(Philip Morgan.Staff Writer)
Hello everyone. If you are already familiar with our site you might know that I am a diehard Ghostbusters fan. When I wrote The Ideal Ghostbusters marathon blog, I realized that I really didn’t discuss the many Ghostbusters Video games. True I mentioned them, but I didn’t really go into many details about their history or their mechanics. So I figured I would talk about them right now.
First we will talk about the first Ghostbusters game for the Atari 2600. This game was published by Activision and Designed by David Crane. This game was originally going to be a game called Car Wars, but once Activision got a hold of the license they tweaked the game to make it tie in with the 1984 film. The overall gameplay goes like this. When you start the game you are treated to the Ghostbusters theme song and the demo map screen. You then hit the reset button and then you are in the STORE. You are given 5000 dollars to buy your Ghostbusters equipment. There are only four items to select on the screen.
Image Intensifier for $800– You are going to want to buy this because this makes the ghosts in the Ghost Catching Screen more visible when you are trying to catch them.
Ghost Bait $400– You are going to need this when Stay Puft shows up to destroy a building.
Ghost Vacuum $500– This item goes on top of your car so you can suck up ghosts that are floating around on the map screen.
Ghost Trap– This allows you to catch the ghosts in the Ghost Catching Screen. You can carry 3 once all three of the traps are full you are going to have to go to the Ghostbusters Headquarters to empty the traps.
Once you purchase the items you need flick the left difficulty switch and then you are taken to the map screen.
Here you are controlling the GB Logo. On top of the screen there is a big green block that say ZUUL. This represents the building from the movie. Here you will see that there are ghosts floating to the top of the screen towards the ZUUL building. You don’t want the ghosts to get up there. If they reach ZUUL the PK Energy meter in the lower left corner goes up. Once the energy goes up to a certain number, Stay Puft will show up and destroy a building. When Stay Puft destroys a building it takes money from you. If the PK energy gets up to 9999 and you have less than $10,000 the game is over. First thing you want to do is stop the ghosts from reaching the top of the screen. To stop them just move the GB Logo over them and the Ghosts will freeze. Now as you do this you want to look for any flashing blocks on the screen. The blocks represent buildings, if they are flashing there is a Ghost is in there. You want to drive to the flashing block and press the action button. After you do this you are taken to the Driving Screen.
Now you are driving. If you moved the GB Logo over the Ghosts they will appear on the screen and they can now be captured by driving over them and pressing the action button to suck them up in the Ghost Vacuum. This is beneficial for keeping the PK energy from getting too high. When the car stops, you are then taken to the Ghost Catching Screen.
On this screen, you control 2 Ghostbusters and at the top of the screen is a ghost flying around. What you want to do is catch the ghost. First, move the characters to where you want to put the ghost trap and then you drop the trap. Next, you place the 2 Ghostbusters and start firing your beam, your Ghostbusters are stuck facing in whatever direction that you pointed them and you can only move them towards the center of the screen. This is why it is important that you place your Ghostbusters where you want them, because once you fire you can’t cease firing. When you fire your beam, you better hope you are able to guide the ghost over the trap and hit the action button to catch the ghost in the trap. You only get one shot to trap the ghost, so you need to make sure that the ghost is over the trap and if you are one pixel off, the trap misses the ghost. If you miss the ghost, it will slime one of your Ghostbusters and fly away, then you have lost time and money. Also, you lose the ghost if your Ghostbusters Cross streams. If you cross the streams 2 of your GBs are incapacitated. You have 3 Ghostbusters in your arsenal, so if one is slimed, you can still continue driving around and try to catch ghosts. However once 2 of your Ghostbusters get slimed or taken down by crossing streams, you will need to drive to the Ghostbusters HQ to get them fixed up or cleaned off. You will also have to drive to the Ghostbusters HQ in order to empty your Ghost Traps when they are full. Don’t worry the game will let you know when you need to clean your guys or empty the ghost traps, a block in the lower left corner will start flashing yellow. That yellow flashing building is HQ, so you just go to that block and push the action button, then your GBs are replenished and traps are ready to be filled again.
