|System: Wii, PS2, PS3, X360, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Red Fly Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 16, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Some baddies can be sent back to the afterlife with just a few blasts from your proton pack, though others will need to be wrangled and trapped. The process of wrangling requires you to first whittle away at a green health bar, which will then allow you to lock the enemy in your beams grasp. At this point, youll be cued to waggle the Wii Remote in certain directions in order to bang the ghosts into the environment, thus diminishing a red health bar. Once their health is completely depleted, you can toss down a trap with the Z button and pull them in.
For the most part, busting ghosts is a blast (no pun intended), but the wrangling mini-game is very hit-and-miss. Too often your gestures will be misread, allowing the ghosts to escape your grasp. Its also a very tiring maneuver thats likely to cause wrist pain after prolonged play. Still, the gameplay can be quite addictive, and the pacing is pretty spot-on.
In addition to being able to blast and slime spirits back to the netherworld, you can also slime certain objects and then move them around. This element plays into solving puzzles throughout the game, and its a very satisfying mechanic. Its also a ton of fun causing random destruction throughout levels, and almost everything is breakable. As a matter of fact, the game keeps a tally of the damage done within each chapter, and youll earn a ranking based on how little you cost the city in doing your duty. Of course, there are info cards hidden within destructibles, so completionists may have a tough time controlling the urge to engage in total demolition.
Red Fly seems to have taken a few cues from the Metroid Prime series, and youll use the PKE meter to scan objects and entities, which will help you decide how best to proceed. Youll also make use of the PKE goggles in order to see ghosts hidden within the environment, or to follow their trail should they escape. The game also takes a nod from Left 4 Dead, and if you or one of the other Ghostbusters gets incapacitated, you can simply go up to them and press the A button to get them back up on their feet
As fun and engaging as the gameplay and story are, Ghostbusters the Video Game is not without its blemishes. For starters, certain portions of various chapters have some serious dead spots, and were not talking about ghosts here. Youll sometimes find yourself running through an empty hallway only to come to a load screen, followed by another empty hallway. There are also quite a few cheap moments in the latter portions of the game, where enemies will appear behind you literally from out of nowhere and lob off almost half your health with one hit. Since the camera movement is slightly lumbering, these sneaky ghosts can become quite frustrating.
By far the worst thing we came across while playing the game, however, was a glitch that, for a good hour or so, had us concerned we would be unable to complete the adventure. Somewhere past the midway point in the story, theres a mission that continued to place us in a room where the collision detection seemed to have issues with clipping, and on five separate runs we ended up outside the building, unable to move or progress in any way. The only solution each time was to restart the mission, and though the glitch did crop up again on our final attempt, we were finally able to carefully move our character into the correct position before she could get trapped outside again.
On the production front, Ghostbusters has the look of a decent PS2/Wii game, but the lighting and facial animations are truly impressive. Little nuances in the characters faces when they speak convey a lot about the story, and the way in which each of the Ghostbusters behaves feels authentic. There were occasional bouts of slowdown, but they were almost always exclusive to cutscenes; the gameplay was never affected in any meaningful way. The ambient music played wonderfully alongside the gameplay, with themes subtly raising the level of anticipation when some element of excitement was about to take stage.
On the whole, Ghostbusters is an impressive production most fans should eat up. We had a fun time with the game, though we were also left with serious reservations due to glitching that might cause less-experienced gamers to hang up their proton packs well before the journey ends. For those who can get past the games shortcomings, however, theres plenty of content here to justify the full price. You can play cooperatively with a friend pretty much the entire way through, and it does, indeed, add a lot to the experience. There are some fun achievements that play into the actual gameplay, and overall, its a really well-written and thoughtful production.
CCC Freelance Writer