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Ghostbusters – Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Ghostbusters – Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Ghostbusters-nesPlatform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Developer: Activision

Publisher: Activision

Release Date: 1988

Genre: Platformer

Nerd Rating: 3 out of 10

Reviewed by: bbpower


Is there an invisible man sleeping in your bed? Well, I hope not, but if so, Ghostbusters are here to save you! This is the first game produced following the 1984 motion picture. This is definitely one of those titles that rode on the franchise name to get sales. Also, this game is RIDICULOUSLY repetitive and HARD. So, strap on your ghost hunting gear… it’s go time. Ghostbusters_NES_ScreenShot2

For starters, this is one of the few NES games that I have a hard time playing and have never beaten, nor do I yearn to do so. The main objective of the game is to drive around a city map and capture ghosts before the time limit is up. In order to do so, players must purchase items to help them along the way. After some playing, I got the game down. It is very easy at the beginning, but grows boring and repetitive quickly.

The Ghostbusters start with 10,000 dollars to purchase gear to go capture ghosts. Players do not know this until they try and chase a ghost and have no gear to capture it. So, you have to drive to the SHOP to purchase an array of merchandise to get the job done and make a profit. There are Ghost Vacuums, Sound Generators, Capture Beams, Hyper Beams, Ghost food, Ghost Alarms, Anti-Ghost suits, Capture traps, and Super traps available at a cost to get the job done. The car can only carry so many items at once, so players have to buy smart to capture as many ghosts as possible without burning a hole in their pocket. Items can be traded back in for others as well for later priorities in the game; another thing I did not know till later. Also, the standard Ghost Traps only carry a certain number of ghosts, so you have to report back to HQ to dump them off. Nobody would know this unless they had the manual that came new with the game, but who has that anymore? Not I, said the bbpower.

gbsnestoreThe game is set up in a few stages. The city map, the shop, gas station (GS), Ghostbusters headquarters, and ZUUL building. The main screen is the map and the player is the Ghostbuster’s logo. The logo floats around the streets and when a building is flashing, there are ghosts to capture. Players need to capture the ghosts in these buildings to get money to buy more items needed to help beat this hard game. Hold the directional button and press A to enter to select the building. You would think you enter the building, but this is not the case!

To get to a building, players must drive the car through the streets to get to the location. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it’s not too bad, but every driver is looking to slam into you, which costs money every time you are touched. There are red barrels, which I avoided for the longest time before I realized they are gas refills for the car. So, don’t dodge them! If you run out of gas, two guys get out and push the car to the gas station, where you have to pay for overpriced fuel.

After the meters at the bottom of the screen reach lower than 40, the car automatically pulls over and the building is reached. Two Ghostbusters are in front of a building and you try and catch ghosts floating through the air with the Capture Beams to suck them into the two Ghost Traps available. Players cannot die from touching ghosts, but the capture beams will react if crossed and you will die. There are two Ghostbusters on the screen and you can control both by pressing A and the directional to change personnel. There will be a ding and then the other person can move. Pretty straight forward and uneventful since there is no way of dying unless you cross beams. GBNESstreet

After the building in the middle gets enough ghosts in there and the PK energy is high enough, the ZUUL building becomes unlocked and a scrolling marque says “Enter ZUUL bulding.” If you are ready, GO! If you are not, then the building will lock and you will have to wait again for another chance. It could take up to an hour. Not very amusing to have to wait, especially after you do the same thing over 20 times already.

Once you are inside with the necessary equipment (or not), this is where the hard difficulty stated above begins. There are twenty two sets of stairs to climb. Not only does it take forever, there are ghosts in this building that go after the Ghostbusters. Also, the A button has to be hit over and over to get the guys to walk. It’s just a slap in the face and annoyed the hell out of me. Many people use the Nintendo Turbo controller here. If you have it, plug that sucker in! After three, or so, hits (depending on what items you have) you die and you have to start over FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME! No continues, no mercy, and only feelings hurt. After the third time, I tossed my controller into the couch and gave up. I hope you will have more patience and drive than the bbpower.

If you make it up the stairs, you face the one, and only, boss in the game, which is not very hard. This is the only part of the game that actually has any action. Beat the game and you get a message with half the words misspelled and it says you beat a “Great” game. Great may be pushing it…. by a lot. More like mediocre at best. This is not a great game by any stretch. It’s just about as much fun as talking to a relative on the phone that you do not like, or perhaps watching an educational show on the mating rituals of slug worms… unless you are into that, in which I apologize.

Ghostbusters_(16)With all fits thrown about this hard, yet simple game, I give it a Nerd Rating of  a generous 3 out of 10. This game has very little entertainment value to offer and did not make me want to try and beat it again. Maybe in a few years I’ll give it another go, but may be packing my Game Genie next time and NES Turbo Controller. I hate to knock a game to this degree, but not every game is fun and not all can be winners. This game is one of the turds out there that is not worth the under ten dollar price tag.

I hate to say this, but save your money. Take a girl out for coffee, buy a dirty magazine, go bowling, or whatever you fancy. Only buy this bad boy at a garage sale for a collector piece to sit next to Ghostbusters II, or to challenge a friend who thinks they are good at NES games. I would assume if the copy you find is in good shape, check the pins, it was probably rarely played. Mine looked like it was never touched and I scored it at a yard sale for a quarter. How they made a sequel to this game, I will never know. Game on!


Written by Nerd Bacon

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