Warning: This story was published more than a year ago.


TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO a group of veteran comedians from the US show Saturday Night Live starred   in a comedy about a group of scientists who catch ghosts for a living. The fi lm was a hit, spawning a  sequel, lunch boxes, computer games, comics and a Saturday morning cartoon. Those of us around in the   1980s will vividly remember Ray Parker Jr. asking us, “Who you gonna call?” That film was Ghostbusters     and, naturally, this silver anniversary of the original movie release is a good time for a new Ghostbusters video  game. Earlier this month Atari invited Game Console to try out some preview code of Ghostbusters:  The Video Game.

The game starts with the old 1980s Columbia Pictures logo, which immediately grabbed the attention of my  inner fi lm geek. This was followed by a very nice-looking pre-rendered faux advert for the Ghostbusters  featuring the familiar faces of Egon Spengler, Ray Stanz and Peter Venkman. 

The game story has been  written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd, who also wrote the movies, so the dialogue is spot on. Joined by the vocals of fellow original cast members Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson, we  get Peter Venkman’s quips, Ray’s deadpan seriousness and Egon’s egghead musings; topped off with Winston Zeddemore as the everyman voice of reason. Shame it wasn’t enough to coax  the fabulous Rick Moranis  from retirement. Also, disappointingly, there’s no Sigourney Weaver as Bill Murray’s love interest. Not that  we can complain, as anything that gets the comedy dream team of Aykroyd, Ramis and Murray together is  worth the price of the ticket alone!

The first mission is a tutorial sequence that involves hunting down and catching the green Slimer from the fi  rst movie, who has just escaped from Ghostbusters HQ. You play as a newly and conveniently recruited  rookie charged with testing Egon’s newly developed prototype ghostbusting equipment. This plot device  allows for equipment upgrades as the game progresses and the restless spirits get harder to beat. The game has  no heads-up display (HUD), with your stats cunningly represented in-game by the lights on the rookie’s proton backpack.

The environments are destructible, allowing the staple Ghostbusters gag of completely wrecking the haunted  building, doing more damage than the ghosts themselves. Slimer leads the Ghostbusters to the Hotel  Sedgewick, giving you the opportunity to completely trash the building, much to the annoyance of the hotel manager.

All the old favourites are here: Slimer, the librarian ghost, Gozer and the fabulous Stay Puft Marshmallow  Man, represented in his full-sized gigantic stature. One level features an epic largescale battle against the  Marshmallow Man himself (think huge marshmallow foot trying to stomp you). The game uses the original  Ghostbusters score, which hasn’t aged very well, but seems to maintain the 80s feel of the game, set shortly  after the events of Ghostbusters II.

Busting ghosts is a lot of fun. First, you must search for the ghosts using your night-vision/P.K. meter. Next,  you put down the trap, catch the ghost in your beam and, using a variety of moves to slam the ghost into the  ground, beat it into submission. You must then fight to guide it over to the top of the trap, where it is sucked  in and caught.

The designers have done a fi ne job of recreating the world of Ghostbusters. It’s as if you are watching a lost  Ghostbusters movie. The graphics are top notch, with well-crafted environments and character models. It’s  also worth noting that the menu screen included an enticing multiplayer option that was unavailable on the  preview copy. Co-op busting with friends would be cool.

With the Blu-ray and DVD movie re-release of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, as well as the Internet buzz  regarding a possible third movie, it’s like the Ghostbusters have never been away. Bustin’ made us feel good  and it’ll probably make you feel good as well.

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