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Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime review

Disappointing
AT A GLANCE
  • Ghostbusters song on title screen
  • Destroying scenery for powerups
  • Driving section a nice change
  • Same music track throughout
  • Choppy framerate
  • Lacks any charm or substance

What, if you recall, was the number one rule for a Ghostbuster handling a proton beam? That’s right: “Don’t cross the streams.” If you think about it, you’ve already got the design blueprint for a unique cooperative twin-stick shooter right there. Can you imagine a game in which crossing your stream of fire with your buddy would result in instant death for both of you? You’d have to be super-careful, lay off the trigger, and keep in constant communication in order to survive. You’d develop camaraderie with your teammates and whack your friends on the couch upside the heads if they screwed up. To be honest, that sounds like a pretty fun Ghostbusters game, if a little high-stress.

Yeah: Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is nothing like that.


For instance, instead of adopting the approach we’ve imagined, Ghostbusters: SOS lets you fire your proton beam indiscriminately, refusing to penalize you even for intentionally blasting your friend in the face. Fudging the canonical laws of physics makes the game more accessible, sure, but where does that leave us? What separates Ghostbusters: SOS from literally every other twin-stick shooter on the market? Not a lot.

It’s certainly not the charm or character that we’d expect from a Ghostbusters product. The story here is told via barely-animated comic book cutscenes with pages worth of unfunny, unengaging text. We didn’t pay $10 to download a lousy comic book, and the story, which revolves around the resurrection of “Dumazu the destroyer,” does absolutely nothing to contextualize the mindless blasting of zombies and Technicolor ghosts that populate each and every level. There are text overlays during gameplay (the “New” Ghostbusters themselves have no voices) where your characters quip about the bland environments.


Above: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously

Here’s a sample joke: you’re in a kitchen and you zap a ghost that looks like a chef near an oven. “Now you’re cooking with gas!” quips Sam, one of your teammates. “Don’t quit your day job, Sam,” retorts Bridget, your witty female companion. Game writers: if one of your best jokes is followed by a character telling the jokester he’s not funny, maybe you should consider writing some better jokes. I agree with Ms. Bridget: Sam is not funny. Nor is Ms. Bridget. And humor this knowingly lame should not be in a game with the “Ghostbusters” pedigree. It adds nothing to the story or the gameplay: just cut it!

In terms of the toys at your disposal, you eventually obtain a total of three weapons throughout the game. There’s your red standard proton beam, a yellow shotgun-esque electricity wave, and a bouncing blue ball of energy. Each weapon is only effective against enemies of the same color, so you switch between the weapons constantly as you get thrown wave after wave of baddies at you. You’ll go from room to room, lazily blasting away until you get to a boss, who will have a stupidly long health bar and will invariably either (a) charge at you, (b) fire a projectile, or (c) summon minions to distract you. When its health is low, you’ll press a button to initiate a QTE and capture the boss, ending the level.


Above: Whatever pun you were expecting the game to make will undoubtedly be funnier than the one it actually makes

A few on-rails levels wherein you blast ghosts on top of the ECTO-4WD break up the action, but we never made it to the final encounter because of the huge spike in difficulty in the later levels. Someone ought to have told the developers that the “revisit all the old levels in the last Act but make them harder” trick is the most cheap and frankly insulting way to pad out a game’s length ever devised, and if you have the patience to wade through that awful graveyard level again, consider yourself braver than us.

The main reason for the game’s unfair difficulty, apart from the incessant waves of enemies with fewer and fewer checkpoints, is the fact that your AI-controlled teammates are dumb enough to make you cry. They have the ability to revive you if you fall (which you will, as you rarely get health pickups), but they will frequently stop reviving you halfway through the process or charge head on into traps in an attempt to get to you, getting killed and forcing you to restart. The AI bots frequently use the wrong color beam on enemies and we witnessed a few occasions where one of our partners stood in a blast of fire for a good five seconds until his health had completely depleted. You can have a friend play co-op with you instead of the AI, but your friends can’t drop in at any time, and worse, they can’t drop out either, which means that when they inevitably throw their controller across the room in frustration and refuse to continue, you’ll have to restart the level without them.


