"Ghostbusters: The Video Game" Review
I really wanted to talk about something Thanksgiving related for AllGoodThings but there aren't any Thanksgiving songs that I know of, nor any movies about Thanksgiving either. Yet I do know a game that at least takes place on Thanksgiving. So get your cornucopia ready to have something to snack on while I talk about the greatest and only-est Thanksgiving game of all uh, Ghostbusters: The Video Game.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game takes place during Thanksgiving 1991 where you assume your role as "the Rookie" who has been recruited by the original four to be their new experimental equipment tester. Not long after arriving at the firehouse however, an energy pulse spreads throughout Manhattan, causing a surge in paranormal activity that only someone armed with an unlicensed nuclear accelerator and a high voltage laser containment system can take care of. You've got the tools but have you got the talent?
If you think you do then from there you'll travel to different locations around early 90s New York City, zapping & trapping all manner of spooks, specters and demons while unraveling a century old plot intended to bring about the end of the world. It's extremely satisfying to wrangle a spirit in your proton stream then guide it into your trap. Doing so also earns money that can be used to buy upgrades for your various tech like the PKE Meter or Slime Blower. How this is done however depends on which version of the game you play
There is the version made by Terminal Reality for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 & Sony Playstation 3 which uses a realistic looking aesthetic, the version made by Red Fly Studio for the Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation 2 & Playstation Portable which uses a stylized looking aesthetic not unlike something from a Pixar movie, and the version developed by Zen Studios for the Nintendo DS which despite sharing the aesthetic of Redfly's version, is pretty different in terms of gameplay from the other two. The other two however only differ slightly with details like Terminal Reality's penalizing the destruction of property while Redfly's version rewards it.
All three do have one thing in common and that is the excellent story penned by none other than Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis. From both of them having written the original films Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II, it gives a real air of authenticity that a lot of movie licensed games don't have. The dialogue is sharp & funny as ever and the plot is deep & full of references to the other two. Of Course they also played the parts of Dr. Ray Stantz & Dr. Egon Spengler in the films respectively so have reprised those roles by providing their voices for all but the DS version.
Remarkably they also convinced Bill Murray to reprise his role as Dr. Peter Venkman, Ernie Hudson as the now Dr. Winston Zeddemore, Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz and even William Altherton as Walter Peck all do the same. So in a sense, this really is the Ghostbusters III that fans had been waiting for through the past 20 years. And I prefer it this way. I would rather see these characters as I remember them instead of seeing geriatric Ghostbusters in 2012 or Hollywood try to make hip new Ghostbusters starring Jack Black, Shia LeBeouf, Justin Long & Chris Brown. You know that's what they would do and it would it be horrible so this is the best possible outcome.
It's everything that a Ghostbusters fan could want. It has the original writers, actors, music (including hours of unused music that was composed by Elmer Bernstein for the 1984 film) and the feeling of finally living that childhood fantasy of being a Ghostbuster yourself. The Wii version even has an added benefit of using the Wii Remote to aim like you were really carrying a Proton Pack. It's an extra level of immersion that you should consider trying despite it having that stylized aesthetic I mentioned.
However you play Ghostbusters: The Video Game though, play it (except maybe the DS version). There is an incredible amount of love and detail put in by all the people who worked on it. It came out a few years ago in 2009 from Atari so now it can be found for only a few dollars and this year when you don't see any ghosts on Thanksgiving, you know who to thank. But if by any chance you do see one, who you gonna call?