Finished Avenging Spirit about 5 weeks ago, kinda. Never got all the keys to unlock the happy ending and I used save states fairly extensively. I don’t know if that qualifies as finishing a game but I did play through the whole thing so I guess it’s enough to have a good impression of the game.
Avenging Spirit is a fairly hard platformer by Jaleco, a company who made tons of GB titles, this being one of their best known games for the system. It’s a port from an arcade game and if the arcade version is as difficult as this one, you’ll need a lot of coins to reach the ending.
The plot is this: Your girlfriend is kidnapped by gangsters. In the process of kidnapping her, you’re shot and killed. Apparently you’re just collateral damage because the real reason the gangsters want the girl is just so her dad disclose some ghost research he’s been doing. So the dad sums you up back from the dead and send you off to save the girl. He can’t bring your body back though, so you’ll have to get possess one. Several, in fact. That constitutes the main gameplay aspect of the whole thing; each stage you’ll wander around, possess the body of an enemy and use its powers to finish the stage.
It’s a nice idea and it works fairly well. The thing is, most enemies are completely worthless and quickly you’ll learn just one or two in each stage is worth possessing. It’s all about 3 things; how good its projectile weapon is, how far it can jump and the amount of life. Usually all 3 things will be very good in one or two guys and complete trash in all the others populating the stage.
My only problem with this game is how superficial the difficulty is sometimes. The enemies and the platforming is not hard in themselves. Thing is, enemies respawn insanely quickly. You can’t move 3 steps away from the screen where the enemy is located, it will instantly reappear. This often cause troubles since they’ll just respawn at the exact location you just cleared to make that jump or in order to climb that stairs. It can get a bit frustrating at times. I’m sure you can solve this problem by getting actually good at the game but I was not engaged enough to do that.
Now, once you possess an enemy, the novelty of the game is pretty much over, it becomes your basic platformer (not to say that’s a bad thing, this game is tight). I wish sometimes you could do more as a ghost though. In ghost form you have this quickly depleting bar and if you can’t find any body to possess, you’ll die. The idea of using several bodies throughout the stage is also not feasible; you die too fast as a ghost to be able to wander around looking for a decent body to take. Plus, if you lose that decent body (in most cases, the robot) it’s very likely you’ll be killed anyways since the rest of the enemies are pretty weak and useless.
The game is really nice to look at, there’s plenty of interesting looking enemies, from robots to half naked vampires who shoot bats at you. Music is a mixed bag. Sometimes it’s really good and engaging, sometimes you wonder what the hell were they thinking.
All in all, I liked it and I plan to revisit soon to get that happy ending and defeat the last boss without save stating every 10 seconds.