Tuesday, May 24, 2016

1PanelReview Ghostbusters The Video Game (Stylized version)

Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Have you experienced feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or any of your family ever seen a spook, specter or ghost?

If the answer is yes then don't wait another minute, pick up the phone and call the professionals...

What it is: Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Wii) also known as simply Ghostbusters (2006) or more commonly as Ghostbusters The Video Game (Stylized version) 

Which is: A Third-person shooter/action game
Created by: Red Fly Studio/Sierra/Atari/Columbia
Year: June 2009
Available on: Wii, PS2 and PSP

Long stuck in development - just like the would be-third Ghostbusters film - Ghostbusters: The Video Game is one pretty particular game. Several versions of the game were developed separately, all based on the principal version of the game by Terminal Reality, each ported to a few different set of systems. I hadn't seen something on such a scale since the good ol' days of the 8/16-bit era personally. The main game went for a more photo-realistic aesthetic while all the others used a more stylized cartoon style. Terminal Reality developed the main "Realistic version" for PS3 which was ported on Xbox 360 and PC. Red Fly Studio were responsible for the Wii version, the "Stylized version", itself ported to PSP and PS2. And finally there was one last version of the game by Zen Studios developed exclusively for the Nintendo DS, a third altogether different version using the same stylized look. Each version its own different experience, with the principal title described as a "Gears of War Light".

While all versions of the game basically cover the same story, there are some notable differences between systems. The singe player campaign from the Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 version was used as a template for the other versions. On the Wii/PS2/PSP Red Fly Studio went with different shorter levels broken down from the main version. This "Stylized version" follows the same story but it was entirely made from the ground up with different cartoony graphics. The gameplay has also significantly changed and they're much simpler to get your hands on. The proton pack upgrades work kinda different. This "Wiimake" also uses a classic HUD instead, plus along a different-looking Rookie character it lets you play with both a male and female Rookie. The Wii version can also claim to have the best multiplayer feature in the form of allowing actual local co-op, two players are able to on splitscreen thanks to a drop-in system during the single player campaign (a vs. mode was also originally announced for this version, but it seems they ended up scratching it). 

What's Good about it: More often than not, Wii ports are simply simplified or bad ports of the mainstream releases. But here for once it's a completely different version game! Well, kinda. It's not just the design and the gameplay that are different but they also gave this version a unique cartoony art style. The idea was no doubt to attract the younger crowd, but it also made this game visually unique and almost reminiscent of the classic cartoon series.
The entire cast is still a joy to listen to, also featuring actress Alyssa Milano in a key role.
On a first look, the graphics can surprise a little, but they are pretty good. The character designs were based on the work of animator and illustrator Dan Schoening (who strangely didn't get mentioned in the credits for the game!), who would end up working on the IDW comics ongoing series.
The story roughly follows the exact same plot as the "next gen" version, going through the same beats, the exact same levels and most of the dialogues although they were condensed due to the redesigned levels. Strangely the game also used some alternate takes for Bill Murray which sound a bit better than his voice in the other version where I felt his heart wasn't in it.
Gameplay is just as fun. Capturing ghosts is a lot of fun. Most of the time you're not fighting them is spent scanning the environment and on puzzles.
The levels are more straightforward and made simpler, they're not as big here and can be played in smaller segments.
The new element of gameplay is of course the direct control of your proton pack through the Wiimote. It makes things a lot easier. There's also a lot more emphasis on puzzle solving.
While it's same plot and uses the same environments, there's actually a big different between the ghosts you find here. There's some interesting changes and swaps made so even playing both versions will keep some surprises in store for you.
Of course, the best part of the entire game is easily the ability to play some local coop through the actual story and not a separate multiplayer mode. For the occasion we get two new Rookie characters, a different male and a female Rookie. I didn't find them as fun or memorable as the mute Rookie from Terminal Reality's version of the game, at least they were discrete and blended nicely thanks to the cartoony aesthetic.
It's a really short game, but there's plenty of replay value for completionists with a ton to collect and scans to find.
Speaking of, this version also contains several unlockable bonuses like new outfits, and additional abilities like not more overheating, faster health and even invulnerability!

What's Bad about it: Well, the game is really short, and too easy.
Not all the puzzles are perfect, and they're not always that fun. Some can even prevent you from progressions, having you desperately look for an answer!
The environment is not always that clear (and some elements can glitch your progression like the puzzles I just mentioned).
There's no visual cues to the damages you do to the environment, which was a big part of the fun in the other version.
And the damages cost has no real impact on the game here like it did in the other version when buying upgrades for your equipment.
And let's mention also the various slow-downs you will get whenever there's too much cluster on screen, which is strange since they just didn't port the HD version to design this game specially for the Wii! 
Finally, there's also the questionable PS2 port of the Wii game which is known for its numerous freezes and glitches, the PSP version is much better though and was a bit simplified down but at least it's decent.

Overall: Ghostbusters The Video Game on the Wii is a really fun co-op action game which will make you feel like you're following a potential third Ghostbusters movie. Or at least, like watching an animated version of it.

This Stylized version is pretty fun, but it also suffers from a lot of annoying issues that make long playthrough tiresome. So play it on shorter runs.

I say, Check it Out if you're a fan who is curious about this version or has no access to the other release.

Ghost busting is still very fun and pretty similar. The maps are a bit different with more focus on puzzles. And it's much easier.

Fun fact, Dan Aykroyd actually prefers the Wii version of the video game!

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