Title: Ghostbusters The Video Game
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Developer: Terminal Velocity
Publisher: Sony, Atari, Mad Dog Games
Release Date: June, 2009
Given that newer AAA games are all designed to be vehicles for Left-wing agitprop, filled with strong ugly women who don’t need no man, pro-refuge nonsense, and more LGBTQIAPEDO crap than you can shake a stick at, I’ve opted to stop playing most new releases. Normal human beings just don’t find that kind of propaganda entertaining nor is any normal person fond of the Left’s agenda being irrumated into every facet of media.
That being said, I’ve been going back and playing a lot of older games in my back catalog. Last year Mad Dog Games re-released Ghostbusters: The Video Game as a remastered title for home consoles and as a timed exclusive on the Epic Games Store for PC. Thankfully I already purchased the original 2009 outing on Steam before it was pulled from the store in order to be sold on Epic Games’ digital distribution outlet, and I can readily say that it’s a great game as far as concepts and mechanical implementation is concerned.
+Respects Ghostbusters lore
+Gameplay is actually fun
+Tactical ghost hunting
+Different proton packs
+Main cast of characters return
+Great sound design
+Snappy script from Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd
+Story continues from previous movies
• Bill Murray’s inconsistent enthusiasm
• Gameplay length
-Lack of graphic options
-No longer has multiplayer
-Lacks Sigourney Weaver
Right off the bat you play a seemingly straight white male who is a mute. In [current year] the main character would be some Muslim fat black woman with a sassy mouth and cringe-worthy dialogue, or some lesbian twig with half her head shaved and constant quips about how terrible men are. In that regard, I’m so very, very, very thankful that this game was made back in 2009 and instead of [current year]. I can only take so much butch lesbian proselytizing before I subject my keyboard to the unwelcoming presence of projectile vomit.
Anyway, the story is about the new recruit joining the Ghostbusters at their firehouse in New York following the events of Ghostbusters 2. The story was written with impeccable precision by the late Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. You can tell these two absolutely love the franchise and the mythos behind the Ghostbusters given the bevy of jargon and dialectical fan-service that helps flesh out both the original film and the sequel. Oh yeah, and the women in the game look hot. I’m sure the voice actress of said hottie, Alyssa Milano, wouldn’t take too kindly to that compliment given her devolution into cringe-posting about #MeToo on Twitter, but hot is hot and you can’t take that away.
Keeping True To Ghostbusters Lore
The story is basically about another paradimensional god of sorts known as the Architect trying to connect both the Earth realm and his realm together using a host. However, the Ghostbusters are unaware of the machinations by the Architect and find themselves encountering the ghosts and creatures from the first two films again, as well as a lot of references to Gozer.
However, I was quite impressed with how they explained the reasons behind Gozer’s actions and the limitations of Gozer’s abilities and how it all ties into what the Architect was trying to achieve. The story slowly unfolds over the course of just over a handful of levels that take an hour or two to complete each, bringing the total playtime to anywhere between six to eight hours on the normal difficulty and maybe eight to ten hours on the hardest difficulty setting.
The Original Ghostbusters Return
All the original cast reprise their roles for the game, sans Rick Moranis. It was quite a wash of nostalgia hearing Annie Potts as Jeanine again, and getting all the banter and jocular quips from Dr. Peter Venkman, voiced by the incomparable Bill Murray. Although you could tell that while Murray was enthused about some of the lines he delivered, he was also sleepwalking through others.
Akroyd was obviously the most ebullient about coming back to the franchise, followed by Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis. For the most part the game felt like a proper annexation to the live-action films, resting on the throne as a sort of pseudo Ghostbusters 3… despite having all the charm and just enough story leverage to warrant being called the real Ghostbusters 3.
Sadly, whatever new material comes out of the franchise will never come close to what Ghostbusters: The Video Game achieved, which managed to straddle the line between a proper sequel and a darn fantastic video game all its own.
Movie-Game Done Right
For those of you who grew up on movie games you’ll know that they’ve usually taken on a rather inimical reputation within the gaming community due to shoddy outings and poor quality control. During the early 1990s there were some pretty cool movie-based games such as True Lies and Disney’s Aladdin, but heading into the fifth generation of gaming also ushered in a plethora of poorly made schlock that was either forgettable or headache-inducing.
