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Grabbed by the Ghoulies

Grabbed by the Ghoulies

An unexpected Xbox debut! Flash back to 2003, and people waiting for news of Rare's first Xbox title. We sprang this on them: a beat-'em-up with gorgons and skeletons ripe for assaulting with bottles, pool cues and toilet rolls. Don't judge, just play it. Actually, do judge. You have to admit it sounds pretty brilliant.

Grabbed by the Ghoulies

From the team that brought you the hugely popular Banjo-Kazooie and its sequel comes a spirited new gameplay experience, crammed to the rafters with new faces and a bony handful of twists on genre expectation. After months of speculation over the name, Grabbed by the Ghoulies finally showed its leering zombie mug for the first time at E3 2003.

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  • Platforms: Xbox
  • Genre: Beat-'Em-Up
  • Developer: Rare
  • Released: 2003-10-21
  • Game Rating: US: E | EU: 3+
  • 1 Player
  • In-game Dolby Digital
  • HDTV 480p

Grabbed by the Ghoulies Media

  • Grabbed by the Ghoulies

    Grabbed by the Ghoulies
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Grabbed by the Ghoulies Screenshots

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Story So Far

Any Haven In A Storm?

   After walking for hours, Cooper's map-reading skills are proving less impressive by the minute, the storm is almost upon them, and the latest development reveals Cooper and Amber squinting up at a building that looms suddenly from the darkness...

   Perched like a watchful vulture on top of a cliff, Ghoulhaven Hall broods over the shadowy landscape that forms its domain, lit by well-timed melodramatic zig-zags of lightning.

   It's also noticeably absent from the map.

   Cooper shudders. Personally, he'd rather brave the storm than seek shelter in what appears to be the set of some over-the-top 1960s horror film. Amber's not listening to his concerns, however; she's had enough, and manages to drag Cooper as far as the main gates before he insists on checking the map one last time, trying to work out the quickest route to real civilisation.

   Big mistake.

   The next time he looks up, the creatures of Ghoulhaven have materialised out of thin air, bundled up the thrashing Amber and whisked her away into the depths of the haunted house! Within seconds, no trace of Amber or her captors remains and Cooper's world is turned totally upside-down. Stunned, he realises he has no choice but to attempt a rescue.

   What Cooper doesn't know is that there's more to Ghoulhaven Hall than meets the eye. A lot more. This first fateful appearance of its inhabitants has given him an inkling that it's not just your everyday dilapidated old mansion, but until he sets foot inside, he has no idea just how many Ghoulies cram the place from floor to rafters, where they came from, or how they fit into the master plan of Ghoulhaven's shadowy owner!

Cast List


Our hero, an unsuspecting young everyman trying to make the best of his predicament and ultimately rescue Amber from the depths of this hair-raising Hall!


Cooper's girlfriend, who is not having a good day and isn't likely to see it improve much until Cooper (hopefully) manages to get her the heck out of Ghoulhaven...


Ghoulhaven Hall's elderly Butler turns out to be one of Cooper's first contacts within the house, and the old boy soon proves himself to be an extremely valuable ally.

Ma SoupswillMa Soupswill

The in-house Cook, whose culinary talents may later come in extremely handy - just don't go asking too many questions about her odd choice of kitchen assistant.


Official Groundskeeper of Ghoulhaven Hall, Fiddlesworth has the unenviable task of patrolling and maintaining the gardensand all those creepy outbuildings.

Babs BuffbrassBabs Buffbrass

The long-serving Housekeeper may look a bit rough around the edges, but she's definitely worth keeping in mind as a source of Ghoulhaven insider knowledge.

Doctor KrackpotDoctor Krackpot

Right-hand man to the Baron of the Hall, Krackpot certainly lives up to his name and is a keen scientist with suspiciously close ties to the Ghoulies themselves. 

Baron Von GhoulBaron Von Ghoul

The owner of Ghoulhaven Hall, and the slightly unhinged mastermind behind Cooper's entire nerve-jangling ordeal. Is a final reckoning with the Baron inevitable?


Grabbed by the Ghoulies Design 1Grabbed by the Ghoulies Design 1

Available in the following resolutions:

1280 x 1024 (320k) | 1024 x 768 (226k) | 800 x 600 (170k) 

Grabbed by the Ghoulies Design 2Grabbed by the Ghoulies Design 2

Available in the following resolutions:

1280 x 1024 (296k) | 1024 x 768 (205k) | 800 x 600 (154k)

Grabbed by the Ghoulies Design 3Grabbed by the Ghoulies Design 3

Available in the following resolutions:

1280 x 1024 (277k) | 1024 x 768 (201k) | 800 x 600 (153k)

Critics' Quotes

"Questions spurred by the move of veteran developer Rare from Nintendo's camp to Microsoft can probably be put to rest. If Grabbed by the Ghoulies is any indication, things should be just fine." – GamePro

"What GBTG has going for it is some really great presentation; the storybook cutscenes, graphics, and sounds are very well done, and the simple controls make it a game that can be simply picked up and played by anyone." – IGN

"Wipe any notions you have of this game from your head, because unless you've seen it in action then you're probably wrong... Grabbed by the Ghoulies is one of the most refreshing, fun and downright brilliant games I've played this year. Any game that manages to capture the spirit of 8 and 16-bit gaming, while daring to present it in a new and unusual way, is well worth a look in my Rare tome." – Eurogamer

"Really, the best thing you can say about Grabbed by the Ghoulies is that it feels like a wacky kids' horror storybook. That, and it feels like a Rare title—fans of the developer will catch all sorts of little in-jokes related to Rare as the play through the game." – 1UP

"The characters and monsters look great, and their animations are entertaining. When the gameplay works, everything gels. There's something so satisfying about looking back in a room where you've wreaked total havoc, broken the furniture and smashed the Ghoulies, and there's nothing left but peace and wreckage." – GameSpy

"If you are the type of gamer that looks for a ton of special moves, combos and such, then look elsewhere. For those looking for a simple and entertaining game that has absolutely fantastic presentation, then Grabbed by the Ghoulies will hit the spot." – TeamXbox

"The game does show promise and proof that the creative minds are still spinning rapidly at Rare." – Gaming Age

"A typically off-the-wall box of mischief from Rare, Ghoulies is a superbly clever, twisty-turny saunter into a world of blistering imagination... Under that cutesy facade there's one hell of a devil waiting to suck you in." – Xbox Gamer

"To label this game 'classic Rare' seems like a bit of a cop-out, but that's exactly what Grabbed By The Ghoulies is. It's got the tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, cartoon-like visuals that don't try or pretend to emulate real life, genuinely memorable characters, well-designed, colourful environments and addictive gameplay that all ages will love. Love it or love it, this has classic Rare written all over it." –

Top Quote
"The gameplay basically consists of running around and shooting Icelanders (Icelanders are all ghouls, which grab you) with your varied supply of weaponry, which is composed essentially of many handgun-looking things that shoot out all sorts of spheres and tetrahedrons and other geometry in various bright colors. Upon coming in contact with an enemy, the projectiles do some harmful things such as exploding violently, or injecting poisoned fruit brandy into the enemy's bloodstream." – GameFAQs Reader Review