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Ghostbusters The Video Game Review
developer: Terminal Reality
genre: Action Adventure
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jun 16, 09 (released)
|» All About Ghostbusters The Video Game on ActionTrip|
In an age when games sorely lack humor and the kind of spirit that would make the experience memorable, a title like the Ghostbusters is more than welcome. Speaking as someone who immensely enjoyed the movies, I was thrilled that the storyline ended up in the hands of Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. It was never about brilliant writing or coming up with an ingenious plot, but rather to underline the comical aspect of the characters many people find appealing even after all these years. With the help of development studio Terminal Reality, known for games like Nocturne, BloodRayne, BlowOut and so on, the new adventures of the Ghostbusters finally made it to current-gen gaming platforms.
Alma's in here too?
Finally caught the little spud.
The most important thing for this tale is to have all the necessary characters present. Egon, Ray and Venkman return to kick some ghost butt, happily enough all voiced by actors from the movies. Other familiar faces are back like Winston, who joined the Ghostbusters half-way through the first movie, Janine the red-haired secretary, Peck the pencil-pushing bureaucrat (always eager to make things difficult for our spook-pursuing heroes) and a few other characters.
It's Thanksgiving 1991 and two years passed since the events in Ghostbusters II. Egon and Ray Stantz thought it would be a good idea to appoint a new recruit to help with some of the Ghostbusters' impending tasks. Yes, you're the person labeled as "new guy." More importantly, you were hired to test experimental equipment, developed by Egon. Your first job will be to recapture Slimer, the iconic transparent, green blob from the movie. So, it's off to the Sedgewick Hotel, a recognizable location to anyone who has seen the first movie more than once. Things are about to get a bit hairier, so it won't be about hunting down and caging small-time specters such as Slimer. Something big is on the horizon and the Ghostbusters appear to be the only ones capable of dealing with the problem.
The plot serves it purpose. What's more to the point, the trademark slapstick is an ever-present element during the single-player campaign. Whether the story's any good or not won't matter to Ghostbusters fans, as long as they get to hear Venkman's occasional cynical rant or Egon mocking Ray's well-known ability to point out the obvious (usually when the whole team's in deep trouble). Quite a lot of things in the game comes as a sort of spoof, which commendably increases the fun factor a great deal.
Terminal Reality thankfully appeared to have taken their end of the bargain seriously. The game offers a hefty does of 3rd person action, with pretty much standard features such as weapon and equipment upgrades. The mechanics aren't groundbreaking and wielding the proton pack may take a bit of getting used to, particularly when trapping ghosts. However, being in the shoes of a spirit chaser certainly has its appeal and it works very well in the game. It also makes for a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale swamp of generic modern-day action games. Another thing that makes this an enjoyable ride is the fact that it borrows the successful recipe from the movies and manages to stand on its own. The modifiable and upgradeable proton packs are extremely fun to use and you'll often be required to switch between four types of firing modes, each designed to counter specific enemies. As part of the Ghostbusters equipment you also get to toy around with the PKE meter and goggles used for scanning any paranormal activity and collecting haunted artifacts. It's a nice component and fits well with the non-stop action.
Yeah, I'm not gonna hold your hand.
Go get 'em, Ray!
Ghostbusters regretfully has its own set of problems. Team spirit is a must in almost every Ghostbusters endeavor. In single-player this poses a bit of bother due to a slightly unbalanced teammate revival system. Whenever a fellow Ghostbuster is down, it is recommendable you hurry to his aid. One of the issues I experienced has to do with friendly AI, which in most battle situations reacts okay, whereas during tougher encounters can be downright useless. There's a section near the end of the game where only Ray can revive you. Both of you have to fight off swarms of oncoming ghosts and flying gargoyles and at the same time try to open a gate protected by a powerful spook-based lock. It usually takes about one or two hits from the enemy and you'll be down on the ground. Unfortunately the same thing continues to happen to Ray and once you're both down, it's game over. Ray dies too easily in this segment. Replayed this section several times and finally figured that the revival scheme isn't an entirely solid solution.
The designers should be praised for making a ghostly and adequately creepy ambiance, befitting the movies perfectly. Almost every area we've visited looks great and features plenty of details in the background, coupled with some delicious special effects, environmental damage and great animation. Plenty of work also went into creating various ethereal foes and huge boss-ghosts and we applaud the artist and animators for that.
Perhaps one of the best ways to get a kick out of this one is going into action against hordes of paranormal beings with a mate. The multiplayer is great fun, offering. Choosing one of the original Ghosbusters while taking out ghosts in co-op - now that's the stuff. The sad part is that you cannot enjoy the main campaign in co-op, which we have observed as an omission, considering the setting and the whole team spirit thing, heavily encouraged in the movies. If you're playing alone, the game definitely has its charms thanks to the humor and cast. Gameplay wise, it's never quite as fun as when you head out on a ghost hunt with your buddies in multiplayer.
8.2 Very Good
Has all the key elements, great dialogue and characterization, decent enough plot structure, enemy variety, proton packs are still cool, enjoyable boss fights, captures the feel and atmosphere of the movies, cast;
Revival doesn't always work the way you want it to in solo play, friendly AI unresponsive at times, shame you can't experience the main campaign in co-op.
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