If you’re looking for the definitive Ghostbusters video game experience, your best option is probably Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Your second best option is probably Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered, which was released in 2019 for the Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows. I didn’t have the chance to play the original, so I made sure I got a copy (a physical cartridge!) of this game for the Nintendo Switch.
Let’s talk about why I love this game so much!
Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered is a third person over the shoulder shooter game that was remastered by Saber Interactive and published by Mad Dog Games for the aforementioned game systems. The original version was actually developed by Terminal Reality. In the game, you take on the role of an unnamed man who has just been newly recruited by the Ghostbusters. Instead of controlling the different Ghostbusters, they’re all NPCs and you’ll be working with them throughout the game.
All of the known characters are based on the actor’s original likeness in the film, and the actors themselves did the voice acting. Even the story was written by the movie’s main creative force: Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. And this game is really well written, making sure that you spend a good amount of time working with each member. This approach makes the game so freaking immersive. It really felt like I was involved in a third Ghostbusters movie.
As this follows modern game design, you don’t have any “lives” in the game. You do have a health meter which recharges over time. If you get knocked down, there’s a revive mechanic that will allow you to continue. And when that fails, the game has a save system and auto save check points. The Nintendo Switch version only has one save slot per user though, and I made the mistake of overwriting it! Instead of getting frustrated, I’m seeing this as a good reason to play this game again until the end.
I loved the quick tutorial stage of Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered because it fit the plot of the game well. On your first day, Slimer and another ghost manages to escape the containment unit, so you have to try and catch both. Here, you’ll be accompanied by Ray, who summarizes what you need to do with a single statement: “Sap ’em, cap ’em, trap ’em!”
First, you need to wear out a ghost’s PKE (health). You can do this by shooting a Proton Stream at them. Each ghost will have a circular PKE indicator. While a ghost still has a lot of PKE, your Proton Stream won’t tether itself to them. So you need to keep following ghosts around with your aim.
There’s a capture function available which makes your Proton Stream latch on to ghosts and other things. This is automatically enabled when the ghost’s PKE is in the red. When this happens, you can start pulling on the ghost using the Proton Stream. You can also “slam” ghosts against walls, floors, and ceilings to further weaken it.
These all build up to finally trapping the ghosts. You can toss a ghost trap yourself or one of the other Ghostbusters can do it too. A trap that’s out will shine a beam of yellow light. You’ll need to drag the ghost with your Proton Stream towards that light. The ghost trap will activate automatically, and you just have to keep the ghost steady until the trap is able to absorb it.
You’re not limited to proton packs and ghosts traps in Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered. Your character will also get his own pair of proto-goggles and a PKE meter. The combination of both will help you navigate through the game’s stages, but these will help you find cursed artifacts as well.
In the game, you’ll earn money from scanning and capturing ghosts, finding haunted artifacts, and destroying city property. You can use this to purchase upgrades for your existing equipment. Aside from giving additional cash for upgrades, ghost scans and cursed artifacts are really there to give you more stuff to do. You can avoid them completely, or you can treat them as side missions to complete.
As for the upgrades, they’re mostly very helpful. Some examples of these are faster deployment of ghost traps, less recoil on proton streams, and so on. Ray and Egon are always coming up with new inventions so there will be more stuff to upgrade as you get farther in the game.
Aside from giving me stuff to do, this was effective in giving me the feel of progression. And you can upgrade any gadget you wish, for as long as you have the money for it. Which upgrade you purchase first can lead to some variation in your gameplay experience.
The Ghostbusters are a team, so working together is important. The A.I. controlling the Ghostbusters is quite decent. You’ll always be better, but they’re there, and they’re also catching ghosts too. It’s best if you work together with them instead of waiting for them to work with you.
Often, I would target a ghost that another is already targeting. Its easier to lead a ghost towards a trap with two or three Proton Streams as opposed to just your own. You’ll see the A.I. come in with their own Proton Streams to help you when you’re wrangling a ghost solo.
