Although officially Ghostbusters: The Video Game is to serve as a 3rd virtual movie for the franchise, it is largely an expansion and revisiting of the previous 2 films peppered with new backstory and dialogue. Which is not a bad thing, because personally, I would have been pissed if Stay Puft and Vigo had not been represented in the game. And For the most part developer Terminal Reality and publisher Atari get it right largely because of their persistence to have the project piloted by the previous episodes and the original cast. Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis it features ALL the original voices including Ernie Hudson and yes, the legendary Bill Murray. (On a side note, I want to personally thank Mr. Murray for his contribution).
First the bad news. In the single player campaign there is NO co-op mode. This is a huge omission as after seeing the the game in various phases of development at trade shows for the last 2 years, fans were adamant that this be included. We wanted our friends to share in the experience as their favorite respected ghostbuster wrangled the paranormal pandemonium. And while you can team up with your friends in multiplayer, it would have been an exceptional experience in the single player campaign. Amen. Now, for the copious good stuff. Although you play as the "rookie" new recruit, the game makes you feel as though you are a real part of the team. This game, unlike many licensed titles, does not feel like it was ported and molded to fit into an existing platform. While many developers would have chosen to build on an existing engine (ie. The Unreal Engine) Terminal Reality chose the bold move to develop a new one they call the Infernal Engine. This really allowed the team to get the physics, particle effects and lighting needed to truly capture the ghostbusting experience.
Trapping ghosts is fun! You can analyze them, discover their weakness, and either blast or wrangle them with your proton stream into a trap. It's just like the movies! Your destroy objects around you, upgrade your Proton Pack and PKE Meter abilities, set traps and recover them. Evening having to vent the overheated pack in the middle of the mayhem contributes to the immersive quality of the game. It is very apparent from the first minutes these guys and gals love the property they are re-creating. My only complaint is that the level design is extremely linear. You trot from point A to point B, save game and repeat. When you get to a big open space, brace yourself for a ghost battle. The design just sucker punches any real surprises you might expect from your supernatural foes.
The biggest surprise in this title is that multiplayer is not just an afterthought tacked on at the last minute. Teaming up with your friends and blasting away the afterlife for cash and upgrades only highlights how great this game could have been had they included this feature in the single player mode.
Hope you like Ray Parker Jr.'s original theme song. Actually, you only hear this during the load screens as the soundtrack to the original movie plays throughout most of the game. It creates a great background and lends itself nicely to the games spookiness. A little repetitive at times but most people will hardly notice.
The rendering here is beautiful, unlike the Wii version that chose the cartoon styling, everything from the character likeness and their movements to the Proton Packs and the Ecto 1 are faithfully recreated. I could watch the proton stream bursts for hours.
Overall Value: 8
If you ever wanted a Proton Pack or Ghostbuster Flight Suit, this is your game. Go buy it now. Even if you just liked the movies there is enough variety and (gasp) ENTERTAINMENT (We sometimes forget that in the gaming world) to warrant a buy here. Fans will enjoy and appreciate the care given to the franchise and new players can expect to be thoroughly entertained (there's that word again) for hours.