Developers: Terminal Reality, Threewave Software, Red Fly Studios, Zen Studios
Release Date: June 16th, 2009 (Most versions), October 30th, 2009 (Playstation Portable)
Available on: Playstation 3, Playstation 2, Playstation Portable, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PC
Reviewer’s Note: I originally wrote this review some time in late 2009/early 2010 for my high school newspaper. Also, this review only applies to the Ps3, 360, and PC versions of the game. All other versions are completely different from those versions and this review does not apply to them.
I must admit, I never saw the Ghostbusters movies when I was a kid. It’s kind of sad really, since I’m sure I would have liked them. Well, regardless, I was keeping an eye on the game because it seemed interesting. Sure enough I found what I was looking for: A funny adventure that just so happens to be great game along the way.
Ghostbusters: the Video Game takes place in the year of 1991, right at Thanksgiving. You play as a new Ghostbuster member simply know as “Rookie.” Your job? To field test the Ghostbusters’s gear and make sure it doesn’t explode when used. You are about to be put to work when a shockwave of PKE energy hits New York City. Suddenly the Ghostbusters are swarmed with calls about ghosts all over the city. To make matters worse their old friend, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man has made a reappearance and is hunting down a woman named Ilyssa Selwyn. Also, Mayor Jock Mulligan has assigned Walter Peck to make sure that the Ghostbusters don’t do anything and stay in line.
Unfortunately, the plot is really hard to follow and I was pretty confused by the end of the game. It feels as if they don’t really give you nearly enough info to explain what exactly is going on. If anything the plot is hilarious though. While Rookie may not talk much, all four of the original Ghostbusters (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson) reprise their roles and do it with style. Each of the four provide a substantial amount of laughs throughout the story. While it may not have made much sense in the end, I at least managed to enjoy it as it played out. I’m sure there is something quality here too, it’s just confusing.
The gameplay is largely centered around fighting ghosts and causing a ton of fun destruction along the way. There are two types of enemies: ghost and creatures. While creatures are easy to dispose of because they just need to be hit enough times, ghosts are a bit trickier. Like in the movies you need to lay out the traps and slam a ghost around enough until you can lure it into one. It’s a pretty fun mechanic and there is a sense of accomplishment when you catch a difficult set of ghosts. Another thing to note is the physics in the game. Nearly every single object can break, shatter, crumble, burn and/or be pushed around realistically. While in most games you’ll look back at an area you fought in and will not see a single change, in Ghostbusters you can look back and see the mess you made. Sometimes I would stop in my tracks just to shoot things and see how they react.
To cause your destruction, and maybe catch a ghost every now and again, you have four unique weapons that each have two functions. The weapons are wonderfully unique having everything from the classic Ghostbusters proton packs, to new weapons like the slime blower and overload pulse. You earn money for every ghost you collect, every creature you kill and every artifact that you find that can be spent on upgrades for the weapons. The gameplay does have a few drawbacks though, and the biggest comes from your fellow Ghostbusters. Their AI is alright at best, and awful at worst. When you get knocked down in battle, the other Ghostbusters need to save you. It is at this time you must put down the controller and pray that nothing gets in their way. They have a tendency to snag on objects and enemies and be unable to find their way around. Another oddity is that the Ghostbusters will not save each other, you need to save them. Battles have a tendency to get to hectic as well if more then two Ghostbusters and more then a few ghosts are involved. Near the end of the game, when all five of you finally team up things get so hectic I would just sit back and let the other four take care of things. Besides: like in the move crossing the beams is bad, and with five beams flying around it’s almost to easy to do that.
On the multiplayer side of things, Ghostbusters does something interesting. For some reason, the multiplayer components of Ghostbusters was actually developed by a completely different company. While the single player was developed by Terminal Reality, the multiplayer was developed by Threewave Software. Luckily, the multiplayer doesn’t deviate to far from the single player. The game has multiple campaigns that can be played with up to four friends. Usually you have to work together to complete an objective, or to survive as long as possible. The lack of a competitive mode is a bit of a disappointment though, as a ghost vs. Ghostbusters mode would have been fun.
Visually, Ghostbusters looks great. As already mentioned, the physics are a standout from other games. The character models are nice, though they look a little stiff in cut scenes. There is one noticeable problem though that lies with the lip syncing. It’s off by, well, a lot. It almost looks like one of the old Godzilla movies, where characters mouths are not moving anymore but they are still saying things. It’s a good thing the voice acting is wonderfully done, as that saves most cutscenes from being funny in a bad way to being funny because it’s suppose to be. The soundtrack is taken right from the movies, and it fits whatever is going on well enough.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Ghostbusters: the Video Game. It provided a ton of laughs and played out like it should have been the third Ghostbusters movie. It’s a bit on the short side, being able to be completed in 6-8 hours, but the multiplayer should give it some replay value and it is enjoyable enough to be worth it. Ghostbusters should be an immediate purchase for any fans of the movies, and should definitely be considered for anyone that’s currently looking for a game to play.