Ghost Squad Review for the Nintendo Wii

Ghost Squad Review for the Nintendo Wii

A Revival for Light Gun Games Everywhere

Ah, the light gun genre, how have you been? Some would say that rail shooters should be exclusive to arcades, while others would say that these types of games are too shallow to even exist. No matter the opinion, no one can honestly admit that they have never thrown a quarter or two into a Time Crisis, Area 51, or Operation Wolf arcade machine.

Ghost Squad screenshot

The mindless gunplay, fast-paced action, and charmingly repetitive sound effects definitely bring back some memories, some good and some bad. Ghost Squad, an under the radar game in its own right, is right there in between the two. With a lot of light gun titles recently making their way to the next generation, the people over at Sega decided to throw another into the mix, and what better system to release it for but the Nintendo Wii. With the systems’ recent release of its “Zapper,” an add on that is supposed to make shooting games more realistic, Ghost Squad was to be the first test subject, but does it succeed?

Now, this game’s back story may have a few people crying “cliché,” but hey, who plays a lightning fast light gun game for its plot? Basically, you control an elite group of SWAT members by the name of GHOST. Their mission is to quell the acts of a terrorist group called the Indigo Wolves, who are doing all kinds of terrible things. This opens the curtain for a classic good vs. evil showdown, with the primary objective being: take down every bad guy in sight. You’ll do this while traversing through an enemy hideout, aboard an Air Force One plane, and finally through a jungle fortress. And no, the three I mentioned aren’t just a handful of examples; those are all the levels in the game. Just like with Star Fox 64, the adventure is over in less than an hour, but the highlight that keeps pulling you back in is the open-endedness of the gameplay.

Though you may not be able to control your character outside of reloading and shooting, the “choice” centered gameplay revolves around taking multiple paths that will decide the fate of the adventure. For example, in the first stage, you will have the option of either clearing the whole first floor or taking out a bomb that is a floor above you. The game will continue regardless of your selection, but it will certainly make each level seem less tedious as you replay them over and over. What also helps relieve a little bit of tedium is the fact that each of the three stages sports sixteen different degrees of difficulty. Depending on which you pick will cause opponents, obstacles, and events to happen in a different order than the previous selection. This will constantly keep you on your toes and even though the mission selection is short and limited, the multiple ways to play each of these missions keeps things continuously fresh.

Ghost Squad screenshot

What also adds a fresh element to this light gun game is the introduction of the Wii-mote. Though it may not feel as precise or orthodox as a regular controller, the Wii-mote certainly makes the moment a lot more fun. The controls definitely make use of the Wii’s point and release motion sensing, with gunplay and option selection relying on where you point the cursor. Even though shifting from side to side is quick and responsive, there are times where too much tilt can result in awkward viewing angles and an increase in inaccuracy. The on-screen cursor can also be disabled, increasing the difficulty even further, but some may find the lack of it too frustrating. All in all, it isn’t up to arcade standards and it may take some time to get used to, but the Wii-mote does enough to warrant a solid playing session. Now whether the Zapper helps improve the experience or not is another story, as I wasn’t able to get my hands on one in time.

Once you get used to the stylized controls, the next step is to just jump into the fray. Enemies and obstacles emerge at every turn, and it will take quick reflexes and thinking to emerge victorious. Points are scored by how quickly you eliminate a threat and the manner in which you disperse it. As with any other light gun game, your movement is generally controlled for you. Quick moving camera angles and zoom shots happen frequently, with the reminder to “Reload” emerging every few seconds or so depending on the weapon you hold. Speaking of which, Sega definitely aimed to differentiate the Wii version from its arcade counterpart by adding new weapons and modes. From the submachine gun to the ever-potent sniper rifle, each gun serves its purpose, even though the gameplay moves so quickly you may not get to enjoy each of them as much as you’d like.

Ghost Squad screenshot

The most disappointing factor of Ghost Squad is what was really supposed to be its strongest point; that being the alternative tasks that you must take care of between combat. The biggest problem is that there aren’t enough of them and the puzzles that exist are really too easy. From defusing bombs by cutting wires in a certain order to disarming particular forms of weaponry, each task is way too simple and just feels unnecessarily tacked on. There are a couple of highlights, including a time-based President rescuing situation and a dagger fight that utilizes the Wii-mote as an imitation blade, but there just aren’t enough like these to balance the gameplay.

