£9.99 cass only
The Ghostbusters' first battle was a tough and heroic one, and now, four years later, Pete Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddmor get back into action against a nasty dude called Vigo who wants to enter the real world from his state of limbo to create havoc. Based on the movie plot the game starts with Ray being winched down a 120 meter deep air shaft to collect samples of ectoplasmic goo which threatens New York. Natch the ghosts and other ectoplasmic mattes ain't too chuffed at him swinging around their nice cosy shaft and attack.
Hands appear from the walls, disembodied heads spit goo at him and cable cutting ghosts saw away at his lifeline. But he can zap them with his nuclear charged particle beam weapon, along with other handy gizmos found on the ledges. When his successful return to the surface it's revealed that the slime is sensitive to emotion (aah!) - heaps of good causes it pain. So in section two the 'Busters use positively charged slime to animate the Statue Of Liberty and the attack on the swarm of ghosts begins.
The statue's torch produces balls of good ectoplasm which kill all demons in its path. A band of citizens trail behind to collect the ectoplasm that forms when a ghost is destroyed. But the willing helpers are sometimes picked up by the enraged spooks and must be helped if possible.
The third and final confrontation is with Vigo, who can only reanimate if his spirit enters the body of a baby. The kid chosen is Oscar Barret, son of Dana Barret, the heroine of the first film. The Ghostbusters abseil into the gallery where a portrait of Vigo hangs. One 'Buster must rescue the baby, another must dispose of Janosz Poha, a painter zombified by Vigo, whilst the remaining duo dispose of Vigo's ghost when it appears. Can the Ghostbusters save the day for a second time?.
I enjoyed the original game but am disappointed with the follow up, with a mere three levels a bit steep at the price. While it is good graphically with the four intrepid sprites and assorted nasties neatly done, a bit more gameplay action could have been provided. I hope the film is better.
Flashy loaders and great presentation abound in Ghostbusters II from Activision. The whole front end of the game is amazing. While it's loading you get the theme tune, digitized pictures from the film along with text to tell the story that continues on from the original Ghostbusters (what a game that was!). That is all very nice. The game is another matter. The first level is almost impossible to play without tearing all the hair out of your head. You swing from side to side on a rope and lust can't help hitting all the ghosts around you. If you do make it through, the second and third levels promise to be a bit better, it's getting there that's the problem. Ghostbusters II will of course sell because of its name, and the presentation makes it look really slick. There is just a big gap in the playability department.
Reviewer: Matt Bielby
I've said it before and no doubt I'll say it again - multiloads, they're bloomin' murder!! I hate 'em! Half the time you only get them because the programmers want to show off with a flashy intro sequence or something! But even worse (much worse!) than your average 'load up each level as you come to it' multiload is your 'each time you use up your three lives you have to rewind the tape and load the level in again before you can take another shot at it' multiload! And they really ARE murder!
And guess what sort Activision has saddled poor old Ghostbusters II with? That's right, the really, really crap sort! Aargh! I'm sorry, but that more or less ruins the game for me from the start. I mean, there's no way I'm going to spend half my playing time loading the flippin' thing in again and again. It's ludicrous! However, in the interests of good reviewing practices, I'm going to take a deep breath (ahhhh), sit down and persevere. (Just remember, as you read this review, what excrutiating torture I'm going through to bring you it.)
Right then, the first level. As you load the thing in you get a series of digitised stills from the movie explaining the plot, the setting, the characters, and why you're dangling down a manhole on a rope at the start of Level One. Actually. I can't complain about these bits at all. They set the scene, put you 'in the mood' and look quite tasty to boot. There you are then, hanging from a rope down a monochrome red subway access shaft, swinging from side to side, twizzling around through all angles, and generally looking a right ol' lemon. Then along come the ghosts - little flying slimy ones, great big hand jobs (oo-er) that slice through your line, and so on. You've got to swing from side to side, dodging all the ghosts you can, blasting the ones you can't and collecting various doobries from the sides of the shaft. These include different anti-ghost weapons, courage boosters (the more the ghosts touch you, the more frightened you get until you're literally scared to death) and, most importantly, the three parts of a slime scoop, which you're going to use to collect a sample of ectoplasm from the pool at the bottom.
