Sunday 10 January 2016

Ghostbusters (NES review)

Developer: Bits Laboratory
Publisher: Activision
Released: 1988

Ghostbusters is an action game that's based on the 1984 film on the same name.

Your mission is to stop ghosts from taking over New York City and open up the Zuul building to destroy Gozer. To do this you move around the map and enter buildings that flash red; a driving sequence then occurs where you avoid swerving vehicles to reach the location of the ghosts. Using your beams you then try to capture four ghosts to earn money for power-ups which include a Super Trap (doesn't need emptying) and a Hyper Beam (higher laser streams). The driving makes up the majority of the game but you can't see very far ahead meaning you have to take it slow, otherwise you'll collide with a car and lose money. You can also run out of petrol but instead of visiting the Gas Station there's red barrels on the road for refills. There's barely any action though making it repetitive and overall it's like a poor LCD handheld game. The areas where you capture ghosts is the most interesting but they only last a few seconds before you're back to more boring driving. There's nothing engaging or even remotely challenging about either and 90% of the game is a mundane grind while you wait for the Zuul entrance to open up. When this happens you enter a building and attempt to climb stairs while avoiding ghosts; this involves continually tapping Button A which is exhausting! The collision detection is atrocious and you'll sometimes die despite being nowhere near the ghosts! If you make it to the roof you fight Gozer in a single screen shooter; again, the controls are dreadful and there's some slowdown too. If you enjoy the classic Ghostbusters theme get ready to detest it as it's the only song in the whole game!
Ghostbusters is poorly executed with paper-thin ideas and gameplay that will bore you to tears. It's repetitive, not to mention half-baked, and overall it does a terrible job of conveying the original film in videogame form.
Random trivia: A sequel called Ghostbusters II was released on the NES in 1990.

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