Ghost Squad screenshot

What you can look forward to though is an on-your-toes experience and plenty of good old fashioned “run and gun” combat. And while playing Ghost Squad by yourself makes for a fun few hours, it is the multiplayer and quirky Paradise and Ninja modes that bring out its charm.

There is a subjective aspect within video games that a lot of people generally don’t appreciate, and that is a game’s charm. Whether it is the way a story is presented or the theme the title inadvertently conveys, every game may or may not reach out to a particular group of people. In Ghost Squad’s case, the theme would have to be a throwback to the mid-nineties, where light gun games ran rampant. Paradise mode and Ninja mode bring about that silliness and should bring a smile to the face of anyone who grew up gaming in the eighties and nineties. There isn’t necessarily anything different with the mechanics of these two modes, but the way in which the enemies are presented graphically is different. Paradise mode will have your terrorist opponents scantily clad in bikinis and rubber rafts, all the while shooting at you with super soakers. If that doesn’t sound silly enough, Ninja mode unleashes the world of shinobi upon you, leaving you with nothing but an infinite supply of ninja stars with which to defend yourself. There are plenty of oddball situations and it makes for some hilarious moments that you won’t soon forget.

It is too bad that one of the few problems with the title has to do with its visuals. The game really does look like a Playstation 2 title, with the flat textures, uninspired backgrounds, and lack of overall detail deterring from the experience a bit. It is unfortunate that Nintendo has been the only company thus far to truly take advantage of its system’s graphical power. Then again, light gun games have never transferred well graphically to their destined console. Where the game truly shines is the audio, which is chock full of that classic cheesy voice-acting. The music is a mix of upbeat rock and techno, with classic sound effects popping up here and there. Also worthy of note is that the title utilizes the Wii-mote’s speaker function, which will occasionally buzz when you reload and fire your weapon. Overall, it’s really what you would expect from a light gun game made by Sega, and even after all these years they still have a knack for reviving that latent nostalgia in us all.

Ghost Squad is a culmination of hits and misses, forming a package that succeeds because of its quirky charm and traditional gameplay. Though there are some control misqueues and a lacking visual department, Ghost Squad features a slew of unlockables and replayable game modes to keep any action gamer coming back for more. Though there are only three missions, but the dozens of difficulty factors and alternate paths keep the game fresh, and the addition of a four player mode can make for some fun face-offs with your friends. Add to that the fact that the game is only 30 dollars and you have quite a deal on your hands. All in all, if you are looking for an in depth action experience on par with Halo 3 or Bioshock, definitely look elsewhere. However, if rail shooters are your preference, Ghost Squad is definitely worth at least a rental. If not for the adventure, then at least try it for the additional modes found within. Funny stuff.


  • Four gameplay modes – Includes the full arcade version of Ghost Squad, a Multiplayer mode for 1-4 players and more
  • Three dangerous missions to complete – with multiple levels that increase in difficulty as the player progresses. Players will also unlock a variety of alternate routes, different player choice scenarios, and secret weapons and costumes. Time of day for certain missions can also be effected
  • Alone or with up to three squad mates, players will rescue hostages, apprehend suspects, and deactivate bombs as you eliminate terrorist threats around the world
  • 25 different tactical weapons to unlock and use during operations
  • One of the first light gun games to make the leap from the arcades to the Wii – using only the Wii Remote

    The game is lacking in quality textures and detail, with visuals that are on par with the last generation systems. The presentation helps quell some of these issues. 4.1 Control
    Though not arcade perfect, the Wii-mote acts as a solid substitute. Occasional aiming and interface problems occur, but are not common. 4.1 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Nothing outstanding, but the music and sound effects are a great throwback to the nineties era of arcade gaming. Voice acting is poor, but in a humorous kind of way. 4.2

    Play Value
    A play session will only take you about 25 to 30 minutes, but the alternate paths, unlockable costumes, and multiplayer modes will have you playing the game for well over 20 hours.

    3.7 Overall Rating – Good
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

  • To top