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Playing Ghostbusters the Video Game

Published July 16, 2009 in Console Games
By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
GhostbustersGhostbusters
This may be the only game in history where I care about the cinema scenes at all, let alone more than the game itself. Frankly, I’m not that excited about a FPS style ghost busting game, but the original actors in an all new story, and CGI young versions of them no less? That I want to see.

Review: Ghostbusters


Actually getting trained by Dan Aykroyd is cool and the gang has fun riffing on the clichés of first person gaming and training. Don’t get too excited. It’s not A level comedy. They’re still explaining how to play the game and moving the game story along. A lot of the one liners and asides are really lame, especially Venkman’s lascivious advances. Come on, Bill Murray can do way better than that.

The nostalgia factor is worth props though, having the A-list talent plod through the game mechanics with the same sincerity they gave to the films. Venkman mostly comes off whiny but Ray is as excited as ever and Egon is still a helpful genius. Bravo for keeping them throughout in the whole game.

Actually busting is complicated. You have to really get the hang of the process, and it doesn’t work if you jump the gun. I actually find this part of the game tedious. Accurate, faithful to the film, but really you’re just shooting the same thing over and over until it’s ready to get sucked into the trap.



The fellow ghost busters really help you out, and you learn how to walk around and avoid their streams, let alone the debris the ghosts are throwing at you. It also emphasizes just how much damage is done in capturing a ghost. If you tally up the two live-action movies, it might be easier to just let the ghosts have it.

As for PKE scanning and collecting artifacts, the business of ghost busting feels more like video game minutiae. It’s clever how they incorporated every aspect of the films into the game, but it’s definitely new gaming complexity that makes me feel old. I kinda liked the old overhead driving, two guys move side to side ghost busting game. It was simple.

The DS version unfortunately is not worth carrying around on the go. It as an awful pain. The tutorial is vague and unhelpful. Switching ghostbusters with the touch screen is already cumbersome enough, but when you’re attacked, you can’t even tell who’s down or up. By the time you find a guy who’s able to fight, he’s down.

There is plenty to do on the DS version with simple standalone missions and upradable skills and equipment. It would be cool if you could handle the gameplay at all. Driving is clunky and one hit slows down your car unbearably. The game itself seems to be a similar script to the console version, with text instead of dialogue and less scandalous jokes.

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Fred Topel
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