Ghostbusters The Game- Yes, We're Back!
Ray, when someone asks if you're a god, say, yes!
Like many people my own age, I grew up exposed to the Ghostbusters movie and its subsequent franchise. The movie, the cartoons (Both series), the comic books, the action figures, and the play-sized proton pack and PKE meter; I had them all. Growing up in a haunted house probably made it all that much more poignant for me than most, but I digress. The fact is that I was enamored with the concept and the characters put forth in the first film. (The second film never much caught on with me, perhaps because it didn’t have the same feel or film direction as the first.)
That’s why I looked forward to the recent release of the Ghostbusters video game with baited breath. It is a sad fact that most video games based on a film are simply an advertising scheme and second source of revenue for the release of an upcoming film. Pirates of the Caribbean, Van Helsing, and the Transformers are the most recent I can bring to mind.
To that I was overjoyed to find that the concept for the game as well as the script was written by the original authors of the first film: Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd, who played Egon Spengler and Ray Stantz respectively. What’s more, they, Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddmore), Rick Moranis (Luis Tully), and Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz) all return to lend their voices to the script.
Everything that you liked about the film has returned here; Peter’s witty banter, terrible attempts at womanizing, and constant attempts to bilk more money out of their clients; Egon’s over-technical and faintly worrying jargon; Ray’s constant sense of awe and over eagerness; and Winston’s laid-back manner of speech make the game pop. Dialogue between all the Ghostbusters runs constantly, and with an all-new script that picks up off where the first movie ended, there’s plenty to talk about.
The game is essentially a third-person shooter, where you play as a new hiree seeing as the Ghostbusters are looking to expand their business. Essentially you play as the only person in New York City dumb enough to allow these guys to strap an experimental proton accelerator on your back. The character model is non-customizable, meaning you end up playing as a pale, doughy looking 18 year-old, which is actually a step up for me so I didn’t mind much, but I should think that others might take issue with the lack of options.
Their controller scheme is pretty simple, broken down into two general modes of play: use of the spectral viewer goggles and PKE to detect ghosts, secret artifacts, and locate hidden entrances and exits leading to later stages; and firing mode in the proton pack. The proton pack starts out with basic functions such as the proton beam and capture stream; the point of the game being to weaken ghosts before you wrangle them down into the ghost-traps. As you earn money from busting ghosts, cataloguing new spirits for Tobin’s Spirit Guide (They’ve got an interactive version built into your PKE meter now), you put the money back into upgrades for your equipment for more powerful traps, more fire time before your pack overheats, and three alternate modes of fire. Baddies tend to have a weakness to different types of weapons-fire, so it’s important to diversify and power up as soon as possible. In addition to shooting stuff, some weapon modes can be used for puzzle-solving, either to advance the story or to obtain hidden cursed artifacts.
On a personal side note, I absolutely loved the cursed artifacts. Each comes with their own entry in Tobin’s Spirit Guide. Some are spooky; others are laugh-out-loud hilarious! Aside from the money you get for collecting them, you unlock concept art developed for the game. Perhaps my favorite thing about them is that they take up residence in the firehouse once they’ve been collected.
Yes. That’s right. You get to explore the firehouse from top to bottom in between missions, with all sorts of interactive items scattered throughout. Sitting there for half an hour, I don’t think I heard Janine Melnitz take the same sarcastically funny call twice. (Check out all the messages on the answering machine while you’re there. You’ll be glad you did.)
Two major features of any game, and indeed the reason we’ve advanced beyond text-based games, are sound and graphics. All the songs and sound effects that leant the Ghostbusters Movie its creepy feel are back in full force, crystal clear, and reworked to give the maximum startle effect when something jumps out at you from around the corner.
The graphics are incredible. Each ghost is finely detailed for the same odd, yet attractive look of the movie ghosts. The weapon’s effects are top notch, particularly the curling blue and orange streams of light fired from the proton packs. Scenery layout includes places both new and familiar. The famous Sedgwick Hotel makes an appearance, as does the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in the middle of Times Square. Perhaps the most daunting level, for both the creator and the player, is the topsy-turvy Ghostworld.
If you were or still are a fan of the films, rent it, buy it, borrow it, whatever. But play it!
And for all the fans of the spud out there, yes, Slimer makes an appearance.
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