Ghostbusters (NES)

Ghostbusters Box Art


System: NES

Release Date: October 1988

Developer: Bits Corporation

Publisher: Activision

Genre: Action

Ghostbusters came out on pretty much every home console and personal computer of the 80s. The NES version came out late in comparison to the others. You’d think that the developers would take their time to make the game better than say the Sega version we saw over a year ago. You would be wrong if you thought that. I’ll say that some of the game is better, but some is waaaaay worse.

You start the game with $10,000 and have to go straight to the shop to buy a proton pack and trap at the least. I typically skip the regular traps and go straight to the super trap so I don’t have to drop ghosts off at headquarters. Search for the flashing red buildings and head to the driving portion. Rush your way to the end and set your trap. Turn on those proton packs and catch the ghosts in the beams, then trap them for big money. If you can catch all four ghosts at once, you snag a cool $3000. After my first couple jobs, I go back to the shop and get the ghost alarm and ghost vacuum. This allows you to see every red flashing building on screen and to suck up any ghosts that appear on the driving stage. You can try to rush straight to the stairway portion of the game, but you will be sad if you do.

The stairs of the Sega version at least gave you a chance. You had to shoot the ghosts and get them out of your way. If you made it, you were good. If you died, you had a chance to get better. Not here. You have to press the A Button every time you want to take a step and have to climb up 22 floors. You take damage every time a ghost touches you and if you fall down three times, it’s game over. Needless to say, whoever wrote the English instruction manual knew this was terrible, because they recommend using a turbo controller! I didn’t feel bad turning turbo on after dying a couple times trying it straight.

In my winning run, I amassed $145,000 so I could buy the Sound Generator, which slows ghosts; the ghost food, which lures them to a spot; and the anti-ghost suit, which allows you to get hit more times before dying. You can also open a door on each floor. Sometimes there will be a ghost, which causes you to fall down. Other times you get some extra health. I’m not sure if it’s random each time, or if the floors with something behind the doors are fixed.

Once you get to the top, it’s you versus Gozer… and the guard dogs, ghosts that appear to block your shots and shoot at you, and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. You have to juggle shooting Gozer and turning around to stop the Marshmallow Man from reaching the top of the building. He starts to move really fast as you take more time up there. I’m not sure if you have to hit Gozer five times in one shot, or 35 times total. Either way, I finally vanquished my foe and was conglaturated for my effort.

Graphics: 1.0

The graphics are bland and not very detailed.

Sound: 1.0

Bustin’ makes me feel goooooood. Do doo do doo do doo do doo do doo do do do.

Gameplay: 1.0

The driving is fine. The bustin’ is fine. The stairway is an affront to video games. The rooftop is almost as bad.

Difficulty: 1.0

Whoever signed off on the programming of the stairway can kick rocks.

Fun Factor: 1.0

Play it, make it to the stairway, then turn the game off, you’ve seen all it has to offer.

Overall Grade: 1.0

Ghostbusters on NES earns a D. I don’t know if you picked this up from what I’ve said, but the stairway is probably the worst level in video game history.

Ghostbusters Video Review on YouTube