Hands-On: Ghostbusters

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Posted by Brad (3334 posts) -

Let me throw out a few names here. Walter Peck. Tobin's Spirit Guide. Gozer the Gozarian. Are you with me so far? No? We can't continue this friendship, sorry.

All the traps and proton packs you want are in here.
I'm talking of course about Ghostbusters. Not the films--although I sleep better at night now that both of them have reappeared on my 360's Netflix queue--but the game, which Atari picked up for publishing not long ago from Vivendi. They brought Ghostbusters: The Video Game here to town recently, and I finally got to get my hands on it after merely glimpsing it here and there these last few months.

Nevermind the proton packs and PKE meters. Mechanically, Ghostbusters uses a pretty standard third-person shooter format, with you controlling a new everyman-style fifth Ghostbuster alongside the original four (all vigorously voiced by the original actors, of course). Your pack acts as an all-in-one weapon with multiple firing modes that mostly mirror standard shooter weapon types. There are a few interesting ones as well, like a tripwire you can attach to two points. The game is largely without HUD; you can see selected weapon and energy level via colored lights on the backpack itself.

I played a longer segment of the New York Public Library level that's been shown at past events, the same library from the beginning of the first movie. Early on you're making your way through the ground floor, fighting off minor apparitions and monsters made out of animated piles of books. You don't have to trap the most basic enemies, like the book monsters; a good zap from the proton pack will take care of them.

Traps come into play when you're faced with more monstrous ghouls. You need to focus your beam on a major ghost for a long period of time to snare it, then flick the analog stick in directions indicated by on-screen arrows to get it in a trappable state. A good slam to the floor and you can slide the trap out to seal that sucker up.

Book monsters!
The toughest ghosts--bosses, mainly--require a more complicated process. As you delve deeper into the library you uncover the secret lair of a crazed cultist who once resided underneath the structure. This is the guy who murdered the ghostly librarian from the first movie. You end up fighting her as the boss of this level in front of a big occult-looking ceremonial altar. She makes a shield for herself by spinning some pieces of furniture around her, so you have to take those down individually before you can weaken her and ultimately throw out the ol' ghost trap.

After you take out the librarian, you grab an occult manual called the Gozerian Codex, and then the book turns the library into a twisted nightmare version of itself that you then have to fight your way through to get back into the city itself. The demo cut off there, but this bizarro-world interpretation of the library seems like it could provide some interesting level-design opportunities.

So the shooter gameplay is largely familiar here. It's all the PKE readers, spectral goggles, and other weirdo gadgets--and more importantly, the authentic, so-familiar-you-have-to-grin sort of banter between Ray, Peter, Winston, and Egon in-game--that makes this experience feel like Ghostbusters. The dialogue was all written by Dan Aykroyd and friends, the same guys who wrote the films, and it's all totally in character and pretty funny. Ray is just as excitable and Egon as deadpan as ever, and the characters hurriedly spout tons of complicated-sounding spectral gobbledygook that you'll pick up on instantly if you're a fan of the movies. Some other neat elements are in there; you can access Tobin's Guide in the pause menu to check out info on various ghosts and phenomena, for instance. That's a nice touch.

Plenty of familiar faces here.
It's rife with Ghostbusters gadgets, as well. You can pull out your PKE and go into a first-person mode to scan an area for traces of the paranormal; it acts as a go-this-way pointer when it lights up. You can put your goggles on to look for other clues, like a series of ghostly handprints on a wall that led me in the right direction. A lot of Ghostbusters' appeal was the crazy technology, so I'm glad to see those things represented properly in the game.

The level design, story, and voiceovers are virtually the same in the Wii version, but the art is totally different from the realistically styled visuals. It's way more cartoon-like, which is appropriate for lower fidelity on the Wii, and it also reminded me in a good way of the old Real Ghostbusters Saturday-morning cartoon. I guess I'm showing my age here. The exaggerated art style on the Wii seemed a little more appropriate to the setting and irreverent banter, actually. It's also got motion controls in all the places you'd expect them.

