One of the greatest video game crimes ever perpetrated on gamers was the fact that the awesome world of the Ghostbusters has never been given the proper respect it deserves when made into a game. From the Atari2600, NES, Commodore 64 and everything since, every single game made in based on the popular franchise has been a horrid blight on the senses – until now. Finally we have a Ghostbusters game worth playing. More than that, it’s fun too and appeals to fans with its nostalgia driven plot while also adding a new chapter to the series.
In the game you play a rookie, hired to work alongside the original four Ghostbusters right at a time when the city is plunged into paranormal chaos linked to a Zuul exhibit at a museum. The first few levels borrow heavily from the first film with visits to original locations and fighting familiar ghosts like Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. However, as the plot thickens the game comes into its own and reveals a much richer story than a simple nudge and wink at the fans.
The game is written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who wrote the first film and all the characters are voiced by the original actors who played them. For a fan like me, it was awesome to see the team back together again and acting much the same as they always did. Bill Murray’s lines weren’t quite delivered with the same dry glib bravado that we come to expect from Venkman but the character still felt right nonetheless.
Easily the best thing about this game is the capturing ghosts. The proton accelerator is used brillantly and throwing down a trap at just the right moment and sucking a weakened ghost into the containment matrix is a thrill. Every ghost has a certain amount of “health” which you reduce by hitting it with a proton beam. When it is weakened you switch over to a containment beam and manoeuvre the ghost over the trap. He will fight and try to get away so you have to hit him with proton bursts and drag it to the trap. Finally bagging a ghost is very satisfying, especially one of the boss enemies that take ages to bring down.
There are more than just proton accelerators in your arsenal though. The slime gun is back as well as a freeze gun and a few other nifty gadgets too. As you progress, you are awarded cash which can be spent on weapon and ability upgrades too.
The levels are fairly linear but the areas are fun to run through and are varied enough in game play to keep you interested. Some levels consist of ploughing through waves of ghosts, some require a little puzzle solving but it never seems to get boring. Perhaps, being a huge fan, I may have been getting more out of it than your average gamer, but I can’t see anyone not enjoying the ghost zapping, especially when it is done as cinematically as this game pulls it off.
The graphics look superb and the chatter amongst the team is constant and amusingly done. The music used is iconic and at times lifted directly from the film adding to the atmosphere. When you are running down a corridor chasing a nasty phantom, hearing the tried and true Ghostbusters music instantly pulls you into the action and back into your childhood as well. If i had told my 5th grade self that one day this game would exist, i think his head would have exploded with excitement. This is the third Ghostbusters film we have always wanted, except now we get to play it.
Currently, Ghostbusters – The Video Game is only available on the Playstation 3 in Australia but other consoles will follow later in the year.