# 3 – Ghostbusters (Busting does NOT make me feel good.)

System: Nintendo Entertainment System

Release Date: 1988

First Played: Summer 1995

Status: DEFEATED – December 29, 2014


Hitting theatres in 1984, this box office smash is considered one of the greatest comedy films of all time and has spawned a franchise that is beloved by millions of fans the world over. From action figures, cartoon shows, a sequel in 1989, AN OSCAR NOMINATED SONG (guess which one?) and comic books, what child (or adult for that matter) of the 80’s didn’t want to be a part of the Ghostbusting action?!?! Starring such amazing actors like Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver and of course Bill Murray, it’s no wonder it made close to $300 million at the box office! But like other big budget movies, the video game industry wanted a piece of that ectoplasmic money pie, and so this game was created based off the film…a game well known by fans and gaming enthusiasts alike…a game that is scary for reasons other than ghosts…

When First We Met

I got into Ghostbusters by watching “The Real Ghostbusters” cartoon…though I also watched “Ghost Busters” and mistakenly thought them part of the same universe…

Gorillas have no place in Ghostbusting…or that guy on the left…

Yes, this is actually a thing, and is the reason why the cartoon we all know and love has the word “Real” in it. I had a bunch of the toys, some of the ghost toys came with containers of “Ecto-Plazm”, some kind of goo that I’m pretty sure wouldn’t be allowed with today’s health and safety standards…

Hey Kids! Want to be a Ghost?? Then eat this!

I shoved a Popple in there once! Terrible things happened to it when I rediscovered the container many years later with the Popple still inside… I don’t remember when I saw the Ghostbusters film for the first time, but I was blown away by it! I loved the ghost catching action when I was a kid, though I wouldn’t get the more “Adult” jokes till later on…

Me – What’s the ghost doing to Ray, Mom?

Mom – The ghost is…um…tickling him!

Me – ….why isn’t he laughing…?

When I first started collecting retro games, I would frequent a local flea market, and so I was amazed when I found this…

WHAT!?!? I can play as THE GHOSTBUSTERS!?!?!? My mind swirled with possibilities of ghost busting action! After throwing the $10 at the vendor, I ran home to give it a try………….All I will say is that this game broke me. I loved Ghostbusters and wanted to beat this game so bad! But it was so hard, so unfair, so frustrating, that in order to beat it, I had to resort to using a GAME GENIE…

The Holy Grail of Cheating!

I found an invincibility code and beat it piece of cake. I don’t even remember what happened really; I just defeated it and moved on to something else. For the time I was happy…but it always bothered me….

Meanwhile in the Present

Yes I beat it, but I didn’t EARN the win. It’s like paying your opponent in a boxing match to take a dive and thinking you’re a great boxer! I should beat it for real…but I wasn’t ready to face that kind of punishment…until now! So, I placed it in my top 3 games on my QUEST. When it came time to play it, I almost didn’t want to, but with a stiff upper lip, I popped it into the NES and began…

You’re greeted with this…

Not bad! Looks like the poster! So far so good; maybe all this bad stuff I remembered about the game isn’t really all that bad! You press start and someone yells, “Ghostbusters”! Cool! Then this happens…

What’s that? You don’t recognize this map? Why it’s the great City of New York! You know, New York City? The city that is actually just 25 factories on a very simple grid based road system? Oh, and that Ghostbusters symbol? That’s you. So, based on this screen…what do you do? I asked myself that when I first played this and since there is nothing that explains the way the game works; you’re basically on your own. But, I’m here to help. The first thing you need to do is go to the SHOP on the top right corner of the screen to buy your ghost busting equipment…what’s that you say? Why do the Ghostbusters need to go to a store that is on the other side of the city to buy equipment that they invented and made THEMSELVES???

Because shopping is fun, silly!

When you have slowly moved the Ghostbusters logo in front of the shop, press up and “A” to drive there, this is the same for any building you want to drive to. Just press in the direction of the building and press “A”…which brings us to this screen…


Everyone knows New York has ZERO TRAFFIC.

