previews\ Apr 29, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Ghostbusters The Video Game - WII - Preview

“If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?” Well, if you know the song, there is really only one answer to that question.

Ghostbusters was a successful movie adventure that hit the big screen in 1984 and spawned a sequel in 1989. There have been a few video-game iterations, but nothing quite as ambitious as what Sierra has on tap to release around Halloween on the 360, PS3, Wii, PS2 and PC platforms.

Starting with a whole new technology built from scratch, Ghostbusters has been termed by Dan Aykroyd to be the third movie, and the talent from the first two films (Ernie Hudson, Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray) are all back.

Sierra demoed the game at a spring media event held in San Francisco in mid-April, and while not much of the actual story was revealed (the demo was mostly to show off the game engine), the bit that was revealed involved the player taking on the role of a new member of the Ghostbusters team. Some of the old favorite monsters will be making an appearance as well, including the boss from the first movie, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man.

The game sports a rather amazing look, with dynamic shadows and lighting and the environmental effects were first rate. Almost everything in the world has a physical presence and physical properties. For example, in one of the demos of the engine, cars were ‘glued’ to the ceiling of the library using new elements of the proton pack. The goo holding the cars would only last so long before the weight of the vehicle pulled them down, impacting the environment in a realistic way. Books were scattered, splinters from crushed tables were sent flying – all in all, it was a remarkable bit of engineering. Damage is persistent and with the new engine and technology, rotational inertia has been achieved.

The same holds true for bystanders. Another demo showed the capabilities of rendering crowds, with more than a thousand people on the screen – each with collision detection and AI that moved them about.

Another interesting attribute is the way the proton pack is used. Rather than put user attributes on the screen (like a health bar), elements of the user interface have been put on the proton pack. It is a very natural element that may confuse players initially, but once you know where to look it becomes informative without being intrusive.

The game will also sport multiplayer components on all the systems (360, PS3, PS2, PC and Wii), and although the Wii won’t have online abilities, players can indulge in split-screen co-op during certain missions.

Aykroyd and Ramis had a heavy hand in writing the script for the game, so fans of the movies can expect the same humor to carry over into the game.

Slated for release around Halloween, Ghostbusters looks to not only breathe fresh life into the film series, but give fans that have waited for a decent rendition of the movies in gaming form a real treat.

“I ain’t 'fraid of no ghost …”

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