E3 2008: Ghostbusters: The Video Game Hands-On

Step into the shoes of the new recruit.

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There was no Stay Puft Marshmallow Man this time, but Terminal Reality and Sierra did stop by to give us a tour of the famous library scene from the original Ghostbusters movie back in 1984. With PKE meter in hand, we got a chance to play the PlayStation 3 version and make our way through the library to trap the pesky ghost while racking up a small fortune in damages. What stood out the most was the detail in the environments that we were exploring and the proton pack--it kind of makes you want to get your own.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The storyline, written by the original crew from the movie, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, takes place two years after the events of the first movie. We were taken to the third level of the game, where you enter the great library. You play as a new recruit, with members of the Ghostbusters team nearby to help when needed. They can also wander off to other parts of the level, so we were left to explore some areas alone. When the ghost isn't leaving a trail of purple smoke behind, the PKE meter will indicate with different colors whether you are close to an event, a collectible item, or the ghost itself. There will be items that are invisible to the naked eye; you'll have to use the meter if you want to find them.

The proton pack provides an endless proton stream of energy to hold the ghosts long enough for you to release a trap and box them. The tougher, more stubborn ghosts will take a bit of effort because you need to hold them in your proton stream while slamming them against the ground or the wall to knock them out long enough to move them over to the trap. This is done by holding down the R2 button to keep the proton stream going and then quickly hitting the L1 and right analog stick together to throw the ghost in a specific direction.

The triangle button swaps between the PKE meter and the proton pack. When your PKE meter is out, the game goes into first-person view with the Ecto-Goggles. Normally you are looking over the shoulder in third-person view, and movement is done with the analog sticks, with a small target reticle there for aiming. When a ghost is caught in the stream it auto-locks. Terminal Reality wanted to avoid a cluttered HUD, so pertinent information is displayed on the proton pack itself, with a meter indicating when your pack is overheating. You need to vent the pack to continue using it.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

While you're navigating through the basement, book shelves will periodically move and cut you off. Sometimes you'll even get knocked over. We were told that every 15 minutes or so, an event of either humorous or scary nature will happen just to keep you on your toes.

So far, Ghostbusters is looking really good visually, especially if you pay close attention to the details. Once again, the people at Terminal Reality wanted to show off their very own Infernal engine to demonstrate the game's physics, specifically how everything in the environment can be interacted with and ultimately destroyed. Tables, chairs, books, plants, and anything you can get your hands on can be thrown around. It's a fun distraction when you're not chasing ghosts.

Look for Ghostbusters later this year on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The Wii and PS2 versions, which are slightly different, are being developed by Red Fly and should also be available in the fall.

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