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Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Platform(s): Nintendo DS, PC, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Terminal Reality / Red Fly Studios
Release Date: June 16, 2009

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PS3/X360/PC Preview - 'Ghostbusters: The Video Game'

by Thomas Wilde on May 6, 2008 @ 6:40 a.m. PDT

All four members of the movie team (Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis) will lend their voices and likenesses to the game, which is set in the '90s after Ghostbusters II. Equipped with a variety of unique weapons and gadgets, players will hunt, fight and capture a wide range of supernatural villains in a funny and frightening battle to save New York City from its latest paranormal plague.

Officially, this is something that polled well. When researching a possible property for a new video game project, Terminal Reality found that Ghostbusters still had a lot of fans, and as such, would probably be a popular title.

Unofficially, this is "Ghostbusters 3." Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis have all returned to lend their voices to the project, which puts you into the role of a rookie Ghostbuster at the outset of a new case for the team.

Terminal Reality was on hand in San Francisco at a recent Sierra event, mostly to show off what their engine's capable of. The Infernal Engine that powers Ghostbusters was written from scratch for the game, and it provides for the kind of widespread, multifaceted destruction that ghostbusting naturally entails.

The developers showed off one of the environments in the game, a true-to-life version of the New York Public Library, and populated it with a host of objects: books, cars, chairs, people and tables. The engine managed to model how they would each behave without slowdown and with a relatively high degree of realism. One new enemy, a golem that molded itself a body out of a few hundred individually modeled books, was about half genuine threat, half impressive tech demo.

Of course, then they used a slime gun to stick cars to the ceiling. You've gotta have some fun with the job, after all.

Ghostbusters sees your nameless fifth Ghostbuster added to the team as an impromptu clinical trial for new equipment, because Egon and Ray figure it'd be cheaper to let you play with the toys than to actually test them out. The game's story line from that point onward remains a bit unclear, but it will involve several run-ins with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, enabling you to haul off and fry that thing's face with proton blasts.

Your Ghostbuster's proton pack serves the same purpose as a HUD would, tracking your energy and health levels as you go on cases with the other Ghostbusters. Ghosts get trapped just as in the movies, asking you to cooperate with the NPC Ghostbusters to snare and finally catch your enemies.

Ghostbusters is a multiplatform release. Most of the versions will be third-person action games using the Infernal Engine, while the DS version is different from the others. It wasn't on display, but it reportedly has a great deal to do with managing the Ghostbusters franchise.

Unearthing and revamping '80s pop-culture artifacts and making them into games is apparently the new thing for developers to do, but if they're going to do it, at least they're putting real effort into it. If nothing else, Ghostbusters has enough of the original film talent associated with it that it ought to be fun to watch. Later this year, we'll hopefully get our hands on some code and find out how fun it is to play.


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