Version tested Wii
Cut through all the fan service, ignore the not-bad script being performed with something approaching enthusiasm from the original cast, and the Ghostbusters game is as ephemeral as the glowing spectres that Venkman and friends spend their time chasing and zapping. That was true of the version released on the 360 and PS3, and it's even truer of this Wii-flavoured spin on the same source material, which strips the already slender gameplay to the bone for no good reason.
Don't go expecting anything radically different in structure to the existing game. Events unfold in much the same way, although certain elements have been moved around - the book golem appears in a different form, for example - but since it uses the exact same script and dialogue, there's clearly a limit to how distinctive it can be. Bill Murray's alimony payments may be steep, but they're obviously not large enough to get him back into the recording booth just for Nintendo owners.
So, as before, we get to recreate the ballroom battle with Slimer, then dash off to face the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, before jaunting over to the New York Public Library to meet up with the Gray Lady for a spot of narrative closure on the one that got away. As an opening salvo it shamelessly grabs the nostalgia nodes and tweaks them until they chafe. These are the bits that fans dreamed of playing for years, and the game falls over itself in its rush to deliver.
Sadly, with those movie-based peaks out of the way, the storyline slumps to the level of the justifiably derided Ghostbusters II. Locations and plot elements get rehashed and reused, while the script bravely tries to attain proper sequel status, tying it all back to the events of the original movie. It's a commendable effort, and done with no small amount of affection, but ultimately it ends up feeling like over-eager fan fiction.
During those early levels, this hardly matters. After virtual lightsaber duels, it's a fair bet that wielding the remote as a proton pack is probably the second most popular Wii fantasy, and there's certainly something much more satisfying about grabbing a rogue spirit and flinging it around the scenery when you've got the tool - or a close facsimile at least - clutched in your hand instead of a joypad.
With the nunchuk stick moving your rookie Ghostbuster around, the remote also doubles up as your camera and does a pretty good job. Aiming isn't all that precise, but it doesn't need to be, while the motion controls are wisely restricted to wrangling spooks into the trap. Things sometimes get flaky in close quarters, and the other Ghostbusters have an annoying habit of getting in your way, but there's a decent and dependable third-person action engine at work.
Capturing your first ghost is a blast, but it doesn't take long to realise that there's very little else to the gameplay. For all our yearning, there's simply not much game to be had in the Ghostbusters concept - at least not in the way it's been realised here. Drunk on the appeal of the proton pack, the game contrives reasons to keep you busting ghosts even as the action goes from dream fulfilled to slightly dreary gameplay mechanic.
As ghost after ghost pops up to be taken down, it's a bit like playing a Star Wars game in which you do nothing but trip up a constant procession of AT-ATs using tow cables. We may have wanted to relive these movie moments for decades, but repetition quickly smudges those rose-tinted spectacles. I couldn't help feeling that a modern update of David Crane's 1984 game might have offered more longevity, using a spot of resource management and ECTO-1 exploration to better ration the core ghostbusting action.