Ghost Squad Hands-On

Zapper in hand, we check out a near-finished version of Sega's arcade shooter for the Wii.

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Based on a 2004 arcade shooter of the same name, the Wii version of Ghost Squad will be one of the first games released to take advantage of the Wii Zapper peripheral arriving in stores the same day. We recently had an opportunity to spend some quality time with both a near-finished version of the game and the aforementioned lump of white plastic and had plenty of fun doing so.

Ghost Squad, for those of you unfamiliar with the original light gun setup in arcades, is a fast-paced rail shooter that casts you in the role of an elite soldier tasked with completing three quite different antiterrorist missions as part of a small squad. The missions, which are all available to play from the outset, include freeing hostages from a large villa, rescuing the US president from a kidnap attempt aboard Air Force One, and entering a terrorist base to free a captured military figure before escaping through a jungle. All three levels can be played through in a number of different ways, and each of them ends with a boss battle that ultimately determines whether your mission is a success or a failure. Furthermore, although only the "level 1" iterations of the missions are available the first time you play, a further 15 increasingly difficult versions of each can be unlocked.

The route you take to the end of each mission is anything but linear.

As you progress through the different iterations of each mission, you'll notice that the enemies are tougher and more numerous. But the differences certainly don't end there. Additional action sequences are shoehorned into the missions and, in situations where you're asked to choose your squad's next course of action, more options will become available. Some of the options that you're presented with affect the gameplay only quite marginally; for example, choosing one of two doors aboard Air Force One determines whether or not the plane experiences turbulence during the next sequence. Other options, though, give you the freedom to check out all-new action sequences or to play to your strengths; you might prefer climbing up onto a roof and providing cover fire for your colleagues as they bust into an enemy-filled building to going in there yourself, for example. The numerous routes that you can take through each mission promise to add plenty of replay value to Ghost Squad, which is just as well, given that all three levels can be played through in under 30 minutes.

In addition to points in each level at which you have to choose what to do next, Ghost Squad incorporates a number of other gameplay elements that help to break up the repetitive pointing and shooting somewhat. Using whichever button you've designated as your "action" command, you can rescue hostages, disarm landmines and bombs, and even defeat certain enemies using a melee combat system. These sequences are still controlled by pointing at specific areas on the screen and pushing a button, but they add variety to the proceedings nonetheless.

Variety in Ghost Squad also comes in the form of unlockable extras, which include dozens of different weapons and outfits, as well as "ninja" and "paradise" party modes for up to four players. The first time you play Ghost Squad, the default weapon for all three missions is a versatile machine gun that lets you switch between single-shot, three-shot burst, and fully automatic firing modes. It's arguably one of the easiest weapons to use, but unlockable weapons such as shotguns, rifles, and pistols equipped with laser sights (the regular onscreen reticle is optional) or with the power to shoot through solid objects all have their pros and cons and, crucially, mix up the gameplay a bit. With that said, boss battles and sniper sequences still force you to switch out your chosen weapon for something appropriate, so you'll never know for sure if you're skilled enough to take down an Apache helicopter using a six-shooter rather than a rocket launcher.

Unlockable outfits like this one are purely aesthetic.

Unlockable outfits in Ghost Squad, which would no doubt have given you bragging rights in an arcade back in the day, serve little purpose here, although one or two of them are quite amusing. Much more deserving of a mention are the aforementioned ninja and paradise modes, which alter Ghost Squad's regular gameplay and visuals quite noticeably. For example, in ninja mode all of you will play as ninjas armed with an infinite supply of shuriken, while in paradise mode you'll be carrying a water pistol shaped like a dolphin. Garden-variety enemies take on the forms of ninjas and bikini-clad girls in the two modes, and you'll notice that some of the destructible items and doors in the environment are given makeovers as well. Even some of the more specialized enemies and the bosses can't escape the ninja and paradise paintbrushes, so don't be surprised if you see a large frog where you were expecting a Jet Ski, or a guy strapped to an unusually well-armed kite where you'd normally be up against a helicopter.

Besides support for four players rather than two, the most significant addition to the Wii version of Ghost Squad over the arcade original is undoubtedly the inclusion of online leaderboards. These promise to further add to the game's replay value, and should also act as an incentive for you to play the game without the optional targeting reticle, or to play on more difficult levels since it's possible to score more points that way. Ghost Squad is currently scheduled for release toward the end of November. Expect a full review soon.

Discussion

59 comments
GSmashX_202
GSmashX_202

played the arcade version and it was a blast hope I get to play it soon!

SteveXLR
SteveXLR

I also really want to play Ninja and Paradise mode!

SteveXLR
SteveXLR

Can't wait to get this for X-mas! It will be great! :P

gradius2dx
gradius2dx

From what I've read, the Japanese version doesn't let you map the fire button to C or Z. If that's the same case for the American version, I'm gonna be pissed off. I have a third-party gun attachment that looks like a shotgun and I'm not using a button on the barrel for the fire trigger.