Now the object of the game is to catch ghosts and get more money than you started with, before the PK Energy Reaches 9999. To keep from losing money when Stay Puft shows up you are going to have to play with the right difficulty switch to drop the Ghost Bait and this sends Stay Puft away. If you manage to keep catching ghost, avoid losing any of the money you have earned, and once the PKE reaches 9999 you are taken to the final screen of the game Stay Puft is hopping from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen. You need to get at least 2 of your Ghostbusters past him in order to beat the game. This part is very painstaking and I have only succeeded in doing it once, so I really have no idea of a good strategy to get under him without getting stepped on. If you manage to get passed Stay Puft, you have beaten the game and are treated to a screen with 2 GBs crossing their streams in the middle of the street. It will stay on this screen until you decide to switch the game off.
This version of the game was also ported on the C64 home computer. The game is exactly the same, except the graphics are a little better on the C64.
Now we move to the NES Console. This is essentially the same game, but it has a bit of a face lift in both graphics and mechanics. Let’s start with what happens when you turn on the game. You are greeted by a simple screen with the Ghostbusters Logo.
This screen is perfect and the game is just waiting for you to push Start. Once you do the game actually shouts “Ghostbusters.” You can barely make out what it is trying to say, but the unclear voice quality is part of the charm of this game. This game still gets me pumped when I play it, but I am pretty simple sometimes. The C64 does the same thing only the voice is much clearer on the C64. After you push start, you are taken to this game’s map screen.
Just like the other game you start with $10000. Let’s talk about the equipment in this game.
Ghost Vacuum: $2,500- Does the Same thing as the Atari 2600 Game.
Sound Generator: $100,000- Slows down the Ghosts on the Stairway Screen.
Capture Beam: $3,000- Captures the Ghosts on the Ghost Catching Screen.
Hyper Beam: $12,000- Does the same thing as Capture Beam, but Shoots Higher.
Ghost Food: $2,000- This Stuff is Useless it is for the Ghost’s on the stairs, but you don’t want it.
Anti Ghost Suit: $20,000- Protects you a little bit from the Ghosts on the Stairway Screen.
Capture Trap: $1,000- This trap only holds one ghost at a time. You don’t want it.
Super Trap: $6,000- This trap holds unlimited Ghosts so you don’t have to empty it.
Ghost Alarm: $2000- Lets you know where Ghosts are before you drive next to a building.
There is a lot of equipment here, but the ones you absolutely need in order to beat the game are The Hyper Beam, Super Trap, Anti Ghost Suit, and Sound Generator.
In order to beat the game you have to catch as many ghosts to get as much money as possible to buy the right equipment. You can only carry four pieces of equipment at a time. This is the best way to approach the game. First Purchase the Capture Beam, Super Trap and Ghost Vacuum from the shop. Then move the Logo around until a building flashes. Once you go in the building you are taken to the Driving Screen.
Don’t let the cars hit you, it will cost you money. Suck up the ghosts, if you have moved the logo over them. If you see gas cans on the road drive into them, because you don’t want to run out of gas. Yes in this game you can run out of gas and once you get to your destination you are taken to the Ghost Catching Screen.
This Screen is a whole lot easier than its Atari 2600 counterpart. You move both of your Ghostbusters, who are carrying a trap and move them where you want them. Then you drop your trap and catch the four ghosts that are flying around. You have a limited time to do this and you still don’t want to cross the streams, but you can keep moving both busters to better fight the ghosts. You can switch between Busters with the press of the B button and you can control the stream. You also get more money, if you catch all four ghosts at the same time.
So you go around this game slurping up ghost on the road and go into flashing buildings until you have a little over $14,000, then you want to go to the shop and trade in your Capture Beam for the Hyper Beam. From this point on, you have what you need to make a small fortune to beat this game. You need to have at least $18,000 dollars to enter the Zuul building in the center of the map, so go around busting ghosts until you have $138,000. This should give you plenty of money to go to the shop trade in the Ghost Vacuum for an Anti-Ghost Suit and The Sound Generator. Then you want to enter the Zuul building once you are there you are taken to the Stair Climbing Screen.
Even if you are fully equipped this is a very challenging part of the game. This level is absolutely frustrating. The Ghosts here are deadly and if they slime you 3 times the game is over. You want to avoid the ghosts and you have to make your way up 22 flights of stairs and worst of all there is no way to defend yourself. All you can do is walk, I have no idea why the developers wouldn’t let you use your Proton Packs here and they’re the GHOSTBUSTERS for crying out loud, so they should bust them not run away. To move your 3 Ghostbusters up the stairs you need to continually press the A button to make them walk. This level is much easier if you use a Turbo Controller, that way the Ghostbusters move up the stairs faster. If you make it up to the 22nd floor you will be taken to the final screen in the game.
Now this is it, you are controlling two Ghostbusters that are crossing streams. As I type that it kind of sounds bad, but this is as close as this game comes to resembling the movie. You control two Ghostbusters and you have to aim for the Flat Top to harm Gozer. There are many gamers that think it looks like you are hitting her crotch, but I think the developers meant for you to hit her in the head. Now as you do this, Stay Puft is slowly climbing the building and he goes up faster if you get to close to the bottom of the screen. Each time you go to the bottom of the screen Stay Puft gets closer to the top of the building. If he reaches the top the game is over, so while you are fighting Gozer you have to dodge projectiles, Ghosts that she is sending after you, and keep from going to the bottom of the screen. You have to hit Gozer directly like 10 times to defeat her than you are greeted by one of the most infamous game endings in Nintendo History. It has to be seen to be believed. 🙂
Now we move on to Ghostbusters for the Sega Master System. This game is an upgrade from the NES version and arguably the best version of David Cranes original Ghostbusters Game for the Atari and C64. For Starters the game is much more colorful than the previous versions. Now this is a fun and challenging game, you first give the game your initials and the game gives you $10,000 to start your own Ghostbusters franchise. Just like the previous one. I like to play this game and not be too challenged, so I know a cheat for this one. When the game asks you to enter your initials just enter A A and than enter 5887135454. You will start the game with $5,572,200 and that is plenty of money to buy all the equipment you need to win this game. We start at the shop screen. You should buy Super Ghost Vacuum, Ghost Bait, Super Ghost Traps, pretty much all super items. Also, buy the fastest car and it doesn’t matter what car you buy it will always be animated as the Ecto 1 in the Ghost Catching Screen. Finally, buy the Image Intensifier that will make the Ghosts easier to see and a defensive wall for the car and marshmallow sensor. Now we go to the Map Screen.
It works the same as the other games go around to pink or red buildings than you are taken to the driving screen.
Use the Vacuum to suck up Ghosts and make your way to the Ghost Catching Screen.
This is real easy. You just move both your guys around, get all the Ghosts in the center, and suck them up as much as you can to get them in the trap. Keep an eye on your beam power, because if you run out of power all the ghosts will slime you, so if you are low just go the GBHQ and charge up your packs. Just keep going around busting ghosts, until the City’s PK Energy goes fully in the Red and you will be taken to the next Screen.
You just need to get 2 GBs past Stay Puft and into the building. Just watch his pattern and it is pretty easy. Once you get 2 GBs past him, you will be taken to the Stair Climbing stage.
Now in this game you can actually use your proton packs to fight against the ghosts on the stairs. Just be careful because one hit and your GB is down. You have 3 Ghostbusters and you only have to get one up the stairs to make your way to the final screen in the game.
Now you are face to face with Gorza. Yeah I am not 100% sure how this mistake happened, but it happened. Either there was some translation trouble or the developers didn’t see the movie. Either of those ideas seems plausible, but in the long run forgivable since the wrong name on a game boss doesn’t make the game any less fun. The game even gives you a nice long ending text that tells you how awesome you are for beating the game. Congratulations is even spelled right.
