|System: PS3, PC, Xbox 360|
|Pub: Atari, Sony|
|Release: March 22, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
The AI is problematic in other ways as well; for example, it sometimes uses a wrong-colored weapon on a ghost, or moves in bizarre ways. Fortunately, you can avoid this by playing with other people. The co-op multiplayer isn't bad -- mindless shooting is always more fun with a few friends, and it eliminates the aforementioned problems with the AI -- and it's available both locally and online. However, the game doesn't have drop-in/drop-out functionality, which severely limits flexibility. Competitive multiplayer is also missing, and even a little team spirit can't rescue the campaign from its mundane action.
The storytelling -- which was a major upside to Ghostbusters: The Game -- leaves something to be desired as well. Between levels, you read comic-book panels that explain the plot's basics: The Ghostbusters are overworked, and therefore they have to hire some rookies. Those rookies (that would be you and your friends) battle a supernatural menace in the form of an ancient demon who comes back to life, bringing with him to New York City hundreds of ghosts. During the levels, snippets of conversation that someone inexplicably found witty (sample: "Man, I really hate all this slime.") pop up.
Also, unlike its predecessor, Sanctum doesn't feature voice work from the cast of the original movies, or very much voice work at all, for that matter. We understand that the developers had a smaller budget for this game, but given the great stories Ghostbusters is known for, not to mention that great sense of nostalgia the franchise inspires in every child of the '80s, all of this amounts to a big disappointment.
Graphically, Sanctum of Slime is acceptable but unimpressive. All the items on the screen, from the Ghostbusters to the enemies to the environment, are well-drawn and colorful, but there isn't a whole lot of personality, detail, or realism to the art style. It's all very functional: every image serves to depict whatever item it's supposed to, nothing more, nothing less.
The sound doesn't fare much better. The lack of voice acting hurts, and the music, which goes for a spooky-cute Tim Burton kind of feel, is repetitive and not memorable. The big bonus, however, is that the original theme song -- the one that goes, "Who ya gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!" -- is included.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light proved that you could take a blockbuster franchise, simplify it with the magic of top-down gameplay, and make it into a fun downloadable title. We hope that at some point, other series will get the careful and loving treatment that Tomb Raider did. Ghostbuster: Sanctum of Slime, however, is not an example of this process, but rather a cheap imitation of it.
CCC Freelance Writer