There’s something strange in your neighbourhood. Who you gonna call? The police. Call the police. For anything paranormal, call Mulder and Scully or The Ghostbusters. Both of which are fictitious, but what do we care? A beloved franchise has been revisited (drum roll): Ghostbusters: The Videogame Remastered. If you’re doing a school report, you can find out more about from the team that remastered it, Saber Interactive.
Who doesn’t love Ghostbusters? Apart from ghoulies and killjoys, ask the interwebs and most people will jump in to declare their affection. The first film is a classic, the second not so much, but I saw it at the cinema, had the single by Bobby Brown on vinyl and also the game on the Amiga (surprise). I was also a big fan of the animated series, which I attempted to watch again without realising just how many episodes were created.
Not many people were happy with the ‘reboot’, which was supposed to be Ghostbusters 3. Personally, I didn’t mind it. It had Kristen Wiig, which is always a bonus for me, though I grow tired of her texting me late at night. I’m not a piece of meat. Anyway, back in the age of about 2009, Ghostbusters: The Videogame was being touted as Ghostbusters 3. Written by both Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis, the story was a homage the original really – following up from the events of Ghostbusters 2.
Roasting marshmallows. Stay Puft ones.
Shut Up, Rookie
With writing duties by the original writers, who are also the cast (Ray and Egon, if you’re a nipper), the jokes and dialogue remain very much the same as the original feature films, expertly delivered by the same cast – the duo mentioned above, Ernie Hudson and Bill Murray. There are even appearances by Walter Peck, played by William Atherton and the guy who owned the arcade in Wayne’s World. Sadly, no Sigourney Weaver or Rick Moranis, but there’ll be no complaining from you. Be grateful for what you get.
My goosebumps got a boner from the title sequence – the Ecto-1 is back, the original music… wow – nostalgia set to 11. We enter the fire station and are then introduced to the character you play: erm… Dave. I dunno what his name is as it’s never mentioned. Instead, the cast refers to you as recruit, cadet and other condescending titles. I was hopeful of sport or junior but must have missed it. Anyways, your character doesn’t speak – maybe to make you believe it’s actually you, but most likely budget/development. The recruit is the fifth Beatle here, and a bit surplus as the conversation is one-sided.
Strap on (heh) your proton pack and head into the basement as Ray is going to show you
his how to play the game. You’ll play the game, of course, but to summarise, I’ll tell you how the game plays. Use the proton pack to blast the ghouls enough to daze them, then reel them into one of your floor traps that you can kick out underneath them. There are a few tricks like being able to slam them – this fast-tracks their levels of consciousness, thus making it easy to snare them. Once you’re confident, it’s time to revisit the biggest hotel you’ll ever explore.
Hotel Transylvania, New York City
Into the hotel we go, where you’ll start to get accustomed to the first-person view. By default, the game is played in third-person and heavily influenced by Gears of War (they were both out around the same time), blasting your way about, doing your roadie runs. There’s no cover system, but you can destroy the environments potentially to your disadvantage as it will affect your chances of obtaining a trophy. Anyway, I was talking about the first-person view, right?
The first-person view is from the perspective of the PKE meter. It’s like night-vision goggles mode. Hey, Sam Fisher. The PKE meter studies anything from psychokinetic energy to teenage bedsheets. When in this mode, you see from the perspective of someone wearing goggles (weird that) and are then able to locate the elusive ghosts, scanning their slime trails along the way. It’s not necessary to wear them all the time, but I liked the atmosphere it created, plus I looked really really cool in them.
With the PKE mode, it adds to the suspense a little, but Ghostbusters: The Videogame Remastered isn’t scary – there aren’t even cheap jump scares. What sells the game is the same ingredient that made the films so good – the humour, notably the dialogue. Bill Murray is the star for me, but everybody delivers their lines (apart from you) with precision. If the winning formula of the cast is there, surely it’s a home run from here? Not really. The weak part of the game is, well, the game.
Forget LOTR, this is a real golem
When I say weak, it’s not that it’s terrible, but Ghostbusters: The Videogame Remastered isn’t really exciting. You’ll wander around corridors with your PKE goggles on (if that’s the official term), hunting for clues. There will be a ghost or two to blast, slam and capture and then the same again. As a movie tie-in game (ish), I would have liked a vehicle section or some mini-games to pad it out. As I said, it isn’t bad, but quite repetitive. Ghosts are actually pretty cool, and there are some varied types to track down, and the transparency effects and particles of the proton packs are awesome.
As for the character models, they aren’t so great. Ghostbusters: The Videogame is over 10 years old, and it shows. Bill Murray does, in fact, look like Bill Murray circa Ghostbusters 2 but the textures and lighting effects appear to be dated. I know it’s a video game character, but for a remastered edition, the eyes make them look quite soulless. Strangely, the in-game cutscenes make use of various filters. This could have been an excellent opportunity to do some smoke and mirrors and overlay these, creating a film-like effect. Just sayin’.
Moving your nameless ghostbuster about is effortless, and there are no complaints there. It’s the same for the controls – blasting and capturing ghosts is as easy as the real thing. I’ve caught loads. Your proton pack is your go-to weapon, but you have three others to collect during your trip down memory lane. Capture some ghosties and stuff, and you’ll get money to upgrade your gear, you could mainly use the standard weapon through the whole game, but wait till you get the slime tethering feature as that’s a nice little gadget.
Disclaimer: Back in the day, Ghostbusters was one of my go-to movies, so I have a lot of bias towards the franchise. I’m no fanboy, but growing up, there was a lot of merchandise in the house from lunch boxes to stickers, ectoplasm to dark portals to other dimensions. It’s how I power my site.
From my perspective, Ghostbusters: The Videogame Remastered is an extension to the Ghostbusters universe that will make all you sentimentalists do a little sex wee. For a remastered edition, I think it cut some corners a little as it’s far from polished. That said, I’d encourage you to play it if you like shooting stuff, marshmallows and aren’t afraid of no ghosts. Or repetitive gameplay.