Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Ghostbusters: The Video Game Cover
Platforms Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP, PSP, DS
Genre Third-person bustin'
MtAMinutes to Action 7
Keep Playing? Yes
Buy from Amazon

Happy Halloween, everyone! Time for a spooky first hour with Ghostbusters: The Video Game. As the game sequel to one of most popular, family-friendly Halloween movies out there, and as one of my favorite films growing up, I found it my duty to finally play this game I bought during a Steam sale cheap years ago.

Released in mid-2009 on every platform available, Ghostbusters: The Video Game played on early trailer hype and fan nostalgia to sell over a million copies that summer while receiving pretty decent scores. It doesn’t hurt that essentially the entire cast returned for what some call “Ghostbusters 3”, not to mention Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd worked on the game script.

I’ll be playing Ghostbusters in Windows, a few years ago I gave the Xbox 360 demo a try and wasn’t impressed at all, so I’m curious what my reaction will be on this platform, years later. Well, bustin’ makes me feel good, so let’s get started.

Minute by Minute

00 - I select Career and the first hour of Ghostbusters begins. Three difficulties to choose from: Casual, Experienced, and Professional. Let’s go with the medium option. The classic Columbia Pictures intro quickly plays, and then our animated team of Ghostbusters do their ad from the movie.

01 - Some security guard is watching video and a ghost zooms at the camera. He tells the guard at the Gozer exhibit to look for anything suspicious. Some woman runs by with books and then a huge shockwave explodes and spreads across the city.

02 - The Ghosbusters theme song plays and some short credits roll. Another short scene of the receptionist, Janine, answering the phone and a quick cameo of Slimer. Loading...

03 - I’m the new guy, Rookie, joining the Ghostbusters. Peter Venkman doesn’t even want to know my name... jerk! They’re going to run me through some training, but then that shockwave hits us!

04 - “Was that us?” Ray and Egon theorize on what it could be in Ghostbusters techno-babble. Slimer pokes at some glass that is containing him and it cracks! “Let’s just say we’re about to get real busy.” Slimer has escaped!

05 - I get control, need to bring Slimerback home. Checking out the Ghostbusters’ building now after sliding down the pole. Haha, they have that giant, evil picture from Ghostbusters 2!

06 - Slimer is just chilling out downstairs in front of the containment unit, I’m told to take him out. And of course, in classic Half-Life fashion, I’m instructed to do something and all hell breaks loose!

Ghostbusters Slimer Eating

07 - Well, only one other ghost has escaped... Ray is explaining how everything I need to know about the proton pack is displayed on its back, similar to Dead Space. I forget to vent my pack and it nearly explodes, knocking me to the ground. Gotta keep an eye on that.

09 - After shooting at Slimer a bit, the other ghost appears and promptly pukes on Ray. That was gross.

10 - I love how destructable the environments are, lots of exploding bits. Currently wrangling in the sloth ghost with some sort of slam meter, don’t totally understand what’s going on.

12 - Got him! I was supposed to right click the mouse to slam the ghost, then threw the trap down, and brought him into the light.

13 - They don’t seem too phased that we didn’t bring Slimer back. Venkman is jealous that I’m using all the prototype hardware. Ooh, time for the Ecto-1!

14 - The guys know that Slimer will be heading for that hotel from the movie, the Sedgewick Hotel. It is his “initial manifestation point”, after all.

Ghostbusters Slimer Sedgewick Hotel Ballroom

15 - Venkman and the hotel guy are arguing, he wants his money back!

17 - Hah! Peter and Ray explain how they have to leave their packs off in heavily populated areas due to lawsuits. We arrive on the 12th floor, time to make the donuts.

18 - Slimer spotting! He chucks some furniture at us and then there’s a cutscene of him scarfing down food. There’s a damage doller counter in the corner of the screen, not sure if it’s good or bad to make it go up... or if it’s just for fun.

19 - Ray explains the PKE meter... scanning, like Metroid Prime.

21 - Wandering around, am I supposed to stay on this floor or take the stairs? Oh, there’s a door open now that wasn’t before, lame.

22 - I scan Slimer’s hiding spot and somehow get money for an upgrade. Blast Stream Focusing for $1500? Okay. Looks like there’s only one upgrade path, nothing fancy at all. Back on Slimer’s trail.

Ghostbusters Sedgewick Hotel Ballroom

24 - Man down! Peter has been taken out! The Gears of War style pop-up appears pointing me in the direction of my teammate.

