When Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis wrote the script for the original 1984 Ghostbusters movie, they weren’t quite sure how it would be received. As it turned out, moviegoers loved it and, for a short while, Ghostbusters and everything about it became something of a phenomenon. It’s been a long time since then, but the Ghostbusters franchise managed to live on in its cult following.
After the initial sense of elation among Ghostbusters fans once they heard that yes, a game is coming, that niggling sense of dread and doubt began to creep in. You know? “God, I hope it doesn’t suck…” Well, I’ve just spent the last week playing the game and, as both a gamer and a Ghostbusters follower, I can tell you that it’s actually pretty damn good. The premise is quite simple: it’s been a few years since the events in the second film, and you are a nameless rookie joining the Ghostbusters team for the first time. It’s also refreshing to see that they’ve kept the spirit of the Ghostbusters intact by not making you some hot, young pretty-boy. In fact, the character you play is actually quite comical-looking. He doesn’t talk at all, but his comedic facial expressions betray his every shocked emotion.
At the start of the game, you are eased into the action by a tutorial. Slimer has escaped, and since he’s not all that dangerous, Ray thinks it’s an ideal case for you to warm up with. You are taught the basics of using your proton pack to drain a ghost’s PK energy (its life source) which slows and weakens it, allowing you to drag them over your trap. Just like the movies, the trap projects a cone-like entrapment field, and once you drag the ghost over this cone, you can be damn sure they’ll struggle to get out. You have to fight to keep them in there until they are sucked down into the trap’s containment field. If a ghost is really putting up a fight, you can slam them into walls, the floor, or anything solid, to daze them before dragging them over to the trap – they’ll struggle less that way. After that, you are booted straight into the action, and there’s plenty of it to be had all the way to the end. Along the way, you’ll also encounter ghosts that have to be dispatched by methods other than simple trapping. If you can get online, you can have tons of fun blasting and trapping ghosts with friends to see who can score the most cash. It’s rather limited, but it does have a great sense of teamwork behind it.
It’s nice to be able to use the classic Ghostbusters’ proton packs and traps to dispatch ghosts, but if that were all the game included, it would get boring pretty quickly, right? Right. [Right – Ed.] Luckily, as you progress through the game, Egon constantly invents new toys for you to play with, including a Stasis Beam, which slows down fast moving spirits, and an Ectoplasm ray, which allows you to use the same drippy goo that ghosts leave behind against them. You also have access to a PKE meter, that iconic tool that Egon always uses to track down supernatural phenomena. It works just like in the movies too: when the antennae are fully raised, you’re right in front of something otherworldly. The colour depicted on the screen indicates what your PKE meter is picking up: red for a hidden ghost, green for some kind of spectral anomaly, and blue for a cursed artifact.