As a child growing up in the 1980’s, Ghostbusters was an unstoppable force of awesome. More so than other entertainment properties of the time, the paranormal adventures of Venkman, Stantz, Spengler and Zeddemore still hold a special place in the hearts of many. This June, the boys will be back in Ghostbusters: The Video Game and I went hands-on with the Xbox 360 version of this highly anticipated title at NY Comic Con to see how it was turning out.
Ghostbusters: TVG takes place two years after the events of the second film as Manhattan is once again overtaken by supernatural activity. You join the team as a new recruit hoping to help capture a gaggle of ghouls that are terrorizing citizens. In addition to the four original Busters, most of the film’s supporting characters will also be showing up here, from Janine the receptionist to the eternally aggravating Walter Peck. You will also encounter some familiar poltergeists, such as Slimer and Vigo, as well as tackle several all new threats.
The demo had the Ghostbusters scaling a skyscraper as the dreaded Stay Puft Marshmellow Man lumbered around outside. The level design seemed fairly standard for awhile, with room after room packed with spirits for you to slay. In several instances, Stay Puft busted his head through the side of the building, eliciting squeals of joy from the crowd and several panicked blasts of Proton from my character. If the developers at Terminal Reality infused enough of these “OMG!” moments into the rest of the game, it should be a treat to play.
The game’s camera and controls feel very similar to Gears of War. Your perspective is pitched over the rookie’s shoulder as the other Ghostbusters stand by your side. You can use your PKE Meter to check out nearby paranormal activity, which acts as a radar for the hidden ghouls. Once you are able to draw them out, you power-up your Proton Pack and blast away at the fleeing phantasm. The control of the beam feels authentically untamed, ensuring that you will struggle with the unlicensed nuclear accelerator just as much as the characters did in the films. To soften him up a bit, you are advised to slam him into a few walls and floors, making the creature a bit more manageable before his journey to the other side. Once you and your team have successfully grappled the apparition, you have to lead him over to a newly deployed trap to send the monster to his electrical coffin.
Graphically, the game looks solid enough. The visuals won’t drop any jaws, but the style captures the gritty NYC look that the films embodied very well and the character models do a solid job of representing the actors. One nice visual touch that I noticed was in the Proton beams, as they left burn marks on walls and floors that were hit by them and sent background debris flying through the air.
While hard to hear over the din of the New York Javitz Center, the voices of Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd sent giddy chills down my spine. I noticed the audible excitement from both of these actors as they resumed their iconic roles, and the new banter written for the game seemed to be just as witty as the interplay from the films. Sadly, I didn’t get to see Pete Venkman during the demo, but I was assured that the sarcastic Bill Murray-voiced scientist would be back in full-force.
With so much anticipation leading into this title, it seems like Ghostbusters: The Video Game should be able to provide exactly what loyalists have always wanted. The gameplay is simplistic yet fun and the characters look and act exactly the same as you remember them. The gameplay is no slouch either, as the developers have seemingly delivered an authentic ghost bustin’ experience.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game ships on June 16th for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, with a more cartoony version coming to the Wii, PS2, and Nintendo DS at the same time.