The RetroBeat: Ghosts’n DJs trades goblins for deadmau5

We may not have had a new Ghosts ‘n Goblins in over a decade, but fans of the franchise do have something to look forward to next month (especially if they love DJs).

This week, I received an interesting pitch for an upcoming indie game called Ghosts’n DJs. As the name implies, it’s like Capcom’s classic sidescroller action series Ghosts ‘n Goblins … except it has DJs. It also doesn’t have a space between ghosts and the apostrophe, which I find even more baffling, but let’s not get off track.

I find this project interesting for a lot of reasons. First off, just about every retro gaming fan recognizes Ghosts ‘n Goblins. The games have become classics thanks to their punishing difficulties and spooky aesthetics. These days, however, you don’t feel too much of Ghosts ‘n Goblins legacy. We see a lot of indie games inspired by the likes of Mega Man and Castlevania, but not so much this series.

Ghosts of the past

Ghosts’n DJs, meanwhile, is not being discreet with its adoration of Ghosts ‘n Goblins. Just look at the trailer below.

The main character’s movements mirror Ghosts ‘n Goblins hero Arthur. There are just less, you know, goblins.

The game still has plenty of ghosts, though! Ghost music producers! And they’re trying all music in the universe by making it all sound “the same and stupid.”

The adventure even stars a real world DJ, Dr. Kucho. You play as him while destroying these music-ruining phantoms. And deadmau5, a DJ so famous that even I know who he is, also appears. Well, at least his helmet does. It also includes some of his songs in the soundtrack.

Dr. Kucho is making the game, so that’s why he’s the star. It would be like if I had money and made my own Mega Man game but it starred me, which sounds awesome.

If you’re interested in this goofy and retro project, it’s coming to Steam on February 6. It will also be available for free, which is nice. It also maybe helps Dr. Kucho avoid the ire of Capcom if his game isn’t being made for profit.

As for me? Well, I listen to a lot more stage show and Disney soundtracks than electronica or, you know, whatever else those guys “spin.” So a lot of the game’s satire may fly over my head.

I also may be a bit traumatized by the fact that I’ve never beaten a Ghosts n’ Goblins game before.

The RetroBeat is a weekly column that looks at gaming’s past, diving into classics, new retro titles, or looking at how old favorites — and their design techniques — inspire today’s market and experiences. If you have any retro-themed projects or scoops you’d like to send my way, please contact me.

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