You’ll really need to work with the team when it comes to revives. After the first mission, the game will become harder. You and your fellow Busters are going to get knocked down more often. The game is over once all active Ghostbusters have been knocked down.
When someone gets knocked down, they will call for help. An indicator that will guide you to them will appear on the upper right side of the screen. Reviving them is as simple as going to them and pressing a button. Aside from needing to rely on your teammates to revive you when you get knocked down, there’s also one more reason to prioritize revives. When there are more active Ghostbusters fighting, the enemy ghosts have more targets. The fewer there are of you, the more enemies you’ll have to fight.
When you’re the only one left standing, you can get knocked down in a blink of an eye. So when the need arises, drop what you’re doing and revive anyone who is knocked down. I’ve gotten several “Mission Failed” messages because I tried to trap a ghost instead of helping my teammates out.
Visuals and Sound
I’m quite happy with the graphics of Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered. This game may not be as good-looking as current gen games but for me they look great. All the stages are detailed and have the graphical effects that I’d expect. The Proton Streams still look quite amazing. If there’s anything that needs to look good in a Ghostbusters game, it’s the Proton Stream animations.
The only aspect of this game’s visuals that didn’t age well are the faces of the characters. The technology back then just wasn’t good enough compared to what we have today. Now, they look pretty stiff and unnatural. This only matters in cutscenes though. When the game is running, you’ll be too busy busting ghosts to pay attention to your teammates’ faces.
Where this game really shines is in it’s music. When you think of Ghostbusters, what usually comes to mind is the main “Who you gonna call?” Ghostbusters theme. Does anyone remember the main Ghostbusters theme by Elmer Bernstein? This plays during the title screen, and I sometimes load this game up just to listen to this theme.
All throughout the game’s stages are tracks that I think are from the film. This means that they’re really from the movies or they sound like they’re from the movies. So it really feels like I’m playing an interactive sequel to the two Ghostbusters movies.
Story and Presentation
In my opinion, the plot of Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered is perfect. It works well as a follow up to the movies. It also works quite nicely as a Ghostbusters video game. The idea of putting you in the role of a nameless new recruit was a brilliant idea because it allows for the player to interact with the characters of the franchise.
As I stated previously, you start with a tutorial segment that actually makes sense because you’re coming to the game as a new recruit. This leads into a standard capture mission at the Sedgwick Hotel and the resurrection of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Later on, the game will follow you and the Ghostbusters as you try to solve the mysterious new threat.
All throughout, you’ll be spending a lot of time with the different members. Because the dialogue was written by the same team behind the movies, it all feels authentic. The voice acting is also excellent. I love just listening to the battle banter being exchanged by the different cast members.
I also liked how the game calls back on the movies by revisiting the same locations in the games. Starting the game with the Sedgwick Hotel mission brings you back to the films immediately. The Ghostbusters headquarters looks like an accurate recreation of their base. It even comes with a working fire pole! And while the game does revisit familiar places, it will take you to new locations too. I don’t want to reveal too much about the story, to avoid spoilers. Let me just say that this game definitely feels like a continuation of the first two movies.
It’s hard to look at Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered as anything other than a Ghostbusters fan, so I won’t even try to bother. For a fan like me, this is an excellent way to reacquaint myself with a franchise that I’ve been a fan of since I was a kid. The heavy involvement of the creators and actors behind the movies makes this game the perfect Ghostbusters game.
I’ve seen some talk about the Remastered versions missing some online multiplayer modes that the original versions had. Well, I never played those games and when I bought my copy of this game, I was looking for a single player experience. Multiplayer would have been a bonus. Since I wasn’t looking for it, I don’t care that it’s not here.
I don’t know how a person who isn’t a fan of the franchise will feel about this game. I think fans will love it! It’s got everything that I want from a Ghostbusters game, from the characters, to the music, to the action. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants the Ghostbusters experience!