Ghostbusters: The Video Game Review
- Posted June 16th, 2009 at 20:53 EDT by Steven Williamson
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Captures the Ghostbusters spirit without taking too many gambles.
- The familiar soundtrack and voice work
- The enjoyable ghost-trapping mechanic
- How the developer has captured the Ghostbusters vibe
- The weak upgrade system
- The unexciting boss battles
- The repetitive gameplay
We hate to say it, but we’re nowhere near as excited now that we’ve finished Ghostbusters: The Video Game as we were prior to its release. Inevitably, taking on such an iconic brand as Ghostbusters comes with huge expectation, and when they're not achieved we're bound to feel a little despondent. That’s exactly the case with Ghostbusters: The Video Game. It’s good, but it’s not as brilliant as we thought it would be. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of positives to tell you about, and overall it’s a game that deserves attention, particularly if you’re a fan of the movies. If that is the case, then you’ll certainly get a kick out of joining the familiar figures of Spengler, Stantz, Zeddmore and Venkmann on their ghost-busting antics, as you chase Slimers through hotel corridors and dash across Times Square to escape the towering figure of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
The brand new storyline of Ghostbusters: The Videogame takes place two years after Ghostbusters II, during Thanksgiving 1991, when paranormal activity has increased to unprecedented levels. This leaves a nice opening for you, the new rookie, to join the ghost busting team, investigate the ghoulish goings-on and eradicate the threat. Armed with a proton pack, a PKE meter to search for mischievous spirits, and with your ghost busting buddies at your side, you “zap, cap and trap” any ghouls that cross your path. As well as attempting to save New York City’s citizens, you can earn money to spend on upgrading your equipment, which comes in handy when trying to capture the bigger ghosts you encounter at the end of each of the levels.
The gameplay in Ghostbusters incorporates a number of third-person shooter elements, but it’s the ghost capturing mechanic that makes up the bulk of the action and drives the game along. Disappointingly, the proton pack is your only weapon, though it can be modified so you can use it in different ways, like as a shot-gun or machine gun. The proton pack produces a stream of energy that allows you to grab hold of ghosts. It’s challenging and satisfying to use the three-pronged attack to zap a ghoul, then throw him around, smashing him into objects to drain his energy, and then finally throwing down a trap and enjoying an aerial tug of war to suck him into the small device. There’s a large variety of ghosts to trap, with some familiar appearances from the likes of iconic Ghostbusters characters such as Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and the Slimers, in addition to appearances from Opera singing and fishing ghosts, and apparitions masquerading as Chefs and Librarians. The majority of ghosts have to be caught using the trapping mechanic, but some, in typical shooter style, must simply be blasted to pieces.
That’s all there is to it, really. We knew we'd be busting ghosts throughout the game, but we hoped there would be a bit more to the gameplay. You're generally partaking in "arena-based combat" around every corner, where you're cornered into a section until you can get rid of all of the ghosts. There’s a few cool upgrades such as ‘Slam dunk,’ which speeds up the process of capturing a ghost and allows you to dispatch him in a visually impressive manner, but the upgrade system is generally a weak one. You unlock items during the game automatically as you progress, so there seems to be no real point in buying them. With the shallow upgrade system and lack of variety in the gameplay, it feels like the developer has missed a trick somewhere along the line. Even the big boss battles rarely generate much excitement. They’re impressive to watch, but not very exciting to play. You’ll see what we mean when you tackle the Marshmallow Man head-on while dangling from the roof of a skyscraper. It should have been an awe-inspiring moment, but it all comes to a disappointing conclusion. Nevertheless, there are still some great moments to enjoy, and the impressive trapping mechanic and the Ghostbusters vibe keeps you plugging along despite the repetitiveness of the gameplay.
You are given occasional respite from the combat with some exploration-based gameplay. When activated the PKE meter switches your view to the ... (continued on next page) ----
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