Review

Ghostbusters Review (PS3)

Ghostbusters fans can finally stop holding their collective breath, because although the game has taken its sweet time to arrive, it’s finally here, but only on PlayStation 3 due to a last minute exclusivity deal, presumably struck when Sony suddenly realised they owned the rights to the IP. Fret not though Xbox 360, Wii and PC owners, because the game will still be seeing release around October time meaning that the PS3 faithful will only get a four month head start over everyone else. Then again, will anyone actually care? After all, this does falls under that most notorious of banners – the videogame tie-in inspire by the movie. And worse still, it’s based upon a movie that’s much beloved by an army of fans and held aloft as something of a comedy classic. How can this possibly live up to everyone’s high expectations?

With so much seemingly riding against it, how does Terminal Reality’s videogame realisation of what Dan Aykroyd has gone on record to call the third chapter, shape up? From the very instant you fire up the game, switching on your proton pack for the first time, the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. This is most definitely Ghostbusters, with the look and feel captured to perfection. The opening stage is the finest imaginable introduction you could hope for too, sending you on a freewheeling ride through the Sedgewick Hotel to recapture the escaped Slimer, ripping through scenery with a fully charged proton stream creating all kinds of havoc and haphazard destruction.


Whatever they’re bustin’ out of shot is big.
Good luck getting that out of the carpets.

Before you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, you’re then confronting the Stay Puft marshmallow man as he stomps through Times Square, leaving devastating sugary, foamy footsteps in his wake. As intro stages go, it leaves you breathlessly wondering where on Earth the game can go next after such a bombastic beginning. You could be forgiven for thinking that you’ll have seen the best the game has to offer in the first 30 minutes, but you’d only be partly right because there’s a whole host of iconic locations waiting to be revisited and a whole menagerie of ghouls and spectres to exterminate or capture. While the rest of the game fails to live up to the lofty standards set by its audacious introductory set piece, it does more than enough to keep you utterly hooked for the entirety of the single-player career.

Your character is a blank, generic avatar (which has got to be a huge insult to the actual guy they used as the model), who remains mute throughout the game, only gesturing and screwing up his face from time to time. And we were apprehensive about how we’d feel playing as a no-mark rookie instead of one of the actual group, but we have to admit that it works, allowing you to feel like part of the team watching the crackling exchange of quick-fire witticisms and pithy one liners. It’s testament to the fantastic natural chemistry that still exists between Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson that you’re kept constantly entertained, which is also why the odd line of looped in-game dialogue is easily forgivable. The likenesses and performances are uniformly excellent throughout too, with not a single line delivered in bored, phoned-in tones but rather exuberantly voiced by the original cast on fine form. Each character is brilliantly brought to life for the game, doing the original movies more than adequate justice.

All of the movie’s wonderful ghostbusting equipment is present and correct too, although your unlicensed nuclear accelerator gradually develops into a versatile beast far beyond anything seen in the films. Egon has outdone himself in cramming all manner of paranormal tools of destruction into the pack, which can be upgraded using any money you manage to accumulate during your ghostbusting assignments. You’ll use your trusty proton stream most often, wearing down spirits before wrangling or slam dunking them into a trap, but there are three other alternate fire methods at your disposal, including the slime cannon from the second Ghostbusters movie. The dark matter function adds a stasis stream and shock blast to your repertoire while the meson collider grants you a rapid fire gun-like weapon to weaken spectres quickly. Best of all is the slime blower’s tether, which allows you to ping ghosts into the trap or pull objects around to solve the game’s few physics-based puzzles.


The likenesses are absolutely spot-on.
There are all sorts of scary spectral nasties to apprehend.

Your PKE meter is fantastically well-implemented into the game too, providing not only a means of finding the right direction, but also a way of taking readings on each apparition, which are then added to your Tobin’s Spirit Guide with a chunk of helpful accompanying info. You can also scan your environment for cursed collectibles, hidden doors and hazardous ectoplasmic residue, making the PKE meter an indispensible piece of kit. Pressing triangle activates it, changing to a goggled first-person view and slowing the pace of your footsteps, cranking up the tension as you gradually tiptoe towards a mischievous phantom.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game is without a doubt one of the best movie to game translations we’ve ever seen, bringing an entire new chapter to the series after twenty years. We thought it was a tall order, but Terminal Reality has really done a great job of resurrecting the much-loved franchise. While we still feel that the omission of a local or online co-op story mode is inexcusable, there’re still a whole host of other great multiplayer modes to keep you busy including the option to create your own custom co-op missions playing as the core Ghostbusters team, which goes some way towards making up for the lack of a fully-fledged co-op campaign. Slime Dunk is the best of the bunch, tasking you with slamming as many of the ugly green spuds into traps as you possibly can before the timer runs out.


It’s difficult not to feel a slight pang of guilt blasting chunks out of Stay Puft’s smiley face.
The team is always quick to help you wrestle a screaming ghost into a trap.

Multiplayer is a good laugh and the addition of extra weapons and other various options makes the modes genuinely worthwhile, providing plenty of extra busting for your buck once you’ve torn through the relatively slender main campaign.


Recapturing the look and atmosphere of the movies to perfection, it’s impossible not to be completely endeared by Ghostbusters: The Video Game. The narrative penned by Aykroyd and Ramis remains suitably compelling and entertaining throughout and the strength of the gameplay mechanics aided by tight, intuitive controls will keep you playing. It’s might not be perfect with the odd glitch or instance of minor slowdown cropping up now and again, but none of these tiny niggles matter, because Ghostbusters: The Video Game is otherwise superb. So, cast your doubts aside, because the Ghostbusters are back and they’re most definitely here to save the day once again.


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Comments

By Jake_SI (SI Elite) on Jun 18, 2009
Jake_SI
Well, you have me convinced, I'll get this once its out on Xbox360.
By JustinCO (I just got here) on Jun 18, 2009
JustinCO
Good review but I'm still not sold.

It doesn't seem like it has much replayability. It seems to be very linier and even in CO-OP mode it seems very simple.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jun 23, 2009
herodotus
Well from this review and the footage I've seen of the game, I'm not too proud to say I eat my words. This game shines quality from every polygon, and that's saying a lot in these days of broken promises we gamers are getting all too used to.
By firstjump (I just got here) on Jul 27, 2009
firstjump
This game is great! Between this and The Real Ghostbusters on DVD, my weeks have been a non-stop Ghostbusters extravaganza!