Genre: Action Developer: Terminal Reality Publisher: Sierra Classification: TBC Release Date: 31st Dec 2008 Platforms:PS3
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The Bad stuff
Busting doesn't make me feel good when I get stuck on objects constantly.
If you do decide to pick up Ghostbusters: The Video Game, I guarantee you will be tired of the first half of the theme song well before the game has finished. This isn't to say you will be yearning for the second half of the song - I'm not really sure what makes you tick - I'm just saying you won't ever want to be asked the question "Who you
gonna call" again.
The first time you load in the game and it plays the memorable theme song, asking the question - that's cute. It's quaint and nostalgic, and you start to feel all your fond Ghostbusters memories flooding back. Heck, even the tenth and fifteenth times you'll be humming along, singing the words and finishing the verses when the game finishes loading before the song is through.
Around halfway through the game though - about 40 or 50 loading screens now, assuming you constantly die after getting stuck on half a broken painting like I did - you'll despise the song, and if it wasn't for the familiar voices of Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Raimis and Ernie Hudson you'd consider muting the television.
You wouldn't consider turning the game off, curiously enough. And this is despite the at times painful collision detection, awkward gameplay and confusing story elements. Ghostbusters: The Video Game delivers exactly what it must to stop you from turning the game off in disgust - it delivers ghosts, humour and a plot grounded in just enough realism to make you believe.
Each character has been faithfully recreated in the video game world really well - both in their mannerisms and in their actual likeness. The language they use and their personalities shine through, and the nostalgia trip is complete. The characters seem a little stilted - Murray's lines have a "read" air about them, and you get the feeling nobody was in the studio at the same time except maybe Ackroyd and Raimis. The atmosphere still exists though - but it's easy to see that without the team this game would be a very, very average game.
This is due to the aforementioned difficulties in the gameplay - as a Ghostbuster you can destroy almost everything you fire a proton stream at, but when they break to pieces they become obstacles of untold proportions. Pieces of ancient vases will become impassable objects as they lay on the ground in front of you, and you'll die horribly when half a bookshelf blocks your escape from horrible monsters.
The game also gets somewhat repetitive before you finish - although it doesn't really start out that way. The game reminded me a little of the Condemned titles to begin, with your character (a rookie with no name and no voice) searching out ghosts using Spengler's devices before you stream them and trap them. The different clues you need to look out for actually make for some pretty decent puzzle gameplay, and the first proton pack upgrade - giving you slime which can join objects together (emphasising the game's physics engine) encourages you to treat the game like a puzzler.
Afterwards however, the two extra upgrades - based on a machine gun with homing bullets and a shotgun respectively - turn the game into yet another action shooter, and you won't really solve a puzzle at all for nearly the entire last half of the game. The action feel of the final half isn't exactly helped by the fact that your team mates are unbelievably helpful at times and utterly worthless at others. Sometimes the original 'busters are the pros you expect them to be - taking down and trapping ghosts like nobody's business, reviving each other instantly and even helping you out. Other times they'll get themselves killed for no reason, run away from bosses and block you into corners at the absolute worst times.
It leaves you completely unable to rely upon them and typically makes their presence as actual figures a burden. I might have preferred them in the game for cutscenes only, and then they could accompany on missions as voices only - if it wasn't for the epic feeling you get when all five of you fire up your proton streams and take down a ghost.
The graphics aren't fantastic, but they're certainly capable, and
slowdown was a non-issue even while a library of books flew around you, a dozen ghosts flew your way and everyone has their proton packs charged up. In fact the atmosphere - the elated smile you get the first time you hear the theme song start, the silly, dopey grin you have when you first hear the 'busters talk and the epic feeling you get when the team works as a team - is what saves this game ultimately.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is very average in most respects - everything it does right has some element which drags it straight back down. The one thing which makes the game amazing is the attention to detail given to the characters, story and the world they live in.
I'm not sure whether this makes the game worth a purchase, but it's certainly made me want to watch the movies again - and isn't that what all good merchandising does? If you're not a Ghostbusters fan this is a definite skip - non-fans might want to try a rental first. Now if only I could get the damn theme song out of my head.
Looking at the Atari forums, Joaby is one of the lucky few who actually managed to -play- the game.
As is common, I had issues installing the game using the 'Custom' option - which allows you to modify the default path to install. The installer goes ahead and copies all the files to the harddrive - then at the end, it will state that the installation was interrupted and quit out.
What happens is that the installer copies some parts of the game to the location you specify and then other parts of the game to the default location. Needless to say, the game will not work until you copy all files to one location. It is poossible to coax the installer to install all files to the one location and finish successfully, however this requires heavy registry editing.
So I managed to sort out that mess and boot the game. It comes time to start a new game, it asks which difficulty I want, I select a difficulty and BAM - I'm sent right back to the main menu.
After wasting way too much time trying to search for a solution I've come to the conclusion that I'd be best waiting for Atari to release a patch and *hoping* that will make some sort of difference.