Ghostbusters games have been around ever since the franchise was born way back in 1984. I used to have the original game, a simple maze style collect-em-up on the C64 and Atari 2600. As enjoyable as it was, its a tad simplistic for today’s market. Thank the lord then for modern day consoles that can truly bring movie licences to life.
The day I bought this for my PS3 I was very excited. At 34 years old I shouldn’t be getting giddy at a game that is, primarily for 8 – 13 year old’s but as a die hard Ghostbusters fan I did.
This review will explain all.
The game is set in 1991, 2 years after the paranormal butt kicker sent Vigo the Carpathian back to the afterlife and saved New York city (and the world) once again. A new threat has arisen in the form of Ivo Shandor the architect who is trying to destroy the world by creating an alternative New York via portals and bring classic ghosts back in play.
The first thing you notice when the game starts is how polished the overall product is. Graphically it is spot on. The boys look exactly like they did in the movies and there is a perfectly good reason for this. They have hired the original actors for the game. So Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd are all back lending their voices to their respective characters. Not only that, but Annie Potts ( Janine) and William Atherton ( Walter Peck) are back on board. This gives the game a 3rd movie feel and, in all honesty, its the only way any of us will experience a 3rd film. ( Bill Murray refuses to even look at the script for Ghostbusters 3).
The story begins in the New York museum where it all kicks off. Spooky things are happening at the Gozer exhibits. After this brief movie style interlude, the game start proper with your character being an nameless rookie hired to try out some new kit that Egon has invented. Your first task is to help Ray catch a Sloth (Obese) ghost in what is basically a training mode. R2 fires the proton streams and X button throws a trap. Catching the ghosts feels fantastic. Once the ghost has been worn down enough with proton blasts, you can then ‘wrangle’ the ghost. This is great because ghosts always put a fight up when trying to trap them. pressing L2 allows you to ‘slam’ the ghost to stop its momentum or slam it into a waiting trap. It was always important that the coders got busting spot on otherwise it would have ruined the entire game.
The first proper mission is where you get to try the much fabled PKE meter out. This has 2 modes, red and blue. This is viewed in a first person perspective. Red is used for tracing beasties. Blue is for tracing haunted artifacts. The more of respective colour on the meter and higher up the antenna, the closer you are to finding something. Once found, you get the chance to scan the ghost/Item for Tobins spirit guide. The annoying thing is, whereas tracing ghosts/beasts is needed, artifact finding isn’t and you only have to get this done for 100% level completion. It feels they have put cursed items in the game to give it longevity.
When you catch a ghost, you earn money. This cash is used to purchase weapon upgrades. Faster traps and stronger proton beams and the like are all available, but my personal favourite is the slime tether. This is a string of slime that can be fired at a monster and the other end to the floor meaning the creature can’t go anywhere leaving you free to throw a trap under it for an easy bust.
As mentioned earlier, classic ghosts make a welcome return in the form of Slimer, Stay Puft Marshmallow man and the library ghost ( all from the first film). Its fantastic to see Stay Puft back and is one of the key highlights in the game. The most depressing aspect of this though is that its probably the best boss battle in the game and considering it’s the second level, once you hit the high of destroying the creation of Ray’s imagination, everything after feels a tad empty. Not in a terrible way, but not the same high (until the final boss).
As the Ghostbusters act as a team, the gameplay reflects that. Members of the gang can be knocked to the floor by ghosts. When this happens, an indicator appears onscreen, pointing to the downed member. Pressing X gets them back on their feet. This is fine in quiet areas of a level because if one guy is down, 4 are left to pick him up. In middle of mass ghost fights though, its a complete nightmare. If your down it takes ages for a team mate to help you and if 3 team mates are down your trying to fight off ghosts AND help pick people off the floor. Many times this has gone belly up for me and all the team have been down, meaning I fell as well trying to pick them up whilst under a barrage of ghost attacks. VERY FRUSTRATING!!
I’m not sure the coders could decide on overall level length either. There are only about 10 levels in this, so a half decent gamer could breeze through on regular setting in around 8 hours and that’s probably with collecting all the artifacts. The annoying thing is that some levels seem overly long and some others too short.
The only other serious issue I have with this game, whilst I’m grumbling is although most Boss battles and set pieces are brilliant ( the re-enactment of the slimer bust in the sedgewick hotel and a brilliant segment with civil war ghosts will make you smile no end), some boss fights just seem like boring wars of attrition that seem to never end and you end up getting a bit bored with picking up team mates or being on the floor. Oh, and the voice acting gets repetitive too.
Online play is there, but to be honest, isn’t really needed. Its nice that it has been included but only 2 modes are worth playing. Survival ( see how many waves you can get through as a team) and Slime Dunk ( compete against each other to get the most points whilst collecting multi coloured slimers). The other modes feel bland and boring.
But overall this game is the Ghostbusters game everyone wanted from the off. The original cast back on board, Classic locations and ghosts from the films and the storyline is fit for a movie (which was probably the intention before it became this game). Despite being a bit on the short side, this game pays complete attention to detail with the franchise. Even the firehouse is spot on with a talking Vigo the Carpathian photo in the lobby. Just sheer brilliance. If you a Ghostbusters fan, You need to play through this game at least once, trust me you owe it to yourself. Bustin does indeed, feel good.
A fantastic game let down by some annoying niggles and lack of longevity.
Good Points : Who You Gonna Call | Nice Gameplay | Spot On Graphics | Easy To Play | Nostalgia | Stay Puff | Set Pieces Will Make You Smile
Bad Points : Lack of Longevity | Too Many Glitches | Its Over Too Quick | Some Bosses Boring | Picking Up Team Mates
Set Pieces 8.0