Hi, we’re the Real Ghostbusters, stars of TV, video, bendy toys (if you make any remarks here, Phil, I will hit you) etc, and now the latest computer game from Activision. In this ten level, action-packed game you too can become a Ghostbuster, joining us as we shoulder our proton beams and guns and set about saving the day (again).
As with the original game collecting ghosts is the objective. Unlike the original most of the ghosts start off as big and very aggressive monsters. Shooting them with your gun reduces the creatures to harmless ghosts, which can be collected with your proton beam (hold down fire). While bullets are unlimited, proton energy isn’t and more can be collected via bonus items concealed in various obstructions — like oil drums and wheelbarrows (!?). Bonus items include shield, super bullets, increased beam energy and Slimer! Fans of the TV show will know Slimer’s the ghostbuster’s pet ghost with a ravenous appetite for ‘foody!’. In the game the cute, green ghost circles around your character, sticking out his tongue and killing anything that touches him.
At the end of each level lurks a super baddie who makes all of the horrible denizens so far encountered look like beauty queens. These loathsome rejects from the lowest pits of hell are very tough and take many shots to dispatch. But once they’re sent back to their master, a key appears which allows you on to the next multiloaded level.
Unlike the original game this is something of a masterpiece of programming. Graphics are extremely colourful, highly detailed and there’s hardly any colour clash at all. Scrolling is relatively smooth in all directions and sound is effective, with a good title tune. Each level has at least two routes to the end-of-level monster and finding the best one is all part of the game. Other tactics involve use of the proton beam which not only collects ghosts, but also quickly destroys monsters. Making good use of the proton beam, without running out of power, is critical. And collecting ghosts isn’t important only for points — some of them carry bonus items and if you collect 50 ghosts you get a life. This means when you’re playing the game you’re always torn between rushing to the end — to beat the timer — or staying around to collect more ghosts (which isn’t easy). Once good at the game you can follow one route to the end of level, destroy the super monster, then go down route two to get more ghosts.
The only real flaw in gameplay is the two-player option. With such relatively big characters there’s not far you can move without hitting the edge of the screen unless your fellow player keeps up, allowing the screen to scroll with you. Since there’s such a lot of monsters waiting to ambush you the two player game is, on the whole, more irritating than fun. In addition the control keys for the second Interface 2 joystick have been messed up so you can’t use two joysticks, and the key layout is poor as well. But still, if you really do want a two-player game, it is there — but all the marks are for the excellent one-player game.
In conclusion The Real Ghostbusters is an addictive and highly enjoyable trip into the cartoon world of everyone’s favourite paranormal investigators.
MARK — 90%