Ghostbusters: The Video Game

The game takes place in 1991 and puts you in the shoes of a new recruit who joins the Ghostbusters

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Atari Australia Ghostbusters: The Video Game
  • Atari Australia Ghostbusters: The Video Game
  • Atari Australia Ghostbusters: The Video Game
  • Atari Australia Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Pros

  • Catching ghosts just feels right, engaging multiplayer options, snazzy special effects, environmental destruction

Cons

  • Repetitive, mentally challenged teammate AI, some dull environments, disappointing dialogue

Bottom Line

Though I was ultimately somewhat disappointed by the flawed and fundamentally repetitive nature of my time as a green recruit, Ghostbusters' tight online component renewed my long-term enthusiasm for slam-dunking slimers. Now I just need to figure out how to get Ray Parker, Jr.'s theme song out of my head.

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I was a little kid when the Ghostbusters movie came out and I went nuts for it. If it was playing in a theater, I snuck in to see it. If a friend's family rented the video, I invited myself over for an extended stay. I quoted dialogue lines and sang along with the theme song. So it wouldn't surprise you to hear that the prospect of actually joining the team set my inner ten-year-old loose like he's on a sugar bender. Sadly, Ghostbusters: The Video Game doesn't quite live up to my childhood fantasies but it's still a solid game that manages to capture at least some of the magic.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

That starts with the game world that the developers have created. The game takes place in New York and everywhere you look you'll find little touches that hearken back to the movie. The major players have all returned -- no Rick Moranis or Sigourney Weaver, though -- to give voice to their slightly awkward 3D caricature counterparts, and everything from the proton pack on your back to the ECTO-1 is recreated in detail.

The game takes place in 1991 and puts you in the shoes of a new recruit who joins the Ghostbusters. The Natural History Museum is set to unveil an exhibit dedicated to the wrathful god Gozer; as you can expect, things go awry and one enormous wave of energy later, New York City is once again crawling with ghouls, ghosts, and other things that are far stranger. After getting a lesson from Ray on the basics of how to "zap 'em, cap 'em, and trap 'em", it's onto the main goal: ridding the world of paranormal evil.

Reel Them In

Grappling ghosts into submission in Ghostbusters is the supernatural equivalent of bass fishing, with a brightly colored particle stream instead of a hook and line. As I struggle with "hooked" spirits, my slam gauge fills, which enables me to hurtle the lassoed entities into hard surfaces with the flick of a trigger. For a while, the whole process looks and feels wonderful, despite the occasional drop in frame-rate, and I come to fancy myself an urban ranger at a paranormal rodeo. Still, I perform this same dance with my opponents countless times over the six or seven hours it takes to complete the solo-only campaign, and I'd be lying if I said it never got repetitive.

Ghostbusters stirs in some interesting ideas, but doesn't build them up enough to stave off monotony entirely. You'll track down haunted artifacts and scan troublemakers with the PKE Meter, but constant reminders of when to do so kill any sense of sleuthing. New weapons appear at predetermined points, but their effects seem subdued. For instance, the Stasis Stream promises to slow down creeps, but in practice seems effective only against golems and select bosses. There are fun possibilities, like using Slime Tethers to rubber-band spectres into traps, but they're always less practical than hosing the floaters down with the blast stream.

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