C&VG1st July 1989
Published in Computer & Video Games #92
The Real Ghostbusters
Activision, all those years ago, produced a game based on the movie phenomenon of the Eighties - Ghostbusters. It did good.
Meanwhile, somewhere over in California, Data East brought out a coin-op based on the cartoon of the movie and called it The Real Ghostbusters. It didn't do astonishingly well and only a couple of units made it over here to Blighty - but that hasn't stopped Activision from producing a home computer version on every format they could think of.
Now the trouble with taking a mediocre coin-op licence onto home formats is obvious - faithfully convert it and all you get is a mediocre home computer game. Hardly surprising then that The Real Ghostbusters is highly unlikely to create a frenzy of excitement among the gameplayers of Britain. On all formats you get a jolly loading screen and the Ghostbusters theme we have all come to know and love - then you choose the one or two-player game.
The battle takes place on the top of a maze of high buildings - all with flat roofs. You leap from roof to roof via little ramps, taking out assorted ghosts, goblins, etc as you go. You've got two types of fire - bullets that disrupt the physical manifestations of the supernatural and the old traditional plasma jobbie that draws the disrupted ghosties (now looking like traditional spooks), into the backpack.
There are also rudimentary weapon power-ups that give your bullets some extra punch.
To complete each level, you saunter from rooftop to rooftop, blowing away and sucking up all the spooks, while trying not to get killed - the aim being to get the big end-of-level nasty, therefore the key to the next level, before your time runs out.
This kind of simple stuff always works or not on the basis of the quality of the implementation; you know, the quality of the graphics, the speed and feel of the game, etc. Unfortunately, much of the implementation in this case, is sloppy, and the gameplay is poor. Strange things stand out - like the inexplicably blank bit of screen on the top right of the screen. Like (on the C64) the game automatically starting after the new load for each level - instead of waiting for you to press a key.
Even on the ST, which Activision considers to be the lead version, The Real Ghostbusters just doesn't sparkle, although the graphics start to approach the quality you'd expect of a full-price game.
Ardent collectors of Ghostbusters memorabilia won't be disappointed and anyone looking for a simplistic blast in conjunction with a boppy tune could be interested, but the discerning will hang on and wait for goodies like Power Drift and Ghostbusters II coming later this year.
Blocky graphics, poor gameplay - but the soundtrack is F-U-N-K-Y. Know what I mean?
Where The Real Ghostbusters meet their greatest foe to date... the attribute clash!
It's not terrible, but there really isn't anything special about this game. Undemanding gamers and Ghostbusters addicts only need apply.
On par with the ST implementation - but it'll cost you an extra fiver for the privilege!