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Ghostbusters: The Video Game

It's good. If you're a fan of Ghostbusters (and maybe even Ghostbusters 2), that's all you needed to know, so you can go out and grab your copy without worrying that you'll have to tread through bad game mechanics just to get a few good laughs. If for some reason you're a newcomer to the franchise, that's OK too. Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a humorous and amusing third-person action-adventure with some clever mechanics and loads of personality. It's not all pleasurable, due to some tedious mechanics and other issues, but if what's most important to you is some light-hearted fun, then you'll find enough in this package to keep a smile on your face.

No shocker here, but Ghostbusters: The Video Game is funny. The script was penned by original film scribes Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd, and while it doesn't quite reach the heights of the 1984 comedy classic, it rides the film's coattails quite comfortably. It's 1991, and you play an unnamed rookie joining the ghostbusting team, the members of which are voiced amiably by the stars of the movies: Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson. There are some moments when the performances sound phoned in (Bill Murray sounds a bit too sleepy even for Bill Murray), but there's no doubting that these are the same characters that delighted us in the '80s. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis don't reprise their roles, but you'll hardly miss them as the plot careens forward, reuniting you with old spectral friends and propelling you through a pleasant variety of earthly and otherworldly locales. Not every joke soars, but you'll find it difficult to stop grinning, and you'll probably let out a few guffaws from time to time. Venkman's laconic womanising, Egon's deadpan pseudo-scientific explanations — there's wit here for fans and newcomers alike.

Thus begins a journey through museums, libraries, cemeteries, and even alternate dimensions. As you get to the bottom of the evil powers behind the increasing paranormal activity in and around New York City, you and the AI-controlled 'busters explore a surprising variety of environments and face off against a lot of interesting and creepy apparitions. You'll recognise a few of them, such as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, though your final face-off against this returning monstrosity is a disappointing letdown. Thankfully, you'll meet plenty of new, fascinating meanies and either grapple them into traps using your proton pack or simply vanquish them completely. The pack has four modes, but you'll use the default mode most frequently; not only does it emit a capture stream that lets you grab onto weakened ghosts and wrestle them into traps, but it emits a nice strong blast of energy called a boson dart, which is handy for weakening a number of different enemies. A second mode grants you a shock blast (think shotgun) and a stasis stream that slows some enemies down, while a third, the meson collider, lets you shoot a homing beacon onto enemies and then blast them with rapid-fire beams. A fourth mode is the second-most handy one; its primary firing mode, a stream of green goo, makes it endlessly useful, while its slime tethering capability helps you solve a few puzzles and offers an additional and clever way of trapping your apparitional adversaries.

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