Ghostbusters the Video game is a game based on Ghost Busters, the classic 1984 movie. This game is made by Atari and was released in early November 2009. It's strange that characters from such an old movie can be used in making a game some 15 or so years on.
In a nutshell, the objective of the game is to control the ghost busting team, locate the ghosts and zap them with the proton beam's until they are ready to be trapped and disposed of back at Ghostbuster's HQ, so there's no surprises there then.
All things considered the graphics are ok. The interiors of the buildings are quite good, the city streets look quite good and the colours used compliment the overall feel of the game. The ghost zapping proton beams and traps are an exact replica from the film and the light streams are simply great, however I do think there is a slight lack of detail in some areas.
The DS is capable of dealing with 3D polygon rendered characters that are realistic but this is not the case with this game. The ghost busting team are little more than blobs on the screen which is somewhat disappointing. I guess this is down to the top down camera angle view used in this game.
This is one of the few DS games I have played where the audio is quite good. The sound effects are quite life like throughout. From the crackling noises whilst zapping the ghosts to the siren of the Ecto1, they are all quite neat and well thought out.
In addition to the sound effects there is some backing music, although this is quite limited. Whilst driving around in the Ecto1 the player gets to hear the famous theme tune, complete with lyrics, which is pretty cool, well for a little while. When I first got behind the wheel of the Ecto1 and the theme tune started blasting through the speakers I got quite nostalgic, but since you have to control the Ecto1 to get from mission to mission, and this song is played every time, it does get quite tiresome.
Luckily, pressing the select button during the driving parts of the game kills the music so there is the option of turning it off without affecting the other sound effects.
The Ghost Busters team is moved around with the directional D pad. Once a ghost is located you tap it with the stylus and keep it held on the ghost to blast it with the proton beam and deplete the ghost's energy to the stage where it can be safely contained within a trap. Once the ghost is ready the trap is set by pressing the L shoulder button. The whole thing sounds quite complex and confusing and it does take a bit of practice to get used to, but once mastered it isn't too bad.
Utilising the DS' touch screen technology, directional pad and buttons is good but I found some issues with the responsiveness of the controls. There are many times during game play where it is difficult to switch between the characters whilst zapping a ghost or switching between characters when you don't want to.
The DS version of this game sees the player controlling the four original members of the Ghost Busters team, being Egon Spengler, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Winston Zeddmore, which is quite unique since all other console versions of this game sees the player controlling some random character.
As well as the main storyline mission, which is collected from the ever faithful secretary at HQ, Janine, there are other 'filler' tasks you can do, and whilst these are optional and can be ignored you will lose reputation points if you choose not to do them, and since if you lose too many reputation points it is game over you will have to endure some of these smaller and boring tasks.
The compulsory main story missions are much better than the optional tasks and involve more in depth quests and some puzzles along with some witty dialogue between the team and some cheesy one liners from Peter Venkman. During some missions, the team is split up and you have to rely on the computer controlled team members, which can hamper game play.
Once you have got the mission it is time to jump in the Ecto1 and take to the streets of New York to get to the required destination. To help you navigate around the city there is a map that is displayed on the top screen pinpointing where you need to go. En route there are often opportunities to zap a random ghost or two using the proton gun on the Ecto1's roof. You can drive around in the Ecto1 between missions but you'll lose reputation points in the process (as you miss missions to do this) and could potential forfeit the game. The Ecto1 is a nightmare to control and it does take a bit of practice to get the hang of it. I found it hampers game play somewhat as the Ecto1 is used between every mission.
During game play you have to develop the skills and abilities of each character in preparation of the last few missions, but you are not prompted to do this at all. If you do not develop the characters it doesn't matter in the earlier missions but you will come un-stuck eventually, which is a real pain. As well as developing each character there is the opportunity to get new weapons and gadgets using the money and slime taken from defeated enemies.
****Price and availability****
At the time of writing Ghostbusters can be bought for as little as £14.73 (excluding postage and packing) from Thehut.com and as much as £24.99 (excluding postage and packing) from Play.com. With such a price differential I would always recommend shopping around.
Before parting with your hard earned cash I would recommend renting a copy or borrowing a copy from a friend to satisfy yourself it is worth buying. Personally, I would never buy this game.
I am in two minds over this game and sometimes I love it and other times it is the most frustrating game I have ever played. When the controls are working as they should zapping and trapping the ghosts is good fun and will provide a few hours entertainment. However, I appreciate this has limited appeal.
Driving around in the Ecto1 is a chore to learn and I have yet to master it. Luckily, you don't need to be too skilled at it in order to get to the compulsory missions and complete the game. I drove the Ecto1 only when I had to and avoided the in-between mission driving sessions.
This game is worth an experimental play although I question the longetivity and think it will be one of those games that will be completed and left on the shelf collecting dust. It is not a game with any re-play value.
Ghostbusters The Video Game, based on the smash hit motion picture franchise and featuring a completely new story, is coming to DS in 2009. Coinciding with the 25th anniversary celebration of the film's original theatrical release, the game reunites original cast members to recapture the unique blend of humour and fright that established Ghostbusters as a pop culture sensation.