Thankfully, Ghostbusters: The Video Game is neither, although I can’t say the same for the unworthy follow-up and very clear cash-in known as Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime, but that’s another story for another article.
Terminal Velocity’s outing was built on the Infernal Engine and themed around physics-based third-person shooting. It’s quite unlike any other game that came out during that time and certainly a higher grade of game than every AAA game made this generation.
Destroy Cover Instead Of Hiding Behind It
The highlight is that instead of playing whack-a-mole with enemies by hiding behind conveniently placed cover and peppering your red-reticuled foes with projectile fire, you’re encouraged to destroy any and everything in your path to clear out the room to make it easier to blast and capture the ghosts.
The controls are mapped out to the face buttons and triggers like most other third-person shooters, with the right trigger handling the main fire and the left trigger dishing out secondary fire. You can throw the ghost traps with the ‘X’ button, or scan for clues and/or the whereabouts for hidden relics or pesky ghosts by using the ‘Y’ button, while the ‘B’ button allows you to sprint, jump and dodge.
I’m still a bit befuddled at the idea of having a jump button since there were no real platforming parts featured in the game.
Also, there is no HUD, so all context-sensitive material is handled with the scanner, whereas player-feedback is doled out through the proton pack on the nameless recruit’s back.
Terminal Velocity wisely followed in Visceral Games’ footsteps by removing any screen-space gauges or numbers, much like the Dead Space series, allowing players to focus more on what’s happening on the screen rather than what’s affecting moving dials or glowing bars on the edges of the monitor.
Health is handled by a red screen of death, much like Call of Duty. This is one of the rare times where it makes sense not to use health packs given that the ghosts’ main attacks are lobbing protoplasmic goo at you or flinging you around like a literal ragdoll, or tossing debris your way.
Unlike other third-person shooter games out there like Uncharted or Gears of War, your objective is not to hide behind a bunch of objects or debris, lest you get clobbered and killed by it. Instead the focus is on staying on the move, clearing out debris or path-blocking objects by firing at it until it disintegrates or breaks, and attempting to keep a clear target on the ghosts, much like the Ghostbusters movies and cartoon.
You’ll gain access to four different proton blaster types. Each one is useful for a different type of ghost. You can usually find out what a ghost’s weakness is by whipping out the scanner and attempting to scan it to add the bio to your database, which you can check at any time by tapping on the ‘Back’ button or by pressing ‘Start’.
Proton Pack Variety And Upgrades
The blaster types are unlocked as you progress through the game. There’s one that will slow down ghosts, which is useful for fast-moving specters or large enemies that take up a lot of the screen. There’s a slime cannon to clear out the infectious black slime as well as to close black slime portals, and there’s the meson collider, which is basically a rapid fire option that’s great for dispersing small ghosts or melee-based enemies.
Throughout majority of the game the player-character will be accompanied by at least one other Ghostbuster, and frequently all of the main Ghostbusters will be present to take down bosses.
It’s a shame because I always thought this game had a multiplayer mode but I guess it was removed. It plays out like it was intended to be a multiplayer game, though, since the other four Ghostbusters can all get incapacitated just like the player-character.
Co-op Sorely Missed
When any of the Ghostbusters fall they can be revived by running over to them and tapping ‘A’. If the player-character is incapacitated, then one of the surviving AI will have to run over and revive the player. If everyone is incapacitated you have to reload from the last checkpoint.
It might seem like the game should be easy having four or five people tackling ghosts at a time, but it’s really not.
Majority of the time ghosts can travel through walls and objects since they’re incorporeal, forcing you to have to chase after them or constantly watch your back for sneak attacks.
There’s also a common factor of the ghosts oftentimes flying about while some other ground based enemy is attacking you, so the more Ghostbusters around the better.
A lot of you are probably wondering how does the whole proton blasters work and how do you capture ghosts?
Well, ghosts have lifebars that appear around the reticule as a green circle. As you blast the ghosts the bar depletes and when it gets down to three or four bars you can wrangle the ghosts around and slam them into the ground. Slamming them stuns them, and once they’re stunned you can throw out the trap and guide them in using the proton stream.
How To Capture Ghosts
Usually the default proton stream is weak and takes a long time to whittle down a ghost’s life, so you can use the alternate fire mode to fire a stronger blast at the ghosts to take down more bars, or switch to the alternate blaster types to weaken the ghosts.
