It’s not often you get a game for free, is it? Let’s just say I was a bit skeptical when my local game store was offering Extreme Ghostbusters for free. I thought it was going to be terrible if they were giving it away. I ordered it anyway, just because it was something for nothing. Anyway, let’s get down to the game itself.
The ectoplasmic forces, led by the half-human, half-devil, dastardly villain Count Mercharior, have kidnapped two key members of the Ghostbusters team. The intention of the sovereign is clear: he wants to reign single-handedly and to take his revenge on the ghost hunters. Eduardo and Kylie of the Extreme Ghostbusters jump to the rescue and attempt to find Roland and Garrett and put an end to the terrible threat. It’s the kind of plot you’d expect to find in a Disney movie.
The first thing you’ll notice is that there’s two parts; driving and platforming. You start the game by driving through the streets to your destination. This part is kind of fun, but nothing really special. The real meat of the game is the platforming. This is where there’s some unexpected depth in the gameplay. You can switch between the two characters with a flick of the L button. They’re both different; Kylie is fast and can jump high, but Eduardo has a powerful gun but isn’t very agile. You’ll end up doing the platforming tasks like jumping as Kylie and shooting the ghosts as Eduardo. They both have two weapons, a gun and a bomb-type device. Choosing the right weapon and the right character can make all the difference to whether you survive or not.
I have to admit that although it’s just a scrolling platformer, it’s quite addictive. It’s also not too easy, just the right difficulty to let you complete a stage after a few tries. The controls are simple in both gameplay modes; while platforming, A jumps, B is fire, L is change character and R is use special weapon; while driving, A is accelerate and B is brake.
The graphics are detailed and colourful, especially the backgrounds. The visuals are nice and sharp and the animation is reasonably fluid, with a variety of poses and moves. My only gripe with the graphics is the camera. Although it’s good most of the time, giving you a good view of the action, it occasionally is wobbles around. This is only a minor problem, but can deduct from the overall feel of the game.
The sound is, well to put it bluntly, poor. At least they tried though. You get the feeling that they tried to get the GBA to pump out some decent audio, but it just doesn’t work. The sound effects are ok, but the music is really abysmal. You’re better off just turning the volume right down before you start, as the sound isn’t needed because there are subtitles in the story-telling screens.
As I’ve already mentioned, Extreme Ghostbusters is quite addictive because of the deep, fun gameplay. The difficulty level is also just right. However, it won’t last forever, and I expect that when you’ve finished the 12 or so levels, you’ll just put it down. The password system is also annoying, because you have to keep jotting down codes for a game which is meant to be optimized for a portable console. It’s just a sign of lazy programming.
Only let down by sound and the unimaginative driving section, Extreme Ghostbusters is a decent title that’s worth picking up if it’s got a cheap enough price tag on it. I got it for free, but I’d still go for it if it was around £10 ($15). Apart from a few small gripes, I’ve found Extreme Ghostbusters surprisingly good. With good visuals and fun gameplay, it’s a solid little platformer.