Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum
Submitted by: Ian Marks
“Ghstbsssstrrrsss” squeaked the Spectrum as the game loaded… at least I think that is what it said, it sounded more like a badly tuned radio. The computer then plays the most lethargic version of the Ghostbusters theme song you have ever heard, and doesn’t even bother with the bouncing ball, or the ability to press space to hear it say “Ghstbsssstrrrsss” again…
It wasn’t an auspicious start, and I do remember thinking that I wish I owned a Commodore 64 so I could play the proper version of the game. I knew from experience that Activision did not invest a lot of time in ZX Spectrum conversions. Pitfall was awful, River Raid worse, so why should Ghostbusters be any different.
Truth be told it was a sort of okayish conversion. There were bad points – such as the aforementioned sound, and the fact that it used the standard Spectrum character set, which was always a sign of a cheap product. But there were good points too, most of the story was there, and it was actually quite good on the gameplay front, even if the graphics were a bit weedy and stickmanish.
I was a big fan of Ghostbusters the film and I do remember playing this for an entire Christmas period, almost physically willing it to be good, and I think I really did talk myself into thinking this. Then something awful happened….
….. my Commodore 64 owning friend telephoned in the new year and said he’d got Ghostbusters for Christmas too. Come round and play he said knowingly. As soon as I saw it load I knew I was in trouble. The sound was superb, and the graphics were twice if not three times better. Everything was just smoother, and it played like a dream. That night I cried and cried into my Star Wars pillowcase. Why did I own a Spectrum… why?
The next day I pulled myself together and played a few hours of Knight Lore, Lunar Jetman and Lords of Midnight and I remembered why I did own a Spectrum. Because they were ace! I just never played Ghostbusters again.
Format reviewed: Commodore 64
Developer: David Crane
Submitted by: James Evans
Even the loading screen has charm – like many of the old games. The screen tells you to make a brew or play a Space Invaders clone.
The title screen appears and the digitised sound shouts 'Ghostbusters!' You know you are on to a winner with this!
Start the game and you get to pick a car, which always ended up being the ambulance – why pick a beetle?! and all the equipment you want. When I say want you can pick what you can afford – but you won't win. You need the marshmallow man bait. More on that in a bit.
The game begins and its a top down grid of New York. Houses light up red and you drive to them to catch the ghost. You position your men and trap then start your proton packs trying not to cross the streams. You have to time it right with the trap else you get slimed and the ghost escapes. Catch it and its back to the map to do it again.
The game progresses, it gets faster and faster, more houses lighting up red. Before you know it, marshmallow man appears. If you picked the bait (bet you didn't) you stop him trampling a house. If not you get to watch his smug fat face dance on your soul.
The game culminates with you appearing at the appartments in a bid to stop Zuul. You get 3 chances (no room for you then Winston) to run under Staypuft's legs. You need 2 through to end the game. Lose and well you lose.
Top game, crap graphics but who cares! Oh and if you don't know the lyrics to the song it tells you at the beginning. The tune plays the entire way through the game but this inexplicibly never ever gets dull. Im glad I knew Activision before they whored themselves to the Call Of Duty Bandwagon and then continued to neglect an aging Tony Hawk. Shame on you.
Format reviewed: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Submitted by: Mike Wilcox
There has been one version of Ghostbusters that seems to have graced every single computer and console since time begin and probably, even the Hubble space telescope! But the version on the humble MD goes against type. It's not like the David Crane created version on the Speccy, C64, Amstrad and SMS.
This is a typical platformer whereby you start off by selecting your 'buster, and then you get the call from a client and then select the level you want from the choice of 4 initially to start on. Afterwards, you get to unlock a further 3 levels. You do also get to purchase extra weapons and Peking Duck to boost your health during the game.
The game does away with the driving section and instead of a single screen consisting of catching one ghost, the levels scroll and are sometimes up to 4 screens high (maybe more). The game is quite tricky on hard but it does provide a challenge and the sprites are well animated and when you've been stripped of all your health, you turn into a mummy!!
I really can't praise this game enough. It's a cracking take on the franchise even if the controls at some points can be quite fiddly, but don't let that spoil your enjoyment of this fine, fine game.