Ghostbusters: The Video Game

aka: Ghostbusters 3, Los Cazafantasmas: El Videojuego, S.O.S. Fantômes: Le Jeu Vidéo
Moby ID: 41225
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Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Have you experienced feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or any of your family ever seen a spook, specter or ghost? If the answer is yes then don't wait another minute, pick up the phone and call the professionals...GHOSTBUSTERS!!! Ghostbusters: The Video Game is the first game in almost 20 years based on the Ghostbusters universe and features the actual voices of the original cast: Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz), Harold Ramis (Egon Spengler) and Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore), as well as Annie Potts, who reprises her role as Janine Melnitz, and William Atherton, reprising his role as Walter Peck, the team's nemesis from the first film. It also features the soundtrack from the first two films, as composed by the late Elmer Bernstein.

The story (written by Aykroyd and Ramis) takes place in 1991, two years after the Ghostbusters vanquished Vigo and prevented him from taking over the world. Since then, the Ghostbusters have been overrun by the increasing number of spirits appearing in the city and has decided to add a fifth member to the team. This is where the player will step in, taking the place of the nameless "new cadet" of the Ghostbusters, hired to test Egon's new experimental equipment.

Just as the "new cadet" is being initiated into the Ghostbusters, all hell breaks loose in the city as a massive amount of spirit energy has threatened to tear New York apart and it is up to the player along with his new employers to stop a familiar menace. The player will follow the Ghostbusters as they travel through familiar locales and fight familiar enemies including Slimer and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man using authentic equipment including the famous proton pack and spirit traps to catch the many ghosts swarming throughout the stages. To do so the player must use the proton beam to wear down the ghost and once it gets weak enough, the beam will automatically latch onto the spirit and the player must set out a trap and guide the ghost towards it and keep it from escaping.

There is also new equipment to be used that can be unlocked during later levels as well as being able to upgrade equipped items by acquiring money for catching and destroying ghosts (however money is also deducted for the amount of destruction the player causes on each level). The player can also use the P.K.E. meter to track spirits, as well as scan various objects, ghosts and residue left behind to fill in the Tobin Spirit Guide. The slime cannon from the second film is also present which is used to free possessed people, allowing the player to safely catch ghosts without harming the person.

The story is told through both pre-rendered and in-game cutscenes and differs from its Wii and PS2 iterations which features more of a cartoonish look and feel to the overall game. There are also online multiplayer modes that allow players to meet up with friends online and team up.

Spellings

  • 魔鬼剋星 - Taiwan spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

437 People (383 developers, 54 thanks) · View all

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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 77% (based on 109 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 46 ratings with 4 reviews)

That's a big Twinkie.

The Good
Before I begin the review, I have to admit that I am a little biased...OK...very biased towards Ghostbusters. I have both the movies on VHS and DVD, The Real Ghostbusters on VHS and even old toys including the proton pack and Slimer that shoots out a ball of slime. Even though I am biased, it still doesn't prevent me from being objective towards this game, after all being a true fan means criticizing if you have too. That said, there are some flaws to this game but before I get into that let me start out with the positives.

To begin I love the story that the game presents and follows the two previous movies faithfully, after all the script was written by Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis and who knows about the Ghostbusters than the actual Ghostbusters themselves. The characters are all back (except for Dana Barrett and Louis Tulley) and even some familiar enemies like Slimer and Stay Puft, including classic locations like the hotel from the first movie and the New York Public Library. Not only does it have the original cast, but the soundtrack returns also with the classic Ghostbusters song and even the proton streams sound authentic.

The graphics are top notch during the game with the ability to destroy countless objects or leave your mark with your weapon (it's especially fun in the first hotel level when you go after Slimer and you get to tear up the banquet hall again). The pre-rendered cutscenes are absolutely gorgeous and even flawless with perfect lip synching which even during this next-gen era can be hard to find sometimes. The P.K.E. meter is also used and is an integral part of the game as you scan for hidden spirits and cursed artifacts, scanning spirits will add them to the Tobin's spirit guide which gives you a detailed account for each creature and gives you invaluable information on how to bring them down. Not only does scanning spirits and collecting artifacts add to the guide, you also get money for scanning which is very useful for upgrading your weapons.

And speaking of weapons, there are a new bevy of weapons this time around and you don't always have to rely on your proton stream. Boson Darts will be the first new weapon you can unlock which is essentially a proton shotgun in a sense, after that you get the shock blast which is essentially a more powerful version of boson darts, but you can also use a statis stream with this upgrade which effectively "freezes" spirits and creatures. The slime blower from the second movie comes back that can not only free possessed victims, but is also used to close up slime portals that can spawn smaller creatures. A slime tether is also present that is essentially used mainly for the puzzle elements of the game such as moving items around, but can also used to tether ghosts together or slow them down if you start to get overwhelmed. Finally, there is the Meson Collider which acts as a bazooka and is the most powerful weapon in the game, but there is also a neat little feature to this. When you fire your primary fire version, it will effectively mark the spirit it touches and you can use the secondary fire as a homing missile of sorts to find its target even if it is hidden out of sight. Oh and of course the classic ghost traps are present (which can also be upgradable as well) essential to catch spirits throughout the game which never gets boring, kinda like fishing except with ghosts and concentrated nuclear energy.

