30th May 2021: Bustin' Makes Me Feel Good
I again revisited my childhood recently when I went up against Gozer (but not really) in the old ZX Spectrum Ghostbusters game. I've learned over the last few years that I can't really trust my childhood memories, but as far as I remember it, I managed to get to the final Stay Puft section several times on our old 48K machine, but could never make it into the building to win the game. I'm not sure how, as it wasn't as hard or awkward as I remember it.
There wasn't really much to it, and once I'd messed around a little bit to figure out what I was doing, I completed the game on my first effort.
I don't think the people who made this game really watched the film though, as there's no mention of Gozer, and Zuul is a building on the map where the Keymaster and Gatekeeper are trying to get to. Whereas in the film, Zuul is the Gatekeeper. But oh well.
There was another Ghostbusters game I played a lot of in the distant past that I never managed to finish, and that was the Amiga version of Ghostbusters II. Back then, it took me weeks of intermittent play to figure out how to get passed the first level. After that, beating the second level came a lot faster, but I could never figure out how to complete the third and final level.
Well, all I can say is: save states for the win. I didn't need them on the first level, managing to finish it on my third and final life. But I used their capabilities on the second level, and quite a lot on the third as I figured out finally what to do.
And so at long last, I managed to defeat the big dumb Carpathian, even though I lost Egon along the way. And that was just a cheap shot from Vigo, considering the real life status of the actors.
But again the trend continues with these developers not watching the movies they are adapting into games. In the manual for this one, it says the Ghostbusters brought the marshmallow man to life to help them defeat Gozer. But in the film, the marshmallow man was Gozer in his/its destructor form. Sheesh.
You remember that bit in the film, where the Statue Of Liberty gets attacked by a swarm of Slimers, don't you?
After playing the first two Ghostbusters games, it only felt right to play the 2009 game through again, especially as I got it for free (and DRM free to boot!) on Epic Games late last year. Now I had already played this through about four times a decade ago on the PS3, making it my most played game on that console. But I thought plenty enough time had passed for a refresher while I was on this Ghostbusters kick.
Also, it's not a super long game, and is a really good follow up to the films, so to hell with it.
I was really looking forward to two things about playing it on the PC: being able to get some screenshots, and also being able to use the keyboard and mouse. Unfortunately, the mouse acceleration in the game is atrocious, which really spoiled my enjoyment of using this control scheme. But still, it was not bad enough to make me use a controller again.
Can't lie, it was a lot of fun playing through it again, for what might be the last time. Sure, the old annoyances were still there, like the sluggish character movement and the useless team mate AI, but whatever. Just to test the original Ghostbusters, I would sometimes weaken the ghosts and throw a trap down, just to see how long it would take them to do the rest. Frankly, I'm not sure how they're still in business. I mean, I pretty much had to do everything.
While the gameplay has its ups and downs, it's the story and having the original cast reprising their roles that really makes the game shine. Because in truth, without the Ghostbusters skin, this game would be painfully mediocre. Whereas having it link so well back to the 80s films, as well as being a solid narrative follow-up, makes it one of the best movie tie-in games ever in my opinion. I strongly suspect that the new film that's coming out at some point will completely ignore this game as canon, and that will fucking suck.