The controls here are basic: Move left and right, press up to go faster and down to go slower. Along the way you will run into the odd car which will try to get in your way (ok, that’s pretty accurate to New York traffic) and it costs you money if you get hit. Sometimes a drum of gas will be on the road (also accurate) which refills your gas gauge located at the bottom of the screen. Also, ghosts sometimes appear on the road, and if you have a ghost vacuum (more on that in a bit) you can suck it up by driving into it for some extra cash. I found that by sticking to the upper right corner, I got to my destination faster and was rarely hit by any cars. But be careful! If you run out of gas, you will stop driving and 2 Ghostbusters will get out and push the car to New York’s only gas station.

“GS Gas Station…we serve all 5 of New York’s cars!”

Once I arrive at the SHOP, you’re brought to a screen showing all the fun ghost gear you can buy! You start with $10,000 and you can only carry 4 items at a time, so your first purchases are vital to how difficult this game will be for you.

gb17 gb18

Here’s a brief breakdown of what you can get:

Ghost Vacuum: Sucks up ghosts while driving for extra cash.

Sound Generator: Slows down ghosts in Zuul building (more on that later).

Capture Beam: You’re main weapon against ghosts; doesn’t have great reach.

Hyper Beam: Expensive, but double the reach of the regular capture beam so it’s great for snaring ghosts!

Ghost Food: Food for ghosts…I guess this is the games take on Slimer??? Use this to lure ghosts away from you in the Zuul building (more on that later).

Ghost Alarm: Arguably the most important tool for the first half of the game. Buildings on the main map flash red if there are ghosts, but this will make it happen more frequently, rather than waiting around for a building to flash red.

Anti-Ghost Suit: Adds some extra protection while in the Zuul building…though you’d swear it didn’t…

Capture Trap: My favourite ghost busting tool from the films! It traps ghosts; it needs to be emptied often at your headquarters, so I suggest splurging for the Super Trap!

Super Trap: It holds an unlimited amount of ghosts and never needs to be emptied. Get this to save time and save money on gas!

So, with that said, your best bet is to first buy the Super Trap and Capture Beam; if no cars hit you on the way to the SHOP, you should have $1,000 left. Exit the shop, wait for ghosts to appear, catch them, then use that money to go back and buy the Ghost Alarm. When you make another $20,000 or so, go back and sell your Capture Beam (press “B” to selecting the logo on the Ecto-1 and press “A” to sell it) and buy the Hyper Beam to make your life much easier!

But I’m not playing this game to go on a shopping spree; I WANT TO BUST SOME GHOSTS!!!! After driving to a haunted building, you’re brought to this screen…

I’m instantly overwhelmed by the amount of incorrect things that are happening. First of all, you never go inside a building to bust ghosts, all hauntings are outside. And which Ghostbusters are these!?!?! The detail is horrendous!

Though it’s totally Ray and Egon.

The generic ghosts are awful; could they not have at least made them different colours so I can PRETEND they’re different? You start each busting sequence with both busters walking onto the screen holding the trap. You have to move them to where you want to trap to be placed, I usually find the top middle of the screen works best; press “A” to drop the trap. Pressing “A” again activates your Capture/Hyper Beam! The beam shoots straight up in the air, though pressing up or down can change the angle of it, which frankly you never need to do. Moving left are right moves one your Ghostbusters, press “B” to switch from controlling one Ghostbuster to the other. So, basically all you do is walk back and forth trying to get a ghost to stick to the beam

When you’ve got one (or all of them), walk over to the trap and press “A” to send out a wave to capture the ghost! There are only 4 ghosts on the screen at any time. If you are able to catch all 4 ghosts at once, you will get $3,000 as opposed to the usual $200 per ghost. I have dubbed this the “Perfect Capture”. The Ghostbusters will pick up the trap and walk off screen once all ghosts have been caught or if you take too long trying to catch the ghosts; I think it’s around 15 seconds or so. This bothers me; WHY WOULD THEY GIVE UP AFTER 15 SECONDS????

