I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts!
January 2, 2009 – Ghostbusters has to be one of the most loved movies from the 80’s. It featured a lighthearted story, plenty of action, and prime performances from actors Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson. Although fans have been clamoring for years for a third film, the Ghostbusters franchise is branching out into the world of video games for the continuation of the Ghostbusters saga.
The story in Ghostbusters: The Video Game takes place two years after the events of the second Ghostbusters movie. The four busters seem to be in good shape and are still catching ghosts, when bureaucratic bad guy Walter Peck (whom you may recall from the first movie) reappears as a state employee charged with overseeing the Ghostbusters and making sure they do not waste public funds. Of course, as fate would have it, there seems to be a huge surge in paranormal activity somehow related to an occult ritual going down at the local library. Needless to say, there are plenty of old-school plot devices at work here, but the game’s story looks to preserve all the fun of the first two movies. This comes as no surprise, however, as original Ghostbusters writers Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd are on board as the game’s primary scribes.
In addition, Aykroyd and Ramis will also be joining series veterans Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson to complete the game’s voice cast. Fans of the series are sure to be elated that all four of the original Ghostbusters have been confirmed as reprising their original roles for the game, as the last Ghostbusters movie was made almost twenty years ago!
In addition to this game’s star-infused cast, it also looks like it is going to be very good gameplay-wise as well. As you might expect, the majority of the game will be spent using your proton pack to catch ghosts. The proton pack, which will be upgradeable, will also be enhanced with different attachments. However, the Ghostbusters series has never been solely about just catching the ghosts, and like the movies, the Ghostbusters video game will also have a heavy standard combat element.
In addition to using your proton pack, Ghostbusters: The Video Game looks to have plenty of other gadgets for you to use while bustin’ those ghosts. One of these will be the PKE meter, which detects paranormal activity. Although the game is presented from a third-person perspective, the PKE meter changes the visuals to a first-person view and allows you to see otherwise invisible ghosts.
Although a good majority of the game looks to revolve around chasing and catching ghosts, there will also be several puzzle elements to the game. Certain areas will only be accessible after figuring out certain room-based puzzles, similar to the Tomb Raider series. These puzzle areas look to vary the gameplay quite nicely, and they will probably provide a much-needed reprieve from all the intense ghostbusting you will undoubtedly be doing.
The Wii version of the game features special motion controls that allow you to point your Wii-mote as you would a proton cannon and then perform a specific gesture to successfully capture the ghost. These controls seem fairly interesting and, if implemented well, could really raise the immersion level of the Wii version of the game.
The visuals for the Wii version look to be inspired by the Ghostbusters cartoon more than the original films. Characters have exaggerated features, and environments look simpler, but a lot more colorful in the Wii version. The reason for these altered visuals, beyond the Wii’s technical limitations, is probably to appeal to younger fans who may be interested in this title.
Although the fate of Ghostbusters: The Video Game was in question a few months ago, I have to say that I couldn’t be happier that this title is finally back and is indeed coming to consoles this summer. The game’s awesome star line-up as well as its fun-looking gameplay seems to give fans of the franchise something to stand up and cheer about, nearly 25 years after the original movie’s release.
Crossing the Streams
December 3, 2007 – When I was younger, the Ghostbusters summed up a lot of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to study all things paranormal, wanted to work at a fire station, and of course I wanted a small nuclear pack strapped to my back to take on any and all ghosts that I happened to come across my neighborhood. The phenomenon of the Ghostbusters has become a fan-loving favorite for a few generations. Of course there have been various Ghostbusters games in the past, but none of them have ever truly captured the beauty of the comedy, science fiction, and the horror of the mythos of one of our favorite quartets in cinema history.
For those out there who are unfamiliar with the busters themselves, they are all scientists of paranormal and psychiatric studies, Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Raymond Stanz, Dr. Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddmore. In the films, they were portrayed by some big names in Hollywood at the time: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson. A few people have redone their portrayals of these characters over the years in animation and other various forms of media. While some of those were solid performances, none of them captured the beauty of dialogue by the actors. Thankfully, this is one thing that will not be hindered by the forthcoming game. All of the actors will be reprising their roles in the game. Even Annie Potts who played the semi obnoxious secretary to the Ghostbusters, Janine Melnitz, will be reprising her role. This huge element will undoubtedly make fans of the Ghostbusters happy and maybe even a little anxious; it certainly has me.
Another factor that will generate extreme levels of excitement is the fact Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who wrote the original two films, have returned to pen this new adventure for the paranormal investigators. Dan Aykroyd has said on several instances this story arch could easily be considered Ghostbusters 3. Set in 1991, two years after the last film, the Ghostbusters have been through quite a bit to get to the point they have finally reached. In the beginning of the second film, the group was practically broke and barely making it. Now after defeating the evil Carpathian Vigo, business is doing so well that they are thinking of franchising out so they might be able to cut back on the 60-hour work week. Unfortunately, this is one of the disappointing pieces of information, but also enables the ability to preserve the characters. Instead of picking and choosing a seasoned Buster, you will portray a completely new character hired on as an “experimental weapons technician” or guinea pig. In order for the Ghostbusters to be granted a license to franchise, they will have to pass through a new commissions board set up by the mayor. However, this is not going to be easy for them to do since the head of the commission is none other than EPA man himself Walter Peck with actor William Atherton returning to provide the voice.
Shortly after your hire, the city is enveloped by an ancient evil causing a surge in ghost activity. This surge will provide a lot of Ghostbusting for players to play around with the equipment we all know and love, including the PKE Meter, Ghost Trap, and of course the Proton Packs. We will be traveling to brand new locations, facing off against new ghosts and returning to favorite locales from the films, including a certain hotel to recapture a little butterball green ghost known as Slimer. Fortunately, Slimer won’t be the only ghost we will encounter. Though no definitive words about what other ghost we will encounter, one has been confirmed and that is the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Having this level of nostalgia mixed with new elements will definitely increase the need to bust some ghost and possibly revisit the films just to prepare yourself for the coming experience.
While there has only been shots of single player action shown, the developers understand how important teamwork was in the films and how well this worked, and we can only assume that there will be some level of multiplayer involved as we get closer to the release date of the game. Potentially and ideally, we will be able to have four man teams to come together online to bust various paranormal level five ghosts. However, on the PS2 and Wii versions of the game there will be the option for multiplayer gameplay definitely. Also on those versions of the game players will be able to choose which Ghostbuster they want to be instead of playing a new recruit.
While the game is further along in development than most might assume, we are still a ways off from seeing the final product. With a brand new story, returning actors to vocalize the characters once more, revisiting old locations and old ghosts, it makes next fall potentially look like Christmas for anyone that has ever wanted to answer the question “Who are you gonna call?” with themselves happier than Slimer in front of a buffet.