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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II on the NES

by Shot97 Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:09 pm

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Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II on the NES

My video review of Ghostbusters on the NES
My video review of Ghostbusters II on the NES

I’ve always had a problem with the portrayal of these two games shown online via written or video reviews. I can’t seem to watch a single one without getting whiffs of that “Nintendo Nerd” stench. Did any of these people actually own the game? The nerd himself did not own the games as a kid, he rented them. While his look at the first Ghostbusters games was indeed humorous, it was also scripted. His look at the 2nd game was laughably terrible. 5 minutes of “It’s almost like a real game. So much better than the first…BUT THAT’S NOT SAYING MUCH?!” Do others not understand that a “truly” terrible game would be almost impossible to write jokes for? There’s simply nothing to say about the worst games of all time, hence, these are not amongst the worst games of all time. They’ve got a title we all know and they’ve got some strange design decisions which open them up today for some good jokes.

My problem is with the traditional reviewer who obviously never grew up with these games and feel these are good games to cover. The nerd does not make reviews, he’s writing scripted comedy. There are nuggets of truth in there, but by no means has his stuff ever been meant as recommendations for or against a video game (other than maybe his very first video before he became famous). So why do I smell the nerd making his way into so many of these more traditional reviews? There’s a problem in the modern reviewing world and the problem is anyone can make a review. Once upon a time reviewers were expected to review games fairly so they could give out a quality recommendation on if that game was worth your time and money. One of the ways they did this was by doing something almost unheard of in today’s “reviews”; They finished the damn games… No cheat codes, no level selects, they did their best to finish and if they didn’t they made it clear why they could not finish it. That’s an important perspective to have when recommending a game to others. Upon completion do you feel your time was spent well?

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Ghostbusters

Reviews of these two games almost universally call the first game terrible. Amongst the worst games of all time. Repeated jokes galore about the “Zuul” building or the “conglaturation” screen. Despite obviously seeing many other’s reviews they act as if they’re surprised about the shopping screen and having to buy equipment. How many times can the need for fuel be joked about until you realize these jokes are 10 years old and you should stop making them?

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In Ghostbusters you start off with only your car and no equipment. You’re told nothing. Try going anywhere and upon arriving you’re going to be told flat out you don’t have certain equipment… huh… Maybe you should go to that building called the “shop”? The screen said you didn’t have a beam so you go there and buy one. Once you go to another building it says you don’t have a trap… Opps… Guess it’s back to that shop again! Yes, it’s not holding your hands but that does not make it a bad game.

You travel around the city looking for buildings to flash red which indicate the presence of ghosts that need trapping and money to be made. What do you use that money for? For upgrading your equipment of course. Buy a ghost alarm so you know when any building has ghosts rather than having to be right next to the building. Buy a super trap so there’s no need to travel to the “GBHQ” to drop them off. Upgrade your capture beam to a hyper beam for longer reach and get the ghost vacuum to make money while driving.

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Much repeated criticism of the game is in its driving scenes which feature unpredictable traffic. If another vehicle hits you regardless of who’s fault it is you’re paying for damages. You can lose quite a bit of money just driving from place to place because of this. Is there a solution? Get a damn ghost vacuum! So much of the negative remarks of this game would be squashed if those playing it practiced any sort of common sense.

You drive along in the Ecto-1, you find and trap ghosts, later on you climb up the stairs of Dana’s apartment building and fight Gozer with the Marshmallow man on your ass. For a game originally conceived in 1984 this game deserves to be listed as an all time great movie to game license.

Yes, the game originally came out in 1984 for the Commodore 64. Strange thing about that is a lot of reviewers seem to mention this fact… Probably because the nerd did… If the nerd didn’t research it, it didn’t exist… It was designed by the legendary David Crane (Pitfall) and mind blowingly to me featured nothing but positive reviews at the time. Even today those that review the NES version say the C64 version was perfectly fine for its time… As if the NES is some glorious thousand times more horse power machine compared against the C64. In many aspects the C64 was the better machine and the Japanese Famicom (renamed for the West in 1985) was released in 1984, two years after the C64 and by no means is it superior in every aspect. Don’t tell me shit about this game being good for the C64 but that they should have done so much better for the NES.

