Based on the 1984 film of the same name, the Ghostbusters are the ones to call to "bust" any ghost hauntings. They do this through the use of nuclear-accelerated "proton packs" and "ghost traps", whereby the ghosts can be captured and transferred to a secure storage facility at their Headquarters. However New York City has suddenly become a very haunted place, and the number of ghosts has suddenly and dramatically increased. The Ghostbusters must reduce the paranormal psychokinetic energy, the "PK level" in the city, which represents ghost power, before the Temple of Zuul awakens and resurrects an evil goddess called Gozer.
Ghostbusters is an action game that features an overhead-view and a side-view. From Ghostbusters HQ, the player must monitor a map of midtown Manhattan for "ghost alarms", as well as for casual, roaming spirits, and plot a route to the alarmed area. Once the route is plotted, the player then controls the purchased Ghostmobile as it drives through traffic. Here, the player is able to capture casual ghosts on the way if they are en route. When the haunted location is reached, the game switches to a side-view. Two of the Ghostbusters will take position, activate their proton beams, and toss a trap to the ground. The player must then use the two Ghostbutsers to attempt to lead the ghost(s) over the placed trap. Once activated, the trap springs to capture any ghosts directly above it. A successful capture will earn the player money, which can then be used to purchase new Ghostbusters vehicles and new modifications for it. An unsuccessful capture will see the ghost fly away (after nastily sliming one of the Ghostbusters).
As the game progresses, the PK energy in the city increases. The Ghostbusters must keep it under critical levels by being constantly successful at busting ghosts. Eventually the Temple of Zuul will activate, and if the PK levels are still manageable, the Ghostbusters can venture there for a final showdown with Gozer.
Wanna try the best computer game I've ever played? Here it is - GHOSTBUSTERS! OK, ok, ok... I now I'm bias about this game, but it's still a great classic enjoyed by numerous fans of both the Ghostbusters franchise and classic computer games.
First I'd like to take you back to the year 1984. I was still a preschool brat at the time and the Ghostbusters movie was playing in the cinemas (it didn't come to our local village cinema, but it was shown in all the cities around me). Late in autumn my brother got our family's first ever computer (the good old C64) along with the tape unit (but no joystick). With the computer my brother got was also the only computer game he even purchased legally (those were the days of wild C64 pirating - especially in countries like Yugoslavia, where computer games simply were sold). It was (yup, you've guessed it) GHOSTBUSTERS! Upon minutes of waiting for the game to load up the title screen finally popped up and a computerized voice said Ghostbusters, mwahahahaha! I've been a fan of the game ever since!
I know, it sounds like I'm just praising the game, but here's one thing that will prove the game really was a great hit. Apart from C64 the game was also ported for: Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari 2600, MSX, NES, Sega Master System, ZX Spectrum and this version you're looking at right now!
OK, the PC version is a PC booter, which means it wasn't meant to be played in DOS. But this is actually a good thing, since it has far better graphics and sounds then DOS based games had at the time. Well, it doesn't feature speech, but that's about the only difference between the C64 game and this port (OK, the yellow ghosts might be a bit smaller - if you really want to nitpick).
But enough about my trips down the memory lane, let's talk about the game itself!
As soon as you see the no-ghost logo, you'll hear the familiar Ray Parker Jr.'s Ghostbusters song and guess what - it's karaoke time as you can sing along to it. A little white bouncing ball will show jump all over the lyrics showing you just what to sing and you can go through the whole song (that an idea I wish more movie based games would use). The song may start to annoy you later on, as it's repeating itself all through the main part of the game (but we'll come to that later).
Next you proceed to the questioner. There are three simple questions here at the most. First of all you need to write your name. Remember the name you wrote, because even if this game has no save features that name becomes you and you can use it every time you play the game. Now if it's your first time to play you will answer to the next question truthfully and state you haven't got a bank account (if you however played the game and had more money at the end of it then you've started with, you will have an account number - it's a good idea writing those down). Since you don't have an account number the bank will get you a loan of $10.000 (if you'd have your own account number you'd get the amount of money you had at the end of the previous game).
This feature also makes the game highly replayable, as you can try and get more money from game to game (and you can always continue from where you left off the last time). Some good news from C64 fans, the account numbers you got there will also work on this version (so go and get your old notes if you have any), I don't know for other systems as I haven't tried it out myself. Also some things you can't even buy the first time you play the game (like the high performance sports car).
With the money you have, you now need to buy a car. There are four to choose from (actually only three at the beginning - the fourth is still to expensive for your pocket). Remember the cheaper the car, the slower it is and it can carry less equipment (you can see all four cars by pressing SPACE followed by enter), so you really need to look at the value you get for the price.
When you select a car you need to buy equipment. Only one item is required - GHOST TRAPS, they're on the second screen (there are three screens with the equipment), but I strongly suggest you buy the ghost bait as well. For further details look at the Ghostbusters game guide in the extras.
As said before, some things you won't even be able to buy, so only after you successfully finish the game (probably more then once) will you be able to get the best possible equipment. Think of it as a RPG character upgrades, only that you have to improve from one game to the other, not during the game. This certainly was something new at the time and I still haven't seen another game that uses such a system (although real RPG games have the possibility to use the characters from one game in another - usually sequels, or games in the same series).
And now the real game starts. If so far the game reminds you nothing of the movie, don't worry, it shouldn't. The game itself actually isn't based on the movie at all. It doesn't follow the plot of the movie, you're not playing any of the movie characters (unless you happen to put Peter Wenkman as your name) and there are even some inaccuracies when compared to the movie.
As it says in the first screen when you have to put in your name, you're opening a Ghostbusters franchise in your own town, so you have actually become a Ghostbusters and you need to run your business successfully. Naturally you do so by catching ghosts.
On the map screen there are 30 houses, but only 20 are active (the 5 on each side of the screen are not active). 18 of them are homes of people that get attacked by ghosts (when a ghost attacks a house starts flashing red), one is your Headquarter (GHQ at the bottom of the screen) and on is in the center Zuul. If you remember the movie, Zuul the lock-keeper was the evil spirit that possessed Dana Barrett, not a building. Zuul is the final location (if you're good enough you'll be allowed a chance to enter Zuul and try to close the interdimensional portal. Zuul will only start flashing red when the lock and the key both arrive there (you can see them moving randomly across the map (they have no effect on the game otherwise).
When this happens you need to have more money then you started with (so the game is really all about money).
The houses on the map are all slightly different. This besides being a nice decorative effect (it just goes to show they really did take care of the details as much as they could) also effects the gameplay itself. If it's a brick house it will be much easier to see and (eventually) capture a ghost, but if the walls are smooth, you'll have hard time seeing the little slimmer.
As said the Ghostbusters song by Ray Parker Jr. will keep repeating itself in the background. It's maybe because I'm a fan, but I never found it irritating. The sound quality is surprisingly good, although this version has no speech (the C64 version included some other short phrases or words).
So if you ask me, this game surely deserves the highest mark and my strong recommendation. Not only that it is a great game, but this is even a great port. Comparing it to some other games, when they transferred them from other machines, this one really is great (except the lacking speech part).
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