Friday, October 9, 2009

Early impressions of...Ghostbusters.

Thanks to Sony and their mountains made of cash money, Australia is only now approaching a release date for Ghostbusters: The Video Game on the Xbox 360. November 6 to be exact is the time when you'll be busting them ghosts but fortunately, a demo of the game is already up and running on Xbox Live. I downloaded it the other day and checked it out.

I think I've actually been to that spot in New York.

The demo shows you a significant chunk of the game's mechanics, including firing the proton packs, using the PKE meter and checking out data in Tobin's Spirit Guide. All of these things are naturally inherent to the Ghostbusters experience and they meld into the game experience pretty smoothly. (I totally thought Tobin's Spirit Guide was real when I saw the movie in 1984 and wanted to find a copy because it sounded cool).

Playing as 'the rookie', a new Ghostbuster, you're at the New York Public Library with Ray, Egon and Winston (Venkman is nowhere to be seen) waving at the crowd in the street after performing some unspecified ghost-busting task. Of course, things aren't that easy and a couple of stray ghosts appear just begging for you to mop them up. The GB boys and yourself run inside the library and you eventually blast those pesky poltergeists and throw them in a trap.

Burn you fucking books! Ha ha! Wait...

Voice acting is prominent all the way through and is pretty solid. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis do a good job as their characters, with Aykroyd spouting off all that 'it's a class-five full-roaming vapour' type stuff pretty often. One of the weird aspects of this section is that you come across the librarian ghost which featured in the first moments of the movie and she is constantly referred to as 'The Grey Lady'. Like that's her name or something. It's strange that the characters (and indeed all the marketing for the game) have suddenly named this iconic ghost and now we're all supposed to say 'Oh, okay The Grey Lady'. I don't want her to have a name or backstory, I just want her to be 'librarian ghost'. What kind of latter-day retcon shit is that?

Anyway, the controls are sweet. Running around third-person Dead Space-style is the order of the day here and it works fine. Firing the proton pack with the right trigger is fun but the real joy comes from a 'reload' function that has been created for the game. Fire a proton beam for too long and the pack gets overheated. Tapping the right bumper button vents the pack, which ostensibly acts as a reload. Call it a contrivance for the sake of a video game, but it makes catching ghosts a lot more enjoyable and involved.

Ernie Hudson is a standout. As Winston Zeddmore, he really nails the urgency in his voice over work. True, he hardly says anything but when he does it's like actually running alongside Winston. Which is awesome.

Mr Awesome.

All the Ghostbusters music you could want is here. The cool understated score from the movie accompanies you throughout the game and Ray Parker Jnr's legendary song fills up the load screens.

It looks like the Ghostbusters game that you could hope for and probably the only decent one that's ever going to be made so I'm pretty sure I'll be picking it up when it drops in November. 

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