The Wii game looked like it could ship tomorrow, but Ghostbusters was showing some rough edges on the Xbox 360, mainly in the frame rate and general polish. To be fair, there's a lot going on in most combat scenarios to tax the hardware; large parts of the levels can be damaged or destroyed with physics modeling. You can bust up furniture and and blow every book off the shelves in the library level, for instance. The game isn't out till June 2009, so there's plenty of time for Terminal Reality to shine it up for release by then.

Here's a new trailer Atari put out that shows off a lot of scenes and some of the voiceovers in the game.


  



UPDATE, TWO MONTHS LATE: Every shameful instance of "EKG" in this story has been replaced with the proper "PKE." Thanks to everyone who caught that lousy error. Ghostbusters deserves better.

#1 Posted by Brad (3334 posts) -

Let me throw out a few names here. Walter Peck. Tobin's Spirit Guide. Gozer the Gozarian. Are you with me so far? No? We can't continue this friendship, sorry.

All the traps and proton packs you want are in here.
I'm talking of course about Ghostbusters. Not the films--although I sleep better at night now that both of them have reappeared on my 360's Netflix queue--but the game, which Atari picked up for publishing not long ago from Vivendi. They brought Ghostbusters: The Video Game here to town recently, and I finally got to get my hands on it after merely glimpsing it here and there these last few months.

Nevermind the proton packs and PKE meters. Mechanically, Ghostbusters uses a pretty standard third-person shooter format, with you controlling a new everyman-style fifth Ghostbuster alongside the original four (all vigorously voiced by the original actors, of course). Your pack acts as an all-in-one weapon with multiple firing modes that mostly mirror standard shooter weapon types. There are a few interesting ones as well, like a tripwire you can attach to two points. The game is largely without HUD; you can see selected weapon and energy level via colored lights on the backpack itself.

I played a longer segment of the New York Public Library level that's been shown at past events, the same library from the beginning of the first movie. Early on you're making your way through the ground floor, fighting off minor apparitions and monsters made out of animated piles of books. You don't have to trap the most basic enemies, like the book monsters; a good zap from the proton pack will take care of them.

Traps come into play when you're faced with more monstrous ghouls. You need to focus your beam on a major ghost for a long period of time to snare it, then flick the analog stick in directions indicated by on-screen arrows to get it in a trappable state. A good slam to the floor and you can slide the trap out to seal that sucker up.

Book monsters!
The toughest ghosts--bosses, mainly--require a more complicated process. As you delve deeper into the library you uncover the secret lair of a crazed cultist who once resided underneath the structure. This is the guy who murdered the ghostly librarian from the first movie. You end up fighting her as the boss of this level in front of a big occult-looking ceremonial altar. She makes a shield for herself by spinning some pieces of furniture around her, so you have to take those down individually before you can weaken her and ultimately throw out the ol' ghost trap.

After you take out the librarian, you grab an occult manual called the Gozerian Codex, and then the book turns the library into a twisted nightmare version of itself that you then have to fight your way through to get back into the city itself. The demo cut off there, but this bizarro-world interpretation of the library seems like it could provide some interesting level-design opportunities.

So the shooter gameplay is largely familiar here. It's all the PKE readers, spectral goggles, and other weirdo gadgets--and more importantly, the authentic, so-familiar-you-have-to-grin sort of banter between Ray, Peter, Winston, and Egon in-game--that makes this experience feel like Ghostbusters. The dialogue was all written by Dan Aykroyd and friends, the same guys who wrote the films, and it's all totally in character and pretty funny. Ray is just as excitable and Egon as deadpan as ever, and the characters hurriedly spout tons of complicated-sounding spectral gobbledygook that you'll pick up on instantly if you're a fan of the movies. Some other neat elements are in there; you can access Tobin's Guide in the pause menu to check out info on various ghosts and phenomena, for instance. That's a nice touch.

