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Ghostbusters Video Game - PS2 Review Addendum

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Aug. 6, 2009 at 2:10 AM , Categories: Games
This will serve as an addendum of sorts to my review of Ghostbusters: The Video Game for the PlayStation 2. Just recently I finally completed playing the game, having stopped back in June after the first three levels (the Sedgewick Hotel). According to my stats, it took me 16 hours in total (I didn't rush) to play through all 30 levels on the PS2. Playing through the remaining levels of the game, I wrote up lots of notes about what I experienced, which I have organized into the following...


HINTS

  • If you're battling multiple ghosts at the same time, you don't necessarily have to throw out multiple traps. A closed trap will reopen when a weakened ghost is near it. On the museum's "Hot Pursuit" level, I put all of the Civil War ghosts into one trap!

  • You may have to hose down a Black Slime Scuttler (and other Black Slime entities) with some green slime before the PKE Meter will let you scan it.

  • The PlayStation 2 version breaks up the "Under New Management" level into three levels, but the art and scan totals shown on the level select screen are for all three levels as a whole. For the record, there are no art pages in "Under New Management III" (and no scans either if you scanned the Malevolent Echoes in parts 1 or 2).

  • When replaying levels to nab missing art and scans, you don't have to finish the level. Once you get what you're missing, go into options, change something, then change it back, and exit out. The game will ask if you want to save your changes. Select "Yes". Then select "Firehouse" from the main pause menu. Ignore the "unsaved data" warning because your data was already saved. However, if you use this trick when obtaining your final art page and/or scan, you will not get the unlockable until you complete any level. On the PS2 I suggest going back to "Under New Management III" because it's extremely short (the entire level is just one minor ghost fight). On the Wii you might want to go back to the first or second levels because they're the easiest.

  • Even though the game says that you need to complete the game on Gozerian (Hard) difficulty to unlock the Gozerian Rookie Outfit, this is not true. You just need to complete the last level ("The Destructor") on the Gozerian (Hard) difficulty to unlock the outfit, and it can be done on a replay of that level instead of your first playing of it. So play the game on Easy, then switch difficulties at your locker in the firehouse, and play or replay "The Destructor" level. The final level is extremely easy once you've unlocked the Invulnerability and No Equipment Overheat cheats. The Gozerian Rookie outfit just adds blue color and slime immunity to your regular uniform. Actually, your hair and skin are colored blue as well, and your eyes have no pupils! You look possessed!

  • The game says that you need to "finish the game with 100% completion" to unlock the Invulnerability cheat, but that isn't exactly true. You can finish the game first, and then get 100% completion later on by replaying the levels and getting whatever art pages and scans you missed the first time. You'll automatically get the Invulnerability cheat once you've gotten them all.


NOTES

  • There are two long loading screens every time you want to play the game. One is at the start before the company logos, then you have to manually skip each of the logos, then you enter the firehouse and have to load again to play the next level. If the game were made better, it would not load up the firehouse, but rather let you choose at the main menu screen if you want to go to the firehouse or the next level - and then you'd only have to sit through one long loading screen at the start of each play session.

  • The entire screen goes dim if the game is left inactive for too long. It's not just during the pause menu.

  • The right stick is for Look/Aim and Wrangle. When wrangling ghosts that go into traps, the Look/Aim function is dropped, so the camera stays on the ghost that you're wrangling. However, the Look/Aim function is active when using wrangle on other things - like the Book Golem or Azeletor's tentacles - which means the camera moves WHILE you're wrangling. This is extremely annoying.

  • In the stylized version, the opening cinematic doesn't give the year "1991" like in the realistic version, which means that theoretically the stylized version could take place at any time after Ghostbusters II.
  • The PlayStation 2 version is missing some cutscenes and areas that are present in the Wii version. The Prima guide mentions some things that I just did not see. For example, after you defeat the Spider Witch, the guide says that you end up back in the hotel and need to break two tables in the ballroom to nab art pages while Egon is examining a Mandala. A video walkthrough of the level on the Wii proves that the ballroom scene is present in that version. However, in the PS2 game, it skips the ballroom and jumps right to the cutscene in the hotel lobby that follows it. You get credited for the art scans apparently, as I got all of them without a problem. Also, before you start a mission on the Wii, you get a shot of the Ecto-1 pulling out of the firehouse. Not so on the PS2, where it just goes straight to the level load screen.

  • It was said in one of the reviews of the realistic version that when there's no cutscenes or action, the other characters just stand around like they're in a wax museum. This is true of the stylized version as well. Though like I said in my review, in most cases, you can push the other characters around.

  • The Vigo painting appears in the basement of the firehouse, but the door to the basement is closed at the beginning of the game. The earliest you can get the basement door to open is to play through the first level ("On The Job Training"), and after the second level ("Slimer's Mitzvah") starts, pause the game, and go back to the firehouse through the Firehouse menu option. The earliest that the basement door is opened through normal story progression is after you defeat Stay Puft, as that is the first time you go back to the firehouse.

