Ghostbusters (NES) Retro Review

Ghostbusters is a 1988 action/adventure game for the NES developed by Bits Labaratory and published by either Tokuma Shoten (JP) or Activision (NA). Its based on the 1984 film of the same name.

The title screen is essentially just a sprite recreation of the with the licensing flashing in and out on the bottom with absolutely no sound. Waiting a few seconds shows you trademarks, licenses and other info instead of demo play like practically every other game does. When you pres start you hear a horrible voice say ‘Ghosbusters’, i guess it was great back then but its aged alot.

Getting into the game you’re thrown into what looks like a street although the graphics aren’t that good with a cover of the Ghostbusters theme in the background. Since i play without any sort of guides or instructions i found myself incredibly confused to the fact you pwere the logo going around the street with ghosts going towards a house with Zuul written on it (which i assumed was a bad thing). It somehow took me a while to realise that it was just a hub world (GS is Gas Station, GBHQ is Ghostbusters Headquarters) as i was trying to kill the ghosts. I was sort of confused why they chose to set pause to select. The fact you needed to go to the shop to buy the equipment before you could go catch was really annoying and seemed unecessary.

When you pick where you want to go you play a driving minigame which is quite simplistic especially the graphics which seemed to consist entirely of a grey road, grey pavement, grey cars, the occasional ghost and a surprising amount of red fire hydrants (not to mention the Ghostbuster tune is still going). Its quite easy as long as you manage to get the fuel cannisters along the way so you don’t run out unless you speed up to max which makes it last a few second, in fact you could say the driving section existed solely to get rid of some of your money as you lose money every time you crash into a car. Although you can actually capture the ghosts to get a bit of money if you have insane reflexes or go really slow.

When you finally get to the main part of the game you sort of end up getting disappointed. All you really did was press A to place the trap, press A to turn on the beams, grab a few and then walk over to the box to capture them (which also captures anything above the box). You keep repeating this by travelling to flashing buildings, doing the driving minigame and capturing ghosts until you can buy better equipment and without the super trap (which thankfully only costs $6000) you also have to travel back to HQ every time. However once the PK energy gets high enough you are finally told to enter the Zuul building.

This is the first and only time you actually enter a building and for some reason i had absolutely no idea what i was doing and died almost immediately which gives you a game over and forces you to start the whole game again (unless you’re playing with an emulator and have quicksave). I found out what you had to do was hold a direction and keep tapping A to slwly climb the stairs and it was absoutely torture as there seemed to be no wa to get rid of the ghosts that might suddenly decide to kill you and because you come back exactly where you died having multiple lives is mostly pointless. I ended up having to make use of a turbo button and even then it took a surprising amount of time to go up the 22 floors.

If you somehow get up the stairs (without cheating) you are finally met with Gozer who seems to be a naked woman accompanied by two statues and infinitely spawning amounts of little white ghosts. Its essentially like a bullet hell shooter except with annoying problems. First of all you could shoot backwards for some reason despite it being pointless. Secondly the little white ghosts are incredibly annoying as you need to shoot them while dodging all the bullets. Thirdly you can accidentally walk off the bottom of the screen trying to doge projecties which conveniently reveals the Staypuft Marshmallow Man slowly climbing the building meaning you have a time limit too and even though you can go to the edge of the building and make him go down it causes the audio to glitch out and he speeds up after a while anyway. And if that wasn’t bad enough your reward for all this is a badly translated screen. Totally not worth doing even a portion of this game for.

Overall this is a very bad game, its like they were purposely trying to show you the most boring parts possible to being a Ghostbusters with extra dumb stuf like having to buy your own equipment. I definitely cannot recommend this to anyone.


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