Saturday, August 29, 2009


"Who you gonna call?" If you grew up in the '80s, you don't even have to stop and think about this one. The answer is automatic. In fact, it's probably so automatic, you often come up with the same answer anytime someone suggests anything remotely pertaining to questioning who is going to be the recipient of a telephone call.

The game can be best described as an "interactive movie". Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, it plays out like a movie, with the characters voicing dialog that sounds appropriate for a feature film. Even better, all four original Ghostbusters actors voice their characters in the game, making it very much like another movie. (There are other voice actors that reprise their roles as well.)

The voice acting is very good, for the most part. The only one I was disappointed with was Bill Murray, who didn't sound like he was "in the moment" — he read so calmly and quietly, even in times of high intensity and action, it sounded like he was about to fall asleep, when I could hear him at all.

The story draws heavily on elements from the first two movies, where the city of New York is once again threatened by Gozer. You are a new recruit to the Ghostbusters squad, and part of your raison d'ĂȘtre is to test new weaponry, and to give the four someone to talk to and abuse besides each other. It's a little disappointing that you don't get to play one of the actual Ghostbusters, but it does solve the question of which Ghostbuster you would actually play, letting the story revolve around different Ghostbusters at will withouth forcing you to change characters mid-story. It's a feature that works — so well, in fact, that the game's weaker moments are when you are on your own, or even with just one other Ghostbuster.

It is somewhat disappointing that the game features no story-mode co-op. Considering how well the story is written for the single-player experience, I'm not entirely sure if it would've worked to just throw a second player into the mix and get the same story experience. There is, however, a four-player online mode in what is often compared to Gears of War's "Horde Mode". Having never played Gears, I can't speak to how it compares. There are a few different types of modes, from protecting equipment from ghostly attacks to capturing as many ghosts as possible before time runs out. Beyond that, there's really not that much to say; the game play is relatively simple and fairly easy to jump into.

One of the multiplayer mode's shortfalls, though, is its complete lack of a party system. We found that we were able to get around this fairly effectively with the Xbox dashboard party system; however, it was not a complete substitution for a legitimate in-game party.

The game isn't without its faults. Occasionally, there are segments where the difficulty reaches obnoxious proportions, where you're hopelessly outnumbered and enemies keep attacking through your futile efforts at defense. And there are a couple instances where the requirement to progress isn't made clear — the game's constant prompting to "use the slime tether" doesn't really help if you don't know on what to use the slime tether. It's also not altogether uncommon to find that you've managed to slam a ghost under the ground, from where it can attack you but where you cannot reach it.

All told, though, it's not a bad game. Not only does it rate extremely high on the nostalgia scale, but it actually does a fairly decent job of turning ghost busting into a decent action game.

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