Thursday, August 27, 2009

We Eat Gods for Breakfast!

I realize it's been a while, and I've been meaning to give an update on everything that's been going on in my life. Things on this list include: 1) moving out of New York, 2) looking for apartments in LA, 3) living in Millville, NJ in the meantime to help my father get back to full health (see earlier posts), 4) getting my parent's long haired Persian cat Baby shaved for the summer, 5) seeing "District 9," and 6) defeating "Ghostbusters: The Video Game."

I don't have enough time to tackle all of these subjects, so I'll start with the most important one: the last one. For the past week, I've fought together with Ray Stanz, Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, and Peter Venkman against the foes that threaten to once again turn New York inside out and bring about, "Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

The story is pretty simple. It's a couple years after "Ghostbusters 2." The mayor got re-elected to office on a pro-Ghostbusters campaign and the boys are still in business (with the city paying for damage they cause to the town in pursuit of spirits.) You play as the "Rookie," the new fifth Ghostbuster, specifically not given a name by Peter as he doesn't want to grow "attached" to you.

Before you can even say Ecto-1, you're off to the Sedgewick Hotel to re-capture Slimer, who has once again escaped the Containment Unit. You learn the ropes, and it doesn't take long to see what it takes to trap ghosts. It's a truly fulfilling feeling when you bag your first one, let me just say.

The story is a lot of fun, written (as you've probably heard) by original Ghostbusters Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis. For years, the two of them have been pushing Hollywood to put out a third Ghostbusters film, but nothing was budging, that is, until it became cool again to remake 80s franchises. Turns out that along with the release of this video game, a third film is indeed in the works, with Judd Apatow and his creative team attached.

And the truly unbelievable part? Bill Murray (who stars in the game) is slated to be in the movie. For years, he feigned interest in the project, but the man is back, and he SOUNDS better than ever. And it's not just Murray who came back to reprise his or her role, but all four Ghostbusters (Ackroyd, Ramis, and Hudson), plus Annie Potts as Janine, William Atherton as Walter Peck, and Brian Doyle Murray as the Mayor. The only people missing are Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver, who would both have truly put a crown of gold on this game.

For it's the story and the acting that are the stars here. It's just so much fun to be with this team again after so many years. They've done a great job recapturing the feel of the first two movies, and the plot is in direct relation to them, feeling like the completion of a true trilogy. Some have commented that they felt Murray "phoned" in his performance, but I felt like he was Dr. Peter Venkman all over again. If you're a fan of the movies, you at least owe it to yourself to have a friend show you the cut scenes, just to see them brought to life once again, along with favorites like the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man and Slimer.

Of course, the gameplay ain't too shabby either. The physics engine is fantastic, really working well with the different substances throughout the game, making the world feel real. The proton pack and its four different iterations all look and sound great. I did notice a bit of framerate slowdown here and there due to so much going on at the same time, but this wasn't terribly often. The music is good, taken directly from the score of the first film (in addition to "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr), but can sometimes get a little repetitive. I will admit though, it gets stuck in your head, and you just can't help but hum it all day.

Which brings us to the core question: is the game fun? And my answer is yes. I decided to play the game on "Professional" (the highest difficulty) cause I ain't afraid of no ghosts! And for the most part, this wasn't such a big deal except for a couple times where things may have gotten a little out of hand. A couple bosses were rather hard, and sometimes, until you learn the secret to how to defeat something, it would get a little frustrating. But like a lot of video games, a little bit of practice makes perfect, and the credits are rolling before you know it. The game only took me about 10 hours altogether, which is a shame, but doesn't feel short by any means. Each world is richly filled with new ghosts to scan and catch, artifacts to collect, and of course, wonderful cut scenes to fill in the story.

So, if you're a Ghostbusters fan, this game is a must have. If you're not a Ghostbusters fan and looking for a single player game to fill in the time, it's a good investment, though you may not get as much out of it (especially if you're looking for a ton of combat simulation like Gears of War.) I will admit that the lack of multiplayer in the campaign mode is a bit of a downer, but Ackroyd and Ramis wanted to be sure that the story stayed intact and really immersed you in it as the Rookie.

And if you're lucky, the game should probably be going down in price any day now, which makes it an even greater added bargain.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more.