By allowing a complete re imaging for the Wii release of a game, Atari did something much different with Ghostsbusters than what we normally see with games. Co-optimus.com was interested to see what those differences were between the Ghostbusters releases from a co-op specific point of view. Since we've already reviewed the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Ghostbusters, all that was left was the radically different looking and controlling Wii version. Does Ghostbusters on the Wii do co-op as well as the Xbox 360 version, or perhaps, even better?
Ghostbusters on the Wii was not developed by Xbox 360 or PS3 developer Terminal Reality, but by the relative newcomer, Red Fly Studios. I point this out because Red Fly was responsible for one of the most original Wii games of last year, called Mushroom Men. They have the Wii down to an art, and they poured every bit of their experience and talent into Ghostbusters.
To begin with, you are an ambiguous rookie Ghostbuster hired to test all of the untested, unstable equipment that will be used by the original four Ghostbusters to win the day. Just in the nick of time, too. New York is in danger as all of the old ghosts come back to haunt familiar locations from the original Ghostbusters films. Familiar faces such as Mr. Staypuft will be test subjects for your new toys, and names like Gozor will perk up the ears of any fan of the series. The story and dialog is identical across all versions of the game, so if you've played one version you know exactly what's happening.
Artistically the game has more of a stylized cartoon feel to it without betraying the original image of the characters or ghosts. This style is done in such a way that kids and adults will both enjoy, perfect for the Wii console itself. Your character can be male or female, and your co-op partner through the story will be the opposite. This brings us to the biggest difference (to us) between the games.
Once you begin the story, you are asked if you'd like to be joined by a second player. This differs from the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of the game, since the entire storyline is playable in co-op. With the Wii, additional challenges are presented in gameplay and restrictions arise as well. Red Fly ain't afraid of no challenge, and they make great use of the Wii remote motion controls while wrangling ghosts. Capturing ghosts with your Wii remote is made simple and effective with the use of auto-targetting, giving you a focus point for aiming at ghosts. You'll hold on to your target ghost, and smash them around the destructible environments by swinging the Wii Remote in one direction or another. After you've beat the pesky ghost into submission, use your Wii nunchuck to toss out the ghost trap in an almost-realistic action.
The story itself focuses around a new "Gozor" exhibit that was donated to the museum, which has triggered a wave of supernatural disturbances, including reemerging ghosts, and an onslaught of more enemies than the Ghostbusters have ever faced before. There are some areas of the game that are semi-hidden, but have more enemies in a small space than when you see the same area in the single player mode. This co-op specific feel makes the game much more chaotic and enjoyable.
The co-op will also encourage destruction in your environment. You and your co-op partner get in a bit of friendly competition, speeding into new areas to destroy the most expensive objects. You are graded based on the amount of monetary damage you do in an area, given titles ranging from "Careful Catcher" to "Becoming a Liability." This type of humor holds true to the Ghostbusters movies, complemented by banter from the original ghostbusters like:
Stantz: "Nice work! Kid, you're a natural."
To add an interesting flare to the Wii version specifically, Red Fly Studios included a few quirky little surprises. This includes a few promotional posters that spin off familiar titles like "Fungus Dudes" which spins off Mushroom Men, and "Cap'n Blastem" in the image of Duke Nukem. These types of homage images give gamers a little something extra to look for in the game. These things makes up for the shortcomings in the Wii's resolution by giving us other things to visually drool over.
Another way co-op benefits this game is the actual teamwork aspect of ghost capture. By having one player hold a ghost in their proton beam, while the other tosses out the ghost trap, the gameplay never skips a beat. Bosses are a bit easier as you get more gadgets to try out, having one character hold on to the ghost, while the other blasts the boss with a "Shock Blast" to lower that health gauge more efficiently.
Ghostbusters on the Wii did more than meet my expectations, in spite of having a less realistic visual style and a few naysayers to the idea of having a totally different game on another system. Smoothe controls, coupled with Ghostbusters-esque humor makes Ghostbusters wholly satisfying to sit with a friend and play. Co-op elements ran strong through the entire game, leaving me wondering how the other versions ever passed without story-based co-op!
Ghostbusters is much more enjoyable than I expected. The campaign is the same for single and partner play, though the game feels designed around the multiplayer elements, which is excellent. Puzzles throughout the game are much more enjoyable when you use teamwork to accomplish the required tasks. Most of the ghosts require a couple stages of attacks to be defeated, and it’s incredibly satisfying to take them out with a buddy because players are given turns to slam ghouls until dragging them into a trap. The controls are smooth, and the waggle feels well integrated and put to good use. These sleek features as well as the ability to replay each mission cooperatively at any time make Ghostbusters a great Wii title that I’d recommend to anyone looking for an enjoyable local co-op experience.