Developer: Terminal Reality
Release Date: 6/16/2009
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When we called the Ghostbusters back into our games in the early 90’s, they didn’t do a very good job. You remember the Genesis version, MSX, NES, GameBoy, Atari 2600, and C64. The richness of the Ghostbusters universe needed more than 8 or 16-bit graphics and midi sounds to make it come to life. Technology has improved considerably since then, -finally- able to do justice to our Ghostbuster friends. With the help of the Unreal 3 engine, the developers were able to set an atmosphere and story that is truly amazing.
Players start out in the Ghostbusters headquarters which has been properly equipped with a true to life fire pole for you to slide down on. Ray takes you through the basics of wrangling ghosts, trapping them, and using your gear down in the basement. One of the first things you will notice is that the controls feel very familiar, resembling those of games such as Resident Evil 4/5 and Gears of War. Still comparing it to a shooter, your Proton Pack takes the place of your “gun” and your “ammo” consists of different types particle streams. You can unlock four streams throughout the game, starting out with your basic Proton Stream. The Stasis Stream, Meson Collider, and Slime Gun follow suit quickly. The most useful is the Proton Stream which weakens ghosts and stuns them so you can wrangle, toss and then hopefully trap them.
Ghosts come in many shapes and forms and it is rare to see so many different enemy types and level bosses in a game. These include many of the ghosts from the movies. You will be battling the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, heading through the Sedgewick Hotel and the Haunted Library.
Each ghost has a weakness to a specific weapon type. To find out which type is effective, you must scan them with your goggles. Doing so will also reveal all sorts of other interesting and sometimes ludicrous information. Some ghosts are dispersible which means that they die after a few hits of a certain weapon, but others must be trapped instead. The objective is to weaken them until their health bar turns red after which you can trap the suckers. Walking around with your energy detector is good for finding artifacts –treasures that you get money for– and enemies.
Upgrading your weapons will improve them in various ways. You can increase a weapon’s rate of fire, make it overheat less often or let you trap your enemies faster. All of these upgrades can be purchased in one play through. Ghostbusting is a high-revenue business and you will earn ample money to purchase any upgrade that catches your fancy. You are also tallied by how much damage you cause the city throughout your play. Doing too much damage may affect achievements.
The gameplay may sound simple, and it is, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is extremely fun. There is always something new to be experienced and only towards the end of the game did I feel some repetition setting in. Ghostbusters kind of felt like a mix of Gears of War, BioShock, and Silent Hill. It can be downright creepy at times but it also has wonderfully witty humor and some great lighting effects that help create a fantastic ambiance. Walking through dark hallways, your senses are always stimulated in various ways. Things may jump out at you, or you will hear strange cries and screams. Besides being scary, it is also immersive; I left the game after about a four hour sit down and I really felt like I was a Ghostbuster (don’t call the men with the long-sleeved jacket until you have played for four hours straight yourself!). This is a large part due to the fact that the original actors are voicing the game, and I think that’s what truly made the difference.
The game is actually based on the penned script written by Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd that was never made into a third movie. There are a lot of tidbits in the dialog that relate back to the original 1984 classic. This game can be played by both fans and nonfans, but is truly geared toward fans of the movie. You can safely say this game is one of the best movie-licensed translations ever made.
Ghostbusters is just one of those amazing and immersive games that make you all giddy inside. The game truly has an amazing effect on its players. It may not have a lot of depth, but it easily makes up for that in the fun department. It is worth noting that Ghostbusters is a little on the short side, giving you about 6 to 8 hours of gameplay. Fortunately, the replay value is fairly high, making this a recommended buy. I really hope there is a sequel, playing Ghostbusters has been one hell of a ride.