Adam D. asked a question about something very near and dear to me recently:
I was wondering if you could tell me what the original Japanese name was for the final boss in Ghosts ‘n Goblins. I’ve alternately seen him referred to as The Devil, Astaroth, Satan, Lucifer, and Hades. It seems that for English localizations his name is now officially Astaroth, but I can’t find anything that states what his name was in the original Japanese game.
In an attempt to make this easier for you, I managed to track down a website that has high quality scan of the original Japanese arcade flyer: link
And this site, which has scans of the original Famicom instruction manual: link
Thanks. I’m a big fan of your site.
Ah, good ol’ Ghosts ‘n Goblins, we meet again. If it’s possible for a game to be your archenemy, this game is mine. Someday when I’m in a retirement home I’ll finally defeat the game. Or maybe it’ll defeat me, I dunno.
Anyway, this is indeed a good question! I’ve seen this character called all sorts of things, so I’ve always wondered what his Japanese name is too.
First, for reference, here’s the guy in question:
The English games call him all sorts of different things, but what do the Japanese games call him?
The first thing I did was check the Famicom manual, which is pretty short and doesn’t give many details, but there’s a small comic in the back where the term 大魔王 (daimaou) is used more than once.
“Daimaou” is the same term we’ve seen used to describe Bowser and describe Ganon before – it’s a pretty general Japanese term to refer to some big evil overlord type of guy and/or creature. A generic translation might be “Great Demon King”, but there are tons of others – Zelda uses “Prince of Darkness”, for example. Sometimes I’ve seen it translated as “Devil” or “Satan”. I’m guessing this is why this boss has had so many different name translations throughout the series. Daimaou is such a common but pesky term that I’m actually planning to do an article just about it sometime 😛
Next, I dug around a little deeper and checked Japanese articles and sites. Surprisingly enough, it sounds like his original Japanese name was ゴンディアス, which could be translated as “Gondias” or “Gondiath” or something along those lines. Starting with what we know as Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, his name was apparently changed to アスタロト, which can be written as Astarot or Astaroth or a number of different ways, as it’s a name based on old mythology stuff that went through multiple language changes.
Anyway, the Japanese Wikipedia article cites a game magazine (Weekly GAMEST, Special All-Capcom Issue) for the Gondias information, but as it’s so old I can’t easily verify it. The issue looks like this, apparently:
Still, the number of Japanese web pages that mention Gondias is pretty surprising (as seen here), so I imagine the information must’ve gotten out through a number of different sources. It sounds like the name never really left Japan, though, as this is the first time I’ve ever heard it. It also seems weird that his name would remain a secret until 1991 though, given that the game would be like 5 or 6 years old by then. But weirder things have happened, I guess.
So, has anyone else out there heard of this Gondias thing before? If so, where did you first find out about it? I’m really curious to know!
In any case, hopefully this helps shed some light on the subject and helps explain why this guy has had so many different names over the years!
UPDATE: Thanks to Numbuh Twenty, here are some scans of “Gondias” appearing in the above magazine!