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Ghostbusters (Atari 2600)

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Description

Based on the 1984 film of the same name, the Ghostbusters are the ones to call to "bust" any ghost hauntings. They do this through the use of nuclear-accelerated "proton packs" and "ghost traps", whereby the ghosts can be captured and transferred to a secure storage facility at their Headquarters. However New York City has suddenly become a very haunted place, and the number of ghosts has suddenly and dramatically increased. The Ghostbusters must reduce the paranormal psychokinetic energy, the "PK level" in the city, which represents ghost power, before the Temple of Zuul awakens and resurrects an evil goddess called Gozer.

Ghostbusters is an action game that features an overhead-view and a side-view. From Ghostbusters HQ, the player must monitor a map of midtown Manhattan for "ghost alarms", as well as for casual, roaming spirits, and plot a route to the alarmed area. Once the route is plotted, the player then controls the purchased Ghostmobile as it drives through traffic. Here, the player is able to capture casual ghosts on the way if they are en route. When the haunted location is reached, the game switches to a side-view. Two of the Ghostbusters will take position, activate their proton beams, and toss a trap to the ground. The player must then use the two Ghostbusters to attempt to lead the ghost(s) over the placed trap. Once activated, the trap springs to capture any ghosts directly above it. A successful capture will earn the player money, which can then be used to purchase new Ghostbusters vehicles and new modifications for it. An unsuccessful capture will see the ghost fly away (after nastily sliming one of the Ghostbusters).

As the game progresses, the PK energy in the city increases. The Ghostbusters must keep it under critical levels by being constantly successful at busting ghosts. Eventually the Temple of Zuul will activate, and if the PK levels are still manageable, the Ghostbusters can venture there for a final showdown with Gozer.

Screenshots

Ghostbusters Atari 2600 Trying to catch a ghost
Ghostbusters Atari 2600 A ghost is caught!
Ghostbusters Atari 2600 Uh oh, the stay puffed marshmellow man!!
Ghostbusters Atari 2600 Purchase ghost busting equipment

Alternate Titles

  • "S.O.S. Fantômes" -- French title
  • "Cazafantasmas" -- Spanish Spectrum reissue title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There are no reviews for the Atari 2600 release of this game. You can use the links below to write your own review or read reviews for the other platforms of this game.


The Press Says

Digital Press - Classic Video Games Oct 31, 2004 8 out of 10 80
The Video Game Critic Dec 17, 2000 D 25

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Trivia

Development

From Brad Fregger, Producer of Ghostbusters:

The game developers at Activision would often take the afternoon off to see a new movie that was exciting to us. One day we all decided to see Ghostbusters on the opening day. After the movie David Crane (Pitfall and Pitfall II) announced that he was going to do the game. As a founder of Activision, he had the power to get the wheels in motion and within a week we we're beginning development.
Crane had already been working on what would become the game, and made a beta version with the driving and franchising elements, but it wasn't until getting the Ghostbusters license that he had a setting for those game elements. The title screen sing-a-long feature of the computer version was not added until the week before the game was finished.

License

Like the cartoon based on the movies, Activision was not allowed to use the likeness of the actors that performed in the movie.

Music

The game title music and speech based on the original theme music from the movie written by Ray Parker Jr.

NES version

The NES version of the game differs in a few ways from its computer counterparts. First, the driving sequences feature a "zoomed out" perspective, meaning that the Ghostbusters car is smaller on the screen and that there is more road to manuver over. Also, gone is the ability to purchase different vehicles (which was in all versions of the game). By contrast, there are more items to buy and equip from the shop than other versions. Finally, the NES version features a unique Temple of Zuul sequence at the end of the game where the Ghostbusters must slowly climb the stairwell of the building to the rooftop, avoiding the touch of enemy ghosts that fly around.

Sales

According to the magazine Retro Gamer (issue #1), the game was Mastertronic's #2 best selling game (412.922 copies).

Winston Zeddmore

Interestingly, the game does not portray, or even reference, Winston Zeddmore – Ernie Hudson's character in the film, and the sole black Ghostbuster. He does later appear in the game version of Ghostbusters II.

Spectrum first version

In the rush for a pre-Christmas release, the Spectrum version did not work with the popular Kempston joystick interface. Even worse, the game crashed on selecting this joystick add-on. According to ACE (issue #15), thousands of copies had to be replaced with a working version.

Awards

  • Happy Computer
    • Issue 02/1986 - #4 Best Game in 1985 (Readers' Vote)
  • Zzap!
    • Issue 01/1985 - #6 It's the Zzap! 64 Top 64!
Information also contributed by BurningStickMan, Garcia, Scott Monster and WildKard

Related Web Sites

  • Computer Chronicles (David Crane presents the C64 version on the TV show Computer Chronicles in January 1985. (Youtube))
  • Legends of the C64 (Dedicated to legendary pioneering companies and programmers, includes an original article with additional reproduced articles from classic gaming magazines - featuring David Crane and Ghostbusters.)
  • Retro Remakes 2006 Competition (A complete windows remake of Ghostbusters was one of the entries.)
Servo (55922) added Ghostbusters (Atari 2600) on Apr 18, 2003
Other platforms contributed by Old man gamer (302), PCGamer77 (3027), Martin Smith (63164), Terok Nor (18488), Servo (55922), Игги Друге (43652) and *Katakis* (37818)