Just in time for Halloween, Superclerk checks in with is take on Ghostbusters the video game. I couldn’t help but chime in with my own take on the franchise, so below you will see my comments in red and Superclerk’s in black. I think it’s safe to say we both liked this game, but read on to find out why:
“When there’s something strange in your neighborhood…”
“Who you gonna call?”
That’s right… The Ghostbusters. They’re back and not in the way we would have expected. Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston have returned in Ghostbusters: The Video Game.
When the game was announced a couple years ago I was pretty excited. (As was I.) But the excitement didn’t last as trouble plagued the release of the game from day one until it looked as if we would never get to play what looked to be a pretty sweet game. (It was almost like the ghosts themselves kept things from getting done and out to the public. I remember the first time I saw footage from the game though…I was stoked. ) But finally the day came and I think it was well worth the wait. (Me too)
Let’s break this sucker down…
Top notch. Keep in mind I was playing on a high definition 48-inch television. (I was on a 52 inch Hi-Def…I win) I assume that it would look cool on any TV you played it on because the visuals are that good. The world is very detailed and you can pretty much smash and blast anything in your path. The burns and smoldering embers that your proton beams leave on walls and floors are my personal favorite.
All of the characters look like the actors who portrayed them. That plus the fact that they are voiced by the same actors that made them famous gives the game the feel of watching a third installment of the film franchise. When you have Ray telling you to throw out a trap and Egon warning you not to cross the streams you can’t help but get all fanboy and smile at the fact that you are busting some ghosts with the originals with the actual Ghostbusters.
I did notice a couple of times where the conversations in various cut scenes didn’t quite sync up with the graphics. It only happened at one or two points in the game, but it was quite distracting. I don’t know if it was just something my console was doing or if it’s a bug that got missed in the game. If it’s a bug, it’s a big bug. (Bite your head off)
The game is very stylized as well. A lot of work went into recreating a few key places from the films and creating new haunts to wander around in. All of the creepy locations and the dark corners help give this game a creepy feel.
SPOILER ALERT: At one point you go back to the library. While in the library, you go to the children’s reading area. It’s there that I was legitimately creeped out as you begin to hear the voices of ghost-children laughing and playing. I’m getting an eerie feeling just typing about it.
It’s the music from the movies! All of the music works and feels natural. While peeping around for some specters it was nice to hear the familiar tones of the films. It’s spooky and fun and really helps set the mood. It also shows us that the music from these movies from the 80’s still holds up. Even the theme song…
Let me tell you somethin’….BUSTIN MAKES ME FEEL GOOD!!!!! Yes, the original theme still holds up.
You use every button on the controller. Much like you would expect, the basic proton pack gets upgrades in the game to keep things interesting. With each new upgrade you get a new button you have to push. For me this seemed like it would get confusing and tough as the game went on but the “factory” set up for the controls is actually pretty easy to use and it didn’t hinder me when it got to the point that I needed to switch weapons mid battle or throw out a trap without letting the ghost escape the snare of my proton beam.
I also liked how the controls really made it feel like I was struggling to get these things into the traps. It was work and I liked it.
It’s easy for me to get confused on the controls. Even after years of having four buttons and a d-pad on the face of the controller and several buttons on the sides, I still get my buttons mixed up. I didn’t have that problem so much in this game. I seldom used any weapon except the original proton pack and the slime gun, but the controls do make it easy to switch between the various weapons at your disposal, and the hardest part about setting a trap was making sure I didn’t get turned around and throw the trap in the wrong direction or throw it too early so that the ghost would bolt to another section before I had it significantly weakened.
When I compare the controls to a game like Superman Returns though (one of the harder control sets to get used to of any game I’ve ever played), things are simple as pie and don’t make the game too easy or end up making it too difficult.
This is where things get awesome. With a script written by Harold Raimis and Dan Akroyd this thing feels like this was made for the fans. So we not only have the original actors but we get the original writers as well!
The story takes place in 1991 and the Ghostbusters have been doing the job for a little while. They have taken on a rookie. You are that rookie. (And you look like a certain podcaster many of us know.)
You came on just in time too as all hell is about to break loose. Literally.
The action starts at the Sedgwick Hotel, the scene of the first official job of the Ghostbusters. Slimer has gotten loose and it’s up to you guys to get him locked up again. But not all is what it seems and soon you are tangling with the likes of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man himself. And that’s just the beginning!
I had a friend come in as I was battling Mr. Stay Puft and he was convinced it was the end of the game. He couldn’t believe it when he found out that it wasn’t the last level.
Soon you are dealing with aspects of the first and second movies in a story that spans New York and different dimensions in an attempt to once again stop the minions of Gozer.
Things are different this time though as you discover that there are several points in architecture throughout the city that are designed to be access points for Gozer to come through from its dimension to ours. So there is a set quest to follow as you seek to shut down all of the different waypoints to this interdimensional window that are placed all over New York City.