The downside to using more powerful streams or blasts is that it overheats the proton pack faster. Instead of having ammo that you have to reload you instead use the right bumper to exhaust the built up heat inside the proton. It looks pretty cool seeing the animations of the proton pack when it overheats and the heat coils pop out the back while smoke exhausts from the top.
It requires a fine balance of switching between the proper proton types and exhausting the pack in order to maintain a tactical advantage over enemies. Throughout the game as you capture ghosts you earn money you can use to upgrade your equipment, including stronger proton beams or reducing the capture time for ghosts.
If I did have a complaint about the controls it would be that I wish some of the alternate fire types could be handled by tapping the digital pad twice. For instance, the default proton stream has an alternate anchor mode where you can grab and slam or move things by holding down the right trigger on a target and then holding down the left bumper to move or slam the object. It gets a little cumbersome trying to use that feature during active combat, and it would have been easier to just switch to the anchor mode by simply tapping up on the digital pad again to alter the fire mode.
It’s a minor thing but I just thought that that particular feature was made to be needlessly more complicated than it should have been.
Otherwise, the game is quite engaging.
Most missions start with a simple cinematic and some dialogue from Ray or Egon setting up what you have to do. You don’t get any on-screen checklists or missions parameters or giant yellow arrows pointing you in the direction you have to go. You basically either follow the other Ghostbusters to your mission parameter or whip out the scanner and look for clues to find out what you have to do or where you have to go next.
Now I will admit that there were a few instances that left me scratching my head because without any on-screen text other than a brief heads-up about your task after reaching a checkpoint, you’re kind of left to your own devices.
In one segment you were supposed to drain the black slime from a sewer, but how you drained it was never explained, so you had to figure out that it required tethering the weights for the barricade to slots in the floor.
In another segment you had to break down a wall above an invulnerable fence protected by a paranormal force-field. I got stuck there for a while because I was constantly smashing the flying cherubs into the ground but then would quickly die. Egon keep yelling out “This looks like a good place to tether!” but I had no idea what he was talking about. Turns out you were supposed to tether the cherubs to the wall above the cursed gate and the cherubs would smash into the wall when they would attempt to charge at you, eventually breaking it and allowing the Ecto-1 to proceed through the graveyard.
Graphically, all the main characters are mirrored after their real-life counterparts and the game’s heavy focus on physically destructible environments mean that there are a lot of particles and geometrical entities flying all over the screen during ghostly encounters. It would have been really awesome if the game had featured physically based light rendering, but sadly it’s still a product of its time. Also, the graphics options on PC are completely sparse, lacking the ability to properly modify FOV, post-processing, anti-aliasing or anisotrophic filtering, which was a pretty big disappointment.
There’s definitely a level of intensity and tension that kicks up during the ghost encounters because sometimes it’s not as simple as you might be expecting.
I died a few times throughout the game simply because I underestimated the tactics of the ghost and had to revise my own game plan, which is a good thing.
I still think this was a missed opportunity to have a cool co-op experience where you play as the original Ghostbusters in a number of random missions throughout the available stages in the game.
Even still – despite the game not being very long – I really liked what they did with the gameplay loops and stage designs. You could tell Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis didn’t want to drag things out too much so the story only goes on for as long as it makes sense, and you could also tell Terminal Velocity had to cut the budget a bit by reusing the hotel stage for a second time, albeit in a completely different manner. I also wasn’t too fond of the sewer stage and the alternate dimension through the library where you had to go through the portals – those were typical chore-levels.
I do have to tip my hat to Terminal Velocity for including the Confederate flag in the Civil War exhibit during the museum stage. I do wonder if that was removed in the remastered edition?
Nevertheless, if you wanted to rekindle nostalgia and experience what a proper Ghostbusters 3 would have been like had it been made during an era where it wasn’t pozzed, Ghostbusters: The Video Game seems to be the perfect way to indulge the continuation of your childhood memories in a way that stays unmolested by the perversion of Hollywood ‘s elite.
If the multiplayer was still present this would have been a flatout amazing experience with tons of replayability, but even with just the single-player mode intact it’s certainly something you could pick up and play every once in a while for a decent throwback to before the franchise became perverted with feminism and regressive degeneracy known as “Progressivism”.