System: Nintendo Wii
Release Date: June 16, 2009
Developer: Red Fly Studios
Ghostbusters is considered to be, by many, one of the most recognized movie franchises to have surfaced over the last few decades. Not too many people can claim that they have never heard the film’s main theme song or, at the very least, the phrase, “Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” It’s been over fifteen years since a video game based on the series was released and with the track record that Ghostbusters possesses, it’s surprising that it has taken so long for a new video game to be released. But it’s finally here – A new ghost-busting game is out and fortunately, the Wii version isn’t too shabby.
It’s important to note right off the bat that this is not a gimped Ghostbusters title. Unlike many publishers who ignore the Wii when it comes to multiplatform titles, it is very clear that Red Fly Studios, in charge of the Wii version, put in a lot of effort in creating a bona fide experience. You’ll see familiar faces along with their original voice actors, you’ll hear the famous Ghostbusters song (although it is underused) and you’ll recognize unique weaponry. No, the Wii version does not feature realistic graphics (which is actually an intelligent design choice). However, the game still manages to hold its own when compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions.
The game picks up following the events of the second Ghostbusters film. You’re placed in the role of a male or female guinea pig of sorts, testing out Egon’s hottest hardware. Soon after you’re introduced to the Ghostbusters team, a huge energy pulse shakes New York. It will be your job to take the Ecto-1 vehicle to a museum in the city and investigate the incident.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is split up into numerous missions, all of which can be played with or without a friend. Usually you will be paired with at least one other member of the team in search of ghosts or other strange activity. The AI of your fellow partners is handled unexpectedly well. Members of the team will indeed assist you in weakening ghosts and may occasionally lead you to certain areas throughout missions. However, you will never feel as though you’re being babied nor will you get the feeling that the assistance is ineffective.
Throughout your journey, familiar tools from the series will be at your disposal to track and take down ghosts including the PKE Meter, PKE Goggles, and sure enough, the Proton Pack. Obviously, the blast stream is the main attraction early on in the game. The weapon will become your most important weapon for weakening ghosts, though you plenty of other tools will eventually become available. Firing the blast stream requires only a simple push of the “A” button, but to get a better sense of where the ghost is, you can lock on with “C.” As you continue to fire away at a particular ghost, its main health bar will dwindle and you will be ready to finish it off by slamming it in the direction specified on-screen by gesturing the Wiimote.
Controls in Wii titles are always a concern due to excessive waggle, but fortunately I am happy to report that on the whole, the developers have nailed down use of the Wii remote and nunchuck. Most prominently featured is the game’s use of the Wii remote IR. Pointing at objects, ghosts, and other items couldn’t be simpler. Having the ability to use the pointer rather than a joystick creates a more streamlined and overall entertaining experience. Perhaps the only control blemish becomes apparent when wrangling with ghosts. Sometimes, the game simply doesn’t feel as though it is recognizing your movements. There were instances when I would gesture the Wiimote to the left, only to see the ghost crash into the right. It still works more often that it doesn’t, yet it does seem as though the motion control can be cumbersome at times.
Similar to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Ghostbusters, the blast stream can also be used to obliterate almost anything in your path. It’s great to see a Wii title that allows you to take aim at almost every object you encounter and blow it to smithereens. Couches? Check. Plants? Check. Paintings? Check. You get the idea. It’s admittedly fun to get diverted and, based on the amount/type of items you destroy, you can rack up a large sum money that New York City will agree to pay at the end of a level. It doesn’t do much for actual gameplay, but you can obtain a rank of sorts based on your destructiveness such as “Careful Catcher.” Of course, you can always repeat a level later and attempt to reach a higher title.
As was previously mentioned, the Wii version of Ghostbusters possesses a different art style than its PS3 and 360 counterparts with a more cartoony and playful look. While you certainly won’t be floored by the game’s graphics, there still are some nice visuals and some may even argue that this is one of the Wii’s better looking games. With that said, some textures look a bit on the blocky side and some animation appears to be out of sync in some scenes which use voice acting.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a must-buy for followers of the franchise. The only decision to be made is which version should be purchased. While I can’t speak for the PS3 and 360 versions of the game, the Wii version certainly provides first-rate presentational elements for fans and also manages to offer enough thrills for newcomers of the series. This title may go under the radar with other high-profile releases such as The Conduit, but Ghostbusters on the Wii should not be overlooked.
Overall Score: 8.1/10