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Ghostbusters: The Videogame

Don't it make you feel good?

Get used to seeing stuff like this. Every 30 seconds from now until 19 June you're going to hear or read something about Ghostbusters The Videogame because it coincides with the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie.

So that means you will doubtless hear that siren, hear that song, and see Ray Parker Jr. chasing semi-naked women around a neon house over and over again. Chances are you'll be sick of the sight of Venkman, Stanz and crew come the summer - the game will only make it worse as it's unerringly loyal to the original movie.

Brave and stupid
That's the game's biggest threat, right there. It's what pitches it squarely against everything from Eighties nostalgia to the internet to Bill Murray. If Terminal Reality, the group of brave/stupid souls behind this, puts so much as one foot out of place it'll be accused of taking cherished memories, placing them in a stainless steel box and putting the box into a microwave set to 'High'. On the surface, it's got everything bang on - it sounds right, looks right and says all the right things, but does it feel er, right?

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Dan Aykroyd himself instigated the whole thing in the first place; imagining this as the third chapter in the Ghostbusters legacy, set two years after all that 'love thy neighbour' guff in Ghostbusters II. His script is the principle reason Bill Murray agreed to voice Venkman after years of refusing to entertain the notion of going back to the hermetically sealed franchise.

Major landmarks
All the major landmarks from the movies' depiction of New York City are here - there's the public library, where ghosts use books as shields against the proton beams; there's the old fire station the bustin' business calls home; there's Times Square, scene of the confrontation with Mr Stay Puft. All of these are fleshed out in hefty detail, with boxy Eighties' police cars stationed outside and crowds of onlookers setting the atmosphere.

There are numerous cutscenes, some of which are pretty lengthy, so hopefully this won't get in the way in the final build of the game. If you're not a fan of the film, you won't be a fan of these, since they showcase the sort of one-liners and retorts that made the movie so memorable. But if you're not a fan of the film you won't be playing this anyway.

You play as the fifth and newest member of the Ghostbusters, so sadly that means you don't get to fill Venkman's, Stanz's, Spengler's or even Zeddemore's boots. That decision was taken, says Terminal Reality, so that you can better experience all that snappy dialogue. In the build I played, the job took my character and Stanz to an office block in Midtown, New York, which was afflicted by Mr Stay Puft's Marshmallow Minions.

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These are ferocious little critters which seem to be motivated by pure evil - more like maladjusted marshmallow Rottweilers - and they're hellbent on chewing you up and spitting you out.

The section begins with you and Stanz donning your PKE meters to locate the ghouls. Very simply, these work out like night-vision goggles, in that a sighting reticule lights up when you pass over a creature hidden from view; it also scans and records information about particular types of spirit for fans to look over later.

Sticky white gloop
Once the Minions are found, they flood into the room and the action kicks in after a nice period of tension setting. Here, the proton beam is ineffective against such fast moving targets, so you'll need to fire off Boson Darts against them, the equivalent of proton shotgun rounds.

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