Some games seem like such a perfect fit for Wii that as soon as they are announced we shriek like a nine year old on sherbet. Without blinking, for us you could add Ghostbusters to a ‘must make’ list that includes any game with a lightsaber, a wealth of classic light gun titles and classic remakes such as Okami and Pikmin.
You see, BEING a Ghostbuster is a fantasy that falls into ‘dream job’ category and thanks to Wii you (or we) can get closer to realising that dream than ever before. Some titles live and die by their control schemes yet some titles can altogether pass this hurdle by offering such an involved, cinematic presentation with well written dialogue that you will continue to play regardless. Ghostbusters certainly falls into this category.
the control layout is generally acceptable and definitely works, yet pointing at the screen to dictate camera and proton-pack direction can feel a little exhaustive after extended play sessions. Arguably it was the best design choice and by keeping your reticule on-screen a persistent call to arms is definitely created. IR functionality is the bread and butter of Ghostbusters control scheme with motion control tied to catching ghosts. You see, the crux of the capturing element comes from a simon-says typegame.
As you shoot your target an energy bar appears, grind this down and you then have the spirit locked into your proton stream. Arrows then appear and you must slam the ghost in the required direction as to weaken them. When they are weak you must then Hold Z and gesture forward with the nunchuck to release a trap. Drag the ghost into the trap for a job well done. It’s a simple mechanic that works well in context, smashing a ghost against a book shelf as seeing books fly everywhere as the damage cranks up makes you really feel like you are really battling to catch a pesky spirit. (The completely destructible items littering the game help). Other controls are as expected with analogue control dictating your feet (not the torso which is IR) and the D-Pad is reserved for item management.
And you’ll certainly need to master the controls as the action never stops. And with all the spooky action wrapped in a gloriously witty and cinematic presentation, you’ll be back in the Ghostbusters universe before you know it. A wonderfully paced introductory level provides you with a subtle introduction to the controls and as you move into darker territory upgrades are added at a rate which won’t confuse. Not only do the new upgrades offer more power to the player, they bring about a multitude of gameplay changes, changes which are tied to an altogether engaging story which keeps on getting better the more you play. As old friends and enemies make a triumphant return you’ll be amazed that Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson all return as the ‘actually-voiced’ Ghostbusters giving us, essentially: Ghostbusters 3.
We could wax lyrical all day about how the Ecto 1 sounds as good as it ever did, or how the soundtrack includes ‘that’ song and how many classic characters (good and bad) make triumphant returns, offering both retro kicks and interesting movie-like gameplay moments - but this would be ruining what is essentially a ‘popcorn’ title. The only negatives? The amount of time it will take you to play through and the ease of the adventure. Without collecting the hidden artefacts and PK scanning (think Metroid) most spirits, you could easily sail through Ghostbusters in less than 10 hours. However, the difficulty level can be changed to difficult (and should be) and nicely you can buddy up for a full-on co-op split screen version of the single player adventure which is the only multiplayer element lurking within the title.
And so Ghostbusters comes out of development limbo and surprises us all, the Wii version looks like a super stylised version of the movies and plays like an interactive cartoon. Read: brilliantly. Stick with Venkman and co. and although short, you’ll get a gaming experience which won’t give you spooky night mares!
Reviewed by Mark Lee at N-Europe.com