Okay, Iíll admit it Ė I played through Ghostbusters a bit slower than I would have played other games. Can you blame me? Iím a gigantic Ghostbusters fanĖ to this day I still own the action figure line, the firehouse and yes Ė even the costume. Iíve waited 20-years for a true continuation of the series (no, Iím not counting the cartoons or previous games) and call me crazy; I just didnít want that wait to begin again.
That wait proved to be bittersweet though Ė no matter how much I wanted The Ghostbusters video game to be the be-all-end-all gaming experience, itís just not. Donít get me wrong, itís an entertaining and fun experience but there are fundamental problems that run deep within the title and take you completely out of the experience.
If you donít know who the Ghostbusters are Ė immediately stop reading this review, watch the movies and then come back. Itís okay Ė Iíll wait. For the rest of us, the plot of The Ghostbusters video game picks up in 1991; just two years after the events of Ghostbusters II. Youíre brought in as a new recruit to help test out Ray and Egonís newest equipment. Your name Ė simply the Rookie; as Peter puts it Ė no need to get attached if one of these experiments goes haywire.
In reality, your character is given no name to ensure that the focus is placed where it belongs Ė on the original team. This is the gameís biggest strength Ė it looks and feels just like something from the Ghostbusters Universe should. Save for a few instances where the game feels like it tries too hard, everything from Egonís scientific ramblings to Walter Peckís nagging, right down to the feel of New York City are spot-on.
Its one thing to be able to accurately reproduce the feel and humor of a cult favorite Ė but itís another to believably build upon it. Yes, the developers did take a few creative liberties with the characters and story, but theyíre believable liberties. The progression of each story arch feels natural and nods back to the earlier films. Remember the name Ivo Shandor from the first film? How about the grey lady at the library? Itís all here. Ghostbusters the video game does an excellent job bridging the gap between adaptation and sequel.
This would all be well and good if we were in fact talking about a third film Ė but this is the Ghostbusters video game, and as such Ė itís more of a mixed bag.
Throughout the majority of the game youíll follow a pretty steady pattern -- Search for ghosts, blast them with your proton beam, trap them and repeat. It may seem bland, but the core mechanics are incredibly fun and the end result satisfying. After you blast a ghost long enough to make them weak, you enter into an almost tug of war mini-game to wrangle them into your trap (think of it almost as ghost fishing). Itís incredibly entertaining and since each encounter becomes easier when you have streams on it, encourages team work in the multiplayer modes.
Combat is fast and frantic; your undead enemies will come at you with everything from levitating objects to power blasts and everything in between. The problem with this is that there is absolutely no cover system so unless you learn to time your enemies attacks perfectly, youíre pretty much left wide open to damage. Imagine how frustrating playing Gears of War would be without the cover system and there you have the Ghostbusters battle system. Sure, you can evade with a single button Ė but jumping and running are all mapped to that same button and it always seems that the wrong action comes up at just the wrong time.
Like most modern games, you wonít find an on-screen HUD; youíll have to rely on visual clues to monitor your vitals. In the case of Ghostbusters, youíll need to keep an eye on your proton pack as it will measure everything from your health to the heat of your weapon (youíll have to vent your proton pack from time to time to keep it from over-heating). When your health does deplete, itís up to your fellow Ghostbusters to revive you Ė just as you would them. Unfortunately, it doesnít always happen. The AI can prove rather unreliable as sometimes youíll see your computer controlled teammates just standing around when you desperately need help.
Visually Ė Ghostbusters is mostly impressive. The textures are detailed, the colors are bright (or dark when needed) and most importantly the famed characters look like they should. Youíll notice a bit more detail in the environments and textures in the Xbox 360 version than the PS3 and PC version Ė but in most cases the title is identical no matter the platform. Some of the character animations are a bit rigid and the voice acting almost never seems to synch up with the characters mouths but youíll probably be too busy with the chaotic battles to let these details get to you.
For Ghostbusters fans Ė this game will feel like a long lost love letter. These are the Ghostbusters youíve come to know and love; itís just too bad itís so fundamentally flawed. Still, even with all of its faults Ė Ghostbusters: The Video Game is an entertaining and fun expansion on a beloved Universe. Hey Ė who canít put up with a few annoyances if it means being a Ghostbuster?
CHEATS USED: Unlimited health, blast stream, cash, unlock artwork, more
Even as a diehard Ghostbuster fan Ė I got incredibly annoyed while playing the Ghostbusters video game Ė and much of that was due to a combination of the lack of a cover system and my teammateís inability to revive me. Not a problem anymore with the unlimited health cheat found in the trainer. After using this system, I was able to enjoy the game and battles a bit more. This, in combination with the unlimited blast stream (and $9.999.999 cash to upgrade it as I see fit) made for some interesting battles.
I also enjoyed the unlock all videos and artwork cheats, as truly unlocking all of these features can prove quite trying. If you truly want to enjoy the game Ė stay away from the Super speed and slow motion ghosts cheats.
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