There’s Something Strange…

Reading is FUNdamental.

After a long hiatus, the Ghostbusters are once again making house calls. Technically, it’s not the heavily anticipated big screen sequel, but it has every ounce of character, whit, and uniqueness that the original two films had (yes, I like both of them). Ghostbusters The Videogame comes after a long battle in development hell, after Activision foolishly dropped the game to cut costs. Atari took the publishing reins and, for the first time since Pac-Man, is finally capable of releasing a game that’s good. Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and others lend their voices and likenesses to the game…and they are no slackers in their voice acting (not like the sleepy Tobey Maguire in any Spider-Man movie game). So you know the game is good, but is it worth a purchase to relive some 80’s memories?

Look inside to find out how the Xbox 360 version turned out.

Ghostbusters The Videogame for Xbox 360 is a game that doesn’t hold back on it’s presentation and nostalgia. The Ghostbusters song by Ray Park Jr. is accounted for as are all the familiar tunes. Bill Murray is at his sarcastic best, even though he talks really low at times. You can run around all your familiar locations from the movies, the firehouse base of operations, the Sedgewick Hotel and the library. Money was put into this game, and it shows. Two years after the events of Ghostbusters II, a ghostly anomaly is released from the museum, with the frequently reappearing Ilyssa Selwyn seemingly tied to it all. All sorts of craziness consumes the city, as the ghosts run rampant across the city (which is very empty in this game). The team recruit a new rookie (you) to help them capture many of their returning enemies (Slimer, Stay Puft, Gray Lady). The graphics are crisp, the characters resemble their real life younger counterparts, and the story is interesting enough to keep you around.

Kill 'em till they're dead!

It seems like the perfect marriage between a movie license and a videogame. It doesn’t cut corners on game length like Terminator Salvation, or have the stiff gameplay of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. So what is wrong with this blast from the past? It can be boring in long doses. While the game does its best to diversify the gameplay, the gist of the game doesn’t change: find ‘em, grab ‘em, can ‘em. You can upgrade your equipment over the course of the game (which is a necessity) and you learn different ways of zapping the ghosts/slime. Unfortunately, the long levels and repeat enemies just bring about a level of monotony that can only be solved by playing in short stints. Even further bothersome, the difficulty level varies. The streets of New York can be insane in difficulty, the following level in Times Square is easy, the musem levels vary in irritation level, etc. The long load times don’t help matter either. Adding to the irritation level, the repeated lines by your fellow Ghostbusters will overlap to a nauseating degree (“Don’t cross beams!”). And that leads to another problem: your teams artificially help you. They are zapping the ghosts, screaming orders at each other…but in the long run they are not doing a bit of damage or any of the heavy lifting themselves. Even Terminator Salvation had teammates that actually helped.

Never trust a guy in a jumpsuit with an EKG meter.
Never trust a guy in a jumpsuit with an EKG meter.

Want to play co-op with a roomate or bud? You can’t, at least on the same console. While there are a decent amount of multiplayer modes to keep you busy, you must have Xbox Live in order to access them.

For the first time in its underutilized lifetime, the Wii version is reportedly better…as the levels are shorter, the gameplay is more engaging, and co-op is done without online (but no online is included at all).

This is still worth a buy for everyone who loved the films and still can’t get enough of them when they repeat on AMC. For those that find Ghostbusters to be a snore, like my wife, you’re best staying away.

My rating: 7.8 out of 10

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