Of course, nobody does great arcade conversions any more, because nobody makes great arcade games. Or so we thought until we spent some time with Ghost Squad on Wii and discovered just what an insanely addictive, stupidly satisfying game it really is. The home version is great in a way that few people will ever be good enough to discover in the arcade: infinite continues and the fact that you don’t need coins to play, you can explore it at your leisure and die as much as you need to. Going through all three missions counts as full completion of the game, and you can fail on any of the boss sections or intermediate timed challenges without ruining your chances of seeing the ending.
After a few practice runs, you’ll be getting good enough with the Zapper to pick off the enemies when they run into position for an ambush in the next scene, and you can really start toying with the game. The cool thing is that it grows as your ability increases. Each completion adds an experience level to your character, unlocking a new weapon. It also bumps up the difficulty, so if you’re wondering why bad guys take a couple more shots to put down with your new machine gun, it’s because they’ve all bought some body armour since you last played.
The evolving challenge adds enormous longevity to what is still a basic on-rails shooter. The enemies pop up from behind objects and shoot at you if you don’t kill them in time. There’s no hiding or dodging, but the bosses and sniper challenges give a bit of variety to the action. As stale as the concept of the game might be, the reward of a new weapon, upgrade, costume or bizarre slice of comedy is great incentive for replay. It only takes a few minutes, and you can upload your high scores to a worldwide leaderboard. Who knows, perhaps that new assault rifle will be just the thing for scoring all head shots this time. Maybe the double kill bonuses will make the shotgun the weapon of choice now that it’s upgraded. Just one more go...