The Ghostbusters are back and you're the new recruit in this incredibly fun addition to the series.
I suppose there’s no real way to avoid admitting that I have been a Ghostbusters fanatic since I was young. Obviously when I heard a Ghostbusters title was in the works, written by and starring my idols of the eighties, I knew I had to have the game. I wanted the returning characters to capture their original personalities, the ghosts to be aggressive, and to be immersed in the universe. Happily, I found all of that within the first few minutes of this game. While I wish the game offered a less linear gameplay concept, as a long-time fan of the property I am extremely happy with the overall experience.
When players pop in the game for the first time, they will notice that the opening presentation is identical to the one seen right before the two movies begin. This is a strong foreshadowing of what to expect when starting the game. Ghostbusters: The Videogame plays like an interactive movie where every word and scenario is scripted and nothing happens at random.
After several hilarious and wonderful introduction conversations starring the old Ghostbusters, Janine, Slimer, and the player character, the crew heads out on their first mission. When leaving to tackle a mission, players are given the option of playing alone or cooperatively. While wrangling spooks and specters alone certainly creates a feeling of accomplishment, co-op play is way too much fun to pass down, despite the occasional slowdown when too much is happening on screen.
The first mission takes players to the Sedgewick Hotel, where Slimer has escaped and is wreaking havoc. Fans of the first movie will certainly be delighted as they play through this scenario, which features familiar characters and locales. This first mission, aside from being obvious fan service, eases players into the controls, tools, and gameplay they will utilize throughout the rest of the game, including the proton pack, PKE meter, and the trap.As players progress through more levels, proton pack upgrades such as the slime blaster are acquired which may used alone, or in conjunction with another beam to solve puzzles and/or capture ghosts.
Capturing, or defeating a ghost, isn’t as simple as pointing a proton beam and firing at it. Many times, in order to even begin the capturing process, a ghost must first be worn down. This is done by continuously hitting the ghost with your proton stream. As the game progresses, there will be various types of ghosts that require different beams to fully wear it down. Once worn, a second life bar will appear when players finally wrangle the ghost. Having more than one proton beam holding a ghost makes the process much easier, especially for more powerful entities. In order to finally capture the ghost, players will need to slam the ghost into submission. This is done with a variety of Wii Remote gestures in the direction specified by the on-screen arrows. Players can throw a trap at this point by holding "Z" on the Nunchuk and thrusting it forward. After that, players must simply guide the ghost into the trap.
Aside from battling and capturing ghosts, players must try to locate hidden art pages and scans for Tobin’s Spirit Guide, which are located in each chapter of every level. Scans are obtained by equipping the PKE meter and scanning any objects that make the reticle glow green. Art pages are usually hidden within objects, so players will often find themselves destroying everything in their path. As a humorous addition, the monetary amount of destruction is tallied, along with the number of scans and art pages collected for a final ranking at the end of every chapter within a level. Collecting these pages and scans, aside from allowing players to grasp a deeper understanding of things within the Ghostbusters universe, also unlocks helpful abilities, such as shorter scanning time, faster life rejuvenation, and eliminating proton pack overheating.
The one aspect of the game that really pulls it all together is the incredible voice acting and sound work. Every piece of music in this game comes straight from the movies, and it’s simply incredible how well each piece matches the in-game scenarios so well. The proton beams have the same familiar ring, and the slime sounds just as disgusting as ever. The voice acting goes above and beyond, as each character’s original cast member reignites the personality that made each of the Ghostbusters so unique. The opening sequence reunites players with neurotic Egon, gullible Ray, skittish Winston, and of course, Peter the womanizer.
The real disappointment of the title comes from its incredible linearity. I was fully expecting to be able to cruise around in Ecto-1 throughout Manhattan, with several missions in different locales racked up on some sort of “To Do” list that I could tackle in any order. After realizing that I was stuck playing the game in a predetermined fashion, I had at least some other small hopes that, if I couldn’t speed through Manhattan at will, perhaps, just maybe, I could run around the awesome Ghostbusters headquarters and interact with the countless items. But no, I couldn’t do that either. At least I was able to slide down the pole, which made me feel a little better.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game does a fantastic job tying in with the legacy of the movies. The appearance of most of the core crew in the game, as well as an interesting story and witty dialog, creates an experience that is unlike anything seen in a game before. Fans of Ghostbusters shouldn't hesitate in picking this fantastic title up. Those who aren't huge fans of the source material won't be as enthralled with the title; however, the gameplay and controls are both solid, and though extremely linear, the game provides for an interesting ride.