GHOSTBUSTERS / Sega / Genesis

Ghostbusters is a surprisingly good run-and-gun platformer, especially considering it was one of the earliest releases for the Genesis. It's constructed in a somewhat non-linear style; there's four buildings in New York being haunted, and you can take jobs at them in the order that you choose. In addition, there's multiple ghosts to hunt in each building, and you're free to just wander out and back to Ghostbuster HQ whenever you please. The Ghostbusters have no moral compunction about looting any safes they find laying around in these buildings for extra cash, and once back at HQ there's a couple of shops to visit to buy a wide range of power-up items with the loot you jack.

Ultimately, however, it's the non-linearity that drops the game from Good to Meh territory. Rather, it's the punishing difficulty combined with the fact that there's no save or password continue option. This works for some run-n-gun games, even some hard ones like Contra, but those are faster linear experiences that don't involve any exploration or powering up. The sheer amount of time required to sink into completing Ghostbusters plus the stereotypical Genesis ridiculous difficulty level is just too much to expect someone to play all the way through in one sitting. And even if you do it ... what reason is there to do it again?

The game is pretty basic graphically, though there are a few nice moments in the boss battles here and there, with the high point being the battle against the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in the high-rise. Music is mostly crappy generic arcade-style synth stuff and the "Who You Gonna Call?" theme song gets absolutely butchered on the title screen. There's a preponderance of rather cheap hits, but overall I like the gameplay - a bit reminiscent of Mega Man except the Ghostbusters have a pretty good range of motion being able to duck, crawl along the floor, fire upwards and stop in position to do a fixed-fire diagonal shot. The lattermost shows up Metal Slug and Contra which for some reason never could figure those out.

If you're emulating or playing this on some other format where you can use Save States, maybe bump it up to a Good rating in your mind. It's actually quite a creative and competent little run-and-gun, just too much to try to take on all in one two or three hour marathon as the designers apparently intended.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video