Ghostbusters: The Video Game Review

Ghostbusters: The Video Game was released mid-2009 but by the end of year it was available for a rock-bottom price of only a few US dollars, at least on Steam. Being a fan of the original movies and its catchy theme song, I decided to take advantage of the deal and acquired a copy. After about 10 hours of gameplay, I'm now ready to review the game...

Sound (5/5)
This area of the game has the least complaints for me resulting in top marks. You've basically got voice acting from most of the original cast (e.g. Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, William Atherton and Annie Potts) and a lot of sound effects used in the films (e.g. the wailing of Ecto-1's siren, the sounds of traps closing, the proton stream, etc.).

Music (4/5)
The game uses some music that were licensed from the films but sadly the main Ghostbusters theme is cut-off after only several seconds of play, which personally I think is sad, since it was an integral part of the movie's soundtrack. Also there isn't actually much music to go around so you often hear music getting re-used for certain levels (or at least the same themes anyway).

Graphics (3/5)
The graphics for the game are reasonably good - the likeness of the original cast is especially fantastic. However, I did experience some framerate issues during the game and I've got an 8800GT (which isn't great but should be sufficient). Also in some cutscenes the mouths of the characters don't quite sync with their voices...

Ghostbusters: The Video Game - Gameplay Video

Plot (3/5)
The game's plot has a lot going for it. Firstly, it's actually written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd, members of the original cast in the movies - and it shows since the events fit in well with past events occurring in the films: there are many old ghosts you'll recognise, many old tools that you'll recognise and of course the characters.

Of course, this is a double-edged sword, since newcomers to the Ghostbusters franchise won't pick up on many of the in-jokes and references to the films. I believe the experience to still be entertaining enough though, even if you haven't seen the films (I still enjoyed it and I only had a brief recollection of the events transpiring in the films).

Unfortunately, some of the cutscenes in the game are quite short, especially by the end of the game, and there are some parts in the game where you've turned up at some location not exactly knowing why you're there. Maybe some cutscenes got canned due to development deadlines or budget constraints? Anyway, it does make the story a bit confusing at times.

Gameplay (3/5)
The gameplay is pretty average and is reminiscent of many third-person action-adventures on console. You eventually get a variety of "weapons" at your disposal which are basically analogues of actual guns (e.g. one of them acts like a shotgun, one acts like a machine gun, etc.), however, they all have their place in the game since different ghosts have weaknesses to different weapons.

Fortunately there is some basic puzzle solving incorporated into the game which is a plus, and you get to use various enhancements from your Proton Pack to solve them. For example, you can use Slime Tethers to move heavy objects or open gates/doors, etc. It's reminiscent of some puzzles in Half-Life 2 where you use the Gravity Gun - however that game has been out for ages so it's not exactly a new concept, right?

Replayability (3/5)
The game is about as replayable as any linear action-adventure is, which is not very. There are three difficulty levels and you can also go back looking for artifacts (but they're quite easy to find).

Polish (1/5)
The game is sadly not as polished as what it could've been. In fact I struggled so badly with the framerate at first that I was about to quit playing the game only half-way through the first mission! Fortunately, I came across a workaround online where you basically lower the priority of the ghost_w32.exe process and somehow, the framerate spikes disappear, more or less. At least enough so that it's playable anyhow.

Also it's obvious the game is a console port as evidenced by the lazy console-like controls. I usually can cope with that but this may be a sticking point with some. Mouse-driven menus please!

Overall - 66%
There are a few nifty innovations in gameplay, at least for a game based off a movie, and having most of the original cast involved in its development doesn't hurt either; however, this only helps save the game from being totally average.

If possible, I recommend buying a boxed copy of the game if you can get it cheap, it'll allow you to setup a shortcut to lower the game's process priority saving you the trouble of manually doing it each time before a game starts.