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17 Reviews

Ghost Squad

Gawd bless the zapper, it has light gunned the load of arcade lovers everywhere

Review from Issue 18 of NGamer magazine, on sale Wednesday, December 5.

Import review:Despite being the staples of modern arcades, there are hardly any lightgun games on Nintendo formats. Ever since they went all out and created a bazooka instead of an ordinary gun peripheral for the SNES, everyone has steered well clear. But now that we have a Nintendo format that seems purpose-built for shooters, perhaps we'll see a few more of these arcade conversions popping up. And if they've had as much care and attention lavished on them as Sega's Ghost Squad so clearly has, then bring them on.


Making it your mission
Ghost Squad is a conversion of an arcade game that takes less than eight minutes to complete. You whack a quid in it, point the gun at the massive screen and blast away at terrorists until you either die because you got shot too much, or you make it all the way to the end with a high score.

If you complete a mission, there are two others of similar length. Each had multiple branching routes, so you wouldn't get exactly the same scenes every time, but it's going to cost you another quid every time you want to try a new combination.

For the truly dedicated, there's a memory card system that records your data and tracks your progress on any Ghost Squad machine you may find. But the cost and rarity in this country mean it's just an occasional treat at service stations and seaside arcades. Big, loud and very brief.

Coin hungry
Of course, nobody does great arcade conversions any more, because nobody makes great arcade games. Or so we thought until we spent some time with Ghost Squad on Wii and discovered just what an insanely addictive, stupidly satisfying game it really is. The home version is great in a way that few people will ever be good enough to discover in the arcade, and freed from the requirement for a big bag of pound coins you can explore it at your leisure, no what your skill level.

Armed with infinite continues, you can mess around at your own pace. Going through all three missions counts as full completion of the game, and you can fail on any of the boss sections or intermediate timed challenges without ruining your chances of seeing the ending.

Revolver evolving
After a few practice runs, you'll be getting good enough with the Zapper to pick off the enemies when they run into position ready to ambush you in the next scene, and you can really start toying with the game.

The cool thing is that it grows as your ability increases. Each completion adds an experience level to your character, unlocking a new weapon. It also bumps up the difficulty, so if you're wondering why bad guys take a couple more shots to put down with your new machine gun, it's because they've all bought some body armour since you last played.


The evolving challenge adds enormous longevity to what is still a basic on-rails shooter. The enemies just pop up from behind objects and shoot at you if you don't kill them in time. There's no hiding or dodging like in Time Crisis, although the bosses and sniper challenges give a bit of variety to the action.

New guns, new problems
But as samey as the game may be, the award of a new weapon or upgrade, costume or bizarre slice of comedy is a great incentive to play through it yet again. It only takes a few minutes, and you can upload your high scores to a worldwide leaderboard. Who knows, perhaps that new assault rifle will be just the thing for scoring all head shots this time. Maybe the double kill bonuses will make the shotgun the weapon of choice now it's upgraded. Just one more go...

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