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.
Like the cartoon based on the movies, Activision was not allowed to use the likeness of the actors that performed in the movie.
The game title music and speech based on the original theme music from the movie written by Ray Parker Jr.
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.
According to the magazine Retro Gamer (issue #1), the game was Mastertronic's #2 best selling game (412.922 copies).
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.
Information also contributed by
Scott Monster and
- Happy Computer
- Issue 02/1986 - #4 Best Game in 1985 (Readers' Vote)
- Issue 01/1985 - #6 It's the Zzap! 64 Top 64!