Like Hydorah before it, Locomalito’s Maldita Castilla stays very close to its inspirations, in this case the venerated platformer series Ghosts n’ Goblins. From the overall look to the invariable jump, you’ll feel very much like you’ve stepped into the greaves of Arthur’s Spanish cousin.
So how does it stack up to its forebears? I’ve played through the game once and I think that it’s a mixed bag, although one worth trying if you enjoyed the GnG games. Compared to the best of that series (Ghouls n’ Ghosts, Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts, and Ultimate Ghosts n’ Goblins), Maldita Castilla lacks variety and charm. The rather dreary mythological theme doesn’t quite compare to Capcom’s colorful fantasy world, and while many of the levels will have you cursing like you’re playing a Ghosts game, they’re also more one-dimensional.
None of this is to say that Maldita Castilla is a bad game, only that it sticks so closely to its source material and falls a bit short in comparison. As I said, it’s still worth your time… but perhaps more as a highly-polished fan game than something that stands alone. As reminiscent of Gradius as Hydorah was, it was still enough of a mélange as to feel unique (the branching stage design and limited save concept also helped separate it).