When there is something strange in your neighborhood, who are you going to call..? A copy of Atari’s incredible Ghostbusters title. After literally dozens of cancellation threats on the project, the long-awaited Ghostbusters game is back – and one that I have personally hoped would come out ever since I watched the original back in the day. The iconic quartet return an excruciating 20 years after their last ghost-busting outing, bringing with them the original humour and feel of the Ghostbusters which is perfectly realized perfectly in game form. The original cast (Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and of course the always witty Bill Murray) return to give the game the authentic feel to make it feel like a sequel to the films and it does nothing short of a simply fantastic job at making players literally feel as if they are a part of it.
Set two years after Ghostbusters II, Manhattan is once again spooked by ghosts and supernatural forces. Ghosts, poltergeists and giant marshmallow men make an effulgent return to the familiar zone of fans of the film. This time the team is kicking it up a notch and hires an experimental technical advisor as a 5th member of the group, or ‘New-Guy’ as Bill Murray’s character calls him. The defining thing about Ghostbusters is simply that the original writers were contumacious and decided to step out of the normal: to write the storyline of the game in all seriousness as if it were a sequel, e.g. Ghostbusters III, thanks to Terminal Reality and RedFly. The plot is controvertible to a relaxing and engaging experience into the world of Ghostbusters that few games manage to pull off. Ghosbusters drives players into the eerie and lets them experience the environment in a strong sense of realism. The beginning of the game starts off with a large electro-pulse emanating from a museum, where a Gozer event is taking place the following day and it is the job of the four ghostbusters plus a stereotypical silent-player controlled character to take down the spirits and ghouls around the city while causing chaos and mess everywhere they shoot their proton stream.
As the new recruit in charge of experimental techniques, players will test a variety of new weapons, equipment, and gadgets to trap the very unique and quirky ghosts out on the loose. The primary weapon is the proton stream pack. When trying out the proton packs for the first time, it seems daunting at first when different methods to capture ghosts is described but after a couple of times it becomes easy. The learning curve is not steep, and makes it easy for any players to get in the action and capture ghosts, although some ghosts may take ages to capture.
The gameplay feels extremely responsive, whether trying to capture ghosts or moving to your next mission objective. There is just one problem with Ghostbusters: the lack of a jump button is very annoying. Everything in Ghostbusters is so action-tethered that it seems almost impossible to not include this, unless you count the small dodge button the jump action. It just seems that with a lack of the jump button, Ghostbusters can definitely serve to be more action-packed than it tries to be. The mission design is essentially repetitive: capture a ghost, capture this ghost, evade this ghost, capture a ghost, capture him, and her, and so on. The A.I. of your fellow ghostbusters can be patchy at times which does not help the mission structure but they come to your aid when your down 99% of the time. Regretabbly, they also will not think twice about running full speed into a group of enemies and being overwhelmed which is frustrating when you have to heal them while also being attacked and flanked from all angles. The missions themselves, however, are well thought out when it comes to gameplay design even though its that same dreaded repetition of a scenario of capture a few ghosts, move on, capture a few more ghosts, move, fight boss type character – you understand the picture. Conducive to repetition aside, the dialogue and fresh humour added on by original voice cast keeps it fresh up to a point.
The multiplayer in Ghostbusters is more of the same old missions and objectives as seen in any other shooter. With several different modes or “jobs” including Containment, Survival, Destruction, Slime Dunk, Protection and Thief, the gameplay sounds like it could bring new styles to multiplayer. Sadly, these modes are similar to capture the area and destroy enemy-held objectives which are seen everywhere these days. It does not necessarily do anything wrong in this department just brings nothing new to the table.
Ghostbuster’s graphics seem to be too cartoon-influenced for hardcore audience that are used to intensively real graphics and life-like quandries, but they work extremely well for this game and art-style.
Ghostbusters follows in the footsteps of the films and will undeniably serve as a rightful homage to the franchise and something a lot of people can look forward to, regardless of whether they are fans of the witty Ghostbusters group or even have a strong dislike for ghosts in general. Ghostbusters surprisingly faced numerous threats of never coming to the market, which would have been a shame. Whoever initially did deny it publishing rights is rightly a fool and we will stop from embarassing them further. Games like this prove that fun is still in gaming even though more serious forms are dominant at the moment. Ghostbusters by Terminal Reality and Atari is the most realistic attempt to mimic the film that any game developer has ever achieved and you have to buy it to experience this.