Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bustin' Makes Me Feel Good....

Ah Ghostbusters.  One of my all time favorite 80's flicks.  I loved the sequel and I loved the Saturday Morning Cartoon too!  I used to watch it while chowing down on my Ghostbusters Cereal!  Marshmallow Ghosts with crunchy O's!  YUM!

But I digress, for I am not here to talk about the tasty part of any nutritious breakfast!  Though the hologram boxes were insanely cool.  Oh yeah, and the commercial for the cereal was pretty awesome too!  Aw hell, go ahead and enjoy this commercial for Ghostbusters Cereal and then we'll get on with the Sanctum of Slime review! 

Okay, now that I've got my ADD under control, we can get down to the business at hand.  Ghostbusters:  Sanctum of Slime for the XBOX Live Arcade was very much anticipated by GB fans, especially after the awesome 2009 Atari release.  So how does this one stack up?'s interesting, but it does have it's problems.  It's a twin stick shooter, which is kinda bizarre when you think about it.  You play one of four rookies that the Ghostbusters have hired on to help them with the influx of paranormal events happening around New York.  You zzap ghosts with your proton pack and must coordinate the color of the ghost to the correct proton setting to destroy them.  Interesting concept, only there's only three colors and the ghosts all conveniently color code themselves, so there's not much in the way of strategy.  If you don't have three other friends to play with either on-line or locally, then the other three Ghostbusters will be controlled by AI.

The story unfolds through a series of comic book panels, that loosley tie the events of GB: SOS to the events of Ghostbusters II.  Janos, the creepy museum curator from part II, has started following a the last surviving crazy cultist of an ancient demi-god/demon guy and all hell starts breaking loose in town.  It's up to the  Rookies to put an end to this.  An interesting touch is that one of the Rook's is Janos' nephew.....thought that was kinda cool. 

If you're looking for a stellar arcade experience, you are NOT going to find it here.  The controls are a bit wonky and the the whole things gets to be a bit on the repetetive side.  I can't really speak much to the multiplayer aspects of it, because I don't play much in the way of online multiplayer, and usually play locally by's lonely to be the Wizard sometimes.  The levels remind me a bit of the building set ups for The Sims....with a very modular design.  There are some neat driving levels as well witht the revamped Ecto-1, but those too become quite repetetive. 

Now, having said all that....I like this game.  As I said, it is fairly repetetive, but it's an arcade title.  That's really what arcade games are...repetitious levels with increasing difficulty...aren't they?  So I suppose that faulting it for that is almost an invalid point.  True it doesn't have a driving narrative, but does it really need one?  I say nay.  Sometimes it's fun to just go in and bust some a spiritual sense of course.  Now this brings me to my final point on GB: SOS, which also applies to a good many other games, XBLA, PSN or even mass released on disc:  There's nothing wrong with B-Games.  Not every thing has to be an epic franchise.  Even when it's a game BASED off of an epic franchise, I see nothing wrong in creating a B-Game out of it.  I think of it the same as I think of B-movies.  They're fun romps that you can just check your brain at the door and have some fun with them.  Back in the day, when I did a fair amount of gaming on my Commodore 64, about 90% of my collection was B-Games.  Back then there weren't giant franchise juggernaughts like Halo.  First person shooters were relegated to games like Police Cadet for the Commodore 64.

The screen was static and only your crosshairs moved.  This was first person shooting back when I was a kid...but again I digress.......point being of this long winded rant that has somehow gone from Ghostbusters to obscure police shooters for an old 8bit computer system is just this:  Games don't always have to be big, giant mega epics to be fun.  Games don't always have to be really good to be fun.  Sometimes ya just gotta grab your favorite adult beverage (or a coke if you are under 21) and have fun with it.

Is Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime worth the $10 (800 MS Point) price tag?  Well, that is entirely up to you.  Personally, I'm happy with my purchase.  If it sounds like fun to you, download the trial game, grab your proton pack and get bustin'!

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