Ghostbusters • Page 3

Bustin' out all over.

Along with the corporeal and ethereal ghosts there are big bosses to contend with - including the Marshmallow Man. "Yes, he's back," Goss confirms. "He's not the biggest guy you'll fight, in fact he appears quite early in the game. But he's such an iconic figure we really wanted to bring him back." Slimer is in the game too, and in the Wii version you can play as him in the split-screen ghost-versus-ghostbuster mode. New bosses will include creatures formed out of objects in the environment; in the example we were shown, a pile of books in the New York Public Library took the form of a giant monster stomping across the screen.

According to Goss, it was also important to the team that New York City was a character in the film. This meant creating background characters who behave believably as well as realistic environments. We're shown a tech demo where 200 people stream out of a church, some going left and some right. It's not a flocking technology at work here, but herding AI; each character has individual logic and chooses which way to go. Get in their path, and they'll walk around you. Give them a shove, and they'll move out of your way.

Ghostbusters is being built using Terminal Reality's own Infernal Engine, which is also designed to make objects and buildings look realistic. There's impressive depth of field in the New York City streets, and everything in them is self-shadowed. Rooms contain huge amounts of objects, and even more once you've finished blasting your way round them and shattering them to pieces. The game is said to run at the same performance level on PS3 and Xbox 360.

Both of those versions will feature an online multiplayer mode described as being co-operative and competitive at the same time. You play in teams, trying to help your colleagues capture as many ghosts as possible to beat your rivals, but also to build up your personal tally. There's no deathmatch mode: "That's not really what the Ghostbusters were about, so we stayed away from that." The crossing the streams concept will come into play in multiplayer; Goss won't explain how, simply stating, "There will be consequences for crossing them."

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Evidently, 'busting' has made him feel 'real good'.

The Wii and PS2 versions feature more stylised, cartoony visuals and a truncated storyline. Goss says the DS game is a throwback to the '80s Ghostbusters titles, offering a completely different experience. He goes on to reveal you can link the Wii and DS games and use the handheld as a PK meter to help you track down ghosts.

In none of the versions do you get behind the wheel of the Ecto-1. "You don't drive the car," Goss says, "but it's a big piece of gameplay for us. We're not talking about what we're doing with it yet, but it will be a big part of the game." (You could always just buy the real thing.)

And that's about the most disappointing thing there is to say about Ghostbusters, so far. Without having played it, there can be no assurances it will turn out to be the world's third ever decent movie tie-in. But it's clear this is a labour of love for Terminal Reality, and it's shaping up to be an authentic interpretation of the Ghostbusters universe.

It's not just about the fact it features the cast of the movie (just like Aeon Flux) or is being developed in collaboration with the series creators (just like Enter the Matrix). It's about the fact this is Ghostbusters. It's got proton packs. It's got the Marshmallow Man. It's got that theme song. It's got Bill Murray. Plus, it looks pretty and like it should be fun to play. Let's just keep our fingers, if not proton streams, crossed.

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