Ghostbusters the Video Game (2009)

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People have been asking me to check out the continuation of the Ghostbusters franchise for a while… so here it is!

In all seriousness, all of the attention the franchise has gotten recently has encouraged me to dig up Atari’s 2009 release for all major consoles and PC.  At the time, it was quite well received.  In fact, Dan Aykroyd himself said that this is basically the “Third Movie” that fans had been waiting for.  In those 7 years since then, this leaves quite a few questions.  Has it aged well?  Was it as awesome as we remembered?  Did we get the 3rd movie we wanted or were we clouded by nostalgia?  Let’s crack open the Terminal Reality version (for PC, in my case) and crack down on some paranormal activity!  More after the jump.

Author’s Note: Pardon the lateness.  When a tree slams on your house due to a storm, that takes a little bit of precedence over writing, which sucks.  In fact, malevolent ghosts could have been behind it, for all we know.  After all, they say my town is haunted… or at least the large historic hotel is!

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Both a poorly made pun and a reference to the cartoon!

To address the demonic spectral elephant in the room, I didn’t hate the 2016 movie.  It has garnered far too much attention and controversy for its own good.  Because of whiners on multiple sides, tons of people have prattled about the film many months before it came out.  The drama itself turned me away from the movie and for a while became a quality source of entertainment.  Granted, when you’re offered a free movie on a hot day with some free popcorn to spare, who would turn that down?  But, let’s talk the film itself.  Was it a good movie?  Not really, it was mediocre more than anything.  It had enough humorous moments to make it worth my time, at least as far as popcorn movies go.  In terms of performance, Wiig and Hemsworth were truly solid while everyone else was so-so.  Also it’s cool to see female characters actively in the STEM world, so that’s a minor plus.  The effects and designs were basically Haunted Mansion starring Eddy Murphy, ‘nough said.  Most of the jokes felt like throw aways or cheap pandering, especially to the Generation Y 20/30-something crowd (which I’ll admit to belonging to.)  That said, some of the gags were genuinely entertaining.  It was still a fun film, but a forgettable one all the same.  So there you have it, that’s my super short review of Ghostbusters 2016.  It’s a 6/10 for me.  Hopefully that will satisfy some of you while I jump to the focus of this entry, the 2009 Atari video game.

For starters, there’s a split in how the game was created.  That’s not even addressing the initial split in the fanbase concerns that fans had prior to the game’s release.  In short, a bad track record on movie games lead to a lot of skepticism regarding this game’s future and quality.  Luckily for me, I managed to dodge this period of uncertainty by being distracted by other games.  But I digress, I’m speaking about the split in how it was ported to consoles.  With graphically inferior hardware compared to other ports, the PS 2 and Wii versions had no way of handling what many consider the “true version of the game.”    For owners of a XBox 360 or PS3, it retained a semi realistic aesthetic.  If you had a PS2 or Wii, it was shifted to a more cartoony aesthetic that brings to mind The Real Ghostbusters show.  Usually, the cartoony style ages better compared to what was at the time more realistic.  In this instance, I’m in favor of the more realistic design.  The latter seems to convey a style I’ve found in binging tons of eye gouging shovelware.  While I find it pretty ugly, I wouldn’t say it has aged too horribly.  With the PS3 version in tow, let’s dive deeper into the realms of the supernatural.

Ghostbusters the Video Game takes place in 1991, two years after the 2nd film.  The gang reunites with the help of their newest recruit, you!  When ghostly energies start building up at a nearby museum, it’s up to you to help leap into action with the classic team.  Acting as the third film in the franchise, as we’ve been told many times, the team must cruise through the boroughs of NY in their Ecto 1 and blast through waves of ghostly horrors.  Set in 3rd Person perspective, you see yourself interacting with the team in ways that feel right at home in the franchise.  Truly, when you first jump in, it’s a magical experience to behold.  As the rookie recruit to the team, you don’t talk too much and you aren’t given more attention than just “rookie.”  But if the game didn’t have a silent playable character, it would take away from the delightful dialogue between the main cast members.  Between goofy lines, awesome one liners and lovable techno-babble; the interactions of the characters make for one of the best parts of the game by itself.

As far as gameplay goes, it’s a pretty simple third person shooter set up.  Your proton-pack gives you all the information you need in terms of survival.  By monitoring the pack, you’ll see how bad things get for you.  In addition, your screen tints red as you take more damage at a given time.  In addition, your pack gives options for weapon and inventory management, allowing you to play with a variety of attack modes against enemies.  From the classic explosive burst to zapping electricity, every player is bound to find when works best to their methods of play.  And while you’re facing down classics like the evil library and Stay Puft, you face all sorts of new foes like creepy undead hobos and infernal creatures from the abyss.  Not to mention, there’s a collecting element to the game too, thanks to the various ghostly creatures afoot.  With over 50 varieties to find, there’s plenty to catalogue and understand.  Speaking of variety, the environments bring tons of ghost busting fun in their own right.  While not a sandbox, the firehouse headquarters by itself provides plenty for the player to explore and tons more ways of messing around.  You can screw with your team mates in ways both large and small. If you’re not feeling that, you can find all sorts of activities around the HQ itself.  When you’re out and about, the environments themselves are far from dull.  From eerie graveyards and nightmarish childrens’ rooms (because kids are always scary) to bright streets and the halls of the Sedgewick; the game always gives you something appealing to look at in one way or another.  Or at least, if it’s horribly gross, you’re still intrigued and wanna see more.

While the game plays out as pure sequel bliss, the game itself just feels pretty short.  The moment you feel like this was the Ghostbusters 3 you’ve been waiting for, you’re at the end of the game.  Also, the game slows down at random intervals due to the characters or from the game suddenly becoming challenging out of no where.  This is do to depending on the other characters to move things forward, as well as seemingly difficult enemies spawning and slamming you unexpectedly.  Also, some new music would have been nice too.  However, these are things I’ve been more than willing to overlook, as an otherwise authentic experience was provided for me.  I was immersed in a Ghostbusters experience I’ve never gotten before and will probably never get again… especially since the new game’s company fell into bankruptcy just a couple of days after its release.  Talk about an absolute embarrassment, eh?

All in all, it’s a great continuation of the classic series.  It was a great chance for the guys to return one last time for something big, after all!  It gave you a chance to truly live the experience, as if you were in the movie!  (Or as well as the developers could do, at least.)  It’s not without its hiccups, but what game doesn’t have tons of flaws?  All in all, it provided for ample amounts of nostalgia and an experience I certainly want to come back to at some point in the near future.  It’s all the more reason I’m disappointed that the new film didn’t have more connections to continuity or means of continuing the story.  Even if the film turned out as so-so as it did, seeing that extra mile would have really put a smile on my face… much like this video game did.  As a whole, Ghostbusters the Video Game gets 7.5 Spooky Ghosties out of 10!

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