There’s nothing worse than a boring game. You might, understandably, think that a terrible game is worse but it’s not. A terrible game will incense you so much that at least it sticks in your memory for a while to come so that you can rant and rave at your friends until you’re blue in the face. A boring game? Well, a boring game you’ll just feel disappointed and ultimately you’ll just forget about it forever more. Unfortunately, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is one such game. You’ll have fun with it, providing you’re playing with friends, but ultimately it’s very forgettable.
It’s all Lara Croft’s fault really. Thanks to Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light, there’s been renewed interest in the isometric twin stick shooter genre. The problem is that while Lara Croft reminds you how good such a game can be, Sanctum of Slime reminds you just how mediocre it can be.[drop]Perhaps the biggest problem is it doesn’t fully capture the spirit of the Ghostbusters. Any child of the 80s remembers how awesome the ghost busting team is and it is quite possible to make a great game based on them. Back in the day we had Ghostbusters, a fantastic game for the Commodore 64 and Spectrum amongst other systems. At the time it was a kind of forerunner to the sandbox genre that we’re so used to now. Admittedly, a great many average Ghostbusters games followed but then there was also 2009’s Ghostbusters game and it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t amazing either but it did help me regress back to my youth. Sanctum of Slime doesn’t sadly. Instead it feels too detached from the original idea.
You take control of one of four new recruits rather than the main team. Business has taken off and so you’re stuck playing either Alan, Bridget, Gabriel or Samuel. While the retail game of 2009 didn’t allow you to play any of the team, at least you still interacted with them. There’s no sign of that here. There’s a comic strip based narrative to guide you through the storyline but without any voice acting, the humour all too often falls flat. Still, as long as it’s fun, right?
Initially it does fulfil the fun criteria. It’s all fairly standard. The left stick moves you around; the right stick controls the direction of fire. Not long into the game, your proton pack offers three modes of fire, each a different colour. These colours match with the colours of the ghosts you have to shoot. You can guess where this is going, match the colours and shoot the ghosts. There’s a steady supply of health boosts, shields and some Marshmallow men collectibles too. It’s all fine. Just fine and nothing more. The problem is that’s it. Sure there are end level bosses but it’s the same idea – wear them down with your proton pack until you can then throw a trap and play a little quick time event game to finish them off.[drop2]This could have perhaps been simply mindless fun, but then there’s the friendly AI who seem hell bent on infuriating you. It’s just not very bright. Your teammates are all too happy to use the various different firing modes, but far too often you notice that they’re using the wrong colour. At some points, you’ll find yourself up against a wave of ghosts all of different colours and there’s just no way of co-ordinating your teammates so that you all focus on different opponents. When you get knocked out, your teammates do revive you sometimes. Other times they just seem to panic. Simply put, they’re idiots and it’s you that suffers for their incompetence.
Of course, when played with friends, it’s a bit more enjoyable. Both local and online co-op modes are available, although bizarrely drop-in co-op isn’t possible. This does mean that you can find yourself on your own if, for example, your online teammates have to wander off somewhere else. Get a solid group of friends to play with though and it is decent fun. I suspect the fun most stems from the fact you’re playing with friends rather than what the game actually offers though. It also ensures that you can survive the nasty difficulty spikes that occur near the end of the game too, which in turn stops you throwing the controller in despair.
- The Ghostbusters music is good as always
- Can be quite fun with friends
- It’s dull
- In single player, it’s infuriating
- There’s no variety
- Did I mention it was dull?