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Ghoul School is an early entry in the survival-horror genre of video games having been released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in the year of 1992. It was developed by Imagineering and produced by Electrobrain.
You play as Spike O'Hara, a delinquent from Cool School (which later gets turned into GHOUL SCHOOL! ...ya, get it?) who comes across a magical skull which keeps growing bigger. He decides to give it to Dr. Femur in the science lab at school for studying. The next day, he returns to find that the school is overrun by monsters.
Spike must travel through over 200 rooms in the school looking for items in order to save Samantha Pom-Pom. The school cheerleader and Spike's secret crush.
In the end, the game comes off like a B Horror Movie with no script, and remains a Cult Classic for the few gamers who've heard of it.
It was infamous for its buggy controls, poor hit detection, and weird set-up. The game had a lot of Guide Dang It moments including the elevator sequence and the basketballs in the gymnasium.
- All There in the Manual: If you don't have the manual, then you won't get the story behind it. The game goes immediately from title screen to the start of the game.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Loads.
- Always Save the Girl:
- A Winner Is You: You battle through a school full of monsters to rescue the girl and then... as you're watching the aftermath of the adventure: SHE STEPS AWAY FROM YOU. Uh-huh. That's right. You do all the work and you don't even get the girl in the end.
- Back Tracking: An annoying amount. Because you won't know where to go without a walkthrough, you're bound to do a lot more than is necessary too.
- Big Bad: Cornea King
- Boss in Mooks Clothing: The Frankenstein's Monster. Some other one-time regular monsters like Bootoven and Note-orious culd qualify. Due to their uniqueness,though, it'd be hard to classify them as regular enemies.
- Cut and Paste Environments:
- Die TV Set Die: In the classrooms are tvs you can smash in to get apples that restore health points.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Averted. The game actually goes out of its way to make the Grease Monkeys in the school garage a very difficult to avoid hazard.
- Executive Meddling: See What Could Have Been below for most examples. Also some of the items were different including the Spinal Zap which was originally the Spinal Tap and the image in the manual was still that of an epidermic needle. With this knowledge in mind: it's easy to know why it works against the spine blocking the elevator...
- Gravity Barrier: Crates, walls, ... very early on too.
- Guide Dang It: Quite a bit to the point where it seems like the whole game is a physical manifestation of this trope.
- The aforementioned elevator shaft for one example.
- Game Breaker: There's a certain bug wherein you can hide behind the lockers and move about freely making you untouchable to enemies, but they're still vulnerable to you.
- Haunted House: Cool School
- I Coulda Been a Contender: This could apply to the game itself as the interview (see What Could Have Been below) seems to signify that this was a labor of love, but it got swept to the way-side due to executive meddling, hardware restrictions, bad programming choices, etc.
- Lethal Joke Item: The... sandwich.
- Magnet Hands: Even when Spike flips himself upside down to walk on the ceiling those guns/baseball bat/wet towel/...sandwich don't leave his hands.
- Meaningful Name / Punny Name: Dr. Femur is a school scientist who studies bones. Spike O'Hara has... spiky hair. Samantha Pom-Pom is a cheerleader. Cornea King is a giant eyeball creature. The trope even applies to many enemy names as well.
- Metroidvania: One of the earliest examples, long before this genre had an actual name.
- Misaimed Realism: Jump physics are made to be a little too realistic, but hit detection is not. Put the two and two together and...
- Missing Floor: There's no real connection between the left and right halves of the school. The only way to get to said other half is by getting on the roof via the aforementioned elevator event.
- Palette Swap: Not quite in the way one may think, but many enemies are very similar to each with a change in attire and in behavior. ie: Optik, Blinky, Dumb-Bell, Grouchy Gore-Met, & Quarter-Pound. Basically, any of the enemies belonging to the giant eyeball class of monsters.
- Side View:
- What Could Have Been: LOTS. For starters: Scott Marshall (the game' creator) originally wanted to put this on Gameboy. The hero was originally going to be a black guy (which could have put an unpleasant spin on the finished product's ending). The bosses were going to be smaller parts of the final boss. There were going to be useful things hidden in the lockers along with skeletons. A schoolbell would sound and flood the halls with zombie students. A different way was needed to get to the crawl space and more. This interview at bogleech.com has it all listed: 1.