Drawing by Ronald
You've seen the film and bought
the hit record, now play the game! Activision's latest release follows
the film plot faithfully so if you have seen the film, you know
exactly what to expect.
The game fires up with an impressive
title screen complete with Ghostbusters symbol and theme music which
is first class. The lyrics are displayed so that you can sing along
if you wish. If you are by now heartily sick of the Ray Parker Jnr.
original press start and play the game!
Ghostbusters is played over three
different screens - the street map, the driving screen and finally
the ghost-busting screen. Before you start you must purchase a vehicle
with the money credited to you by the bank and load it up with your
ghostbusting equipment. You then advance to the street map screen
and have to guide your miniature ghost-busters symbol around the
criss-cross pattern of streets searching for buildings which are
being haunted by ghosts. Fortunately, the buildings flash crimson
when a ghost is present so this task is not particularly difficult.
After selecting the building via the joystick, you progress through
the driving screen where you guide your vehicle across the city
to the haunted building. Whilst on your way you must vacuum up any
'Street Roamers' that you encounter. If it is beginning to sound
complicated, brace yourself - there is more to come!
When you reach the building you
must drop one of your traps on the ground and try to entice the
ghost over it with the aid of your laser backpacks. This is quite
a tricky operation as the ghost has no intention of being caught
quite so easily and flits about the screen in quite an erratic manner
in a bid to avoid you. Once you think the ghost is in a catchable
position you must press the trigger to release the trap and, hopefully,
it will spring up and catch the ghost. If you miss the ghost will
swoop down and knock out one of your men before disappearing. You
begin with three men and you need at least two men to function properly
so missing a ghost on consecutive occasions means a return to GHQ
for extra back-up men. You will also have to return to GHQ periodically
to empty your traps and replenish your backpack power.
All the time the game is in progress,
the city's 'PK Energy' is mounting up at the bottom of the screen.
You must keep a sharp eye on this as the dreaded Marshmallow Man
appears when the PK Energy is in excess of 5000. He will attempt
to stomp down the buildings which, in turn, will cost you money
to repair, so you must stop him at all costs by laying ghost-bait
to entice him away from the buildings. The Mayor of the city will
award you 2000 dollars each time you foil the Marshmallow Man but
you will lose 4000 dollars each time you allow him to stomp down
Catching a ghost earns you a set
amount of money. The idea is to try and make more money than you
started with and you have to do this before the city's PK Energy
level reaches 9999. If you manage it you will be given the chance
to enter the Temple of Zuul from where the ghosts emanate, and close
the portal to the spirit world. This involves the frustrating process
of trying to get two of your men past a giant Marshmallow Man as
he guards the doorway to the Temple. If you are successful in this
you will witness the closing of the portal and will receive a special
commendation together with a personal Account number from the bank
which you can use in future games allowing you to start with more
money than usual. Scant reward for battling your way through all
On the surface GHOSTBUSTERS seems
like a very good game, but I do have a couple of minor quibbles.
Firstly there is no facility to turn off the background music. It
does grate after awhile and there are precious few other sounds
to compensate. Secondly, the game is rather too easy and can become
boring too quickly. I completed the game on only my fourth attempt
and now have little incentive to play it again. The seasoned games
player will have to spray money about at the start of the game purchasing
as much expensive equipment as possible, useless or otherwise, in
order to make the game more challenging.
Finally, GHOSTBUSTERS is available
on disk only for the Atari. Yet another example of an American company
ignoring the British cassette market to which this game in particular
is more suited.