YInYangUXG
YInYangUXG

This is one of the greatest games ever.

jjdomo
jjdomo

I'm assuming Ninty put the trigger where they did because the back hand will be busy controlling the nunchuck. It would have been more difficult to have one hand controlling both. Plus, with the the way the Wii-mote is designed, it has the trigger up at the front anyways . . .

chutup
chutup

lol the ninja mode will be awesome with friends.

sir-michael
sir-michael

Guys Guys , lets not fight who knows what weapon better :) the wii zapper now thats a weapon !! lol

charlesatlas
charlesatlas

semperfi2070, I was hoping that with a name reflectant of the USMC, you would know your weapons better. Correct; the bullpup style firearm has a receiver that pulls the ordnance from the back of the gun, behind the trigger housing. However, this allows the barrel to be a larger percent of the gun's length, i.e. an M-16's barrel is roughly 60% of the overall length of the weapon, while the Project 90 sub machine gun and FAMAS have barrels about 90% of the overall length of the weapon. Where you are incorrect is that the trigger is still in front. It is in front of the magazine, yes, but not in front of the foregrip. The dominant hand (which is always in the rear for long arms) is still the trigger hand. Therefore, they stay consistant with the firing styles of older weaponry. This means that xcollector is correct, the Zapper is set up in a very strange fashion, and for most games it will probably have the gamer using their forward hand for the trigger. I also agree with him in the fact that it may be a deal-breaker for me. I am a regular shooter (real firearms), and having to switch up the normal, and logical, style will bug the crap out of me. Hopefully we'll be able to choose the Z button for the trigger. It seems strange that Nintendo would overlook a fact that is very simple, I usually trust the developers to know at least as much as that, but I won't have a final judgement until I see it.

semperfi2070
semperfi2070

@xcollector: Ever seen a "bull-pup" style weapon (FAMAS or the british assault rifle L8A51 or w/e)? These weapons have the grip and trigger in the front and the magazine in the rear of the weapon.

uklegendkiller
uklegendkiller

Sound's fun, deffinately going to be buying this and the 4 Wii zappers...More sleepless nights are bound to follow!!

puppiemaster
puppiemaster

I'm buying this and 4 Wii Zappers, along with RE UC it will be a fun Xmas

ninjarat
ninjarat

Fingeers cross that there will be a co-op option.

semdawg15
semdawg15

I've read at IGN that the game only has leaderboards for it's online portion of the game, but I could have missed something else in there.

Zapoo
Zapoo

I have a feeling that people will wait to play this game till after they get the new resident evil since wasn't that one supposed to come packaged with the zapper?

rouge-ninja14
rouge-ninja14

It looks pretty fun but I will wait for the reveiw.

thk123
thk123

30 Min Gameplay? Its got to have a lot of replayability... Does it really have online?!

arey2777
arey2777

salad rules just like this game

CRAZYCAM_93
CRAZYCAM_93

"does it have online multiplayer?" Yes grimybrit, ive heard it does. ............................................................ I think ill be skipping this and spending my money on Umbrella Chronicles, it looks more exciting to me and im a big Resident Evil fan.

grimybrit
grimybrit

does it have online multiplayer?

CLeRKSfan4life
CLeRKSfan4life

I really want this game. Can't wait till it comes out!

TheMeepiness
TheMeepiness

The 'unusually well armed kite' comment made me go LOL.

xcollector
xcollector

Maxned: Sad news Buddy, I read a review of the Japanese version and you can't assign the buttons. In wiimote mode it uses the A button and in Zapper mode it uses the B button for the trigger. I think its dumb having the trigger at the front of the gun's barrel. I have never seen a gun that had the trigger at the front of its barrel. They should have used the B button for the action command and Z button for the trigger command instead of the other way around. I don't see a reason now to get the zapper when it won't be configured like a normal gun and I'm not a Link fan looking forward to the mini-games either.

Penguin_dragon
Penguin_dragon

Does this game really have leaderboard? Itd be nice to have a reason to play online then to just play for no reason.

frankeyser
frankeyser

cool i get the complete arcade version with leader board at home!. cool deal as i wasted way more than 30 bucks in quarters on this game!

Sikzak
Sikzak

Maxned: you can use both :D

JusticeCovert
JusticeCovert

Maxned: The default control has you using B to shoot, but you can change it to Z. I did. :)

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

Hmm; I wonder how the graphics will translate from the arcade to the Wii. The arcade version was pretty sharp.

mov
mov

people out there say "i love rail-shooters"?

Grouchy_Dude
Grouchy_Dude

Very ugly Sega Saturn graphics, with repetitive gameplay. Even though it's only $30, with the Wii Zapper at $20, the whole bundle is $50. Still, I pre-ordered the Wii zapper with Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles. This game look hotter than Ghost Squad, IMO.

DrakonGiga
DrakonGiga

this is my favourite arcade game!!!! Why can't they bring out a light gun for the PS3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

XBASX
XBASX

I love arcades.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

lol weird sounding remix of the game. i'll buy. arcarde shooters always caught my fancy

punkpunker
punkpunker

i better buy this rather then playing the arcade ver

b4ever
b4ever

hi every one what i want to till is what you guys think about zelda

Mattyrock
Mattyrock

This outta be interesting, the arcade version was awesome!

Djinnator
Djinnator

I really like playing this in arcades, I hope its as fun in my den.

sphinx-shadow
sphinx-shadow

looks great just pre-ordered it two days along with mass effect

jazziey
jazziey

Im getting this game i love the arcade version i play it all the time. Im also going to get the wii zapper to so i can play with it. :D

DFTricks
DFTricks

That sound like a lot of fun :P I'l probably get it next week(right now it's exam time -_-')

Deckfos
Deckfos

Try Mario Galaxy Battalion Wars Rayman Raving Rabbids Mario Party 8

padouke
padouke

Maxned, from what I've heard i think its the B button.... I agree, it seems like the Z button would be much more comfortable and realistic, but im still going to give the zapper a try. we'll have to see how this game compares to Resident Evil: UC. its very much the same setup, but im betting RE will be a better game, just a gut feeling...

Maxned
Maxned

Anyone know whether it is Z or B to shoot? And dont call me a noob because the Z button is much more realistic and it makes so much more sense. Anyone?

Warfust
Warfust

This sounds good, more so as I have only played this a couple of times in the arcade.