One thing’s pretty clear–some of the oldest game companies out there are getting pounded by the modern game business environment. Midway’s been getting shellacked, which you can read about right here, and Atari has been in the dumps for quite some time. This is why we all–Atari included–have reason to be intensely, almost perversely, happy about the recent release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game.
Set as a third person shooter, you’ll charge through the various landmarks of New York as “the new guy” (Venkman insists on not using names as he doesn’t “want to get attached”), the guy (or gal, that’s a possibility) who tests the experimental equipment and is thus most likely to be blown into New Jersey by a malfunctioning proton pack or something similar, which won’t actually happen but considering you’re working with the Ghostbusters, the chances of it happening are fairly likely. Anyway, the environment has changed, and the city is a lot more tolerant–even downright friendly–of Ghostbusters and their ghostbusting. The city’s insurance policy has actually been extended to cover the Ghostbusters and the concomitant property damage they incur, so you’ll be able to do whatever needs to be done to clear the city of ghosts. But it’s not just ghosts you’ll have to worry about; there’s a much deeper plot at work here that you’ll also have to break through.
There will be plenty of ghosts, too–you’ll be taking on construction workers and angry sous chefs from beyond the grave and even the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man within the first six levels. You’ll get to work the PKE meter and the proton pack and plenty of nifty new gadgets like the highly destructive boson dart system. You’ll pick up pages of Tobin’s Spirit Guide, the single greatest resource a Ghostbuster can have, and supplement them with actual PKE scans.
I firmly believe that this may be the single best simulation of what it’s like to be a Ghostbuster ever released to date.
Of course, it may well be the ONLY actual simulation of what it’s like to be a Ghostbuster ever released to date, but that’s somewhat beside the point. In fact, I’m somewhat surprised to see it took as long as it did to get one out. Some of that, naturally, is to latch onto the resurgence of Ghostbusters with the emergence of the third movie on the horizon but still, they could’ve been pumping these out for YEARS between two and the still upcoming three.
Not that I’m not, on a limited level, happy about this development, of course–if they HAD flooded the market with Ghostbusters games it would’ve seriously tarnished the brand, but this is largely beside the point. The point is that this is an intensely fun game that packs in plenty of action. Sure, the controls can be a little hard to grapple with, especially in the Wii version, but it’s still plenty fun to lash out with the proton pack and roll out the trap. One downside, however, is that the game stops short of giving you the ultimate experience of driving the Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters’ converted ambulance. That might well have made for the best part of the game, but no–they patently refuse to allow you drive the Ecto-1. They’ll even MOCK you for not being ALLOWED to drive it. I’m sorry, but sacrificing a fantastic experience for a cheap joke just isn’t right.
These minor points aside, well, there’s plenty of fun to be had here, and getting your hands on this game should be well worth your time.