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New Ghostbusters II (European Release)

Game © 1990, 1992 Hal Laboratory, Inc.
Under sublicense from Activision, Inc.
Movie TM & © 1989 Columbia Pictures, Inc.
Review by Kitsune Sniper

Back in the late 80's and early 90's, I was one of the millions that used to see the Ghostbusters cartoon on TV. No, not the one that had a gorilla in it, but the ones that were based (very loosely) on the 1984 movie starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, and Annie Potts. After beind a great fan of the series, I expected a very good game after Ghostbusters II was released. We got the Activision game... however, the japanese and the europeans got this version in 1992.

Yes, folks, that's the guy from Ally McBeal, Peter MacNicol!

This version, since it was developed in Japan by Hal Laboratory (the creators of Kirby and Lolo), is completely different to the original US release. For starters, you can choose between two of 5 Ghostbusters: Peter, Egon, Ray, Winston... and Louis (Rick Moranis). You see the action from above. You control the first Ghostbuster you chose, and the second one is your sidekick. You hold the ghosts with the Proton Beam, and your sidekick traps the ghost.

So now, you roam around buildings, looking for ghosts and trapping them, until you reach the level boss. You start out in the Courthouse, go to Peter Venkman's apartment, the old N.Y. subway system, and finally the Art Gallery, to find Vigo. The game is a lot better in its gameplay than its american cousin. All characters move fast, though the sidekick gets stuck sometimes behind a wall or a door. And you don't start from the beginning of a level when you die. The bosses are tough, too! Vigo is not easy to defeat, and neither is Janosz (Peter MacNicol).

And since the game was designed in Japan, every one of the characters got the SD treatment (small body, big head and eyes). All the graphics are small, but well drawn. The backgrounds overuse the brown color, but everything is full of details.

The music is great, too. The Ghostbusters theme only gets played at the beginning and at the end of the game, and the levels in between all have different themes. The sound is great too. Not too annoying, but it works.

The only downsides: It's too short. And it's too easy. The apartment building level is a marathon - you have to go all the way up the building, fighting all the same enemies over and over and over, until you get to the top and go to the subway. I sat down to play it for two hours, and I beat it on the first try! Either I'm too good (Yeaaaah baby!...) or the designers made it too easy. And you don't get a real ending, either: just a couple of screens, and the credits roll. But the credits are very funny, because they're filled with classic japanese gags. Oh, a 2 player mode would have been nice, too.

So if you find it, make sure you have an european NES, else you won't be able to play it ^_^;
Seriously, try to find it (if you're european, of course).

Why, oh why did we get the Activision game here in America, instead of this little gem? The world will never know... unless you want to kidnap an Activision executive and beat the answers out of him.