What's good about this level (and, in fact, the game in general) is its graphics. The sprites are big, nicely animated, and capture the look and feel of the film very well. What's not so good is the gameplay. This is a bit hard, a bit samey, and the shaft is quite short so there isn't all that much of it. Couple this with the constant multiloading and you've got something that's not actually bad, just very difficult to get excited about.
Level Two is slightly more complicated, and makes no sense whatsoever outside the context of the film (and probably very little in it either!). It's a horizontal scroller of sorts, with the Ghostbusters lodged inside the Statue Of Liberty, which they've animated using ghostly slime. You shoot oncoming ghosts with fireballs from the statue's torch, get little blokes running around your feet to collect slime to power the statue and, um, that's it. This level is at least as pretty as the one before but the gameplay just plods on and on repetitively rather than going anywhere. Ho hum.
Then there's the last bit. I can't really be bothered to explain how it all works - it follows the action of the film very closely and, as such is rather bitty, a bit stilted, and may make a suitably dramatic film climax but as far as the game is concerned just tails off to a rather flat conclusion.
I've always wondered why the first Ghostbusters game was so incredibly popular. It always looked crude and a bit crap to me. Now Ghostbusters II has shown me why. It was obviously partly to do with the success of the original movie, but also because it took the novel idea behind the Ghostbusters and made it work in game terms. Ghostbusters II is different. It's far better programmed, far more faithful to the look of the film... and far less playable. It plays as a series of short rather uninvolving sequences, each totally divorced from the other (so there's no real feeling of progression) and each further hampered by the ridiculous multiload.
It's not really a bad game, but it's about as user friendly as a frisky stoat (ie not very) which would be merely annoying if the end results were worth all the trouble. But as you might have guessed by now, I can't really say that they are.
Out goes Barg B, and in comes something nearly exactly the same (but covering the rereleases). PILLAR AND PELLEY remain your hosts.
The Hit Squad
Reviewer: Rich Pelley
Right then. Let's be short, sweet and to the point (as the Vicar said to the old lady). Here are the bad points about Ghosthusters 2. Firstly, it's a multiload, in that excruciatingly irritating way that has you rewinding and loading the level in again every time you've used up your three lives, even if you only died on the first level. Secondly, it's rather repetitive and not helped by the fact that there are only three levels to the game - swinging down a shaft shooting ghosts, protecting a walking Statue of Liberty from ghosts (you have to have seen the film) and another bit where you probably have to shoot some more ghosts or something (although it's apparently rubbish anyway).
As for the good points, well, it follows the film faithfully, with some natty scene setting stills and pretty decent graphics which help to hide the thin gameplay.
So let's just re-cap. Ghostbusters 2 looks nice and follows the film, but it's a slightly limiting, boring and repetitive multiload. Or in other words, a bit of a completely average film tie-in really.
Coming, erm, now actually, to a cinema near you...
THE COMPLETE YS GUIDE TO FILM AND TELLY GAMES
Knowing full well what a square-eyed bunch you are, we thought it was about time you were given the facts on film and television licenced games. Once again, JONATHAN DAVIES was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
(Cough. Deep, manly voice.)
'In the beginning there were loads and loads of Speccy games. Loads of them. They sold all right, but not exactly in enormous numbers. The trouble was, you see, that none of them seemed particularly exciting. They had nothing that caught the public eye. They were just computer games. Had no 'cred'.
Then a small cog within a long-since-extinct software house had an idea.
"Why don't we give our next game the same name as an incredibly popular film? Then everyone would buy it just because they'd seen the film and they'd foolishly think the game would be just as good. How about i, eh?"
"Er, we could do, I suppose."
"But what if the film company finds out? They might sue us or something."
"I know - we could ask them first."
"That's a point. Go on then."
"Yeah. Give them a ring and ask if they'd mind."
"Oo-er. Cripes. Okay then." (Dials very long trans-Atlantic phone number.)
"Hullo. We'd like to name our new game after your film and we were wondering if it was okay by you. Right... yes... oh, I see." (Cups hand over receiver.) "They want us to give them lots of money."
