Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 42
  2. Negative: 6 out of 42
Buy On
  1. 65
    The problem is, there just isn't that much game there, and you'll either grow sick of it in short order or finish it in even shorter order.
  2. Its level design, easy to learn combat system, humor and challenges posed by the icons that show up in each room make you want to play just one more room that will keep you up way too late. That, my friends, is the true mark of a fun game.
  3. Had the potential to be so much more, but the control problems, the pacing, inconsistent health bar, and lack of any multiplayer options, make it merely a novelty as Rare’s first Xbox title.
  4. Cheat Code Central
    The game is relatively easy to play but due more in part to the excellent control layout than the gameplay design.
  5. While the cartoon like graphics are cute, they hardly take advantage of the Xbox's power. Many of the enemies and objects in the rooms lack detail. This noticeable shortcoming shouldn't detract much from the fun - and often frantic - game play.
  6. While a pretty easy game even with shocks and grim reaper, is a pretty fun ride.
  7. 75
    First of all, the overall length of the game is quite low and the fact that you can’t really die doesn’t help in this respect. Secondly, the action within the game is unbelievably redundant.
  8. Edge Magazine
    Overall the greatest disappointments is the lack of any sense of exploration or accoplishment. And although the mansion is packed with wonders, there's no feeling of discovery since the game manoeuvres you neatly from one room to the next. It adds up to a world in which you never feel truly connected. [Christmas 2003, p.111]
  9. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Gameplaywise, this is a disaster. [Jan 2004, p.154]
  10. The 4½ hours I spent on Ghoulies (yes, I played through the entire game), I’m starting to wonder if the Rare I truly loved is gone for good.
  11. One of the most refreshing, fun and downright brilliant games I've played this year.
  12. Even though the gameplay found in Grabbed by the Ghoulies borders on being shallow, it makes up for it with its inspired presentation.
  13. 60
    The game is simple and sweet, is easy to pick up and play, and should entertain most gamers. However, there isn't much to it, and it's rather short, even though it offers a number of extra unlockable challenges.
  14. Despite the excellent presentation, Grabbed by the Ghoulies really didn’t have much of a story or a linear progression. It was more like a series of ongoing monster-bashing challenges – even the ending was rather anti-climatic.
  15. One of the stupidest, most disappointing games of all time. [Dec 2003, p.175]
  16. The game has a great look and feel to it, but the gameplay, while fast-paced, borders on being shallow.
  17. Simple and quirky, but ultimately too short and repetitive to really break out.
  18. GameNow
    A boring, repetitive snoozefest that can't decide if it's for kids or adults. [Jan 2004, p.64]
  19. 80
    The gameplay is diverse, and it’s backed by strong graphics and audio...The main downside is with the nontraditional controls.
  20. It might be worth a rent if you are really bored and have nothing but an Xbox and a weekend alone. I would suggest taking up reading or writing or some other monotonous hobby than to waste your time on this game.
  21. The controls are a bit loopy, but the sheer fun you'll have solving the ghoulish mysteries forgive everything else. [Xbox Gamer]
  22. games(TM)
    Everything is so vibrant and colourful that no matter how frustrating or repetitive it all becomes, you simply won't be able to put that pad down. [Christmas 2003, p.117]
  23. It's a haunted mansion romp that looks and sounds really impressive, but it's ultimately marred by repetitive, overly simple punch-and-kick gameplay that's compounded by the game's lack of length.
  24. 60
    What could have been a shining example of spooky fun ends up being Microsoft's answer to Nintendo's "Luigi's Mansion"; like that game it takes a well-tested team and results in a short but attractive and spookily cute game with strange play mechanics that never quite works right.
  25. The game explores some good new gameplay techniques, like fighting with the right analog stick. Even with the innovations, there is still enough holding the game back from greatness.
  26. The dual control stick gameplay is an interesting twist on traditional methods of control, but after the novelty wears off so too will your patience for its overly simplistic nature.