Now we will talk about Ghostbusters for the Sega Genesis. Developed by Sega Enterprise. This game came out in 1990 and in my opinion was the best Ghostbusters game, until the 2009 video game. Now this game takes place after the events of the first movie, but takes place before the second one. Rather than making a Sega game based on the events of the film, they decided to give this game it’s own story. There are 3 playable characters Peter Venkman, Ray Stanz and Egon Spengler. Sadly Winston Zeddemore is left out of this awesome game just like he has been left out of the previous games I have mentioned. The story for the game goes something like this: The Ghostbusters are down on their luck with no ghost to bust until finally they get a call. This is where the Ghostbusters jump into action and there are four levels to choose from. These levels can be played in whatever order you choose, but keep in mind some levels are harder than others.
I would recommend taking the levels in this order:
Home Sweet Home– Contains One Middle Ghost
Apartment– Contains Two Middle Ghosts
Woody House– Contains Two Middle Ghosts
High Rise Building- Contains Two Middle Ghosts
As you play the game you will discover that the game is non-linear, so you can pretty much go where ever you want in the level. This is a great way to pick up bonuses and power ups. The mechanics are simple, there are ghosts all over the place so just blast them and the Ghost’s disappear. Eventually you will enter a room and a Text Box will pop up with the words ENCOUNTER in it. Then you are attacked by the game’s sub bosses called Middle Ghosts. The Middle Ghosts have to be worn down and captured in a Ghost Trap. You fight them until they explode and transform into a green wispy ghost. When they are like this you can then capture the ghost. To do that you just press and hold the fire button and wrangle the ghost into the trap. Sometimes even if you defeat the Middle ghost, he can escape from being captured. If this happens you don’t get the bonus points, but you can still proceed to fight the Boss Ghost at the end of the level. It is just in your best interest to capture as many of the Middle Ghosts as possible, because the extra money allows you to buy better equipment.
After defeating the first Boss Ghost, the Ghostbusters pick up a piece of a stone tablet. The Stone Tablet is the cause of all the supernatural activity, so it is up to the Ghostbusters to find the rest of the pieces and put the tablet together. Eventually, after you play through the four selectable levels in the game and put the tablet together, whatever character you picked to play comes back to Ghostbusters Headquarters to find that the other two Ghostbusters have been kidnapped by some maniac named Aurther who wants the stone tablet. You then drive to a new Castle level and give Aurther the tablet. In this level there are four Middle Ghosts and two of them are your fellow Ghostbusters who are now possessed. After you save your friends, defeat two more middle ghosts, and defeat the Boss Ghost, the Ghostbusters retrieve the tablet along with a jewel that fits in the center. They discover that Aurther was eaten by the Boss Ghost that they just fought. Once they take the tablet back to headquarters, they put the jewel in the tablet and an earthquake occurs opening a hole in the middle of the city. A city representative comes in and asks the Ghostbusters to go check out the hole and you’re taken to the final level of the game. Under the city is now this big supernatural jungle, where you have to face four Middle Ghosts in this level and they are four of the Boss Ghosts that you have already fought. Only this time you need to wrangle them into a Ghost Trap.
After they are captured you follow the map to the final boss of the game. Janna The Goddess of Death and Destruction. This character doesn’t exist in the films canon, making her a completely original character and she has a pretty awesome back story.
You can read up on it by CLICKING HERE
She first appears to the Ghostbusters in human form, but then transforms into the big boss that you have to fight.
After she is defeated, the Ghostbusters have saved the day once again and the game is over.
Again this is an awesome Ghostbusters game. The only flaw in the game is that there is no Winston Zeddemore, but you can’t deny that this is a fun action oriented game. This is without a doubt the ideal Ghostbusters game for its time.
There is too much gaming awesomeness and knowledge for one post to contain. Stay locked in to this site for the next entry of “Gaming With The Ghostbusters”
(article edited for posting by Joshua Gilmore)