Ghostbusters was a huge part of my childhood. It was a perfect blend of horror, comedy, great acting and great visuals. I still remember the first time I saw it on VHS and my tiny little mind exploded with excitement and fear. I was hooked from then on. I even drank that horrible Hi-C flavor Ecto-Cooler almost non stop just because it had Slimer on the front of the box.
So you can imagine my frustration and disappointment with the original U.S. NES game. It’s nothing like the movie. It’s not scary, it’s not fun, it’s certainly not easy and it was so flawed it’s almost not beatable under normal circumstances. Sure it has some interesting things like having to buy items and swap them in and out but I don’t think many people will argue with me that it kind of sucks. The 2nd one released in the U.S. was a little better but not much. You get to drive Ecto 1 which rules but the controls are really bad and the rest of the stages are just dodge-fests with no real sense of accomplishment. There was the genesis game that came out a little later but by then I had moved on. I never got the chance to really play a killer home Ghostbusters game (yes I know about the arcade and yes it kicks ass but I couldn’t buy that cabinet in 5th grade).
Once again my prayers were answered on another continent.
In Japan and in the PAL regions, another New Ghostbusters II game was released. Due to some licensing issues it was never released in the U.S. Today you can get them via reproduction cartridges. Ours was from OCD Reproductions and it kicks ass. Placing the game into my top loader I was hopeful. Hopeful I could find a game that matched my love for the films. I was not disappointed.
To be blunt if you don’t own this game there is something wrong with you. It’s not perfect, but it is so far beyond the crap we got in the United States it’s almost criminal. You can play as any of the 4 Ghostbusters. Yes for once you can even play Winston. I never understood why he was never in the original game. You can even bring Louis along which kicks ass. You pick a team of two ‘busters, One with a Proton Pack and one with a trap. It’s a top down game so you have to move through each screen catching ghosts. The Proton or lead character holds the ghost in place and the other one (controlled by the A.I.) runs up and traps him. The first time you pull this off it’s an amazing feeling. You ARE a Ghostbuster and it’s awesome.
Now it’s not perfect. Your characters move on a grid pattern on the screen and this can lead to getting killed a lot since the enemies are not limited like this. You also don’t control the trap ‘buster except for deploying the trap. A.I. on the NES was never good and sometimes you get screwed by it. My favorite part of our video is towards the end where we had an A.I. character just leave the screen alltogether. I also kind of which there was some kind of power up system, like if you catch enough ghosts you can get an extra hit or that the Ghostbusters would be faster or stronger in different roles, kind of like the Genesis game but that’s basically me whining about not being 100% perfect. New Ghostbusters II is an awesome game but if it added these in to me it would be one of those games everyone talks about in their top ten lists.
New Ghostbusters II features some really great cartoony graphics, and the music is awesome. They even managed to follow the movie (!!!). The scene where Oscar gets kidnapped is just great. In the end you fight Vigo. The boss fights are OK not the best but challenging enough. I guess I wish the game was longer but since it’s a pretty simple playstyle it’s forgivable.
In the end this reproduction is a must have. I don’t care if you don’t even like Ghostbusters it’s an awesome game. Oddly enough we recorded this the week that Satoru Iwata passed away. Eerily enough the game actually froze on his name in the credits. Made the game even a little creepy. All in all New Ghostbusters II is a fantastic game and one that is worth the price of a reproduction cart.