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Terminal Reality



T (Teen)



June 16, 2009



- Top notch voicework from original film cast

- Exhaustive attention to visual detail

- Fast paced and fun



- Ridiculous installation issue

- Obnoxious DRM



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Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Score: 6.0 / 10


When Ghostbusters came out in the halcyon days of 1984, you'd have been hard pressed to find somebody more into the film than me.  I might have been a little tyke, but the film was insanely cool to me, and it probably qualifies as the first film I ever found truly quotable.  Twenty-five years later, we're getting a new chapter in the ongoing saga of the original "professional paranormal investigators and eliminators."  It's geek candy for the fans who loved the movies, but its crunchy goodness is tragically marred by infernal packaging.


ghostbusters          ghostbusters


Terminal Reality and horror-themed games have a long history together and they know how to put out a superior looking product.  The company's come a long way from their first damn good looking game Nocturne, and it's apparent to the player




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right from the beginning that they haven't lost their visual chops.  The digital reproductions of the original cast members are all spot on.  There's no possibility you're going to mistake one person for another.  It only gets better from there.  Terminal Reality seems to have closely followed the artistic style of the two movies when it comes to creating a whole new batch of spooks, specters, and


ghosts for the player to take on while also bringin back some old favorites.  Whether it's the Gray Lady in the bowels of the New York Public Library, the small piranha-on-legs marshmallow minions spat out by a reincarnated Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man to the spectral sea captain haunting the seafood restaurant of the Sedgwick Hotel, there's not a moment where you can't recognize the spooks and can't help but enjoy them even as you're trying to avoid being slimed, slashed, smashed, and burnt by them.  The attention to detail also extends to reproductions of the iconic equipment and vehicles from the film.  This may well be the closest you'll get to a third Ghostbusters film anytime soon.


In keeping with the degree of visual fidelity, Terminal Reality went positively gonzo with the sound.  The original cast (minus Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis) reprise their roles without any hint of "I'm doing this for the paycheck" feeling.  Overall, the voice work is solid.  Dan Akroyd and Ernie Hudson completely nail their parts.  Bill Murray and Harold Ramis occasionally seem to be a little off on their inflections during some of the cutscenes, but otherwise turn in great performances.  Annie Potts makes put upon secretary/dispatcher Janine sound like she hasn't left the office at all (and we love her for it).  William Atherton seems to have the same minor inflection problems as Murray and Ramis, but still convinces us that Walter Peck is still the same annoying bureaucrat as he was in the first movie.  Alyssa Milano portrays the game's would-be damsel in distress and target of Venkman's fickle affections, Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn, and she proves to be a great foil for Bill Murray's character.  As an added little bonus, Max Von Sydow pops in for some cameo voice work as the painting-bound despot Vigo and belittles you with just the right mix of lordly contempt and despondency every time you interact with his prison.  Elmer Bernstein's original score is played throughout and it still sounds great 25 years later.  Sound effects from the film are not only brought back, but expanded to handle the new gear and gadgets that the player employs throughout the game.


ghostbusters          ghostbusters


Gameplay is pretty damn simple.  Going through various locales, you play as the new "Experimental Equipment Technician," the guy who handles all the new and highly untested equipment the Ghostbusters haven't quite approved for general field use.  You're referred to only as "Rookie", mainly because you are the new guy on the team, partially because Venkman doesn't want the others to get too emotionally attached to you.  As you progress, you hunt down ghosts using the PKE meter and Paragoggles, wrangle them with the proton packs, and trap them for cold hard cash.  Of course, property damage does get taken off your bill, but you can earn big bonuses by finding the various cursed artifacts throughout the game.  The upgrades available are very useful and arguably vital in the game's later stages.  Should you or your teammates get taken down, reviving them is very easy, but if the whole team's taken out, it's game over.  The story picks up after the second movie, with the Ghostbusters working for the city and countering a new barrage of free roaming vaporous apparitions that seem to be centered on an exhibit of Gozer-related materials.  Dr. Selwyn has been studying the architecture of Gozerian structures and now appears to be the target of the restless spirit of the crazed occultist Ivo Shandor, the guy who designed the Gozer temple at the top of the apartment building in Central Park West.  Some might argue that the gameplay is a little too simple, even repetitive, but it's nice to see a game like this focus on the story and characters so thoroughly.  Anything less would have felt like a cheap tie-in.


By now, you may be wondering why, if I like this game so much, the review score is so low.  There are two critical flaws in this game that, for all that I enjoy the game, compel me to knock the score down.  The first flaw is the installation of the game itself.  If you're installing the game to any drive other than C:, an error comes up indicating that the game did not completely install.  There are two reported fixes to this problem (a patch was not available at the time of this writing), one of which involves serious registry hacking, both of which are a pain in the ass for somebody who just wants to put the game on their hard drive.  This is sloppy damn QA work and somebody in that department needs to get spanked for not catching it sooner.  The second flaw is the presence of the SecureROM DRM scheme on the disk.  It is, flat out, obnoxious as hell.  Maybe not quite to the level of Spore, but not too far away either.


I love the game, but I wouldn't recommend the PC version of it should somebody ask.  And that is a damn shame because it looks wonderful on PC, sounds wonderful on PC, and plays wonderful on PC.  It's the game any fan could want, but the obstacles involved can turn even the most faithful fan against it.


- Axel Cushing

(August 5, 2009)


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