"Erm, well in that case we'd better." (Removes hand.) "Yes, that'll be fine. We'll send you some right away. Bye."
"How are we going to come up with a game that's anything like the film?"
"I don't know really."
"How about if we have a bloke walking around shooting people?"
"That sounds fine. I'll program it right away."
And so the film and telly licence was born. It... cough. Choke.
Oops. There goes the deep, manly voice.
Anyway, film and telly games, eh? Everyone's doing them these days, as they're one of the few remaining ways of making serious money with computer games. Run a grubby finger down the charts and you'll find nearly all the top-sellers are film and telly licences. (Or arcade conversions, of course.)
But why do we keep buying them? After all, just because a game's named after a really brill film doesn't mean it's going to be any good, does it? Surely we aren't buying them simply because of the flashy name on the box?
Erm, well in the old days, software houses assumed this to be the case, and chucked out a stream of absolutely appalling games with 'big name' titles. Things like Miami Vice, The Dukes Of Hazard and Highlander were all pretty dreadful, but it was hoped that they'd sell on the strength of their names. But we weren't fooled. Oh no. The games didn't sell well, and the companies were forced to think again.
Eventually they came up with... the 'bloke walking around shooting things' idea. And they've used it more or less ever since. Lucky then that they tend to be jolly good all the same, and sometimes come up with the odd original idea to spice things up (like The Untouchables did, or perhaps Back To The Future Part II).
As always seems to be the case, the trusty YS ratings system doesn't really seem adequate when it comes to film and telly games. So here's what we've put together instead...
What does it look like? Nice? Or not very nice at all? (You mean are the graphics any good? Ed) Er, yes. That's it in a nutshell. (Then why didn't you just say the first place? Ed) Erm...
How does the general atmosphere compare to the film or telly programme the game's meant to go with? Have programmers just taken a bog-standard game and stuck a flashy name on it? Or have they made an effort to incorporate a bit of the 'feel' of the original?
Does the plot follow along the same sort of lines as the film or telly programme? Is there plenty action-packedness? And is the game the same all way through, or does it follow the original's twists and turns?
Um, how does the game compare to all the licences around at the moment? Is it better? Or worse? In other words, is it a 'cut' above the rest? (is that really the best you can manage? Ed)
So Ghostbusters was the first film game then. And it was a huge hit as well, the first Speccy release to sell over, erm, some huge number of copies, despite being a bit rubbish. So a Ghostbusters II game seemed only natural (or as natural as a small piece of plastic with two holes in it can look), and this is it.
It's a slickly-put-together little number, unlike the first game which was distinctly rough around the edges, and follows the plot of the film very closely. In fact, just in case you're not too sure what's going on, it tells the plot as the game progresses along with digitised pics from the film. In-between all this you've got about three sub-games to tackle - a bit where you're descending a shaft picking off ghosts, a horizontally-scrolling shooting bit and something else too. The only problem is that all these bits have to be loaded in separately using an appalling multiloader which makes you load everything more or less from scratch every time you bite the dust. It may not sound too disastrous, but it is (believe us) and knocks a good 20 or 30 degrees off what is otherwise a jolly good film game.
Author: The Oliver Twins
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
They're coming to save the world - for a second time! After a number of years scraping a living from appearing on TV re-living their spook-ridding escapades and unsuccessfully entertaining at children's parties, the Ghostbusters are about to don their funny jumpsuits and get slimey once again.
Since the end of the last movie, things have moved on quite a way. Sigourney Weaver has dropped a suspicious sprog and the Ghostbusters have had their busting licence revoked after virtually trashing New York the last time the spooks came around.
With the film due for release in the first week of December Activision have picked the prime time to release: just in time to catch the media whirl surrounding the movie.
The main three sections of the game are, of course, translations of the memorable moments in the movie.
We join the action after Sigourney's kid has been mysteriously whooshed all over the town and pursued by slime. The Busters have reformed and trying to track down the scumbag spectors.
