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.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB