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Ghostbusters: The Video Game

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Title: Ghostbusters: The Video Game  
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Subject: Dan Aykroyd, Max von Sydow, Brian Doyle-Murray, Annie Potts, New York Public Library, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ghostbusters II, Rainmaker Entertainment, Alyssa Milano
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Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Windows, PS3, and Xbox 360 box art
Developer(s) Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

Terminal Reality (single player), Threewave Software (multi player)[1]
PS2, Wii, PSP[2]
Red Fly Studio
Nintendo DS
Zen Studios
Rainmaker Entertainment (Pre-Rendered Cut Scenes Only)

Publisher(s) Atari

Sony Computer Entertainment (Europe) (PS3, PS2 and PSP versions only)

Distributor(s) Atari,[3]
Series Ghostbusters
Engine Infernal Engine (Windows, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii)
Platform(s)
Release date(s) PlayStation 2 and 3
  • NA June 16, 2009[4]
  • EU June 19, 2009
Xbox 360, Wii, DS, Windows
PlayStation Portable
  • NA October 30, 2009
  • EU November 6, 2009
  • AUS November 12, 2009[6]
Genre(s) Action game, third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Blu-ray Disc, cloud computing, digital distribution, DVD, DS Game Card, Wii Optical Disc, UMD

Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a 2009 action game and a part of the Ghostbusters franchise. Terminal Reality developed the Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 versions, while Red Fly Studio developed the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii versions, and Zen Studios developed the Nintendo DS version.[2][7] The game was released after several delays in development and multiple publisher changes.[8] In North America, all versions of the game were published by Atari,[3][9] while publishing in Europe for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 versions was handled by Sony Computer Entertainment.[10]

The game follows the player's character as a new recruit in the Ghostbusters, a team of parapsychologists who pursue and capture ghosts. The game features elements of typical third-person shooters, but instead of using a traditional gun, players are equipped with a "Proton Pack", a laser beam-like weapon, and a ghost trap to fight and capture ghosts.[11] The game's plot is set two years after Ghostbusters II, around Thanksgiving in 1991, with the Ghostbusters team training the player's character while investigating paranormal activities in New York.

Many of the principal cast members from the films were involved in the game's production. Each of the actors who portrayed the Ghostbusters in the films, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson, lent their voices and likenesses to the in-game characters.[12] Aykroyd and Ramis, who wrote the films, also aided in minor script doctoring for the game.[13] Other film cast members, such as William Atherton, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Annie Potts lent their voices and likenesses to the game's characters as well. Max von Sydow also reprised the voice of Vigo the Carpathian. Ghostbusters: The Video Game also contains the soundtrack from the original Ghostbusters film, along with various characters, locations, and props featured in the films.[12] Ghostbusters creator Dan Aykroyd has said, "This is essentially the third movie."[14]

Gameplay

Further information: Ghostbusters (franchise)

The game is a third-person shooter, placing players in the role of an original character simply known as "Rookie" (also called "Rook", "Newbie" and similar names by the Ghostbusters), a new recruit to the Ghostbusters team. Players control Rookie's movements as he explores the environments of each level, seeking out paranormal activities and ghosts, either alone or with up to all four of the other Ghostbusters. Players can switch to a first-person perspective by equipping the Rookie with the PKE Meter and goggles. In this mode, paranormal items are highlighted and the PKE Meter will help direct players to ghosts or haunted artifacts. Players can scan these elements to gain more information about them and receive a monetary reward. Weapons cannot be used in this mode.

Outside of the first-person view, players can aim and fire the Proton Stream to weaken ghosts so they can be captured in a ghost trap. However, continuous use of the pack will cause it to overheat. The pack can be manually vented to cool it down and keep it from shorting out and reseting. While the pack is overheated or being vented, players will momentarily be unable to use the pack's weapons. Once a ghost is weak enough, players can switch to the Capture Stream to maneuver the ghost into a ghost trap. With a ghost in the Capture Stream, players can also execute a "slam" attack to force it against a hard surface, weakening it further and making it easier to trap the ghost. The Capture stream can also be used to move objects in the environment.[12]

The single player campaign for the Xbox 360, Windows and PlayStation 3 versions is the same. The Wii/PS2 version has a significantly different campaign although the stories are mostly the same. Over the course of the game, the Proton Pack is upgraded to include an additional firing mode other than the Proton Stream, such as the Shock Blast, Slime Blower (positively charged) and a Meson Collider, each with an alternate firing mode (a Boson Dart, Stasis Stream, Slime Tether and Overload Pulse). By capturing ghosts, as well as identifying cursed artifacts and new species of ghosts using the PKE Meter, players earn in-game money to spend on upgrades to proton pack modes and ghost traps.[12] The game also tallies monetary destruction caused by the player, with Xbox 360 Achievements and PlayStation 3 Trophies awarded for either minimizing damage done, or for causing a high amount of damage.[15]

