Review – Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime

When there’s something strange, on your console, who ya gonna call?….

Read our review to find out if it’s Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime.

The Ghostbusters franchise was born on the big screen way back in 1984 and was a big hit with young and old alike. It spawned a couple of sequels, and a bunch of video games. For a movie released almost 30 years ago, it still has a huge following today.

Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime takes up where the 2009 release Ghostbuster: The Video Game left off. The game opens up with our four original heroes fighting and capturing ghosts around New York City. They are overworked and wore out due to an incredible increase in paranormal activity. In need of some time off, they hire four new recruits and start training them to be real Ghostbusters. In a matter of three weeks, the rookies are ready to go and take off for a haunted hotel.

Rookies are here

The story is told by comic strips with word bubbles and some voice acting. The opening sequence voice work of the four original cast members did a great job of capturing who they were and sounded very familiar. There is quite a bit of reading required if you want to fully understand the whole story. If you are playing on a small TV, you may need to step a little closer to read some of the text as it is a little small. Bigger TV users need not worry. The story is entertaining and the writing is typical for Ghostbusters, and that’s not a bad thing. The story itself spans over 4000 years.

While the story line takes up where the 2009 release left off, the gameplay is totally different. SoS is a top down, dual stick shooter where the left stick is for movement and the right stick is for firing your weapon. You start out with your well known ghost blaster that shoots a solid red beam. Eventually you are given a couple of new weapons and learning when to use each specific weapon becomes paramount to your survival. The second weapon is a yellow wave blaster. It can be a little worrisome due to the fact that the waves are shot out at about a second apart, and sometimes that is a half second too long. Your final weapon is a blaster that shoots out blue balls. The ghosts and ghouls you have to eliminate are all color coded. This is where knowing the color of each weapon comes in handy. The red beam takes out red ghosts, yellow for yellow, and blue for blue. The blue ball will ricochet off of a wall once, so keep that in mind. It may come in handy. (quick tip: mixing two colors can create a third color).

Know your colors

SoS is designed to be a friendly co-op game, and you have four rookies to choose from when you get ready to start. They are all equal so there’s really no pros and cons to who you choose. You can play by yourself, and the AI will take control of the other three characters or you can have up to three other people playing with you offline, if you have the available controllers. You can go online and play with friends or strangers, just keep in mind that there’s no storytelling online. There is a friend invite system if you have players on your friends list that have the game, or you can just jump in randomly with other players from around the world. Voice chat is available, and encouraged, as some of the later levels can really be frustrating. Being able to talk to each other, and maybe strategize, can help ease the frustration.

The AI in the game is really the only downfall for SoS. You may find that it’s better to have an inexperienced thirteen year old helping you instead of three AI characters. The AI seemed to not always understand the color scheme and have a tendency to shoot the wrong weapons. There is an ability to be revived by one of your team mates if you fall in battle, and the AI seems well designed for this. Of course, if they were doing their job maybe you wouldn’t need to be revived as much. To revive a fallen team mate, you just walk up to them and press the X button rapidly on the PS3. The faster you mash it, the quicker the revive, but if you are hit by an enemy midway through the revive, you start over again. This can be frustrating as well, but the AI seem to be much better at that than real people.

Each level has a boss fight at the end. These boss fights require team work, and perseverance. The boss has a health meter at the bottom of the screen and as you blast away, the meter gets shorter. Once it’s depleted, you can then throw one of your trademark ghost traps underneath it, and a series of button presses will capture it.

Big Boss Fight

The level design starts out rather small and you literally go in a big circle on the training level. Almost everything is destructible, and collectibles are hidden in destructible objects. The levels become more complex, and more creative, as you progress. They all feel similar to an extent, but that’s also the nature of top down shooters such as this. The different types of ghosts you face do a great job of giving levels a somewhat different feel, so that’s a plus.

The game has check points in almost every room, so if everyone on your team bites the dust, you’ll probably be right back where you were. There are no save points though, so you’ll need to finish a level to clear it. No stopping midway through and coming back later at that same point. It’s start to finish, or you have to start over at the beginning. There is no difficulty setting, so you’ll have to fight your way through some pretty hard levels later on.

Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is available for $9.99/£7.19/€7.99 on the PlayStation Network and for 800 MP on XBLA. Not a bad price for a well written story, decent top down game play, and online co-op, with voice chat, to boot. It might not be game of the year material, but it’s still worth the price.