25 - Is there a door open button I don’t know about?

27 - Ugh, I was just going back to where he would have been if the game didn’t funnel me off and close doors on me.

28 - Peter has, of course, been slimed. A conversation reveals this is five years after the last incident here.

29 - Peter, Ray, and the Rookie think they’re stuck in the elevator (the Rookie never talks, by the way), but Venkman gets them out. We’re all back together, again.

31 - Multiple targets! Two ghosts are wrecking havoc in the lobby and the four of us are blasting away. One of them is too slow and we manage to trap it rather easily, still pretty fun though. Venkman mutters, “will someone call Winston and please tell him to come in on his night off?”

Ghostbusters pke Meter Footsteps

32 - Oddly enough, these ghosts look like they’re bleeding when proton’d, not sure what the point of that effect is? I guess it helps to know you’re hitting them.

33 - Hotel staff won’t let us into the ballroom, there’s a bar mitzvah there in 30 minutes, but Venkman knows a shortcut through the kitchen. He’s not letting this sliming thing go.

35 - Okay, who’s the creepy kid whispering nasty stuff in my ear?

37 - Fish ghosts are attacking us! Peter shows me how to move large objects with the capture beam, nice. I love the constant banter being thrown out by the Ghostbusters.

40 - Slimer is in the ballroom! Also, have to mention that I just proton shot the table cloth off a table without disturbing any dishes!

41 - We got him! Hopefully without causing too much damage around the ballroom. Hah! The game tells me I can purchase the next upgrade... but I don’t think I have enough cash for that.

Ghostbusters ray Winston Proton Packs

44 - Venkman and I meet up with Ray and Egon again, and the Bellhop Ghosts immediately arrive.

45 - One of the ghosts knocks me on my butt with some furniture and Egon has to rescue me, thanks man.

46 - Almost got one of the ghosts in the trap... but another one saves him. Touche.

48 - Three ghosts down, I have to admit, this is chaotic but awesome.

49 - Hotel man wonders who is going to pay for all this, and the Ghostbusters explain the mayor is on their side and the city will pay for it. Awesome. Oh, hey, there’s another ghost!

50 - Egon and I are chasing after the Angry Fisherman. That’s a thing? Haha, a cutscene reveals him fishing for us, that’s crazy. Oh oh, he busts up the stairs and Egon and I get separated, I’m on my own!

Ghostbusters Creepy Library Lady Ghost

52 - Somehow the ghosts unleashes a torrent of seawater at me, this is a pretty powerful ghost. Almost feels a bit like BioShock right now.

54 - Candlesticks are attacking me, bug off.

55 - I spot the fisherman for a moment, and then he zooms off. I kind of feel like they’re artificially lengthening this encounter.

57 - Is Ghostbusters supposed to feel like a shooter?

59 - More wandering, and then another glimpse of the ghost.

60 - Finally! We’re in another ballroom and the Fisherman Ghost battle begins! Right as I get him worn down, the other three guys bust in and join up. That’s the end of the first hour of Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters Ghost Zapping Proton Packs

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 7

Bias: I loved the Ghostbusters growing up, but their NES games I played as a kid were bad. It’s been years since there was any kind of major Ghostbusters media out there, so finally sitting down to play the game is pretty exciting. They also do a great job hyping up the experience with excellent character models and the real voices, plus the Ghostbusters theme song playing near the beginning.

If anything, I was a bit leery about playing due to my sub-par experience with the Xbox 360 demo. I know I wasn’t playing this level, I think it was a courtroom stage, but everything felt awkward. I once made a statement that I never played a demo that convinced me to buy the game, and I still stand by that, personally.

Would I Keep Playing? Yes.

The writers, artists, and developers did an excellent job making this feel like a Ghostbusters movie. There are a ton of homages to the films in just a single hour, but it still feels like its own story. I’m kind of unsure about the whole Rookie thing, I get why he’s there, but at time I just feel unnecessary.

Controls were pretty solid on the PC, it gets a bit frantic chasing ghosts all over with the Proton Pack as they don’t follow the usual enemy patterns found in shooters, but it kind of makes things more frantic and exciting. I didn’t really like the random little enemies that would attack, like the candlesticks late in the hour. It just felt like they were trying to pad the game out into more of a Gears of War-like experience.

All in all, great voice acting, witty writing, decent graphics, and fun ghost busting. I heartily recommend at least the first hour to fans of the series.