Many achievements' names come from quotes in the films like, for example, the "You Gotta Try This Pole" achievement. Ray says "You Gotta Try This Pole" when he tries out the pole for the first time. Other quote achievements are "I Looked Into the Trap, Ray", "I Feel So Funky", "You Never Studied" and others.[16]

In place of a traditional heads-up display, the player's health and weapon status are represented as meters on the rear of the Proton Pack. Health regenerates over time if the player does not take further damage. However, by taking more damage, they can be knocked down; if there are other Ghostbusters still standing, they will attempt to reach the player and revive him/her. Similarly, the player can help revive fallen team members. However, should all the active Ghostbusters fall, including the player, play will end and the player will have to restart at the last checkpoint.[12]

The Wii, PlayStation 2, and PSP versions (aka "Stylized Version") differ slightly from the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows versions (aka "Realistic Versions") in some aspects. In addition to the cartoon-like graphics and the E10+ rating, the Wii version uses the Wii Remote for gameplay. Visual aspects of the interface are relocated, such as placing the Proton Pack's temperature meter as a HUD element instead of on the backpack. In the Stylized Version, the player "slams" a ghost by initiating a Simon Says-type game with the ghost, and is also given the option to play as a man or woman.[17][18]

Multiplayer

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions feature online multiplayer. Players can play online in a cooperative mode with up to three others in a variety of missions outside of the main storyline. These include capturing as many ghosts in a limited period or attempting to defend ghost disruptors as they are charged up. The Wii version is the only other platform to feature multiplayer, with the entire single player mission playable by two players in split-screen mode. In December 2012, after three years of online gameplay, Atari shut the PS3 servers down for the online modes. Atari cited the declining online game play as the main reason for shutting down the servers, However the Xbox360 servers still remain up at this time.[19][20][21]

DS version

The DS version developed by Zen Studios is completely different from the both the Stylized and Realistic Versions and has been compared to Activision's old Ghostbusters computer game. Making use of the DS's touch screen, this version features isometric action, as well as driving sequences and elements of resource management and has an E rating.[22]

Plot

The events of the game begin during Thanksgiving Day 1991, two years after the events of Ghostbusters II. The Ghostbusters, now official city contractors, are training a new recruit, whom Dr. Venkman insists they simply call "Rookie", so they don't get too attached, in case something should happen to the new hire while testing out experimental equipment.[23] A large PKE shockwave then hits New York City,[24] and sends the team on a variety of calls to capture ghosts that result from it, including Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.[25] Throughout these calls, they are hounded by Walter Peck, now head of the Paranormal Contracts Oversight Commission (PCOC, pronounced "peacock") as appointed by Mayor Jock Mulligan, who warns them about causing too much damage in their ghost capturing activities.[26] The Ghostbusters discover through a series of adventures and encounters with museum curator Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn (Alyssa Milano) that Ivo Shandor, the architect who designed 55 Central Park West that was once used to summon Gozer, had also designed a network of tunnels to channel ectoplasmic slime through the city,[27] including specific Shandor-renovated buildings acting as nodes on a mandala, as a means to merge the real world with the Ghost World and bring forth another Great Destructor like Gozer.[28] The Ghostbusters help to destroy the nodes and capture the node guardians at the Sedgewick Hotel, the New York Public Library, and the Museum of Natural History.[29] At the last node in the middle of the Hudson River[30] they discover a mansion on an island rising from the water. As they explore it, they find that the island belonged to Shandor[31] and that Ilyssa is his descendant.[32] They also discover machines pumping the slime into the tunnel network[27] and disable them as well as the final Mandala node, and escape the island just before it sinks back into the water.[33]

When they return to the mainland, the Ghostbusters find that Ilyssa was captured and the Containment Unit shut down once again, releasing the ghosts, and suspect that Peck has been possessed and is trying to call forth a Great Destructor.[34] A massive mausoleum appears in Central Park and the team fights their way into the central structure.[35] Inside, they find both Ilyssa and Peck chained to walls and discover Mayor Mulligan possessed by Ivo Shandor himself who used Peck as a scapegoat to avoid detection.[36] Shandor reveals that he wishes to take Gozer's place as a god, the latter having failed him twice. The Ghostbusters are able to exorcise Shandor from the Mayor before he can sacrifice Ilyssa as part of a ritual, but are pulled into the Ghost World where they are forced to fight Shandor in his Destructor form, a Satanic being called the Architect.[37] They manage to defeat Shandor by crossing their Proton Streams, and return to the real world, where they rescue Ilyssa, Peck, and the Mayor before the mausoleum collapses.[38]

During the credits, the four original Ghostbusters determine that five of them is just too many for one team, but decide to offer the Rookie a position as the head of a yet-to-be-opened Ghostbusters franchise in another city.[39]

Development

In 2006, game developer ZootFly started work on a Ghostbusters game before having secured the rights to develop the game from Sony. The company subsequently released videos of an early version of the game onto the Internet. However, the company was unable to secure the rights to develop the game as a Ghostbusters game. Zootfly then continued development of the game as a non-Ghostbusters themed game renamed TimeO.[8]

