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Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Review Score:

Ghostbusters were my first fad as a kid. I’m glad I grew up in the 80′s, the era of fantastic action cartoons and formed the minds and hearts of geeks today. We are the first generation tailored for in entertainment in any serious way. Children’s stuff was and is big bucks. I had almost every bit of Ghostbusters merchandise going and my mum even made me a film accurate beige boiler suit with my name emblazoned in red type with correct font on the front. Thanks mum.

So when I learnt of a next gen Ghostbusters game in development I may have punched the air in nostalgic joy. In preparation of reviewing this game I have taken the correct steps and watched both films and I’m sat here with my boiler suit, Proton pack and ghost trap and now I’m ready to review.

With the opening movie and fantastic original music I was instantly put in the mood and it is fantastic to see all members of the Ghostbusters cast back, apart from Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis but the big 4 is all we care about. Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson are the original Ghostbusters we all love and you get to play alongside them as the new Rookie (called Rookie because they don’t want to get too attached to you). Its 1991 and it’s your job to test the new, experimental weapons. Joy.

Jumping straight in, you start at the Firehouse and are surrounded by the environments we are all familiar with from the films. You get your standard third person movement tutorial here and some back ground info. You get to practise using the Proton pack and catch Slimer which melds nicely as a tutorial section. The effect of letting the Proton pack roar into life for the first time is monumental. The sound effect and look is flawless. Before too long you get a call and you’re out on a job as a wave of psycho-kinetic energy sweeps the city causing massive spikes in undead activity.

The story is very well developed and has even been remarked upon as the “3rd movie” and it really shows. I would have been happy to see this in a 2 hour film at my local cinema then a game. I’m a real patron of games and movies but side with games more and let’s face it, I can’t think of a game made from a film that was good. Ghostbusters sort of breaks that stigma.

The mechanics of catching a ghost are using your Proton pack to weaken it, slam it against the wall and floor and coerce it into your ghost trap. Bigger, stronger ghosts provide more of a challenge to trap and that varies the difficulty so it doesn’t become stagnant. The satisfaction you get from using the Proton pack wears off after about an hour and becomes more of a chore to use then a pleasure. It tends to overheat and you have to release the pressure to avoid “reloads” and keep the stream of energy going. The Proton pack also shows your health and limits the HUD for full picture action.

It’s not a solo mission being a Ghostbuster. Most of the game you go through with your fellow ‘Busters, sometimes with only a few of them and once in a while, on your lonesome. I don’t want to say I jumped a few times on a PG rated game…but I did. If you do lose all your health a team mate can revive you and you can revive them which is always in your best interest so you don’t go back a check point.

A nice addition is the PKE metre which is used in first person and is your handy gadget to track ghosts and solve mysteries. It is also used as a scanner for clues and details about ghosts earning you money for upgrades later in the game. The PKE view does grate on the nerves after a while as it is “framed-in” and in a constant green wash of static. Frustratingly you have to wear them almost all the time outside of combat to follow a ghosts trail and track them. It’s inventive and sticks well to the films so it can be forgiven.

Speaking of money, you earn of the trapping of ghosts and limiting collateral destruction. That wild stream of protons does some hefty damage though and you will be expected to pay for it out of the money you earn. Oh, and the guy who in enforces this rule is none other than Walter Peck (dick-head environmental protection agent from the first film). You earn the money, get the new weapon upgrades including that positively charged slime cannon from the second film and some new ones like the Boston dart and the Meson collider.

Graphics are a bit standard and only really look great in darkness or at night. Environments look washed out but the ghosts appear as transparent, neon blurs. All the ghosts have character but it sometimes take a team member to call it out to you. I didn’t notice a coven of themed hotel bellhop ghosts until someone said so, I just thought they were just…well…ghosts. Credit has to be given for not making the ghosts to “extreme” and abandoning the fun aspect in favour for terrifying undead representations of tormented souls.

The PS3 and Xbox versions have an online multiplayer for coop game play which is great fun if you get a team of friends to play along with. It’s unfortunately not a story mode but more “challenge rooms” to get through which is all about team work and high scores, so perfect for this game. Just don’t cross the streams….

This game really does make you feel a part of the team, a real Ghostbuster and that’s where this games attraction lies. The game visits places seen in the films including the museum and the hotel which you start your first mission in. You also get visits from certain ghosts you may recognise and the big man himself, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man. This game’s writing oozes style and class. All the jokes and personas are there and enhance this game above its middle of the road game play just by stint of the licences status.

Just from a nostalgic point of view this game gets its hooks into you. Ghostbusters are so lame, there cool. The cast play out the story with fantastic skill. By clear and far the voice acting and the music make this game. This game plays more on your feelings of nostalgia towards the films and toys you grew up with but that is no bad thing.

The game promises more than it can deliver in some aspects. I was expecting a fantastic next gen game mechanics, artful story tell and hilarious jokes and situations. Two out of three isn’t bad I guess. Maybe a sequel will have a revised system and make it less clunky and dynamic. By no stretch of the imagination is Ghostbusters: The video game a bad game it just needed some polish. If you’re a fan buy it, you will enjoy it for the most part. Just some bits will become tedious but stick to it and rise above them. It’s a dynamite story to play. Reviewed on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. All together now: So who ya gonna’ call?..

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Ghostbusters: The Video Game, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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