The game is practically identical on both systems yet everyone hates the NES version but is okay with the C64 one. Why do they hate Ghostbusters on the NES? I believe it’s because it has been programmed into their heads by a guy who simply wanted to make you laugh. Reviewing is its own art form, as is comedy. Pick one or the other. You can of course inject humor into a review but by no means should you allow it to taint a review. A reviewer is there to give their heartfelt and honest opinion on if others would find enjoyment in a game.

My heartfelt and honest opinion is everyone can find enjoyment in Ghostbusters on the NES. I beat this game as a child so why can’t more people beat it as adults? Do I love this game? No, it has flaws, the biggest being a scene changed from the C64 version, the staircase scene.

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Up and up you go in what feels like a never ending skyscraper. You know the scene in the movie where Bill Murray asks what floor they were on? Once told he responds with “when we get to 20 tell me. I’m going to throw up.” I never felt a game more accurately depicted any single scene in a movie better than this game here. Of all scenes why this one? Still, it truly does make you appreciate the Ghostbusters walk up those stairs so much more.

There are several ghosts flying around the stage and they will always stay on screen with you no matter how much you scroll the level up. This is where any honest reviewer needs to either man up or accept defeat. Too often, as is the case with the Nintendo Nerd, many resort to various cheats. There’s one particular door you can open that will allow for unlimited hits as long as you don’t open any other doors. Or they use a turbo controller to move at incredible speeds when you were meant to tap the A button to move. If you’re making a review and you can’t do this part legitimately than that’s where the review should end. Rant on the controls and the difficulty, say you couldn’t finish the game and use that in your recommendation to others.

Unfortunately they cheat and continue the review. It’s my opinion you don’t get to have an opinion on the final boss unless you earned the right to see the final boss. It’s my opinion you don’t get to have an opinion on the “Engrish” final screen unless you earned the right to see that screen. By far most of these people reviewing this game have not earned that right.

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But they could… If they only used common sense… There are some more items in the shop to buy… There’s the Anti-Ghost Suit which gives you a few more hits on the stairs. There’s Ghost Food which upon dropping attracts all the ghosts on the stairs to it and away from you. Most importantly and from what I’ve seen NEVER used in a single review or playthrough of this game, the Sound Generator which slows down the ghosts on the stairs. It is the most expensive item in the game at $100,000 and nobody ever bothers to get it. I ask myself why all the time. It’s most likely because the game will start calling for you to enter the “Zuul” building after a certain point. I believe it’s tied more to the amount of money you have than anything else.

The game is essentially calling for the end game but the thing is you don’t yet have enough money for some of that equipment, especially the sound generator. The solution is that after you’ve gotten your ass handed to you enough times on the stairs that you try something different. Remember, I figured this out as a 5 year old kid… What’s your excuse? Ignore the calls to enter the building and continue fighting ghosts until you have the money to buy all the equipment you need. Once going up those stairs open up every single door you come across as some will give you extra hits or extra ghost food. Tap with full force and I guarantee all of you are capable of winning this game without cheating.

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Is the game worth playing? It’s a god damn business simulator masked inside of a Hollywood licensed video game on the NES! YES IT’S WORTH PLAYING!!! If for no other reason than they did something other than rip off Mario like everyone else did for practically the entire life of the system! I was very happy when I first beat this game as a kid, an indescribable feeling swept through me as I figured it out on my own. I had no Nintendo Power, no turbo buttons, would have never thought to only open door 4 and no other… I beat this game for real and then I continued to beat it many times after that. I liked this game so much that of course I had to get Ghostbusters II when it came out…

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Ghostbusters II

Reviews of the 2nd game again follow the Nerd’s thoughts, despite him covering the game for less than 5 minutes in a bigger video about all sorts of Ghostbuster games. Then again there’s honestly not a whole lot to say about this game. I wonder if that fact ties into something I said earlier about not being able to say so much about bad games? Others say this feels like Ghostbusters… As if the original didn’t feature scenes from the movie… No, what they really mean to say is that it feels like “the NES.” It’s a side scroller and that’s what they’re used to. It actually features some unique side scrolling elements but good luck learning about that from most covering it. It feels like home to them because they never learned how to play anything other than Mario and Megaman. Check the reviewers one by one and I bet none of them have ever covered a computer classic like Civilization. To them classic gaming was the NES and they know nothing else.

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Ghostbusters II starts you off with a tiny bit of back-story, provided you sit around several minutes as the game does the single worst demo you’ve ever seen. You’ll then learn that New York is in for shit storm due to its nastiness and it’s time to call the Ghostbusters! Vigo appears with altered dialogue and Ray is lowered into the river of slime.

