DescriptionBased 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.
- "S.O.S. Fantômes" -- French title
- "Cazafantasmas" -- Spanish Spectrum reissue title
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DevelopmentFrom 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.
LicenseLike the cartoon based on the movies, Activision was not allowed to use the likeness of the actors that performed in the movie.
MusicThe game title music and speech based on the original theme music from the movie written by Ray Parker Jr.
NES versionThe 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.
SalesAccording to the magazine Retro Gamer (issue #1), the game was Mastertronic's #2 best selling game (412.922 copies).
Winston ZeddmoreInterestingly, 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.
ZX Spectrum versions
- 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.
- 128K version
- Two years after the 48K release an enhanced version of the game appeared. The only new addition was a funky AY version of Ray Parker Junior's theme song.
- Happy Computer
- Issue 02/1986 - #4 Best Game in 1985 (Readers' Vote)
- Issue 01/1985 - #6 It's the Zzap! 64 Top 64!
Related Web Sites
- Computer Chronicles (David Crane presents the C64 version on the TV show Computer Chronicles in January 1985. (Youtube))
- Internet Archive (for ZX Spectrum: downloadable release; additional material; online emulation of game)
- 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.)
- Lemon, a C64 game database (for C64: games, reviews and music)
- MSX Generation, a MSX game catalogue (for MSX: catalogue; cover art; additional material)
- Retro Remakes 2006 Competition (A complete windows remake of Ghostbusters was one of the entries.)
- Sega8bit, a Master System fan site (for SEGA Master System: artwork; releases; additional material)
- World of Spectrum (for ZX Spectrum: additional material; player reviews; magazine references; magazine adverts)