You can impress pretty German exchange students with the knowledge that 'Geist' translates as both 'ghost' and 'mind'. Just don't mention you learned the word while wandering the world in spirit form and merging your brain with a bowl of dog food.

Gamecube exclusive Geist has been spookily elusive since E3 2003. But, at last, we've finally had the chance to control the game's body-hopping 'Spectral Operative'. He ain't got no body - literally, because it's been nicked by evildoers unknown. The idea is to scare up the locals, then take their bodies for a test drive, using their skills, guns and even memories to eventually snatch back your skin.

We popped inside a mouse and scurried through tiny tunnels, used our electricity-fiddling power to put the frighteners up a scientist sitting in front of his laptop - and gave a dog the Scooby Doos by possessing the aforementioned bowlful of Pedigree Chum. Hauntable objects are highlighted as you enter a room but it takes a fair chunk of brain to puzzle out the best way to use them.

Thing is, it's all a bit lacking in the shooting department. We did manage to possess one gun-carrying guard and give his unsuspecting colleagues a very bad day. But we're hoping the final version - which promises at least 12 different types of body to snatch - provides a better balance of ghosting and gunplay, and gives rival spectral thrillers like Psi-Ops and Second Sight the goosebumps.

While Geist was due to be released for Gamecube this Christmas, recent reports suggest that it now won't hit shelves till 2005