Game Review: Ghostbusters: Sanctum Of Slime
Release: March 23, 2011
Genre: Action / Adventure
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Available Platforms: PC, XBLA, PSN
Players: 1-4 Player Co-Op Multiplayer
MSRP: 800 MSP, $9.99 PSN, $9.99 PC
ESRB Rating: E Fantasy Violence
Ghostbusters Sanctum Of Slime is set after Ghostbusters 2 and continues the story of our 4 favourite spectre sapping guys as they clean up the city. Or does it? The introduction to the game spends a long time (7 minutes!) setting the scene about the defeat and banishment of an evil being (Dumazu the Destroyer) centuries ago. A cult had dedicated themselves to worshiping him and predicting his return but the world has moved on and much of the legend had been forgotten. One of the pieces of the stone which was broken into bits when the evil guy was trapped is discovered and put into a museum. The cult steal this piece and this of course increases the paranormal activity in New York City leading the Ghostbusters to recruit 4 rookies. This is where the originals team of Ray, Egon, Peter and Winston step to the side and the game becomes all about the rookies. After a few nights of playing video games and watching TV, they are ready to go and with the 4 original Ghostbusters tired from their increase in their workload, the rookies set off to the familiar setting of the Sedgwick Hotel to capture some ghosts.
You have the choice to join 3 friends or else you can play it offline with 3 A.I. but either way, it’s you and the 3 other rookies against wave after wave of ghosts. They always attack in patterns and the controls are extremely similar to Smash TV. Left thumb stick for movement, right thumb stick for firing your proton gun. Imagine 4 player Smash TV and you have a good idea of how the game is played. The levels are linear and in essence, you walk into a room or enclosed area, the entrances close behind you and waves of ghosts attack you. When they are defeated, the doors open and you move to the next area. Rince and repeat for the rest of the game. If one of your fellow rookies lose their health, you can revive them by walking over to them and staying with them while their health bar fills up, however you need to avoid getting hit while this is happening or their health bar goes back to zero.
The game has 12 levels but unfortunately there is little variety in gameplay style required for any of the levels. Quite a lot of the furniture and scenery is destructible and you get bonus points for destroying it, as well as discovering hidden bonuses. This is one of the fun factors for 4 player co-op as you can compete to see who can destroy the most furniture. Between levels the story is progressed in a comic book form which looks stylish and the art work will please many fans, although there is no spoken audio at this time so it relies on the player to read the speech. The jokes are tired and fall way short of the level of humour that we associate with the Ghostbusters franchise.
You can either play locally or over Xbox Live! and until a patch is released it is difficult to recommend the Xbox Live! experience. For a start, you cannot join halfway through a level, it is only possible to join in from the start of the level and in this day and age Drop-in, Drop-out co-op should be standard. Thankfully, if someone drops out in the middle of a level, then the AI takes over their character but this is not always a help as the AI is not intelligent in the slightest. The one redeeming fact is that the AI will always try to revive you if you are downed although this usually means they will stop whatever they are doing at that time and throw all caution to the wind to reach you. Practically a suicide mission at times.
The boss fights involve a small bit of brain power and co-operation between the players but not much. Generally you just need to remember to strafe around the boss and fire at them when they are vulnerable, while avoiding or destroying the minions that are constantly flying in your direction. Remembering to change the colour of your proton beam is essential for killing certain ghosts and this is yet another thing that the AI forgets to do all too often. Crossing the beams has no effect whatsoever in this game which is also unforgivable with a Ghostbusters game but when you play it, you realise that if the developers had added this feature then the game would nearly have been unplayable as your beam is constantly being fired.
Mark’s Final Say: It would have be so easy to improve on the game by simply adding some voice acting and including the original cast outside of the poor comic cutscenes between levels as you will feel zero connection to the rookies and the game may as well not be an officially licensed Ghostbusters game. As a Ghostbusters fan, I feel very let down by Sanctum Of Slime and I am sure many fans who have purchased it already feel the same way. Spend your money on Ghostbusters: The Video Game which has the original cast and is a much better Ghostbusters gaming experience. At least you trap ghosts in that game and don’t kill them like you do in Sanctum Of Slime.
– awfully long intro with too much reading and unfunny jokes.
– no voice acting in cutscenes
+ gameplay like the classic, Smash TV
– Playing as Rookies means it looses any emotional attachment
– AI is dumber than Slimer
– very little variety in strategy required throughout
– no replay value
Rating: 4 out of 10