Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime Review «

Remember that scene from the first Ghostbusters when the dude in the trucker hat circle-strafed around a 30-foot spider? No? How about the time the Ghostbusters shot at flaming skulls whilst riding atop a modified Hummer? Anyone?
Yeah, me neither. And that’s only one of the many, many problems with Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime — apart from the signature proton packs and frequent use of Ray Parker Jr.’s original theme song, this Ghostbusters game just isn’t very Ghostbusters-y. For one, Sanctum of Slime swaps in an entirely new (and entirely uninteresting) cast of playable characters while seemingly relegating the classic squad to desk jobs. Come to think of it, Viggo’s museum stooge from Ghostbusters II gets about as much screen time here as Venkman, Egon, and the rest of the crew. Even the Ecto-1 Cruiser bows out in favor of the aforementioned sports-utility monstrosity.

Click the image above to check out all Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime screens.
So the developers have taken some unfortunate liberties with the source material. That wouldn’t be such a big deal if the game itself were any good, but Sanctum of Slime hangs its loose Ghostbusters trappings around a fairly subpar Smash T.V. clone. You and three comrades (either A.I.-controlled or human) mindlessly blast your way through 12 levels, including the perpetually-haunted Sedgwick Hotel, a zombie-infested cemetery, the sewers of Manhattan, and the Sedgwick Hotel… again. In fact, the entire back half of Sanctum is padded out with reused environments from earlier in the game — not to mention an entire stage of nothing but recycled boss encounters.

Filler aside, Ghostbusters attempts to mix up the otherwise standard twin-stick shooting with its color-coded weapons and enemies. In addition to the proton pack’s regular particle beam, Sanctum of Slime eventually unlocks two additional modes of fire, each of which deals extra damage to like-colored monsters. Due to their slow rate of fire and some weak sound design, however, these alternate weapons feel like they aren’t packing much of a punch compared to the default beam — regardless of how much pain they’re actually dishing out.

Other issues arise when using certain weapons against large groups of projectile-throwing enemies. Specifically, the blue proton pack’s ricocheting ammo tends to create a lot more visual chaos than it’s worth when, say, half a dozen bad guys also happen to be lobbing deadly blue gunk your way. Shoddy camerawork doesn’t do Sanctum of Slime any favors, either, particularly when a multiplayer partner gets you killed offscreen by inadvertently shifting the camera.

Still, multiplayer is probably your best bet, because Sanctum of Slime’s computer-controlled teammates outright suck. Whenever someone gets taken out in battle, for example, a fellow Ghostbuster can revive them after a few seconds of button mashing. Trouble is, the A.I. teammates focus so much on resuscitating fallen allies that they often cease firing altogether to make a beeline for their downed companions — regardless of any potentially lethal traps, swarms of enemies, or bosses that might be in the vicinity. This can lead to a sort of domino effect where one or more characters get slaughtered trying to bring one another back.

The difficulty ramps up so much by the game’s finale that I’m not convinced it’s even possible for a solo player to finish this thing. And even if you could, I’m not sure why you’d want to; Sanctum of Slime has little to offer the die-hard Ghostbusters fan, and even less for the twin-stick shooter crowd.


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