  • I never commented on the story in my review, so I'll say a few words about it now. It's good for what it is, but it doesn't feel epic at all. I suspect that a LOT of story was lost in the translation from the realistic version to the stylized version, as the stylized version does feel rather shallow overall. Normally a game's story should be very long, but this story is so short, that I could easily see them putting it "as is" into a two-hour movie...and even then they'd probably need to pad it out.

  • I never commented on the voice acting in my review, so I'll say a few words about it now. Bill Murray isn't as bad as he was in the trailers, but that may be because he has the least amount of voice work in the PS2 game of any of the four Busters.

  • The award for least amount of voice work overall in the PS2 game goes to Mayor Jock Mulligan. In the main portion of the game, he was only in ONE cutscene, when he introduced himself and Peck to the Ghostbusters in the firehouse. After that, you didn't see or hear him until the end, at the start of the second-to-last level (the last two levels are boss fights, I should add). So when the big revelation came at the end, it really came out of nowhere because he was such a non-entity in the game. You saw more of Peck then you did of Mayor Mulligan.

  • Every time you get a weapon upgrade, there's a cutscene featuring Egon telling you about it. However, you get the Slime Mines on the first Lost Island level without any prior cutscene about them. I wonder if that's another missing PS2 cutscene.

  • What good is the money you earn from the damage you do? You get all of the weapon upgrades automatically as the game progresses, and there's nothing else that you could possibly spend the money on. It would have been nice if the money were used to unlock the cheats or to buy other unlockables - costumes, skins, anything would be nice!

  • You can unlock all of the cheats by getting 100% completion and replaying the last level on Gozerian difficulty, but what good are the cheats since you can't *naturally* replay the game in it's entirety with them. You can replay levels, and at the end of each, you're given the choice to continue on or revisit the firehouse, but even if you continue on, it'll essentially be a "level marathon" session and not natural story progression. Oh, and you can't change your character's appearance without restarting a new game, so you can't use the cheats to replay as the male or female rookie (whichever you didn't play as the first time). So that makes it even more pointless.

  • You seem to have infinite lives, at least on Easy. If you "die", you instantly restart right where you died, with all of your accomplishments still in effect.

  • Even on Easy, the Black Slime Behemoth is super tough. This is primarily because the game has no properly functioning aiming mechanic, particularly when dealing with bosses that have weak spots. The problem is further compounded when there are multiple lesser enemies nearby, as the Camera Lock function (the half-assed version of aiming this game has) will choose to lock onto the lesser enemies on the ground rather than the boss that NEEDS to be defeated. The Slime Mines, which is what you need to defeat the beast, aren't a great weapon to begin with, and it's the only thing that seems to have any effect on the beast. Trying in vain to aim for the beast's weak spots, then to shoot one of the damn Slime Mines at said spots, while lesser enemies are all around you depleting your health, and with no Ghostbusters present to help you, makes this easily the most unfair and worst boss fight in the game. It took me 37 minutes to finally beat him - and that was on Easy difficulty! The last two fights against the MAIN BOSS were super easy compared to this!

  • In the options menu, there's an option to enable Aim Assistance, but the manual doesn't tell you at all what it does. You'd *think* that it would do as its name implies, but I didn't see any difference with it on or off.

  • On "The Coming Storm" level in the cemetery, there was major slow-down during the Three Key Ghosts segment where all of the crypts rise from the ground.

  • I don't know if it was the addition of the Goggles or the Increased Scanning Speed cheat, but one of these two made it harder to scan entities later on than it was when I first got the PKE Meter.

  • Even if you've completed the game, when you replay an earlier level, you will only get the equipment upgrades that you originally had on that level. So you can't use the Slime Blower on the first level, for example. It's a shame the developers decided to do this, as the replayability would have been increased by having areas hidden that you can only access with a piece of equipment from a later level.

  • I noticed a tiny bit of fan service that I didn't notice before. On Peter's desk in the firehouse is his ESP cards and the shock machine as seen in the first movie. And, of course, the library features symmetrical book stacking, cards flying out of the cabinet, and books floating in the air between shelves.

  • Elmer Bernstein music from the first movie is so overused, you may actually get sick of hearing it. The Ray Parker Jr. theme, on the other hand, is so underused, you won't even know that it's there. I only heard it three times in the entire game - on the title screen, inside Ecto-1 at the end of the Stay Puft battle, and during the end credits. Where's the new music recorded for the game? The credits list some composers of original music, but I swear that I didn't hear anything but the Bernstein score.

  • Where's the promised "on rails" shooting segments where you're tasked with protecting the Ecto-1? Is this in the realistic version?

  • According to a review I read, the Wii's load times are extremely short; yet the PS2's load times are extremely long.

  • RANT: There was a lot of chatter before the release saying how the Wii/PS2 version had to have the stylized graphics because the systems couldn't handle the realistic graphics of the PC/PS3/X360. And of the stylized versions available, the PS2 game isn't as robust as the Wii game (lots of features, cutscenes, and graphical details missing), and has longer loading times. This all makes sense in theory, but doesn't make sense when you look at the history of games on the PS2. There have been games with better, more realistic graphics: God of War 1 & 2, Final Fantasy X-2/XI/XII, and many more. There have been games with shorter load times: GTA: San Andreas (where loading times are practically non-existant). So I don't see why the PS2 game has to be the worst version of them all.


GAME FREEZE-UPS

It's well documented that the PlayStation 2 version of the game freezes up a lot. Thankfully, none of the freeze-ups that happened to me were bad enough that I couldn't finish the game. Of course, they were still very annoying as the only remedy was to reboot the PS2 and replay the entire level. So, I felt it necessary to document all of the freeze-ups that did occur. Interestingly, I never had a freeze-up in the same place twice.
  1. "Shhhhhhhhh..." level in the library, during the entrance to the children's room cutscene, just as the door closed.

  2. "Hot Pursuit" level in the museum, after the Civil War ghosts when I met up with Ray and Peter again, I shot at a statue behind Ray (near a statue containing a hidden art page), and it froze. The insulting thing is that I was right at the end of the level, and had to redo it from the beginning.

  3. "Lair of the Spider Witch" level in the hotel, after she transformed back into her human form and was ready for capture, she was stuck on the wall and couldn't be wrangled. I thought there was more to do (Egon kept saying to use the PKE Goggles), so I was shooting the glowing orange pillar, and that's when it froze. Upon replaying the boss fight, she again got stuck on the wall, but I managed to zap her from the side and wrangle her. I think that the game puts her behind a spiderweb at the point where it wants you to wrangle her, which makes it extremely hard to finish off the fight because you have to position yourself right on the wall and try to get your beam behind the web.

  4. "The Slime Labs" level on the island, I shot at the very first ghost.

  5. Replaying the "Rivers Of Slime" level on the island, after defeating the first two ghosts, during the cutscene of the gate opening.


AUDIO GLITCHES

  • Very rarely in the ENTIRE GAME did Walter Peck ever move his lips while he was talking! 98% of the time he pulled a ventriloquist act. The strange thing is, looking at Peck's intro cutscene on the Wii, he's moving his lips in that version. So apparently the developers just got really lazy when it came time to do the PS2 port.

  • The audio cut out at the start of the cutscene back in the firehouse after the museum. I had to reboot my PS2 in order to replay the cutscene, so I wouldn't miss any of the story.

  • The final cutscene (the franchise speech) was REALLY off sync!


OTHER GLITCHES

  • An odd visual glitch occurs during "The Necropolis" level in the cemetery when looking for the four door pieces. I was going down the red path on the right, and shortly after I entered the path, the path ended in a blue cliff. I put on the Goggles, in case there was something that was invisible to the naked eye, but nothing showed up. It turns out that the game simply didn't load the textures for the rest of the environment. It did the same thing down the blue path too.

  • Again during "The Necropolis" level in the cemetery, when fighting the Grave Golem, Ray got stuck in a walk cycle on the front gate, so it was just me and Winston left to fight the golem and his minions. So, of course, the golem heads right to the stuck Ray and starts attacking him. Then Winston got stuck right behind Ray, and the golem was right behind both of them! At least he wasn't attacking me, so I was able to stand there and destroy him. Once the golem let off of them and retreated to the middle of the play field, they were both stuck on the gate. I immediately pressed pause so I could make note of this, and an audio glitch on the pause menu occurred. Ray and Winston kept shouting out suggestions on how to defeat the golem while the game was PAUSED!

The freeze-ups, lazy or non-existent lip syncing, and other issues should not be seen in a "finished" game. The developers had many extra months to work on the game, so there's no excuse for it.
4 comments »

4 comments

I am so glad I'm not the only one wth problems on PS2... Has anyone else had problems with missing ghosts on levels. They're there when I started but gone when I played it the next day, your characters standing there with nothing you can do to progress to the next level! And graphics are really slow to load an can cut out completely so your staring at a green screen!
Aug. 8, 2009 @ 13:58
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Lisa, that's definitely one problem that I DIDN'T have...thank goodness.
Aug. 10, 2009 @ 22:10
Comment from: Asuka-chan [Visitor] Email · http://asuka-chan17.livejournal.com/
Hi there! Just wanted to ask, there's Rivers of Slime, right? In the second room where you have to stop the wheels using the Stasis Stream, how do you do that? I managed to stop them in the first one, but I couldn't do them in the second and I noticed some writings on the third wheel were already gone. I'm super stuck. Can I please have some help here?
Oct. 28, 2009 @ 05:47
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Asuka-chan - From what I remember, you need to use the stasis stream to freeze the dials in each of the three areas so the symbol on the wheel lines up with the symbol on the machine above it.

If you have any more problems, I suggest reading the walkthoughs and using the forum over at GameFaqs: http://www.gamefaqs.com/944009.
Nov. 19, 2009 @ 01:16

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