Above: Being forced to replay this Evil Train boss more than once was almost too much to bear

Not that you will. Ghostbusters: SOS will break you down, challenging your patience and your goodwill toward the franchise. Even if you’re a diehard Ghostbusters fan, don’t let yourself be duped: this game is a waste of your $10.

Apr 6, 2011

More Info

Release date: Mar 22 2011 - PS3
Mar 23 2011 - Xbox 360, PC (US)
Mar 22 2011 - PS3
Mar 23 2011 - Xbox 360, PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Action
Published by: Atari
Developed by: Behavior Studios
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Fantasy Violence

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15 comments

  • misfit119 - April 7, 2011 10:26 p.m.

    Here's my review of... oh wait, no never mind. I have a sense of dignity. And this thing was just beyond terrible. Anyone who seriously thinks that this was anything more than a slightly below average game has clearly never played a video game before.
  • Bobo93 - April 7, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    "is this true ! yes sir this man has no dick" XD why cant they use this kind of humour that bit always cracked me up
  • d0x - April 7, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    I liked the retail game that came out. It wasnt groundbreaking but it was alot of fun. I played the demo of this last week and within about 5 min I was done and it was happily deleted from my 360.
  • SadFace - April 7, 2011 12:13 p.m.

    "Now you're playing with gas"? Was that even in context? It makes no sense. I'm glad for the heads up before I wasted my money ruining Ghostbusters forever.
  • philipshaw - April 7, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    Played the demo and hated it,shame because I'm a huge Ghostbusters fan And I really enjoyed the last game
  • mattdark - April 7, 2011 6:29 a.m.

    Even though this got a bad review, I think this game is fairly decent, if a little overwhelming when playing by yourself. And TBH, compared to the Atari title only a few years back, this game is awesome compared to that.
  • TruckThunders - April 7, 2011 2:22 a.m.

    I loaded up the demo and hated it within minutes. To me it looked like an Indie game rather than a full XBLA title. Sorry Atari, but I wasn't impressed.
  • ryanjohnson - April 7, 2011 1:25 a.m.

    I am more optimistic than most. I wrote a review as well! http://www.goozernation.com/video-games/index.php/reviews/xbox-360/489-ghostbusters-sanctum-of-slime-review I really enjoy it for what it is: a ten dollar arcade game. Yes, it could be better. But it could be worse, to me. If they updated a few of the arguments (drop in-out co op, etc) it could be nice. I'm curious where the franchise goes next.
  • batman5273 - April 7, 2011 1:10 a.m.

    Here is the review I wrote for FTG: http://fronttowardsgamer.com/2011/03/30/ftg-review-ghostbusters-sanctum-of-slime-xbla/ I agree with everything in this review. I gave the game a 6.5 I guess I was generous.
  • FreedomPhantom - April 7, 2011 12:40 a.m.

    This is disappointing and unfortunate.
  • The_Tingler - April 6, 2011 11:52 p.m.

    @HipsterKitten: If you think Terminal Reality's Ghostbusters game was terrible, then you clearly haven't played many terrible games. Play Sanctum of Slime if you want to redress that balance. Recaptcha: Oh come on now guys, how in the name of holy hell am I supposed to write in Arabic??
  • bonerachieved - April 6, 2011 11:23 p.m.

    WHATTTTT @HipsterKitten You obviously don't appreciate ghostbusters. The arcade game is shit though.
  • HipsterKitten - April 6, 2011 11:05 p.m.

    The actual Ghostbusters game was terrible too, what were we /really/ expecting?
  • Letter11 - April 6, 2011 11:04 p.m.

    I'm not surprised by this review, I tried the demo out and let's just say I was underwhelmed. "if one of your best jokes is followed by a character telling the jokester he’s not funny, maybe you should consider writing some better jokes." Heh, that made me laugh.
  • Redeater - April 6, 2011 10:46 p.m.

    Christ! This is a low score. Think I will stick with my copy of Atari's Ghostbusters.

Showing 1-15 of 15 comments

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