Plenty of familiar faces here.
It's rife with Ghostbusters gadgets, as well. You can pull out your PKE and go into a first-person mode to scan an area for traces of the paranormal; it acts as a go-this-way pointer when it lights up. You can put your goggles on to look for other clues, like a series of ghostly handprints on a wall that led me in the right direction. A lot of Ghostbusters' appeal was the crazy technology, so I'm glad to see those things represented properly in the game.

The level design, story, and voiceovers are virtually the same in the Wii version, but the art is totally different from the realistically styled visuals. It's way more cartoon-like, which is appropriate for lower fidelity on the Wii, and it also reminded me in a good way of the old Real Ghostbusters Saturday-morning cartoon. I guess I'm showing my age here. The exaggerated art style on the Wii seemed a little more appropriate to the setting and irreverent banter, actually. It's also got motion controls in all the places you'd expect them.

The Wii game looked like it could ship tomorrow, but Ghostbusters was showing some rough edges on the Xbox 360, mainly in the frame rate and general polish. To be fair, there's a lot going on in most combat scenarios to tax the hardware; large parts of the levels can be damaged or destroyed with physics modeling. You can bust up furniture and and blow every book off the shelves in the library level, for instance. The game isn't out till June 2009, so there's plenty of time for Terminal Reality to shine it up for release by then.

Here's a new trailer Atari put out that shows off a lot of scenes and some of the voiceovers in the game.


  



UPDATE, TWO MONTHS LATE: Every shameful instance of "EKG" in this story has been replaced with the proper "PKE." Thanks to everyone who caught that lousy error. Ghostbusters deserves better.

#2 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

They got Egon's hair right :)

#3 Posted by PLWolf (944 posts) -

Man, I can't wait to get my hands on this. I love the Ghostbusters movies and have been hyped since they first revealed the game.

#4 Posted by Kazona (3096 posts) -

Ghostbusters!    

#5 Posted by mrsmiley (1146 posts) -

Looks slightly creepy, but mostly awesome. :)

#6 Posted by vunna (237 posts) -

Looks better then I could have imagined. . .could this finally be a game that makes me turn on the Wii??  The Real Ghostbusters cartoon that I can control with a wand! OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!

#7 Posted by Captain_Fookup (1519 posts) -

bad fucking ass.

#8 Posted by Superspiritgun (43 posts) -

Oh man, this is shaping up to look really nice. The trailer made me seriously mark out!

#9 Posted by darkjester74 (1597 posts) -

When someone asks if you are a god...you say....YES!

Looks awesome, very excited!

#10 Posted by BawaTheGamer (86 posts) -

lookin good

#11 Posted by ThePhenomenal1 (467 posts) -

freak out moment in 3,2,1



....I'M FREAKIN OUT!

#12 Edited by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

I hope it'll have some hint of the humor of the first film, and that the action won't be just MOVIE plus some game stuff. 

At least they got Egon's hair right.

I do hope they punch up the voice-overs, since they seem to be a little too low key.

Oh, and Brad?  Don't be ashamed about knowing The Real Ghostbusters, that was one of the better cartoons out there.  Especially the earlier stuff.

#13 Posted by Alphazero (1548 posts) -

Where do these stairs go?
They go up.

#14 Posted by MackGyver (598 posts) -
WHO YOU GONNA CALL????

GHOSTBUSTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#15 Posted by Sweep (8976 posts) -

3rd person shooter - right. Is there any sort of cover system?

Moderator
#16 Posted by cjmhockey (244 posts) -

Looks good... I hope they don't screw this up

#17 Posted by Arrers (41 posts) -

MUST....BUY!

#18 Posted by cgrady (99 posts) -

oh man i can't wait

#19 Posted by Vivek (517 posts) -

This makes me wish that they were making a new film, or that a CG film was coming out. I know who im gonna call "Ghostbusters"

#20 Posted by John1912 (1969 posts) -

Hope its good.  Such great childhood memories.  This could really take off if they nail it!  Gameplay better turn out!

#21 Edited by Ghostin (369 posts) -

Listen... Can you smell something?

(Cautiously optimistic)

#22 Posted by gzl5000 (164 posts) -

Movie videogames are always way better when they come out decades after the original movie. I'm hopeful for this one.