  27. The levels and design, while brilliant, are hampered by repeating the same tasks over and over and over again. It’s a beat’em up through and through, but with more flavor and creativity than most.
  28. A fun game (at least for a while). Its downfall is that even if the average gamer can get past the controls, they're going to get turned off before finishing the game due to its repetitive gameplay.
  29. GMR Magazine
    It's just that there's not much game here. [Jan 2004, p.68]
  30. 70
    Simply put, the game is very repetitive, and there aren't any landmark moments or climaxes to diversify the gameplay in any significant matter. And then there's the end of the game - which I'll remain mum on -- which really feels like a tacked-on segment, and is just plain silly.
  31. The game took me back to the days when gameplay was solid. This is definitely a title that will be replayed over and over as the years pass.
  32. The simplistic gameplay and controls make it easy to pick the game up and play without frustration. Because the gameplay is so simplistic, Grabbed by the Ghoulies risks growing old quickly on some people.
  33. 60
    The game oozes style out of every orifice; the problem lies with the repetitive nature of the game. It’s not something you can play for great lengths at a time, though these short periods can indeed be fun.
  34. Official Xbox Magazine
    Although it's worth the 5-10 hours of your time that it will take to complete the main game, we honestly expected a little more. [Dec 2003, p.80]
  35. Play Magazine
    A smorgasbord of visual bliss, superb animation and a level of arcade-style design that channels the spirit and fun of Smash TV, bringing that stickiness into the modern era - and what could be cooler than that? [Dec 2003, p.82]
  36. The linear gameplay, camera system and shortness of the game make this not a title for everyone, but it still warrants a glance just to witness the goodness that is Rare.
  37. At the end of the day Grabbed by the Ghoulies is a fun romp whilst it lasts, but unfortunately the sheer amount of repetition and lack of depth will make even the most avid Rare fan begin to question their motives.
  38. This is one of those infamous games that you'll pick up long after completion just for the fun of it.
  39. Weekly Famitsu
    8 / 7 / 8 / 8 - 31 silver [Vol 803; 7 May 2004]
  40. The sick part about Grabbed by the Ghoulies is the marketing, oft marketed as “From the Creators of Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country”, and Rare has proved before you can make tons of great games without a few duds along the way.
  41. Xbox Nation Magazine
    Ghoulies goes whole hog on its graphics and half-asses everything else. [Dec/Jan 2004, p.90]
  42. 60
    It's a fun diversion with big, bold graphics, but somewhat repetitive and predictable gameplay.

Awards & Rankings

#44 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2003
#2 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 34
  2. Negative: 6 out of 34
  1. Aug 6, 2016
    What happened to Rare? I mean this game is fine but we made critical acclaimed games but now rare get mixed reviews and their games to beWhat happened to Rare? I mean this game is fine but we made critical acclaimed games but now rare get mixed reviews and their games to be strange and generic. Full Review »
  2. Dec 23, 2011
    This may be a tad bias of a score for this game but whatever. This was my second favorite Xbox game. For kids who aren't ape about graphics,This may be a tad bias of a score for this game but whatever. This was my second favorite Xbox game. For kids who aren't ape about graphics, or gameplay (or story for that matter), this game is hours of fun. It was the first game where I really got to interact with just about every non background piece of the environment and beat stuff to a pulp with it! If your just looking for something to pass the time, not an Illiad of gaming, this is a great buy. Full Review »
  3. Nov 23, 2017
    I give this game a genuine 10/10, not because of nostalgia, but because I re-played this game through its entirety, and I loved every minuteI give this game a genuine 10/10, not because of nostalgia, but because I re-played this game through its entirety, and I loved every minute of it. The game is challenging, yet rewarding; a pinnacle game of its time. It shines in it's score of music (Grant Kirkhope), and it shines in its graphics and attention to detail. The fighting system is probably my favorite part of the experience; it's something totally crazy that I haven't seen in any games in a very long time. Grabbed by the Ghoulies is a game that still stands as a fun and artistically intriguing game, even to this day. Full Review »