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Cheat Code

Busting ghosts was never so easy

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Published 7/15/2009

Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Atari
XBox 360, PS3, Wii, PC

Ever sit around with your pals talking about classic movies, and there's a culturally illiterate dude who's never seen something? And you know those looks of incredulousness in the room when that dude says it's Star Wars? Well, this writer has never seen Ghostbusters. Sure, I know about Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but that's about it. So any preconceived notions fly out the window with Ghostbusters: The Video Game.

It's 1991, and you play the role of a neophyte Ghostbuster affectionately named "Rookie." Your introduction to your ghostbusting gear is suddenly interrupted by an ectoplasmic blast from the Containment Unit in the basement, which serves as a great opportunity for a tutorial. Once you learn the ins and outs of your equipment, you join the team (all voiced by the original actors from the movie) on various paranormal containment missions.

Slimer and Stay Puft make appearances, along with new specters, all attempting to summon a "Great Destructor even larger than Gozer."

Controls in Ghostbusters feel a bit sluggish, as if your character's out of shape, and reaction time isn't quite there. Also, the info pertinent to gameplay, such as your health, is on your proton pack; depending on your TV, it may be hard to notice. Conversely, the ghost-capturing here is an absolute blast: First, you use your proton stream to weaken the thing and, once you've blasted him, your beam turns into a capture ray, and you can drag and pound the poltergeist into submission before final capture. You feel the struggle, as if going to battle with some kind of mean-ass fish, and there's a certain feeling of accomplishment once you've contained it. The other team members are there to help, but for seasoned vets, they sure get their asses kicked a lot — you'll spend time reviving them from a dazed state. (They'll repay the favor when you've been beaten senseless.) Teamwork is essential.

Overall, Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a love letter to fans of the film, with the humor and references intact. Unless you're in on the joke, much of this game may, um, float right over your head. For this writer, it was a decent third-person action game; for the fan, it'll certainly be more. I'm hoping for the Beverly Hill Cop game, so save those funny looks.

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