#23 Posted by JJ (172 posts) -

I feel nostalgic.

#24 Posted by Double0hFor (410 posts) -

does anyone have their phone number?

#25 Posted by Psykhophear (944 posts) -

OMFG this game looks amazing. All the characters look exactly like the actors themselves and lifelike. Oh, why does the game have to be delayed again until this coming year? I just can't wait to get my hands on Ghostbusters cos I've been waiting for a sequel all my life!

#26 Posted by artofwar420 (6311 posts) -

OH MAH GAWD!

#27 Posted by natural_deadhead (272 posts) -

did anyone else besides me see walter peck in that trailer?

#28 Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -

It's true, this man has no dick.

Staff
#29 Posted by BiggerBomb (6944 posts) -
Ryan said:
"It's true, this man has no dick."

Uh...what?
#30 Posted by TheGreatAndWiseOne (12 posts) -

That first picture looked eerily like a kid-friendly Dead Space.

And if they even think of  screwing this game up, my childhood memories will fly out and eat their souls for breakfast.

#31 Posted by rerty (105 posts) -

why do these demos not go live? the gaming industry could destroy all these bullshit video game websites if they just gave the people who actually buy the games the demos......Another retarted facet of capitalist life.

#32 Posted by The_Dude_Abides (186 posts) -

Man, looking at the trailer they seem to have really nailed it. Looks, feels and sounds just like the movies. It sends you back. Can't wait. Who knows, if the game can be a big hit we might even see a whole new movie, wouldn't that be ironic. A game of a movie, being turned into a movie. :P

#33 Posted by joey (987 posts) -
BiggerBomb said:
"Ryan said:
"It's true, this man has no dick."

Uh...what?"
Ghostbusters Quote.
#34 Posted by addictedtopinescent (3645 posts) -

Looking great, I really hope they don't screw up.

#35 Posted by dsplayer1010 (2227 posts) -

Who ya gonna Call?

(Sorry, had to say it.)
#36 Posted by TaintedSun (154 posts) -

I'm fearful that it will turn out like Alone in the Dark; looks good in trailers, but oh my god, play it and kill yourself.

#37 Posted by GioVANNI (1293 posts) -

Epic nostalgia!

#38 Posted by dietmango (1667 posts) -

Wow it looks great

#39 Posted by ImperiousRix (2963 posts) -

I certainly hope this pans out.  It's a good concept and great source material... but that's never stopped a game from sucking before.

#40 Posted by Ruggles (52 posts) -

Wow, that looks much, MUCH more awesome than I thought it would. Slimer looks freakin scary too.

#41 Posted by Pibo47 (3166 posts) -

This is going to kickass.

#42 Posted by kboy (126 posts) -

Dude, Bill Murray!

Kinda sad Rick Moranis won't be coming back though.

#43 Posted by ocdog45 (675 posts) -

i saw a video of what they just wrote about. the game looks sick IMO.

#44 Posted by JoelTGM (5596 posts) -

an animated movie would be awesome if it looks anything like those cutscenes in the game.

#45 Posted by TwoOneFive (9459 posts) -

yet another tonfa boner. you guys gotta stop it with all these awesome previews. 

#46 Posted by StillAThreat (40 posts) -

Can the next Ghostbusters headline involve "Bustin' makes me feel good!"?  Please.

#47 Posted by yellownumber5 (381 posts) -

Riddick and Ghostbusters in one week?  You are on a roll Brad.  Woot Woot!

#48 Posted by AndrewB (7689 posts) -

I'm worried about this game... It has such high expectations to meet, being what essentially is to be Ghostbusters 3, and from everything I've seen of the game, it doesn't look like it'll be able to top those expectations. I can't judge a game that I don't know, but I fear seeing mediocre to poor reviews when this game comes out.

#49 Posted by EnterpriseE (69 posts) -

Me can't wait. I don't care what people say I loved Ghostbusters 2. Day one purchase for me.

#50 Posted by Media_Master (3283 posts) -

Yes!!! Hope they put enthusiasm in their characters

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