Re: Grey Lady
Jump. Jump twice, at most thrice. Any further than 2 or 3 jumps, and she'll teleport. If you just try running, she'll catch you.
 Ah, the bow changes things so much. Now I have to deal with that cluster of pits, like it's SMB4-2 all over again.[/edit]
I can't decide if the rest of this is off topic or not, so fair warning:
Speaking of simple gameplay and Halloween-themed side-scrollers, let me describe the Haunted Mansion from the Disney's Magic Kingdom game for the NES. Full disclosure, this game has a disturbing amount to do with the original inspiration for LC. Also I never actually beat the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean.
First of all, this game does not throw in random floating junk for no reason. Keep in mind, it's a haunted mansion, with ghosts who can make things float for no reason.
I only ever saw 3 areas to this level: the courtyard, where you can walk on the garden wall if you want, the first floor, where there are a couple pits with falling chandeliers (IIRC, you had to jump on them when they rise back up? I don't remember for sure.), and the second floor, which I only ever reached like two or three times and don't have a good mental image of.
The enemies are all ghosts. There is one boss ghost, who sorta kinda floats around in the courtyard, giving you an opportunity to take potshots at him before the actual boss battle that I've never reached on the top floor.
I don't remember if all the ghosts instakill you, or if you get 3 hits or so.
You're only weapon is what appears to be a collection of candles that you can throw. Why? I dunno; it's NES era Disney, you're fighting ghosts, and it's a sort of ammo you can find lying around inside the mansion.
Since there is very little platforming, at least in the areas I played, it amounts to a 1.5D side-scroller, most of the time.
The courtyard contains some flower pots, which occasionally ghosts will pop out of, Pirahna-plant-style. The garden wall is not completely flat; it rises and falls at some parts, and these are mostly sloped, rather than separate ledges (unlike the numerous similar walls at college grumble grumble at least going to class was a platform game). You reach the door and press something (up) to go inside.
The first floor is flat, save those two or three pits. There are windows and mirrors and other pieces of glassware lying around, and lightning starts flashing from outside. One of the cooler bits was that there is a mirror that shows your reflection when you get close to it. (I think, if you stood there long enough, a speech bubble saying "HELP!" would pop up by your reflection's head.)
At the end of the first floor, there's a floating chair or something you must jump on, and it carries you to the next area. I'll note that this isn't just a NES limitation; Streets of Rage 2 has a level in a 3-story arcade building, and these have very obvious staircases / rope ladders leading to the next area, but it doesn't even animate your character moving toward them, and instead just does a fade-through-black transition.
I'm not sure if the Haunted Mansion was so difficult because it was inherently difficult, if it was my vision, or if it was me just being bad at games. Maybe I forgot to try it, but IIRC, you couldn't really jump over most of the ghosts, the way you can jump over just about everything in audio games of a similar style. Or, if you could, you had to time it just right, because the ghosts had actual dimensions. (Audio-wise, giving enemies dimensions is still a problem; how can you know their shape and your relative position?)
(Pirates of the Caribbean was a platformer, Space Mountain was a Bop it style navigation thing, and there was a Thunder Mountain mine train and an Autotopia car race, which had lava in it for some reason.)
I'm not sure if it's fair to compare the Haunted Mansion to Hell's Castle. One is longer, more complex, and has better sound quality. The other is short, simple, 8bit, and way more challenging. Hmm.
Some of my games
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