The game also has a nostalgic feel to it including characters, locales and the such but you can also explore the firehouse in between levels which looks like the real thing including the pole you can ride down, the Ecto-1 and even the containment unit (which looks like the Real Ghostbusters version now). There are even items from the previous movies including the dancing toaster from the second movie and the painting of Vigo (which I will get to in a little bit). This game overloads you with the nostalgic factor and non-fans or casual fans may not get some of the dialogue or tidbits scattered throughout the game, but for long time fans they will love it.

One nice feature that I love is the countless checkpoints that you can access through the "replay mission" option in the career menu. This is very helpful especially if you miss out on certain cursed artifacts or didn't scan a ghost completely, you can just simply go to the checkpoint menu, pick the certain area you want to and TADA you start at that certain part of the stage without having to go through the whole level over again.

One last thing I have to say about this game is that it can be a bit freaky and spooky at times. Now when you think of Ghostbusters you think of comedy, but this game constantly gave me the heebie geebies in the later levels. When it first starts out it's not that scary at all, but once you get to the library the creepy factor ups to about 9 especially when you get farther down into the bowels of the building. In one instance I was with Ray and walking down a hall as I turned a corner and noticed a stuffed bear sitting in the floor that lifted up and floated into another room with the laughter of a little kid in tow. When I first saw this I was a little freaked, my first thought being "Oh come on game, don't do this" and lo and behold as I walked into the room, it is a dark and creepy children's library covered in black slime with the anguish crying of countless little kids echoing in my speaker. Needless to say I wasn't long turning the game off, even I have to admit that is a little much and it gets worse in later levels especially in a graveyard where you have to go it alone for a little bit. There is also a scary moment I had in the return to the hotel later in the game as it is dark inside and while I was scanning around with the P.K.E. meter I turned only to have a dark shadow staring right back. I just about had a stroke and it didn't help that the music at the moment had the dramatic twinge to it. Plus in the dark areas that you can view it through the goggles when you equip the P.K.E. and you get this eerie night vision-like glow, until you switch back to the third-person view and all you have to see is the flashlight attacked to your suit, giving it this vibe of Silent Hill. Hell, I've played my share of horror games and they didn't freak me out, but I have to admit, this is the first game I've ever played that really gave me the shivers and that is saying something.

The Bad
Well, there are some flaws to this game, some minor but also major, that really do hurt the overall gameplay at times. While I do like the pre-rendered cutscenes, the in-game cutscenes using the game engine suck horribly. The graphics are a little pixelated at times and the lip synching is far off, almost reminding me of the old Godzilla movies back in the day and even times where I think there was supposed to be some speech, but someone forgot to record it. And I do love the acting, especially Akroyd and Hudson who doesn't miss a beat and get right into character. Harold Ramis is a different story, but it can't be helped, the problem I have with his voicing is that it doesn't have the deep baratone sound to it anymore, but considering it has been almost 20 years since the last movie, old age has affected him so it really doesn't bother me that much. The one that does though is Bill Murray, he just doesn't seem like he is into it kinda like he showed up and wanted to get finished so he could get paid and leave. There is no energy to his acting and seems very laxed, very un-Venkman like, almost at times sound more like Garfield than Peter Venkman. It's sad that he phoned it in for this considering that he was one of the reasons I wanted to play the game, thankfully however the rest of the game more than makes up for it.

The A.I. can be a bit idiotic at times, getting in your way and yelling at you to stop shooting them even though it is their stupidity that they stepped in the line of fire. Once I even had Ray get his streams crossed with mine while trying to catch a ghost, the problem is I was standing completely still and he is the one that initiated it and he basically blamed me for it. It gets annoying at times, but nothing that can't be overcome. There is also no offline co-op which is a huge flaw considering this game would have been perfect for five friends, they could have at least had a two player co-op but there is nothing at all which is sad considering they let something potentially fun slip right through.

