such an old game. Lifespans are comparable and the gameplays slightly different, with a small advantage for the
Capcom game, which benefits from the experience acquired with the first game of the saga, Ghost'n'Goblins. A tight match in which Ghouls'n'Ghosts wins from a very short head.
Ghouls 'n' Ghosts