Review: Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime
There are few things I truly love in this world. Ghostbusters is on that list. I’ve been excited like a little kid since the announcement of this game. Does busting still make me feel good?
After installing this title, the splash screen and title screen greet you with the Ghostbusters theme song. While this is a cover, it sounds better than it did in the first couple trailers and I got into it. I was about to play a new Ghostbusters game, my favorite thing in the entire world. What is the worst that could happen?
I love Ghostbusters so much that I wanted to make sure to share this moment with someone else. I invited a friend over to play local multiplayer and we began the journey. Upon starting the game, you’re greeted with a comic book style cinematic. It’s poorly drawn and the speech bubbles from each person are so tiny that even on my roommate’s 40-something inch LCD TV it was hard to read. I can’t imagine what it looks like in SD, but I know it can’t be good. Yanosh from Ghostbusters 2 makes a cameo which is laughable, but all in all there isn’t too much to write home about. Bad guys and Yanosh are trying to summon Dumazu the Destroyer. It is nowhere as deep as Ghostbusters: The Video Game’s story. After a rather lengthy introduction, you take control of one of the four new rookies. Besides a few palette swaps/polygons, there is no real difference between the different characters, so don’t put any thought into picking your Buster. I went with the chick, she wears pink boots and has purple hair. My friend picked the dude with the trucker hat. Same thing with enemies, many are just different colors of each other. Even some bosses are just larger versions of normal enemies.
Sanctum is a twin stick shooter. In the first level, you only have access to your normal proton stream. It’s the trademark weapon of the Ghostbusters and its wild trajectory tries to pull you into the authenticity of the game. You’ll kill a bunch of red spooks in the first stage mainly consisting of skulls and generic ghosts. And then, suddenly, a more advanced ghost will attack you with the ability to 1 hit KO you…what? More on the difficulty later.
Level two and three each give you another weapon to play around with. First is a yellow wave type gun called the Fermion Shock. This fires out slowly and hurts yellow ghosts. Then in the third stage you get the Plasma Inductor, a blue gun that bounces off walls and hurts blue ghosts. And there is the games central mechanic, use the right type of gun on the right type of ghost to kill it. You can’t even upgrade your weapons. You’re stuck with these weak guns to tackle everything throughout the entire game. Where are the boson darts, the slime blower and the dark matter generator? These rookies and you are stuck with the bare minimum, making gameplay never get any deeper past the third level.
There are only 5 or so level locales. The developers got extra miles out of them by tweaking each one slightly so upon revisiting that level again it seems a little different. These include the Sedgewick Hotel, sewers, the streets, an insane asylum and a cemetery. They’re all ugly, and contain zero explorability. Simply walk into one room, get locked in it, fight ghosts, move on. You can try and compete with your teammates to blow stuff up and score points, but these points don’t matter for anything but bragging rights and leaderboards. Blowing up the same boxes or gravestones from level 1 in later levels never gets more fun, just stale. Some of the camera angles are horrendous, and collision detection is downright off. I got pinned in the corner by some spook in the sewers because I was unable to make my way around an invisible wall that existed around a pipe. I crashed the game three times in one play-through of the game. I almost crashed it a 4th time when a yellow line ripped the screen in half during one of the boss fights, but I paused, fought through some insane slowdown, and the game recovered. This stuff isn’t supposed to happen. Many of the textures are Nintendo 64 quality, and some of the areas of the game are obviously unfinished. You’ll notice rooms you can’t get into that are nothing but one texture (usually slime). It seems like whenever possible, the developers took the quickest short cut to making this game.
The music isn’t up to snuff either. Yeah, I stuck up for the cover of Ghostbusters, but everything else is garbage. The game-over tune that you’ll hear about 100 times is irritating as all hell. When you beat the bosses and go to the score screen, it plays a really obvious rip off version of the title theme. Little things like that might not bug a casual game player, but to a lifelong fan, you notice stupid stuff like that. There is a silver lining here. Sanctum of Slime offers custom soundtrack support. So after playing half the game to awful rip off music, I turned on my NHL 11 playlist. Bustin’ ghosts to some Jock Jams? Marginally better than whats offered.
I played half of this game with my friend before she had to go home. I ended up beating the game the next day alone. If for some reason you want to tackle this thing, make sure you have other players with you. Your AI will never make a smart move. Most of the time they just stand around twiddling their thumbs. I nicknamed mine Corey and Trevor. You’ll see them use the wrong gun on ghosts, run straight into Bosses so as to get 1 hit KO’d, not revive you, and run into ghosts to try and save each other. They will literally run into a wall of fire if the other AI character is downed. At one point, Corey was the only one left standing against a boss. All he had to do was run down and revive me and we could have kept going. Instead he glitched out and started running around in circles for 30 seconds until finally dying.
Back to the difficulty spikes. You’re introduced early on to the game’s necessity to lengthen itself by ridiculously turning up the difficulty on certain screens. There were a few levels that should have taken under 15 minutes to complete, yet I spent a good 45 on them due to unfair difficultly on a single screen of that stage. The graveyard in particular has a couple of really tough sections involving multicolored zombies, gargoyles, slime hands and slime abominations. As I’ve painted them, your AI will offer no help. And while they always find a way to meet a quick death, you’re stuck fighting off hordes and hordes of ghosts. It gets damn frustrating when you have things seemingly under control, only for a blue zombie to take a potshot at you from off the screen. This kind of stuff happens constantly, almost as if the game knows to take unfair shots at the human controlled players so the AI players can stay in the corner and play hopscotch with each other. I can only stress further that you need to tackle this with other people to try and alleviate the controller breaking rage that this game can induce.
This game was so bad I half expected a conglaturations screen. As a Ghostbusters fan, and more importantly, a gamer, this game is an example of Devs trying to squeeze out every last drop from a license (See Top Gun, Kick-Ass). Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is an insult to its namesake and fans. It might just be one of the worst games I’ve ever played for this site.
For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- At least Slimer makes a Cameo
What I Dislike:
- Awful Visuals
- Game Crashing
- Bland Gameplay
- Sharp Difficulty Spikes