Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime
Developer: Behavior Studios
Consoles:XBLA (Reviewed), PSN, PC
Release Date: March 23rd 2011 (PC, XBLA), March 22nd 2011 (PSN)
Price: 800 MSP – Buy Now!
Ah… Ghostbusters. Is there any franchise that is more recognizable involving ghosts? Perhaps so but the Ghostbusters’ logo and theme song will always pull at the heart of gamers for being an amazing movie franchise. After the release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game back in 2009 fans of the franchise have been waiting to see what would happen next, and now we have Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime on the XBLM. Will G:SoS live up to the franchise name?
The year is 1989, and being the year Ghostbusters 2 came out, the story picks up with the museum curator Janosz Poha being submitted into a mental hospital after the events of Ghostbusters 2 and his work with Vigo. Once in the hospital he meets a man named Ismael, the last member of the cult of Dumazu whom is seeking the Relic of Nilhe. The relic contains the power to bring back Dumazu the Destroyer and without much hesitation, Janosz agrees to help Ismael as long as he gets his reward; Dana Barrett.
As years pass we come to modern day March 2011 and it seems that things have gotten so busy around New York City with countless ghost manifestations. So much so that the Ghostbusters themselves are getting worn out from running all over the city. In an effort to lighten their load they recruit a team of rookies: Bridget, Gabriel, Samuel and Alan to help battle the ghosts while they get some rest. The rookie team then must track down the source of these outbreaks and this takes them to many different venues familiar to Ghostbusters fans such as the Sedgewick hotel and others.
The story itself is told through unvoiced comic cutscenes and through little dialogue blips that appear during gameplay. The rookie Ghostbuster team feels relatively similar to the original team, with Bridget being the comedic relief most of the time and the rest of the team providing the scientific outlook of what is going on.
The comic like cutscenes are hit and miss at times. Most of the time the drawings look relatively impressive and show the characters’ likness quite well but sometimes it is hard to tell who exactly you are looking at, especially involving the classic Ghostbuster team, due to the drawing. Also considering the game is not voiced the player must read the comic dialogue bubbles that show up.
Unfortunately, much like the comics, the dialogue itself is hit and miss because there was a number of times that, due to a large panel of a comic being shown off, it was hard to read what the dialogue even said on a 50” HD screen. This problem can lead to the player having to either move extremely close to the screen to understand what is going on or simply ignore that dialogue bubble in the hopes of it containing no dire information.
Unfortunately the game itself is not voiced so that means while Behavior Studios was able to avoid paying the original actors for taking part in the game, it also means you won’t be hearing Dan Aykroyd or Bill Murray in Sanctum of Slime. But what it does have thankfully is the original theme song which is a huge plus considering how die-hard fans can be for Ghostbusters. The background music that plays during each level is suitable enough, attempting to provide a
Ghostbusters plays as a twin joystick shooter, with the left stick moving your character around and the right stick aiming wherever you want your proton pack to shoot at a ghost or piece of furniture. The camera angle stays at a nice overhead angle and gives the game a Gauntlet-like feel, especially when played with friends. There are a few levels consisting of the players riding on the Ecto-1 where the players have to watch the car’s health as well as their own.
Since the original Ghostbusters are worn out after the above mentioned spree of ghost sightings and the rookies are in charge that means that you will have to choose between Bridget, Gabriel, Samuel and Alan when you begin a level. As you enter a level you will be attacked by a number of different ghosts, which are color coded by the proper weapon you should use to defeat them.
When you first start the game you will only have the red proton beam (ah… the classics) to start out with, and thankfully enemies are only of that variety at the moment. As you progress through the game you will unlock a yellow spread shot weapon and a powerful blue shot as well which then can be used on ghosts of that color variety. It is possible to defeat ghosts with weapons of other colors but it is more difficult because they do less damage.
Now even if you happen to play solo you will still have three other Ghostbusters to back you up at all times. The AI partners seem to understand their job quite well and will usually do a good enough job reviving you and each other if you happen to go down from being hit too many times by a ghost. Reviving your teammates involves rapidly pressing the A button until a small bar fills up. It isn’t the best way to revive however and can sometimes involve getting knocked down yourself simply because you took too long.
But who would want to play a Ghostbuster game alone when it is easy to see the fact that it was meant to be played with friends. There are two different options for multiplayer, local and Xbox Live. Local is self-explanatory, giving players the option to have four different players on the screen at one time with each player taking over one Ghostbuster. Xbox Live will give players the ability to jump into any created match by searching for active lobbies, or making a quick match of your own. From my experience the game played fluidly online without any major lag between players with four on screen at one time.
Now what would a Ghostbusters game be without destructible environments? Not a Ghostbuster game but Sanctum of Slime neatly jumps that hurdle by allowing most furniture and even items on the wall to be destroyed via your proton blasts. There are even collectibles hidden throughout the levels which the player can find by destroying the objects containing them.
Despite a new team and a new playstyle Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime still provides the classic feel. Unfortunately the original team does not return outside of a few minor comic book appearances and the comics themselves can be a disappoint most of the time. Despite this however there is plenty of fun to be had when playing with a group of friends on your couch or online.
I give Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime