Sunday, October 19, 2014

Level Up: New Ghostbusters 2

2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the GhostBusters, a series so great that I talked about it one of my first episodes. But while the first movie is pretty universally liked, the second one has its haters. What do I think? Well, for a while I actually enjoyed it more than the first, and while- *BOO!* HEY! HEY! OK, I DON’T ANYMORE! *Booing stops* Yeah, eventually I got around to seeing how much of a weaker movie it is compared to the original, but it’s still Ghostbusters. It also has a game based on it that’s actually pretty fun. Here’s The New Ghostbusters 2 for the Nintendo Entertainment system… kind of.
So let me get this out of the way: this game wasn’t released in North America. However, it was released in the PAL region and Japan. If you live in those regions or have a top loader system, I believe that means you can play this. If you’re like me, it means you need to emulate it to get the chance. *Producer speech* I know, I was getting to that: Level Up and all people affiliated with it do not encourage the ROMing, Emulating, Burning or modding of any games or systems, or any illegal distribution of video games. At first I thought it might be bad to talk about the NES version, as there is also a Game Boy version released, and the Game Boy is not region locked. However, upon looking it up, the two games seem like very different experiences. Now onto the game itself.
To start the game, you pick 2 of 5 Ghostbusters (yes 5, Louis Tully gets a shot of the action here)! One uses the proton pack, while the other works the trap. Simply press  and hold A to stun and hold a ghost with your proton stream and then press B to capture it.
Seem a bit easy? Well there are a few catches. First off, you get killed with a single hit. While one ghost might not give you any problems, having multiple around you might cause some difficulties considering you catch them one at a time. However, one of the really cool things in this game is that you can move while holding a ghost. Of course, you don’t want to keep it held for too long without capturing it, as after a few seconds, your proton stream will shut off.
I can’t say much more as the game is pretty simple. It’s so smooth, since it has that free roaming “StarTropics 2” feel (despite not being able to move diagonally) and the proton beam will move slightly if needed. It’s just one of those games that doesn’t do much, but everything is balanced so well.
The graphics in this game are… well, HAL. Yeah, you know how a couple of episodes ago I said that Capcom had their own way of making sprites look good? Well, HAL Labs (developers and publishers) also had their own style. For them its very round and cute looking (think Adventures of Lolo, Earthbound or even human in Blaster Master). This game has that same cute style to it. Does it work for the game? Well yeah, kind of. Considering the simple game play, it’s hard to say that a simple look wouldn’t be suited. On the other hand, when the game does get difficult, it’s hard to take it seriously and be aware. It’s also hard for things to get scary, and issue considering it’s, you know, GHOSTBUSTERS.
Now it’s time to talk about the sounds… Which always hard when talking about the Ghostbusters, cause the theme song will outshine everything. Though the level music does do a good job at paying homage to it. It does hit a few of the same notes, but generally it’s good, wacky, but restrained music. The sound effects aren’t great though: lots of high pitched sounds from the ghosts and your proton beam. It can get grating since there are so many ghosts to catch and you can go quickly once you get a hang of things.
The New Ghostbusters 2 is one of those games I feel didn’t need to be Ghostbusters, but I do admit that I wouldn’t have played it if it wasn’t. It’s a simple game that does everything so well that it’s easy to get addicted to. Granted, there isn’t much to the game so you can pretty much breeze through the it in about an hour. Most enemies don’t pose much of a threat either, with the second to last boss being the only point where I found there was a real difficulty spike. But that’s just nit-picks, as the overall experience is very well crafted. I give The New Ghostbusters 2 for the NES 8.5 levels out of 10.