Their investigations and Spook-o-meter lead them into the middle of a busy road. Below, they discover an ancient sewer network. Having dug a hole big enough to fit through, you must lower Peter down the hole in order to get proof of Ghostly goings on and therefore recover the licence to bust.
On your way down, you've got to zap as many fiends as possible. You've got to ensure that Peter doesn't come a cropper through any of the nasty tricks and traps awaiting him.
There are horrible slicing ghosts that attach themselves to the rope and knaw through it. There are horrible grabbing hands which cling onto you and drain your energy. There are also all manner of horrors that you'll discover for yourself.
This stage completed, you find yourself and the rest of the guys running around the base of the walking Statue of Liberty shooting ghosts and collecting slime.
Here you have to guide a spinning fireball around the screen and shoot down an ever-increasing army of evil spooks. Once plugged, each spook drops a globule of slime.
(Important movie info:- in the film the guys animate the Statue of Liberty with a load of dancing slime - honest - York)
The final section of the game takes place in the art gallery where Sigourney has been restoring a rather horrible painting of Mr Evil.
First you have to slide down the poles into the gallery. This is a tricky event for a start. The Ghostbusters seem to have got extremely fragile all of a sudden, and can be killed stone or at the very least stunned if you don't put them on the ground in the most gentle manner possible.
The bad guys are draining the lifeblood from - yes it's that kid again. Once safely on the floor, you must grab Sigourney's sprog from the clutches of the evil forces.
Once you've plucked him from the altar of doom, it's important that he doesn't get snatched back. You've got to kill the baddie with your special beam. (Fnar) After this, Mr Big himself will step out of the painting and attack you in a frenzy. Oooer!
Using the two characters carrying the beam lasers (quite a tricky maneouvre) you've got to get him cornered and zap until he melts away.
Label: The Hit Squad
Price: £3.99 Tape, N/A Disk
Reviewer: Alan Dykes
The in the converted hearse are back! just one and a half years after Ghostbusters 2 first haunted the micro circuits of the Z80 processor it has arrived on budget courtesy of Hit Squad.
As far as the movies go, I've always preferred Ghostbusters to Ghostbusters 2 on the grounds that it is more entertaining, but the opposite holds true as far as the computer games are concerned. It's useful to have seen the film so that you understand the plot (which is as confusing to the average punter as a vegetarian menu is to the Tasmanian Devil), but the script does make for a more humorous and less straight-forward game than the original.
The famous foursome, Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston start the adventure after a mysterious incident involving Dana's newly-born brat. This leads them to discover a new build-up of psychokinetic energy apparently emanating from the smelly old city sewer. Ray is lowered into the catacombs to investigate, and must reach the bottom before his rope is cut. There are lots of horrid, slimy, grabby things to try and sever his connections and ol' Ray must zap these in order to succeed.
Next comes the craziest bit - the Buster boys steal the Statue of Liberty by animating her with psychic slime! Liberty leads a crowd of united New Yorkers into battle against the ghosts, and you control her torch which zaps them out of the sky with fireballs. Dead ghosts drop slime which will power Liberty's locomotion - if the people of New York can collect it without being grabbed by spooks.
The idea is to reach a museum which is the centre of psychic convergence and ocne there the guys must swing down from the roof, rescue Dana's wee lad and hold on to him against all odds. The really heavy bad dude end-of-game adversary, Vigo The Carpathian, finally jumps out of a painting and engages our heroes in a complete mother of a battle.
The graphics are O.K., with black outlined characters on a coloured background and vertical or horizontal scrolling, depending on the game situation. In general the scrolling is smooth and fast but I sometimes found a time lag between action and reaction when controlling character movement. Sound, although a little shaky at times, remains faithful to the Ghostbusters theme music.
I didn't like the second film much, but this is a sturdy budget release that I'd recommend to anyone who ain't afraid of no ghosts!
They're back! A new threat has arisen from the world of the supernatural, and the Ghostbusters are recalled into service to save NY from the evil Vigo, in a three-level bonanza of sewer exorcism, Statue of Liberty controlling and, finally. Vigo destroying. The three subgames are, um, unusual, but they are competently programmed making them playable if not particularly addictive. A good buy at this price.
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