Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 3

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 4

Creating a movie-based video game and not letting the player take control of the film's stars is a risky move. Sure, games like "Total Recall" never should have made their way to the market, but at least you could control a sprite that mildly looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Ghostbusters" is one of those risky games, ported to a countless number of consoles and computers, while still providing some mild enjoyment.

After going to business school for seven years (or not), you have decided to start your own ghost-busting business, which oddly happens to fall into the plot of the film. Given a small bank loan, you set out to the store to purchase equipment and trap ghosts for extra cash. It also turns out that the world-conquering Zuul has also planted itself into the fair city and it's all up to you to make sure that they never succeed.

Gameplay is comprised of a few separate mini-games. First is the driving portion, which requires players to monitor their gas meter and avoid crashing into other cars (which of course results in a rather large deduction from the bank account). Barrels, which are placed perilously in the middle of road, somehow give gamers more fuel when they run over them. You can also nab ghosts in this mode with proper equipment.

Once players have arrived at the scene, a simple ghost-catching sequence begins. Switching between two busters, players must strategically position themselves to trap all four ghosts for maximum cash value. Crossing the streams will result in the loss of both employees. You need to make the trip back to the HQ in order to replenish your stock of available men. The final segment only occurs if you are successful. Your forced to climb the world's highest flight of stairs and put an end to the Zuul menace once and for all.

The key problem with the game is that most of these games just aren't fun. Trapping the ghosts doesn't require much skill at all and it completely depends on where the ghosts decide to go. You can only reach them at certain points. Driving is frustrating since traveling at high speeds requires you to be at the top of the screen, making it impossible to avoid the oncoming traffic. The final stair climb is absolutely impossible without the proper equipment and even then the challenge level is far too high. It also must be noted that the ability to purchase different vehicles has been cut from this version. Most computer renditions included this feature, which allowed for a larger inventory stock.

Simple, unidentifiable sprites comprise the trapping section and the car is nothing more than a white blob with a logo on top. The most impressive graphic is the Sta-Puff Marshmallow man at the end of the game, but most players will never be able to see it. The classic Ray Parker theme to the film is the only music in the game. It maddeningly loops throughout the entire playtime, never letting up. Besides the voiced intro, there are no other worthy sound effects to speak of.

Probably any kid who grew up around the early 80's was exposed to the classic Ivan Reitman film and was also sucked into thinking this game was a classic. It's not. While the variety of gameplay modes keep things from getting too repetitive, but since each of these are uninspired, why bother? The repetitive music is the final breaking point that makes this one more nostalgic than entertaining.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 11, 2004 09:47 AM