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Ghostbusters: The Video Game 

Publisher: Atari

MSRP: $39.99

From the moment the game starts, it’s clear that what you are about to experience is a true sequel to the classic Ghostbusters films released in the 80s. You are treated to the same opening cinematics found in the movies, and when the title song queues up, true fans will get goosebumps. For Ghostbusters: The Video Game, no expense seems to have been spared to make you feel as if you are a real character in the Ghostbusters’ universe.

All of the original cast members reunited to voice the story co-written by Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis. The game takes place only a few years after the events of Ghostbusters II, and some strange things are happening around town again. You get to play as a nameless, voiceless Ghostbuster that has just joined the team.

The first part of the game lets you play through your favorite scenes from the films. You aren’t getting flash backs or a rehash, however. The return of well-known characters, such as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, intelligently worked into a new story. Their resurfacing hints that something more diabolical is afoot.

Using the remote and nunchuck, you’ll play from a third-person perspective. Your character looks and aims at wherever you’re pointing the remote, and pointing it at the edge of the screen scrolls it in that direction. The Wii may not have the graphical horsepower of the PS3 or 360, but the Wii's engrossing controls are worth the visual downgrade. With the remote emulating the wand of a proton pack in the palm of your hand, you’ll finally understand exactly what it is that makes busting feel so good.

When hunting ghosts, each phantasm will have a meter that will be depleted as you blast them. You’ll need some slick aiming skills for this, but once it is drained you will be locked onto them. Moving the remote in the direction of the onscreen prompts smashes the ghouls into objects, ultimately stunning them. Then all that’s left for you to do is throw out a trap and lock ‘em away for good. Occasionally Egon will upgrade your arsenal to help shorten this sometimes tedious process.

Whip out your PKE meter when you see a new poltergeist to scan it into Tobin’s Spirit Guide. You can read through the guide to get interesting backstories and useful information on ghosts. Your proton stream lays waste to pretty much everything it touches, and art pages for each apparition are hidden all over to keep your trigger finger ever ready. Get both a scan and the art page for a ghost to discover the game’s unlockable treats.

Gameplay is great, but for Ghostbusters’ fans the most gratification will come from listening to the gang interact with one another. Ray’s geeky excitement, Peter’s incorrigible wit, and Egon’s dead-pan demeanor are what we’ve been missing in their absence, and the game delivers an abundance of them all. Their bodies may have grown old and fat in the past 25 years, but their voices have remained unscathed by time.

It was surprising to hear that Ghostbusters was making a comeback as a video game, and it was even more shocking to hear that all of the original cast would participate. The most astounding thing, though, is that not only does this game not suck, it’s actually pretty awesome. There was an admirable amount of effort put into reviving the series, and it has paid off tenfold. Even if you aren’t yet a Ghostbusters fan, this is a title worth your time and money.

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January 12, 2022

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