Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime Review (PSN/XBLA/PC)

March 28, 2011

PC, PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is a downloadable action-adventure developed by Behavior Studios and published by Atari. The game serves as a direct sequel to Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and was released for the Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network and PC.

Story: 4/5

The story script is written by Tom Waltz from IDW publishing, the company responsible for the current Ghostbusters comic series. The premise involves a strange cult that witnessed the death of a demon called Dumaza 4000 years ago.  As time passes, 1989 to be exact, we see Janosz Poha being sent to a mental institution following the events of Ghostbusters 2. There he meets Ismael, the last member of the cult of Dumazu, who seeks to find the Shard of the Relic of Nilhe, a mystic artifact that can bring Dumazu the Destroyer back to life. Poha agrees to help as he is promised the love of Dana Barrett in return. Some years later, a wave of unusual paranormal activity appears around New York City, leaving the original Ghostbusters exhausted and outnumbered by the many ghosts. They then recruit four new members to help them solve the mystery behind the paranormal encounters and learn the truth about the Shard of the Relic of Nilhe. The writer does a good job of continuing Ghostbusters continuity by bringing in elements from both the movies and comic books. Old characters are given cameo appearances while fleshing out the new Ghostbusters recruits. The four recruits have an interesting dynamic, and you can see a resemblance between some of the new recruits and the characters from the Extreme Ghostbusters cartoon from the 90’s. I would have preferred that they used those characters instead, but the new recruits have that charm and personality that fit the humor and dialogue of this series. The story works well for this game and delivers a fun side story that fits into the continuity of the franchise and pleases Ghostbusters fans.

Gameplay: 1/5

The game introduces us to a top down co-op experience where we use proton packs to eliminate ghosts. As the game progresses, we are introduced to two new weapons that help in eliminating certain ghosts (blue for blue ghosts, yellow for yellow ghosts, etc.). This is similar to the Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and is meant to enhance the game experience. Finally, we use traps during the level bosses that will capture the ghost to progress to the next level. Sounds like fun, right? The idea is there, but the execution is not. The game basically moves you from room to room, battling a horde of ghosts with three other friends (either online or off), but gets tedious fast. Each room you enter locks you in until you eliminate all the ghosts before moving on. This leaves you with some boring moments where you just blast the ghosts in order to move on. While not a horrible gaming experience, the inclusion of different weapons that are limited in range and weak in power, makes the game even duller because of their inability to upgrade. They remain limited in range and weak in power the whole game. Even the main proton weapon that the Ghostbusters are known for is limited in its use because the game tries to have you switch between the blue and yellow weapons more than using your main weapon. The other issue is that the game is unfairly difficult. In my 25+ years of gaming, I have never seen the Game Over screen as many times as I did with this game, and it’s not because it’s challenging, but because of poor game design. During certain levels, the game throws many enemies at you with all three color options in small areas that makes it hard to move and switch your weapons at the same time. Many of those enemies can kill you in one hit, and when you are down, your computer AI buddies try to revive you before everyone dies. The problem here is that (1) the AI recruits are extremely dumb, either shooting the ghost with the wrong weapon, or moving to an area of infested ghosts rather to a safer area, and (2) you are waiting and watching helplessly for a long time before you usually see a game over screen from the unintelligible AI, rather than having you just automatically control another character who is still alive. At this point, I thought it might be easier to play online with smarter players, yet there are issues with this as well. During online play, there are many glitches that ruin the experience in different ways. For one, the game at times froze up on players who eventually get kicked out of the game, and at other times, the game makes all the enemies invisible to the player. At one point, I was supposed to trap a ghost towards the end of the level, but the trap would not open up in the area the ghost was in, having me restart from the beginning. One fun section in the game was when you were driving on top of the Ecto-4WD, but this brief experience was short and included in only two levels. As you play through the game, you’ll notice that enemies and levels are reused way too much, and that the gameplay becomes tiresome.

Graphics: 2/5

The graphics are simple with little detail. It’s hard to see a lot of the action because of the top down view, which is understandable given the nature of this type of game and the inclusion of four player co-op, but at times it was difficult to even see where you were when surrounded by multiple enemies. The designs for the four recruits were pretty generic, with the exception being the one female character that had an interesting look that stood out from the rest. The comic style cut scenes were a nice touch, and the proton beams were a good representation from the movies and cartoons, but the environments were not detailed, and the enemies lacked any interesting designs.

Sound: 2/5

The Ghostbusters theme gets you pumping as you start the game, and makes you reminisce about the old cartoons and movies, but that’s basically where it ends. The uninspired music from level one is replayed almost throughout the rest of the game, with the exception of the Ecto-4WD levels. Sound effects work, especially for the proton beam, but the rest of the game doesn’t make you want to turn on your surround sound anytime soon.

Overall: 9/20 = 4.5/10

Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is a generic top down coop experience that is not a whole lot of fun and struggles mainly due to poor game design and bad AI. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t call these Ghostbusters…

PROS:

+Fun storyline for Ghostbusters fans

CONS:

-Poor Game Design

-Unintelligible AI

-Repetitive Gameplay

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Voltron: Defender of the Universe Review (PSN/XBLA) | Gamers XTREME - November 30, 2011

    […] video game treatment…until now. Published by THQ and developed by Behavior (known for Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime which we reviewed earlier this year), a Voltron game has hit the PSN and XBLA. Does the Voltron […]

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