Ghostbusters: The Video Game Review for Nintendo DS

Ghostbusters: The Video Game Review for Nintendo DS

You May Become Dispirited

Ghostbusters has been a hit movie, a hit song, and a hit cartoon show. Perhaps the axiom “third time’s a charm,” is true, as this franchise has never been a great video game. Some things are just better left dead.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game screenshot

Ghostbusters for the DS is a decent effort, but it falls short. It’s not perfect, nor is it much fun in the long run. It’s a textbook example of a product failing to realize its potential. It’s obvious that this franchise has been milked to a powder. No more ectoplasm to suckle off this dead cash cow’s teat. What makes things even more unsettling is that the original writers of the movie were commissioned to pen the storyline for this game. Granted you won’t get to appreciate the full effect of their effort on the DS, but let’s just say that it’s obvious that their best writing days are behind them. I’m talking about Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. It’s the same tired old premise with a few new gags, gadgets, and ghosts added. The developers may have been better off with younger talent more in-tune to gaming.

But, let’s not let the developers off the hook. This game has some nagging flaws. There are control issues, especially control response, and also the clumsy vehicle. The stylus is over-extended in its use, resulting in some awkward cross-handed finagling that can cost you some hits. Enemies often attack from off-screen making it almost impossible to protect your character from taking a few hits. The top-down, isometric camera angle, used in a lot of classic RPGs, does not always afford the best perspective. The draw distance can be very limited when driving. Changing characters is a pain, and upgrades really don’t seem to make much of a difference in most missions.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game screenshot

Despite these flaws, the game is not unplayable, it’s just more frustrating than need be. It’s unpolished, and it seems like a slight if you’ve paid full price for it. That’s why I’m going to recommend this instantly as a rental. A day or two with the ‘Busters is more than enough, and you won’t feel too dispirited having parted with money better spent elsewhere. There’s not a lot of replay value here either, so be forewarned.

Ghostbusters is an action RPG hybrid. You will take control of the four main characters from the movie. The console versions include a fifth playable character that is essentially you. As in true RPG fashion, you will tackle various quests and missions, leveling-up each character. Increasing skills, attributes, and weapons is accomplished by completing various side-missions, collecting items, and destroying enemies. In this case, evil entities will have to be zapped, vacuumed, and trapped, just like old times.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game screenshot

Events take place in the haunted metropolis of Manhattan – again. Various ghosts, demons, and assorted monstrosities are running amok, panicking the population, and threatening to destroy the city. The giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is back. Other Ghostbusters staples include the famous proton packs, the Ecto-1 Ghostbusters mobile, and, of course, the theme song. You’ll hear that damn theme song every time you hop into the Ecto-1. It’s obviously tuned to Ghostbusters FM, “Playing Ghostbusters, all day, all night, and all day and all night again, and again…” Fortunately, you can turn the song off; and you will.

At Ghostbusters HQ you will get your orders. You don’t have to take every task that’s issued, but you’ll lose reputation points for the ones that you don’t. If you lose too many rep points, the game is over. Once you’ve accepted a task, you drive to the location in the Ecto-1, which is like controlling a sheet of plywood over a field of marbles.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game screenshot

It’s very cumbersome and unresponsive. When you run into an entity, you pinpoint it with the stylus and hold it on the creature to drain it of its energy. While you’re doing this, you will use the shoulder button to capture it in some kind of contraption. There are plenty of sci-fi weapons and gadgets at your disposal, although they basically do the same thing. These new devices keep the gameplay from getting stale too fast, but it does begin to decay quickly after the first half hour.

The money that you earn from successful endeavors can be used to research and develop new weapons and gadgets. Interestingly, you are never forced to use them, so you don’t really need them. At times you will have to switch to the other playable characters, and not necessarily because of their different skills but because of their courage-meter reading. The lower the meter level, the more apt they are to run away from the monsters. Control of team members is limited to a few simple commands such as “stop” and “go.” The A.I. isn’t very intelligent, and you’ll have to switch among them to ensure they aren’t getting killed. Switching requires using the stylus to select their portrait and pressing the B face button. When you’re busy in the middle of a fight, this is a very inconvenient method. Not to mention that some commands do not register at all, and other times the wrong commands are activated. What will happen is that you’ll go into a tapping frenzy in an effort to have the game issue the appropriate command, and this will only further complicate things. The icons are small and it’s very easy to hit the colored buttons that freeze characters in place instead of freeing them.

The cutscenes convey the Ghostbusters franchise as good as one could expect. They are filled with great graphics, great voiceovers, and movie-quality sound effects. The rest of the game has trouble living up to the cutscenes. In fact, the game has trouble living up to standards of a good DS game.

Cutscenes are great. The In-game graphics can’t compare. 2.1 Control
Some commands don’t register. Stylus use is overused and awkward to execute. 2.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
In-game sounds are repetitive. Again, the cutscenes are great. 2.4

Play Value
Repetitious gameplay disguised by new items and characters.

2.3 Overall Rating – Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Players will have the chance to chase, attack, and catch ghosts in a funny and frightening battle to save New York from its latest supernatural plague.
  • Authentic Ghostbusters Experience: The game features the voices and in-game likenesses of Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson in an original story penned by the writers of the original films Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis.
  • Unique gameplay: Experience unique ghost hunting, wrangling and trapping with upgradeable weapons in widely destructible environments and large scale boss fights.
  • All New Storyline: Set two years after Ghostbusters II, the game will feature an all new storyline as the player battles and captures well-loved and brand new ghosts throughout New York.

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