You may have noticed by now that destruction plays a major part in proceedings. You're not wrong. If half the fun is gleaned from the dialogue and spooky goings-on, the other half has to be from the destructible environments.
We're talking libraries where every single book on the shelves is a separate physics object. Sure, some things can feel a bit too light at times, with massive bookcases bouncing off characters' shoulders, but the potential for fun here is huge.
Above: Wanna knock every book off its shelf in the library? Go ahead
For instance, there's a slime mode for your proton pack that allows you to tether any object in the game to another. This isn't just used for fun, either, with some light puzzles requiring you to use the physics and tether mechanic to open up new areas. It works really well, but is pleasantly underplayed. Most of the time you'll be busting ghosts, which is where the meat of the gameplay lies.
Fortunately, there is a good spread of ghosts to capture or vaporise, although a little more variety would have been appreciated. The over-arching plot allows for virtually every kind of ghost you could imagine, especially when things go all 'Night at the Museum'. In one room you'll be fighting characters from the American Civil War, the next you'll be talking on possessed statues of Anubis – the Egyptian jackal-headed god.
All of the ghosts can be scanned, Metroid-style using your PKE meter, with their stats and info added to a database. The PKE Meter also helps you to find the game's hidden collectables and can reveal the whereabouts of hidden ghosts.
Above: You found an 'unruly beard'. That'll be a hidden artifact then
You'll very rarely be facing the undead alone and it doesn't take long to realise your team-mates well-being is more important that yours. You can get knocked out an unlimited number of times, so long as someone's still able to revive you. So keeping your team in action safeguards your own life.
"I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing"
Sadly, however, a few videogame limitations do break the spell somewhat. Considering the game was given an extra 6 months or so of polishing time after being dropped by Activision and picked up by Atari, there's a distinct lack of polish in most areas of the presentation. Some cut-scenes look great, but others are a bit stilted – and all of them use low-quality movie clips, despite appearing to use the in-game engine.
Above: No! Don't step on me and send me back to the loading screaaargh!
The other big annoyance (well, apart from not being able to drive Ecto 1 between missions) is that the game has to reload each level when you die. This always takes a ridiculous amount of time if you don't install the game to your hard drive. If you do install, it takes considerably less, but you'll still have to sit through the same gameplay video montage and opening strains of Ray Parker Jnr's classic theme song every time you die. Scenes often start with unskippable dialogue too, so the previously non-repeating dialogue can start to grate.