For the purpose of this review we're going to assume everyone is a Ghostbusters fan. Because if you're not then you must have died before they made it. In which case you're not reading this because you're dead.
The fanboy in all of you will want to love the Ghostbusters game. You've been dribbling over the bad-ass screenshots for months. You'll sing along to the classic theme tune. You'll have your Ghostbusters pyjamas on and hot chocolate in your Ghostbusters mug ready for the first level. And then you'll be a bit disappointed.
Ghostbusters: The Videogame just isn't as good as it should be. You'll even try to ignore its discrepancies, turn a blind eye to its invisible walls and occasionally crud level design, and pretend you're enjoying shooting the tame Proton beam at unresponsive ghosts. It's not a turkey though, it just falls short of our expectations.
The game takes a leaf from Gears of War's book, telling the story in a mix of cutscenes and in-game dialogue. It's supposed to be a separate story from the films, but you'll have more than a few déjà vu moments.
Take the posh hotel that Slimer haunts. You'll find him in a corridor munching on food from a wheelie tray, before he slimes Venkman and runs to an open dining room for a final, cutlery-destroying showdown.
The hotel environment is packed with physics-based objects (hundreds of plates and glasses, chairs, candle holders). Slimer busts in, the Proton Beams let rip and there are objects crashing around the room.
All that geometry on screen hits the frame rate like a Stay Puft kick to the nuts. The Proton beams look pretty, but are way too quiet and the ghosts don't respond to getting shot. It's not nearly as satisfying as it should be. It's like you're shooting them with a hose pipe.
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You blast ghouls until they're weak, at which point you hook them with a grapple beam, deploy your trap and drag them towards it. The ghosts themselves don't appear to have any reactive AI - they follow set patterns, charging at you or throwing projectiles your way.
Battles with multiple ghosts can get pretty manic, with no clear strategy for survival other than to take it in the face (because there's no cover system or even many places to hide) and shoot back until they're all in traps. The only key to survival is making sure to revive your AI helpers when they're downed - so that they revive you when you're inevitably battered to the ground.
It heats up a little later when you get different blasters - one's like a shotgun, shooting a blue spread of plasma along with a secondary ghost-freezing blue laser. You get a blast shot that sends a concentrated ball of death at your enemy. And there's a slime gun in there too, which you use to neutralise poisonous black slime or relieve your fellow 'Busters from the control of a 'possession' ghost in one mental level.
Powers are upgraded with points earned during missions. So boosting the power and accuracy of your Proton pack, increasing your manoeuvrability or making your trap more efficient is easily done.
The game swaps up the tempo with slower, quieter search-and-find sections where you whip out your PKE meter and, in a first-person view, hunt down the spooks. It's more of a novelty function than an innovative feature though.
Oddly the whole package suffers from a mix of high and low production values. The beams look great, the physics are impressive and the 'Busters themselves highly detailed, but the animations are stiff and don't live up to the voice acting.