(Note: I’m not trying to rally anyone behind some ghost rider video game cause, I just had some ideas and felt bored so I thought I’d take to my keyboard and see what happened.)
I have never seen Ghost Rider. Nor have I read the comics. But today I watched Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance. I walked away thinking, “That wasn’t so bad, but man would it make a cool video game.” Now apparently there were some Ghost Rider video games on the PS2 and Gameboy Advance, but since I thought of this before I knew that, I’m going to pretend they don’t exist. Rather, I’m going to tell you that there should be a new Ghost Rider game; and here’s what it should look like:
The Ghost Rider fights by swinging around long metal chains, which immediately reminds me of Kratos from God of War. So I guess this game would be in that vein. Not everything that borrows from that series needs to be a clone though, shamelessly plugging in its character design to that series’ mechanics. Instead, it could be a starting place. The Ghost Rider game I propose is a third person action game where you rack up combos by slaying dudes with your giant metal chains. Sounds boring? Well hold on, there’s more.
The other neat thing about the Ghost Rider is that when he gets into a vehicle, it transforms into some flaming, stylized version of what it once was. In the movie, whatever the Ghost Rider’s riding doesn’t drastically change. The bike kind of just bursts into flames and…well that’s it. Same with the crane (THAT’S RIGHT.DUDE KILLS DUDES WITH A GIANT CRANE!). But there’s no reason to keep things so tame in a video game. Why not have every vehicle you get into reconfigure itself, Transformer’s style, into a crazy, unique vehicle-o-death? Why not have dozens of vehicles? “Because I hate fun,” is the only acceptable answer.
If you hate fun then you’ll almost certainly also hate this next suggestion, which really distinguishes in my mind a potential Ghost Rider game from any other kind of God of War clone. Here it is: Day and Night cycles, with time limits on each. Look, just, hear me out, alright? So in the movie Nicolas Cage cannot control when he transforms from a normal dude into the Ghost Rider, but it only happens at night and he seems to be able to know it’s going to happen a few hours beforehand. Taking that into consideration, I propose that during the day there is no combat. Instead you run around talking to dudes, finding things, and driving places. Maybe during the day it’s more like an adventure game, or a plat-former. Regardless, what you do during the day determines what you can do at night. Maybe you make inaccessible areas accessible. Maybe that means you can find some rad upgrades. Maybe you get a whole bunch of cool shit you otherwise wouldn’t have had. Maybe it even makes you choose between that shit. One guy wants you to do something and in return he’ll leave a rocket launcher somewhere, but another dude is offering a new car; and you only have time to do one before night falls.
Other than some half-assed boring ideas about an rpg-lite upgrade system, that’s all I have to say about a potential Ghost Rider video game. I think the day and night cycle is what would really distinguish it from other similar games, but only if it was as central a mechanic as death is to Dark Souls. Any game could do it, but the Ghost Rider conceit provides a perfect reason to do so.