There is a lot of detail in the story and it would have made for an excellent third movie. But I dig that we can actually be a part of the whole adventure in the team and not just watching it on the screen.
Plus this is a creepy game. There are a few scenes that had me freaked out, as I played in the dark alone. One location in particular had me freaked as I explored the children’s section of the New York Library. Ghostly children’s whispers in the dark are not cool. Ghost kids are the scariest things ever. For reals…
I already mentioned that earlier dude…get some original material. I agree though, ghost kids…I don’t even wanna talk about it.
So many I don’t know where to begin. First off… trapping ghosts isn’t the only job you have to do. You are also trying to track down objects of paranormal pedigree. Over the course of your travels you might run across a haunted chair, possessed statue, and even a demonic beard. These all have their own story to tell and all are pretty cool to read.
Xbox 360 enthusiasts will note immediately the opportunity for achievement points in collecting all of these objects which end up at the firehouse in different places once you’ve found them.
One of the coolest parts for me was being able to snoop around the Firehouse and check out all the detail and fun stuff stored inside. You can even use the fire pole! (For which you get achievement points)
I, for one, enjoyed taking a sip of water from water fountains. I only found two or three and I wonder if there are more, and if there’s an achievement for drinking from them all.
Another sweet thing is that the story goes along with the story from the first movie. We get references to Dana and the apartment of evil plus the return of Peck and his obsession with shutting down the Ghostbusters for good. This stuff doesn’t feel forced or repetitive at all as the script is written very well and it feels like an extension of the movies instead of a quick way to make a buck off the name.
I agree, even though every level involves busting ghosts, for some ghosts you need specific weaponry to beat them more effectively. Seldom, though, do you see a ghost from an earlier level appear in a level you are currently playing, so you don’t ever really feel like “been there, busted that.”
There are also the online multiplayer games and access to any cut scenes you see in the game. The addition of concept art for all the levels and baddies was a plus as well.
I didn’t play a multiplayer game, but I do understand that you can’t play through the game multiplayer style, which is kind of a bummer.
All of that stuff is the pros. But it’s not all sunshine and roses. First off… the loading screen could use a little variety. Each time you fail a mission and retry it you have to sit through a fairly short loading screen that treats you to the classic Ghostbusters theme song and shots from the game as well as tips for better gameplay. The tips are a welcome bit but the song quickly becomes a little much after the fifteenth time hearing the opening of the song. A little variety wouldn’t kill a guy…Hey…here’s an idea…don’t fail a mission so much and you won’t have to hear the song so much.
Another sucky thing is that when you are out and about with the rest of the team you have to keep an eye on their health, as when they are knocked down you need to rush over and help them up so that they can continue to help with the fight. This isn’t bad as they also help you up when you get slammed as well. Keeping your team up and running is crucial to keep playing the game. It is an extension of your health meter. As long as someone is up you have a chance to defeat the baddies.
That’s the main reason I failed a mission or two along the way, things would get crazy and my teammates would get knocked out before I could get to them or I wouldn’t recognize they were down and then I’d go down with no one to revive me.
The sucky part comes when you get knocked to the ground and have to wait for someone to come help you up. Sometimes it happens right away but a lot of the time I found myself waiting around for help that never came, as the guys were busy. I just lat on the ground watching their health blip out one by one. Then I would have restart the level. And these guys are supposed to be the professionals.
Finally, the game is a little short. I beat it in a couple days. Of course I was playing for five hours straight on one of those days but that’s neither here nor there. There is nothing wrong with the story though, as it’s well told and compelling. You just don’t want to stop playing this world. You have too much fun. Maybe a few side missions in the beginning where you take calls and go bust some regular ghosts here and there would have helped stretch the game out without making the story drag on more than it has to would have helped.
I think it took me a week, but I would have loved some side missions that didn’t necessarily go along with the overall story arc like the Spider-Man games where you have the option of helping this person or fighting off that criminal. It would have been cool to have some side levels to help get used to the new gear or just to have fun busting some ghosts.
THE ALL IN ALL:
I loved it. I had a lot of fun playing around with the Ghostbusters. All the levels were difficult without being impossible which is good for a guy like me who doesn’t play every game that comes out. The script is fun. The music is great…
What more can you ask for in a game? Except… you know, more of it. I hope a second game is somewhere on the horizon.
I suggest getting this game. Now.
If you’re a casual gamer, this is a game that you will enjoy, especially if you enjoy The Ghostbusters. I am, by no means, good at video games, but I genuinely had fun with this game and as much as there are some creepy moments, there are some laugh out loud moments and one liners from the classic Ghostbusters crew. Check out the game and other Ghostbusters stuff below and help support the site while you’re at it.