Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Review

posted 6/22/2009 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
Even better, the environments are completely destructible. Not quite to the extent of Red Faction: Guerrilla (you can't knock down walls or anything), but you can drop chandeliers, blow up tables and wreak havoc in all sorts of satisfying ways. But don't get too crazy, because destroying property will cost you. Not only does the game give you money for busting ghosts, but it takes it away when you blow up the wrong things. Still, it's awfully cool to shoot at the wall with your proton pack beam and see the markings stick around.

The conceit to the game is that since you're brand new, you are the official guinea pig of the Ghostbusters team. That means that Egon will give you the experimental equipment with the expectations that you'll be down in the thick of things trying it out. This gives the game a great excuse to shove you right into the action while the more seasoned Busters hang back and cover you. Would this sort of thing work in a movie? Of course not, but it's the perfect solution for a video game.

Earlier I mentioned that the game resembles Gears of War. I don't bring this up because of the game's third-person point of view, but rather because of the way it plays. Since you are usually playing in a team, you will be have to contend with your allies being, well, busted. In order to revive them, you have to run up and push the green "A" button. Obviously this means that you are susceptible to being incapacitated, which will force one of the other Ghostbusters to rush to your aid. For the most part this works well, it makes you keep track of your team and work together.

Unfortunately the teamwork aspect only goes so far. For one thing, your nameless character will fall down unconscious after only a few direct hits. Usually you can get out of the way and regain your health, but there are too many small and enclosed areas in the game that don't have any hiding spots. This is especially annoying in the later levels, as you're fighting multiple ghosts at the same time. Gears of War resolved this problem by always giving you something to duck behind, however that is not the case in Ghostbuster: The Video Game.

Oddly enough, your biggest enemy isn't the ghosts and ghouls; instead it's the everyday objects that they throw at you. Half of the time you can't see where the projectiles are coming from, so you will have to deal with multiple unfair hits. There are a couple of battles in particular that cross over from being hard to being outright frustrating. Things are made even worse when you have to reload from a checkpoint and find that you have to start the battle from the get-go. Giving your character a little more life or the option of armor would have gone a long way to improve the frustration of a few key battles.

Still, I can't help but have a good time with the way the levels play themselves out. I love the fact that you aren't just going in as a five man team. There is some of that, but much of the game has you splitting up into a couple of smaller teams. There are even a few parts of the game where you're off on your own. However, even when you're by yourself, it always feels like you're in a team, thanks to the constant communications from the rest of your squad. My only real complaint with the team work is that you can't suggest things for the other team members to do. Obviously it would seem odd to have the new guy giving orders, but there were plenty of times when I wanted my allies to do one thing as they did another.

Where the game excels is in the variety. While it would have been easy to simply make a game where you did the same thing (bust ghosts) level in and level out, Terminal Reality has managed to add a good deal of variety throughout each level. Early on you might be taking out ghosts in the good, old-fashioned way you saw in the movie. However, a few levels later you'll have to force ghosts out of possessed citizens (and even the Ghostbusters themselves) using your slime gun. In another level you will have to freeze enemies before destroying them. And in one of the more memorable sequences of the game, you will hang off the side of a building shooting your proton pack at the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man as he climbs up the skyscraper to get to you.
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