Featured Columns

December 3, 2009

The Comics Console: Ghostbusters

2009 is the 25th anniversary of the Ghostbusters! To celebrate, Atari published Ghostbusters: The Video Game by Terminal Reality. Leading up to the game’s release, IDW published a four issue mini-series, Ghostbusters: The Other Side, written by Keith Champagne, with art by Tom Nguyen, but the Ghostbusters legacy in comics didn’t begin there.

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With the popularity of the animated series, NOW Comics and Marvel UK published 193 issues of The Real Ghostbusters. The Ghostbusters disappeared from the comics scene until 2003 with 88MPH Studios’ Ghostbusters: Legion. Legion reboots Ghostbusters with the story set in 2004 rather than 1984. The story takes place six months after the Gozer fiasco, and shows the guys dealing with a sudden drop in fame and popularity.

Tokyopop produced a manga in October 2008 titled Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted taking place between Ghostbuster II and the events in Ghostbusters: The Video Game. The story consisted of different one-shots, each with a different writer and artist.

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Ghostbusters: The Video Game takes place two years after Ghostbusters II. Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore have struck a deal with the city, allowing them to bust ghosts on the city’s tab. With the rise of business and the return of powerful enemies, the boys in gray have hired on a newbie to be the guinea pig for some new equipment. You play as the silent and nameless rookie, exterminating paranormal entities with the guys voiced by the original actors themselves: Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson, with additional voices and appearances by Alyssa Milano, and William Atherton as Walter Peck. The script was penned by Aykroyd and Ramis themselves, and they bring just as many jokes and just as much charm as they did with them in the films.

The game plays like a third-person-shooter. You start out with the basic Proton Pack, running a quick tutorial with Stantz, capturing Slimer who accidently got free. With every primary fire, you have a secondary fire. With the traditional Blast Stream, you have Boson Darts which are concentrated blasts of energy that cause significant damage. Later in the game you’ll be equipped with the Shock Blast that fires like a shot gun, and Stasis Stream which can freeze enemies, the Slime Blower (seen in Ghostbusters II), the Slime Tether which you can use to connect different objects to help solve puzzles and finally the Meson Collider, a long range particle blast that works well with your Overload Pulse — firing like a machine gun — that will follow that Meson Collider’s particle blast, and hit an enemy without aiming directly at it.

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The formula for capturing ghosts is simple. Blast ’em, wrangle ’em, and trap ’em. When your cross hairs are on an enemy, a circular life gauge for them will appear. Wear them down with your various unlicensed nuclear based weaponry, and your wrangle beam will automatically hook them into your grasp like a lasso. While lassoed, a Slam Meeter will fill that allows you to, well, slam the ghost as it struggles to escape. Once they’re worn, toss a trap and bag ’em.

Your health meter is displayed on your proton pack, keeping your screen nice and clean, free of an ugly HUD. Next to that is a overload meeter that warns you when your weapon is over heating, and you’ll have to press a shoulder button to release the pressure. This feels a lot like reloading. With each enemy defeated and ghost captured, you gain money that can be spent on upgrades for your weapons and PKE meter. Your PKE meter is a handy tool that will help you sniff out ghosts and find the many artifacts hidden throughout the game.

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Instead of just dieing when your health meter runs out, you’ll be temporarily out of action until another Ghostbuster can come revive you. Once all the Ghostbusters are down, the game is over. Depending on your difficulty setting, some of the enemies can be very overwhelming and result in a lot of reviving and not enough busting.

The dialogue and banter is legitimately funny and really makes you feel like you’re actually alongside the Ghostbusters. The voice acting is, of course, top notch, and all the sounds from the movie are here. The sound track is ripped right from the two films, and while good, it was originally only meant to support a two hour film, not a six hour game, so you’ll be hearing a lot of the same music. The cut scenes vary from beautiful cinematic opening and closers between each chapter, to poor in-game rendered shots, but over all, the graphics are good.

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The main story is short, only about six hours as mentioned previously. The only replay value through the story is for finding any artifacts or scanning and ghosts you missed. However, online support adds much life to the game. You and three other players will play through mini campaigns consisting of four missions where you’ll either work with or against each other, capturing as many ghosts and earning the biggest paycheck you can.

Unfortunately, if you aren’t much of an online player, you wont have much reason to return to the game once you’ve beaten it. A few more special features and options could have really made this already good game great. If you’re a hardcore Ghostbusters fan like me, then you’ll absolutely love this game. It really feels like it was made for the fans, and will probably be the closest thing to a third movie fans will get for a while.

Bustin’ makes me feel good! Ghostbusters: The Video Game for the XBox 360 and Playstation 3 gets a 4/5.

A PC version of the game was also released, but has zero online play. The Wii version of the game follows the same story and gameplay tactics, but with motion controls, and has a more cartoonish look to it.

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Currently, IDW is publishing Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression, by Scott Lobdell and Illias Kyriazis, about our heroes being separated and placed in different time periods throughout history. 25 years later, the Ghostbusters are still extremely popular. With only a slight chance of an actual third film, fans rely on the comics and games to get their Ghostbusting fix. Maybe IDW can do for Ghostbusters what Dark Horse did for Star Wars, and create an even larger legacy for the characters, and generating more fans than would have been possible with just the films. Here’s to more Ghostbusters comics in the future!

Checkout The Comics Console next week when we play X-Men Origins: Wolverine!

Andrew Hurst
andrewhurst@comicattack.net

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7 Comments


  1. InfiniteSpeech

    The game was actually fun to play and having most of the original cast was just awesome. Sigourney Weaver waited till the last minute to come aboard and by then it was too late and Rick Moranis just basically turned down the oppurtinity. But from graphics to sound it was just as authentic and basically (for now) the best thing to an actual sequal.



  2. Great review Andrew! This game looks sick!


  3. billy

    Good show AW. My kids saw this in the store and were all pumped about it.


  4. Dakk Attakk

    …Im sorry. I think the Ghostbusters are highly overrated idiots.
    I didnt like either of the movies, and i gave the game a shot and found it repitive and overwhelming. Bill Murray is only like the MOST unfunny guy on the planet. ..everyones always like “BILL MURRAY!! BILL MURRAY!! YOUR A COMIC GOD!!” … i say “IMA FIRIN MAH LAZARRR!!!” :0<<<<<<<
    Fuckass.

    .. imjustsaying. …


  5. Kristin

    Ouch! Why the Bill Murray hate?
    Have you seen these excellent films that he’s in?
    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
    The Royal Tenenbaums
    Lost in Translation
    Ed Wood
    Tootsie


  6. InfiniteSpeech

    Bill Murray a comic GOD? maybe not but he’s pretty damn funny when given the right material or even when he’s doing improv..hell his ealry SNL stuff was great! From Stripes to Scrooged he was good. Though I wasn’t a big fan of Lost in Translation, the first Ghost Busters is one of my all time favs!



  7. I think Bill Murray is a great actor. Groundhog Day and Life Aquatic are kick ass films!!



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