Ghostbusters: The Video Game
By now, everyone should know that crossing the streams would mean that all life as you knew it would stop instantaneously and every molecule in your body would explode at the speed of light, resulting in a total protonic reversal. What you may not be aware of is the video game adaptation that made its way onto shelves back in 2009 and no, I’m not talking about that really crappy one titled, “Sanctum of Slime”. It’s important to note that the PC version of the game is a bit different and less cartoony than its console counterparts, especially when compared to the Wii version. The XBox 360 and PS3 versions feature online multiplayer, whereas the PC version unfortunately does not. The Nintendo DS version doesn’t even resemble the game in the slightest and could be compared to the PC version released back in 1984. For the purposes of this review and just to clear up any confusion, I’ll be touching on the PC version of the game.
The main menu lets you play the game, view extras, and adjust game options. The options menu covers all of your basics like screen resolution, audio sliders, graphics quality, custom keybinds, mouse sensitivity, and more. The extras menu is nothing to swoon over, but it will allow you to view game art and the movies that you’ve unlocked in the game thus far. Playing the game allows you to start a new career, continue an existing one, or replay a previous level that you’ve beaten. There are three difficulty modes to choose from (casual, experienced, professional), allowing the player to make the game as easy as they want it to be. I must say however that the game can be a bit of a challenge in some places, even on casual.
The campaign starts you off in the shoes of a “rookie” who has joined the ranks of the Ghostbusters team. Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston are the primary characters that you’ll see and more often than not, you’ll be following them around and busting ghosts together. There are many occasions where the team splits up, but it’s a safe bet that at least one of them will stick with you over the long haul. Other characters like Slimer, Lewis, and Janine make cameos, and you’ll even run into some not so popular characters from the movies once or twice. Before you ask, Dana (Peter’s girlfriend) does not make an appearance and instead, Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn (voiced by Alyssa Milano) assumes the role of Peter’s love interest…sort of.
The story of the game takes place about two years after the events in the movie, “Ghostbusters II”. I won’t spoil the story, but I will come out and say that you’ll be facing a lot of familiar ghosts and apparitions. You’ll be facing off with the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man and that scary librarian from the beginning of the first movie, just to name a few. The Ghostbusters team will also be visiting many familiar places like the Sedgewick Hotel, the place where the team captured Slimer in the first movie. This game is a welcome walk down memory lane and fans of the movies will appreciate all of the easter eggs and surprises that are in store for them. To top all of that off, the actors of the original movies voiced the characters. None of the dialogue felt forced and I admittedly laughed out loud often at Peter’s remarks. Dan Aykroyd commented that this game is “essentially the third Ghostbusters movie”. I couldn’t agree more.
For those of you worried about the gameplay, you needn’t. As a kid, I always wondered what it would be like to strap on that proton pack and shoot those awesome wavy energy beams. This game nails the sounds, looks, and feel of the proton pack to a “T”. The game also allows you to throw out traps and through some fancy footwork, you’ll need to wear down ghosts enough to where you can grab them with the proton beam and drag them over to an open trap. Hovering your cursor over a ghost shows you its health and you won’t be able to grab it until you’ve hit it enough times with your primary weapon. As you progress through the game, you’ll be given other weapons that mimic the feel of shotguns and other FPS weaponry that we’ve all come to recognize in our travels. Upgrading them with the money you’ve earned is as simple as accessing the in-game Ghostbusters HUD, giving you the ability to turn your new shiny slime blower into a ghost’s worst nightmare.
Rounding off the plethora of ghost-busting equipment is the PKE meter, which allows the player to scan for various things. Players will be able to hone in on hidden objects that grant them a nice chunk of cash, as well as guide them to ghosts that may be hiding around in various objects. The PKE meter also acts as a scanner of sorts, allowing you to scan unfamiliar objects in order to add them to your library. You won’t be able to use any weapons while in PKE mode, but I am not going to complain. Having that PKE meter equipped brought out the nerd side in me ten-fold and I thoroughly enjoyed mucking around and exploring every nook and cranny with it.
It’s important to note that I had a bit of trouble installing the game and after a Google search, it appears that I am not the only one. Installing the game to a custom folder (especially to a different drive) doesn’t seem to install all of the files you’d need to play the game. After installing the game to a custom drive/folder, you’ll need to run the installer again and this time, select the “EASY” option. This installation will be fast and will only install seven files to the directory: C:/Program Files 86x/Atari/Ghostbusters. Simply copy and paste those seven files into the custom installation folder and you’re good to go. Oh, and save your manual…the CD key is on the first page along the bottom!
Overall, I found “Ghostbusters: The Video Game” to be an extremely fun romp in the park. There are a few spots in the game to where the difficulty spikes to insane levels, even on the casual difficulty setting. Some of the puzzles don’t have an apparent solution, not until you’ve either Googled the answer or spent hours trying to figure out just what it is you’re supposed to do. Long loading times in between missions can be a bit of a nuisance. As I mentioned above, installing the game can be a bit of a headache, especially if you plan to install it in a place other than the default location. If you can get around these problems, you’ll find “Ghostbusters: The Video Game” to be a joy to play. It’s something that I can’t just put down once I really get into it. If you can still find a copy, I recommend picking it up. Just be sure that your PC’s video card drivers are up to date and meets the minimum system requirements.
Final Verdict: 8/10
You can view video play sessions here: