Ghostbusters: The Video Game
I ain't afraid of no licensed games! But should we be? Ghosties FINALLY hits the shelves.
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So: Ghostbusters, eh? One great film, one less-great film and some cartoons and a fair few games which I don't feel qualified to comment on as I don't remember them very well. It seems about right that they've gone and made another game of it 25 years after the original movie's release.
But wait! It's not as cynical as I would normally complain!
No, Ghostbusters is made with actual, bona-fide care lavished all over its happy little face. Obviously it's made to make those evil corporate fat cats more millions of dollars from our misery, but it's misery through the joy that YOU GET TO BE A GHOSTBUSTER, so we can let the cash-in aspect slide.
Plus, hey - they're a bit late to really ride the wave of true cash-in-mania. It's hard to hate them for this.
Ghostbusters would be a truly unremarkable - though thoroughly playable - third-person action game were it not for the licence. The licence which includes the script, the characters, the proton packs, Ecto-1, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Slimer, the music, the nods to the movies and the fact that YOU GET TO BE A GHOSTBUSTER.
So it's safe to say the licence plays no small part in making this a game any self-respecting fan of bustin' should pick up.
That's not to say it's a particularly good game though, which is both a shame and deeply irritating. This is getting just as confusing to write as my feelings for the game are. Let's break it down into a good bit/bad bit/good bit/bad bit rhythm.
Lists are fun. And easy.
Good bit: Ray Parker Jr's theme song is present and correct, and plays on the loading screens, offering a nice distraction to the not-so-quick loading times.
Bad bit: Restarting from a checkpoint means seeing and hearing the loading screen, and if you die a lot you'll be seeing/hearing it a lot, and it doesn't load very fast. One fun song ruined.
Good bit: Most of the cast from the original movies are present and correct, including a fantastic performance from Dan Akyroyd and some great one-liners from the legend that is Bill Murray.
Bad bit: No Sigourney Weaver or Rick Moranis as they're both clearly idiots (or weren't asked), and some of Bill Murray's performance sounds - in the nicest possible way - phoned in.
Good bit: Online play allows four people to bust ghosts as a real team of ghostbustin' blokes, through a series of co-operative or competitive levels, earning cash and progressing with persistent online stats backing up performances.
Bad bit: Laggy play contributes to your downfall, as ghosts - ironically - 'ghost' about the level, making it unnecessarily difficult to catch them and thus meaning you cannot play properly.
Good bit: It isn't a very hard game and won't take up a lot of your time, meaning it's ideal for what it is - a brief, nostalgic distraction serving childhood fantasies of being a ghost-catching hero. Teammates can revive you and other 'busters (as you can for them), meaning losing all your energy isn't the end of things.
Bad bit: It's easy until the last level, where things get a bit silly and you're served up countless infuriating insta-deaths, leading to reloading (see loading point above) and much anger. Teammates seem to forget about, or simply not care about, other 'busters, happily leaving them to lie around dying.
(The list continies...)