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Ghostbusters II

Movie TM & © 1989 Columbia Pictures, Inc.
Developed by Imagineering, Inc., Glen Rock, NJ
Published by Activision
Review by Kitsune Sniper

Activision takes advantage once again of the license they scored in the early 80's of the comedy starring Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray. And they managed to create a very odd and different, albeit good sequel to their multi-platform ported game.

The game plays... very strangely. It starts off like a side-scroller, inside the old Subway ducts from the movie. The first thing you'll notice is that you move towards the left. Yes, the left. Your weapons are a slime cannon, and the usual ghost traps. You have to evade or trap as many ghosts as you can to stay alive; on top of that, you have a time limit! After one side-scrolling level, you start up the old Ecto-1 and go on a ride through town, jumping over the biggest potholes I've ever seen (then again, this is New York), evading barriers and sliming ghosts. After a while, you go on a ride inside the Statue of Liberty, crossing New York and making it to an Art Gallery, to save Dana Barrett's son.

For some reason, though, I've already seen these kinds of games elsewhere. The side scrolling mode reminds me of "Bart Vs The Space Mutants", another title developed by Imagineering; the car scenes are very vaguely similar to most shoot-em' ups out there: this one reminded me a lot of Gradius; and the Statue Of Liberty scenes reminded me of "Space Invaders", because of the way the statue moves and the ghosts attack you. I'm not saying that these rip-offs are bad; on the contrary, they mixed three different game engines, and did a great job. That's because you need lots of different skills: for the side-scroller scenes you require lots of patience, the car scenes require lots of quick reflexes, and the Statue Of Liberty scenes need a lot of luck.

If you liked the original Ghostbusters' theme from the first movie, you'll hear it. A lot. In the side scrolling scenes, that's the main theme. But it also has two more songs that were part of the movie's soundtrack: Higher and Higher (the song that plays during the Statue of Liberty scenes), and one more for the car scenes. The're quite faithfully ported, but of course the NES hardware doesn't allow for very good music.

The graphics are very decent, but they look blocky, almost too square. The Imagineering team really tried to put a lot of details in the game, but they came up short. The cinema scenes between levels are OK, but the characters don't even look like their real-life counterparts; except for the ending graphic, where at least they look a bit like them.

If you can find the game in a bargain bin, try it out. You may like it. But after you've beaten it, that's it. There's nothing in the game that makes you want to beat it again.