There is no saving icon that indicates when it is safe to stop playing a certain time during a level, half the time I'm afraid to quit and wait until I get to the firehouse before I quit. It's very annoying, you think something like that it would have been a basic feature. Vigo also makes an appearance in this game, but for all the wrong reasons. I was hoping he would be involved in the story, but he is relegated to being trapped in his painting sitting in the firehouse where you can interact with him and have him taunt you. There is two problems with this, one is that it doesn't have the original Vigo voice and two is that technically he shouldn't be back since he was destroyed and the painting was turned into the portrait of the Ghostbusters at the end of the second film. It didn't catch on at first, but when I realized it I was a bit perturbed. Another thing that really pissed me off is that there is two arcade machines on the second floor of the firehouse, one of which looks like a generic Galaga and the other actually being Qbert. When I saw it I was excited and hit the interact button, hoping to play a few rounds of Qbert and it turns out that the "rookie" character plays with it a few seconds and stops, never leaving the main screen. What a gip! At least Atari could have put that in, it's almost like they are messing with people.

The game is also glitchy at times and not the funny glitches like you seen in GTA, more like game stopping and file erasing glitches. I have heard of people experiencing freezing issues at certain points of the game, but it only seems like it is on certain systems. Luckily I haven't experienced that, but I have noticed a bit of lag at times, but nothing concerning, however I have lost my save file and had to restart the game. It is unclear as of now what causes these file erases and it seems like the majority players have had this issue at one point in time, but some think it could be a glitch with the multiplayer option. And speaking of multiplayer, it is especially glitchy. The server has crashed at times, causing me to loose hard earned points and money and not getting credit for any of it and there is a weird error that informs the player of "wrong map". It seems that the North American and European market share the same servers, but each has there own variations of maps that keeps one from interacting with other countries host. They could have at least have something that could inform people of which host is from instead of wasting time in waiting for a full room only to be kicked out because of a regional issue.

Finally, there is one major flaw to this game, the lack of any customization of the "rookie" in this game. When I first heard that you could be the fifth Ghostbuster, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Excited I was ready to put my name on the suit and try to get the guy to look as close as I could, only to find out that you can't customize him in any way shape or form. This is a huge letdown and what gets me they could have had some semblance of a character creator, I mean after all the game never names the guy and he never speaks. I could have dealt with that, but what is the point of having a nameless and mute character that they call rook, scooter, youngblood, etc. if you can personalize him. To me this was a major letdown and actually had me rethinking of whether it was a good idea or not to have bought the game. Thankfully, the game made up for it, but not my much, hopefully if there is another sequel later on that Atari and Terminal Reality will learn this lesson and implement it.

The Bottom Line
In the end the game is certainly a good game, nothing great and yet not average. The great graphics, gorgeous pre-rendered cutscenes, nostalgic feel, actual voice actors and witty dialogue really helped it, but the in-game cutscenes, glitchy problems, no co-op and no character creation really hurt the value of the game and actually kept it from being great. Hopefully Atari will get some patches together to fix the glitches, but it won't do anything about the personalization issue or Bill Murray's lackluster performance. I would recommend a rental for either fan or casual gamer, even though I am a fan of the franchise, this game is certainly a mixed bag of both awesomeness and disappointment. I have to give it this though, it is certainly the best of the franchise so far...which doesn't say much considering the previous 8-bit abominations, but still a decent game overall.

PlayStation 3 · by Big John WV (26954) · 2009

The "game" is not why you should play this

The Good
Script and dialogue by original Ghostbusters creators Great performances by original Ghostbuster cast

The Bad
The actual game is very run-of-the-mill Not very interesting ghost designs

The Bottom Line
During the years there have been maybe 15-20 Ghostbusters games, and probably only two worthwhile ones. This is one of them.

There's two reasons why you would play this game - 1) the script by original Ghostbusters writers and cast Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. 2) The original cast - sadly lacking Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver - does a stellar job and this is one of the rare cases when the cutscenes are actually better than the game.

The game itself is passable - a very cookie-cutter late-00's third person shooter - never bad enough to get frustrating but neither really exciting. There are a couple of interesting weapons, but largely the "game" is forgettable. Interestingly there's no cover mechanic, but the game is probably better without it.

It was criticized at launched for it's short-ish length - around 5 to 7 hours depending on your thoroughness - but in this case it's actually a good thing. This let's you enjoy the script without the gameplay getting too boring.

Sadly the game is lacking in interesting visuals, the freakish ghost designs being one of the appeals of the original movies. The Mega Drive game did a better job of having interesting ghost- and environment designs.

Especially after the catastrophic Paul Feig-helmed movie remake, I would strongly recommend this game to any degree of Ghostbusters fan, despite the actual gameplay being largely uninteresting. It could probably have been even better if it was a movie and not a game, but with the death of Harold Ramis that won't happen. Play it and enjoy the ride, just don't expect the actual gameplay to be rememberable.

Windows · by lights out party (86958) · 2017

The Best Way To Not Be Afraid of Ghosts.

The Good
Unlike a lot of licensed games, Ghostbusters completely captures the (pun intended) spirit of the films. Everything from the music, the hum of the proton blaster, the snide comments from Venkman, it's all here.

The game is total fan service, making loving homages to what was great about both films, and throwing in a few clever nods to the animated series as well. Ghostbuster wannabes can explore the firehouse to their heart's content, finding a treasure trove of relics and fun things to examine.

The story is incredible. It feels like the third movie, with all of the jokes and comments thrown in at just the right time. It's one of the few video games out there that understands the importance of delivery, and does it well. The story also provides a solid mystery for the Ghostbusters to figure out, and keeps players entertained until the end credits roll.

Dan Akroyd and Ernie Hudson pour their hearts into their characters. The others are good, but the level of "Ray Stanz" enthusiasm is infectious and so much fun. Egon deadpans, Peter smarms, Janine complains, and it all works perfectly. Kudos for bringing back almost the entire cast.

Ghostbusting itself.... It's perfect. I've waited for nearly 25 years to feel like a Ghostbuster, and this is my chance. From fighting to bust ghosts, to scanning with the PKE Meter, it all feels natural, and near giddy in execution. When you trap a ghost, you know you've earned it. When you get really good, you can do some amazing things with the weaponry to bring ghosts in ever faster. The feeling of discovery is remarkable.

What surprised me about the game is how genuinely creepy it is. Not just a little bit, but when normal environments start transforming into the supernatural, there is a chilling feeling of unease. There's even a few jumps in there. Again, they found the right FEELING for this game.

For the most part, the cut scenes are excellent, and feel like a movie.

Multi-player? Simple, to the point, and fun. You find a good team of online players, things get crazy. Not to mention the thrill of finding a "special" ghost, which takes on a Pokemon "Gotta catch 'em all" rush to trap the exclusive spook.

The Bad
There are, unfortunately a few minor problems with the game.

The lip-synching is way off. It's not too apparent sometimes, but it does pull one out of the realm of the game's world. Some animations are also a little too stiff, especially in walking animations.

The Meson Collider is useless. The other weapons are fantastic, traditional and inventive. Take this with a grain of salt, but the yellow blaster feels a little TOO video-gamey, as if it doesn't belong in the game's world.

Bill Murray's performance is hit and miss. There are lines he delivers with total conviction and personality of Peter Venkman. There are other lines where it sounds like he'd rather be a million miles away.

There are also times where the player spends most of its time saving the other team members than focusing on 'busting. The AI isn't "stupid" as a whole, but there are times that it makes really bad mistakes. There have also been times that the game has had to be restarted as team members don't move to the next checkpoint to trigger the next objective.

The Gamestop downloadable Ghostbusters 2 jumpsuit also has a glitch in the single player mode where the original logo overlaps the updated logo. It's a really sloppy move for what is supposed to be an exclusive and special download.

The Bottom Line
Considering all the trials and tribulations and delays and losses of publishers, it was questionable if Ghostbusters would ever come out, much less be a solid and enjoyable gaming experience. But it survived, and the extra few months undoubtedly made it a much better game.

Ghostbusters is truly a "one of a kind" experience. With the game reuniting the major cast, the writers, the music, the sounds, the characters, the none too subtle nods to the fans, and the feeling of bringing a childhood daydream to digital life, this is the first time that a "Summer blockbuster" doesn't make its debut in theaters, but on a person's television screen.

Every ghost you bust is a challenge that doesn't get repetitive. You feel like you're part of the team. The Rookie character is left undefined so that the player can take the part of the role and make it themselves with their imagination, and there is a gleeful rush of pride when you team up with the whole crew, looking the way they should, sounding the way they should, evokes a sense of "magic" that you simply don't find in a licensed game. You feel like you're actually part of the team, and that's something special in itself.

There are a few minor quirks that momentarily detract, but the whole of the experience is solid. Kudos to Atari for actually having the brains to pick this title up and making sure that we're "ready to believe" all over again.

Xbox 360 · by Guy Chapman (1748) · 2009

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

Development

  • Sigourney Weaver was originally approached to reprise her role of Dana Barrett, but turned down the proposal. However, she later learned that Bill Murray was involved with the project and was interested, but by that time development was too far in that she couldn't be included. As a result, her character was written out of the script and instead replaced by another love interest voiced by Alyssa Milano.
  • Bill Murray agreed to reprise his role as Peter Venkman under the one condition that each Ghostbuster would receive equal screen time.

References

The game Q*Bert is one of the arcade games found in the Ghostbuster's rec room. Interacting with the game results in the Q*Bert theme being played. There is also a pinball machine, which appears to be based on Nocturne, another game by Terminal Reality. It features the main screen of the game, with the full moon, but it cannot be activated.

Awards

  • GameSpy
    • 2009 - The Reunited (and It Feels So Good) Award

Information also contributed by Guy Chapman and MasterMegic

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Big John WV.

Windows added by Sicarius.

Additional contributors: jaXen, LepricahnsGold, OFF, Picard, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third.

Game added June 28, 2009. Last modified January 27, 2024.