If there's something strange and it don't look good, who do you call? The Ghostbusters of course! But in this game, it's not necessarily the Ghostbusters you're used to. Still, there's nothing wrong with taking a stab at recreating the world of Ghostbusters in a slightly different light, and that's exactly Behaviour Interactive has done in Ghostbusters : Sanctum of Slime. It's not all that successful though.
To give a bit more detail on that though, the original quartet of Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, and Zeddemore aren't really in the story at all - something which may put off die-hard fans instantly. Instead, they have decided to hire some rookies to help out. You can choose between Alan Crendall, Samuel Hazer, Bridget Gibbons or Gabriel Sitter, although in the end there really isn't much difference between the four in terms of playing style.
By reading the comic strip cinematics, you gather that the original team has asked these rookies to handle the jobs that they just were too busy to get to. This means that you'll end up running through hotels, sewers, and so on killing dozens of ghosts along the way until you finally reach Dumazu the Destroyer and show him how the Ghostbusters do things downtown.
It's nice that they've tried to incorporate some new characters, but it would have been much better had they teamed up with the "senior" staff instead - much like the Ghostbusters game released in 2009. The story even tells you that they're off doing more important things while you're doing the menial jobs, it doesn't exactly send the right message. To make it worse, the new characters have very little personality. Aside from the occasional one-liners, there isn't much to bring the rookies to a loveable standard. The title would have had a lot more character if the original cast had been more present, or if they were just the main characters.
The gameplay is fairly simple; it's a top down shooter and so you use the left analog stick to direct your little ghostbustin' companion and the right one to use your weapon. You have a choice between 3 different weapons, however, depending on the color of ghost, it will be more or less effective. For red ghosts, use your proton blaster, for yellow ghosts, use your scattershot weapon, and for blue, use the last of your weapons which shoots out blue orbs that gain power by ricocheting off walls.
One thing to consider though, is that Ghosts aren't necessarily scattered about the environments. They come out once you and your AI companions have been safely locked in a room. Defeat every ghost in the room, and the door will unlock leading you to another room where you will have to do the same thing over again throughout the game's . There are no lives in this game, nor do you need to worry about health packs. If you or one of your companions die, they can be brought back to life instantly by spamming a button.Boss battles are also quite frequent , as they appear every few rooms or so. They normally appear in the middle of a ghost minion swarm which you will have to fight through once again if you die during the boss battle. The online multiplayer follows the same main story arch, so if there's any particular place you get stuck, hopefully with the help of some friends, you can show the ghosts who's boss.
The levels of this game offer very little variation which makes attempting to complete the game rather boring. You go from place to place fighting the same ghosts with the same weapons. The only thing that offers a little bit of substance are the moments where you find yourself stuck in a room unable to move forward because of the enemies. First of all, the ghosts will swarm in about ten at a time knocking down your health by about a quarter each time. Then a boss battle ghost comes along and in two hits will knock you clear off your feet and while you're out cold. It doesn't sound too bad until you appreciate that the AI will offer you little to no help at all.
If you ever suffer the misfortune of dying before your rookie companions, you'll notice that one, they will try to revive at the most inopportune times thus killing themselves in the process, and two, they hardly ever use the correct weapon. This makes working through the game alone a nightmare as you have next to no help. If you can stick to multiplayer, it's the only way to remotely enjoy the game. Even this has its problems though, as it lacks any sort of replacement player finder. If someone decides to rage quit, or just leave, you will then be welcomed by a lovely AI character. If everyone quits, the game will then pack up its online mode and give you back single-player mode which would be all fine and dandy if the AI could get their acts together.
Along with the aforementioned boring game-play, the game doesn't have much to offer within the environment/music department either. There's the occasional box you can break but when you've seen one haunted hotel room, you've seen them all. It seems as though most of the design choices were to go along with the concept of constantly locking the characters in a room and slamming them with an army of ghosts. The music played little part within the game, except of course for the opening Ghostbusters theme tune. The cinematics are enough to keep you involved in the story, however, when the skip scene button so readily available, it's very difficult to resist.
Overall, Ghostbusters : Sanctum of Slime doesn't offer much to the everyday gamer. The gameplay in the single player campaign is extremely monotonous to the point where actually finishing the game feels like a chore. Also, the oblivious AI make the game nearly impossible to complete alone. The multiplayer may be the game's saving grace, however, without the ability to replace leavers, even that's broken. It's difficult to recommend this game to anyone but the hardest of hardcore Ghostbusters fans.
|Multiplayer is fun if no one leaves.|
|The Ghostbusters theme tune.|
|Story doesn't offer much.|
|The AI is despicable.|
|Will leave you either raged or bored to tears.|