Posted on June 20th, 2009 in Arcade, Axel Night, C64, Flashback, Video Games by Axel Night

This city is headed for a disaster of Flashback proportions.

What do you mean, "Flashback"?

What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real Bible Games type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Sequals to Deadly Towers!

System: Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
Year: 1987
Company: Data East
Genre: Top-down Run & Gun

The lovable Slimer makes a cameo as a power-up.  He’ll block enemy shots he accidentally gets in the way of while flailing about in his classic annoying fashion.

After the success of any good movie, you always make a cartoon.  Even the violent and mature Robocop got a Saturday morning kids show, so why not a big shot like the Ghostbusters?  And that’s just what they did with "The Real Ghostbusters".  Why so "Real"?  Well, before anyone had a chance to cash in on their movie success with an animated alternate, someone else had already released a "Ghost Busters" cartoon.  It had nothing to do with the movie, instead basing itself off of a 1975 live action kids show by the same name, but it was out, and the new cartoon needed a name to differentiate itself.

Yay, history lessons!  What does that have to do with The Real Ghostbusters arcade cabinet?  Almost nothing, but don’t you feel more educated?

The Real Ghostbusters is your standard top down run around and shoot things sort.  Monsters hurl themselves at you, full force, and all you’ve got is an unlicensed nuclear accelerator strapped to your back to mitigate that problem.  If the arcade is a rather hopping scene that day, you might find yourself with two fellow busters of the ghost at your side as well.  The graphical details aren’t exactly pristine, so which character you’re supposed to be is anyone’s guess.  But, just like in the last game, Winston is blatantly absent.  W-T-H, m8?  I know he came in late in the movie and all, and I let it slide once, but this is based on the cartoon, and bloody hell.  So much hate, man.  So little love.

Your proton pack has two modes: a shot and the classic beam.  The shot damages monsters, turning them into harmless ghosts when they die.  The beam captures those ghosts en route for the edge of the screen.  They’re mostly just worth points, but they carry the occasional power-up, and 100 are worth a 1-up.  Oddly, the beam does damage too, making the shot feel rather pointless.  Of course, you do have to be careful about crossing the streams.  Should they accidentally cross, they’ll merge into an arcing blue blast of destructive power and do insane damage to your enemy.

Wait, what?  Did Axel just say crossing the streams is good?  Wasn’t that bad in the movie?  Well, until the end, when it was good.  But that was a quantum… proton… fart… thing.  Okay, I don’t know.  That’s just Ghostbusting for you.

As an aside, I really wish the game had offered some form of controls like Ikari Warriors or Smash TV in which you could control which direction you fire independent of your movement.  Instead, you get the standard 8-way joystick and two fire buttons.  The way the beam whips around as you turn just begs for it in a way I can’t quite describe.  Lost potential, I suppose.  If only Winston had been there to offer his level headed wisdom.  He was always the logical one of the group.


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