The game is split up between side scrolling levels and special transportation levels. Upon completing the first side scrolling level with Ray you enter a driving stage where your next destination is a platforming level with Winston at the courthouse. Another driving stage takes you to the abandoned subway with Egon and then enters the statue of liberty for two scenes before starting the final level at the museum.

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The side scrolling portions of this game are amongst the most difficult of all time. Place it with the likes of Battletoads in terms of difficulty. A new comer to the game is likely to receive a game over on the very first level. The placement of the enemies is ridiculous. A spider stalks you slowly from the right and if it catches up with you you’re dead. The controls are bad, jumping especially. You simply cannot rely on reflexes alone to save your ass in this game. No, complete memorization is required to win.

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The scenes in the car along with the statue of liberty can be an enjoyable break from the pain of the side scrolling levels, though they are by no means easy. The ghosts on the street in the driving scenes come at you fast and strong and will likely give a new comer another game over upon the shift in gameplay. Giant potholes the likes you’ve never seen before must be memorized and “jumped” in your car. The statue of liberty scenes for a delightful change of pace are not about memorization, they’re quite random actually. But you’ll still need to figure out what you’re supposed to do or more game over’s shall quickly incur.

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Upon becoming an elite gamer to get to the final platforming level in the museum you must win the level with all four ghostbusters. You can’t read about this and truly appreciate the pain, so make sure to check out my video on Ghostbusters II to hopefully give you a clue… Upon winning the game you get a better ending than the first game but it’s nothing too special, and not at all worth the pain to get there.

You have to understand how hard this game really is before you become another reviewer who immediately looks at all the scenes from the movie and declares loudly that this is so much better than the first game. Without a doubt in my mind anybody that completed both games would be singing a much different tune than what you currently see online.

The first game is better than the second game! The thing about the people reviewing the second game is they suck. Sucking would be one thing but they play two levels, get the game over, and tell everyone it’s bad but it’s much better than the first game. They know not true pain. The simple fact is anybody who claims the 2nd Ghostbusters game is better than the first has NEVER beaten them!

If you took the time to master both of these games you would never go away saying the second game is better. I’ve beaten both games, it’s not even close, the first game is a thousand times better! I do not hate the second game by any means, don’t misinterprite my anger here. I simply understand what makes a good game and despite being able to beat the game I understand it’s not worth the time spent to be able to do it! I can’t recomond anybody attempt to win the second game. So what am I going to do? Recomond they play the first two levels because they’re kind of fun? NO! I can recommend the first game because believe it or not all of you are capable of rising to the challenge to win that game and you will feel good when you beat it. It’s an utterly different style of game and it’s completely worth playing and winning. The second game is a hard as nails platformer that requires utter memorization and the only games I wish to memorize or games that are good!

You memorize a game because you love it not because that’s the only way you can beat it! There’s a fundemintal flaw in most reviews of these games online. When you take a person who never branched off from side scrollers and as much as they love platformers could never take the time required to beat a game such as Ghostbusters II – You get the near ignorant reviews of these two games that dominate the online realm.

The first Ghostbusters is a treat because it’s different, and you CAN beat it… Without cheating! The 2nd Ghostbusters can only be recommended to the few masochists who love a brutal challenge, but could never be recommended for most people. Why then do all reviews say the 2nd game is better?! Because their reviews are incomplete. It “looks” better. It “feels” better. But just because you can see it and feel it does not make it real. If these people understood the pain required to win the 2nd game they would think it was one of the worst games of all time. And while I’m sure their platforming bias will never allow them to appriate the first Ghostbusters I am positive they would realize the truth upon beating both games, that the first game is better.

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Along with what I feel is a very unique written review of these games are two very unique video reviews I would love for anyone to take a look at. In my Ghostbusters II video I also shouted out Jikyuu Gamer who did a first impressions video on the first Ghostbusters which I actually enjoyed despite him not liking it. First impressions are one thing, they have a place and I caught a glimpse of some of what my childhood self would have felt playing that game when I first got it. But reviews are another thing altogether! If my 5 year old self could rise above first impressions to beat both of these games… Well, I do believe a lot of reviewers have a hell of a lot to work on.

My review of Ghostbusters on the NES
My review of Ghostbusters II on the NES
Jikyuu Gamer's first impressions on Ghostbusters on the NES

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