Coincidentally, in the Spring of 2007, Sierra Entertainment and developer Terminal Reality met with Sony to discuss the possibility of developing their own Ghostbusters video game.[40] The positive reaction that Zootfly’s videos garnered helped sell the concept of such a game to Sony.[8] After a successful pitch, Terminal Reality started developing the game, eventually stating that the PS3 was the lead development platform.[41] One of the game's features that Terminal Reality promoted was a crowd artificial intelligence system to be used extensively for a Thanksgiving Day parade level that was eventually cut from the final version.[42]

Development of the game stopped when Vivendi merged with Activision to form Activision Blizzard. On July 28, 2008 Activision Blizzard (the publisher of Vivendi's and Sierra's titles) announced that only five franchises would be released through Activision. Ghostbusters was not one of them and was put in developmental limbo following the announcement. The Sierra PR team later confirmed that the game was not and would not be cancelled.[43]

Ending months of speculation, Infogrames announced on November 7, 2008, that Atari would be releasing the game in June 2009,[44] to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first film's theatrical release. At the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony confirmed that the game would be released on June 16 in North America and June 19 in Europe, alongside Blu-ray releases of the Ghostbusters films.[4] Sony later announced that they would be publishing the PS2 and PS3 versions in Europe granting the Sony consoles a timed exclusive release, while Atari would publish the game for other consoles later in the year. Atari would remain the sole publisher for the games in North America.[10] Despite Namco's purchase of Atari's European operations, this release schedule remained intact.[45] The Xbox 360 version of the game is not region locked, allowing gamers in European markets to import and play the North American Xbox 360 release.[46]

Terminal Reality reported total development costs between $15 and 20 million. They have also expressed interest in making a game based on the possible third Ghostbusters film.[47]

The game was later released on the Xbox 360's Games on Demand.

Reception

Ghostbusters: The Video Game met with generally positive reception. Greg Miller of IGN gave both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions an 8.0 out of 10. Miller describes the game as a "love letter to Ghostbusters fans", saying that it "makes you feel like you are really a Ghostbuster". He lauds the CGI cutscenes as a positive feature, but finds fault with stiff character animation and bad lip sync in the other cutscenes. Miller gave the Wii version a 7.8 out of 10. Unlike Miller, fellow reviewer Matt Casamassina believed that the aiming system in Ghostbusters was better than the aiming system in Resident Evil 4.[12][48] PSM3 gave the game a score of 85 out of 100, stating that the game was "too short, but packed with quality and imagination."[49] The A.V. Club gave the game a B-, concluding that "It’s the best Ghostbusters game of all time, though that really isn’t saying much."[50] Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot rated the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game a 7.5 out of 10, listing the ghost-trapping gameplay and multiplayer mode as positives and frustrating spots in the game and repetitive gameplay as negatives.[11] He also reviewed the Wii version and gave it a 8 out of 10 stating that "Ghostbusters is such riotous fun that you'll forgive its short length."

On both the PlayStation and the Xbox 360 version of the game, there are Trophies/Achievements that are impossible to get for many players. This is not due to difficulty, but apparently to technical glitches in the programming of the Achievements. A patch was released for the PS3 & 360 version of the game on December 1st 2010 that was designed to fix this, but the Achievements still remained permanently broken for people who played pre-patch. In fact, only a small amount of people who played the game post patch and did not get any single player Achievements stated they could earn all the multiplayer Achievements, but even with this method some reported glitches with some multiplayer Achievements.

Ars Technica has reported graphical differences between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game. Though both versions were developed simultaneously by Terminal Reality, Ars claims that the PS3 version appears to use lower quality textures compared to the Xbox 360 version.[51]

Reviews for the Windows version of the game have tended to be more mixed. In general, reviewers have praised various elements of the gameplay, story, acting and graphics in a way consistent with the other platforms, but have expressed regret for a lack of multiplayer support and sometimes problematic digital rights management implementation. While the Windows version received a generally positive review from GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd, it received a slightly lower score than the comparable Xbox 360 and PS3 versions due to having no multiplayer features and exhibiting "...noticeable signs of console porting, such as minimal graphics options and keyboard-centric menus."[52] Axel Cushing of Armchair Empire glowingly described the gameplay and overall execution, but ultimately awarded the game only a 6.0 out of 10 due to an issue he encountered with the installer and the SecuRom DRM scheme on the boxed version, which he described as "obnoxious as hell."[53]

According to Terminal Reality, the game has sold over one million units by mid-July 2009.[47]

See also

Awards

Award Category Nominee Result
Interactive Achievement Award Outstanding Achievement in Adapted Story Harold Ramis, Patrick Hegarty, Flint Dille, Dan Aykroyd, John Melchior Nominated
Spike Video Game Award Best Game Based On A Movie/TV Show Nominated
Best Performance By A Human Male Bill Murray Nominated
Best Cast Nominated

Notes and references

External links

  • Internet Movie Database

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