Ghostbusters: The Video Game is the redheaded video game stepchild of the Ghostbusters trilogy. That's right, it's now a trilogy. The idea that Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis were going for was for Ghostbusters: The Video Game to be a Ghostbusters 3 in spirit (see what I did there), and for all intents and purposes, they have succeeded, if in an unconventional way.
See, I went into this game warily. If it's too much movie, it doesn't justify not just making a movie. If it's too much game, it disappoints those looking forward to a continuation of the series. It's a balancing act, to be sure, but as far as the movie aspect of the equation goes, it passes with flying, though sometimes generic, colors. The game is set in 1991, and from the "Dorito's Nacho Cheesier" product placement (though I don't remember them being sold in soda machines) to the vanilla flavored "damsel in distress" plot, it keeps the setting intact. All the Ghostbuster character models are young looking and quite good likenesses of the old crew, who all reprise their original roles seamlessly. The dialogue is much more natural than I thought it would be, and the humor is classic Ghostbusters. Bill Murray really sells the funny stuff, but unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his impromptu and seemingly forced love dialogue with his equally stiff love interest.
But enough talk about the original cast, let's talk about you. That's right, you are in the game as the new recruit/prototype test dummy to the Ghostbusters. He may not look just like you, but as far as silent protagonists go, this guy one of the most relatable I've ever encountered in a video game. His name is never mentioned, and though it's not as slick as Final Fantasy X in keeping you from noticing that fact, It did take me until the end of the second level. Speaking of your protagonist, I really appreciate the fact that they made him the way he is. Sometimes character customization can really distract you from the point of a game (see Saints Row 2), and the fact that he's a nameless, silent protagonist leaves the GB crew to do what they do and you to let yourself get absorbed into it.
As I hinted at before, the game looks gorgeous, right down to Dan Aykroyd's chubby cheeks. The implementation of UI in the form of health and proton charge meters on the side of the pack is ingenious, if hard to see at times. The ghost enemies are all clever and very animated. The only complaint I could really attribute to the looks of the game would be load times. I played Ghostbusters on PC, and the load times were GHASTLY! Toward the middle of the game, I decided to time a load screen that appeared after dying. 1:50. ONE MINUTE FUCKING FIFTY! That is entirely unacceptable, especially considering the fact that it brought me back to literally minutes before I had died. I spent so much time staring into the eyes of the scared looking ghost in the Ghostbusters logo that I honestly think that I understand him a lot better. I mean, he doesn't look that scary. He's probably just a harmless ghost that fell in with the wrong crowd. Victim of the times, really.
Anyway, on to gameplay! Here's where things get a bit iffy. Ghost catching can be really, really fun. It's got a kind of Pokemon meets fishing thing going on. You'll really feel like a bad motherfucker when you've got a ghost in your tractor beam, and start slamming him silly into the ground. All of the weapon upgrades you receive work better or worse depending on what kind of enemy you're fighting, and they're all really fun to use. You can spend money earned by killing enemies to upgrade these, and while it could have used more (You'll have bought them all by mid game), they're fun while they last. I could complain about the little Ghostbusters divining rod not being as easy to follow as I'd like, but every second I was using it, I felt like a cool ghost busting machine, and besides, I've used worse. No, my main gripe with the gameplay is the Computer AI. It's not so bad that it takes you away from the fun too often, but when it does and you're dying over and over (only to get more acquainted with your old friend Mr. Scared Ghost), you will curse this game to high heavens.
All in all, I'd say it was worth it to dust off this franchise and give it another spin. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. More importantly though, now that The Ghostbusters are relevant again, can we PLEASE HAVE ECTO COOLERS BACK NOW?! PLEASE?