Heh. That's one of the first video games I've ever played. My dad was big into genesis when I was a little kid and would always be playing that but I couldn't read yet so I'd just watch and be bored. Then I tried it when I turned 6 or so and loved it. I honestly don't know why though.
It's still an awesome old game and it's cool to see something written about it. Nice job boogie.
Edit: The point of gold making your funeral better is to give you more continues :O. In essence, you're buying more lives with all that gold you pick up.
Also, did you ever toss a ring at an enemy? If it's the right kind, it does lots of damage