Now I know what you’re thinking, what happens when you CROSS THE STREAMS?!?!? Well, according to Dr. Egon Spengler…

“Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.”

In short, it would be bad. Or it SHOULD be bad. If you cross the streams in this game, you hear a little electric sound and they walk off the screen…..YUP!! Crap-tastic!!

And well, that’s what you do for 80% of the game. Just repeat that same scene over and over again. About 5 minutes in, 2 things become very apparent. The people who made this have 1) never seen Ghostbusters and 2) never been to New York!! So I play and catch ghosts; after an undetermined amount of time, this message will scroll across the bottom of the map screen.

There is no Condo, there is only ZUUL!!!

“Enter Zuul Building”…yeah, you’re gonna want to ignore that right now and here’s why. If you want any kind of chance at survival, you will need to buy a Sound Generator, Ghost Food and an Anti-Ghost Suit. In total, these come to a whopping $122,000. And if you think you’ll play until you get exact change, think again. I tried that and having zero dollars to my name, I went to go into the Zuul building…but it wouldn’t let me in! I found that I needed around $30,000 in my wallet to get into the Zuul building, meaning that in order to proceed to the “Next Level” with some kind of protection; you’ll need at least $150,000. Oh, and the only ghost busting equipment you need is a Capture/Hyper Beam, so you can sell everything else. So let’s use math; if you were to get a perfect capture every time, that would mean you’d need to capture ghosts around 50 times to get everything you need to move on…so I hope you like repetition!!!!!

Speaking of repetition, you know the Ghostbusters song? It’s fun, right? DJ’s love me at weddings! Well, not after you hear it performed with high pitched notes OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!! It’s the only song that plays in the game. I actually had to mute it and listen to something else…or just enjoy the silence. Though once I put on the actual Ghostbusters song and it kind of made the game better….for maybe 30 seconds.

Well, I finally got enough money and equipped myself with the necessities…and entered the Zuul Building…

Wait a minute……3 Ghostbusters…3 sickly pale Ghostbusters…….WHERE’S WINSTON!?!?!?!?!? Come on!!!! Are you joking? Are you fucking kidding me!?!? You don’t include Winston? The Soul of the Ghostbusters?? MY FAVOURITE GHOSTBUSTER!?!?

There are 4 Ghostbusters!!!!!

I will not lie to you; I almost turned off the game. But I was in it now and I had to finish it. After this shot of them walking into the building (which most likely blew the games budget)…is quite possibly the most frustrating level EVER in the history of video games.

You need to walk up 22 flights of stairs while dodging ghosts. What’s that? That doesn’t sound so hard? Did I forget to mention that in order for the Ghostbusters to take a step you need to press the “A” button???? That’s right, a single STEP. And let me tell you, these guys like to take their time! If you want to walk at any kind of pace that you could describe as “brisk” you need to hammer the “A” button! I can’t tell you how many hand cramps I got, though you have to admit, this is a very accurate depiction of climbing stairs with heavy equipment on your back. They really wanted us to experience that part of the movie I guess…

If you have the sound generator, the ghosts will move much slower and can be dodged easier. There are two things I found that helped me: place ghost food in the bottom right or left corner of the screen, wait till the ghosts are near it and then sprint as fast and as far as you can until the ghost food disappears off the screen (though you can only use the Ghost Food 3 times). The second tactic that helped was this…

That’s 3 Ghostbusters.

Since you control 3 Ghostbusters, you’re a very easy target for ghosts. I found that walking and pressing left and right repeatedly would make the busters clump together; this way a ghost could slip by without touching me! Also, the Anti-Ghost Suit let’s you get hit 5 times before dying instead of 3. And trust me; I did plenty of dying…

Humanity was destroyed! Bad Luck!

You can’t rush through this level, you’ll want to, but slow and steady really does win the race. Eventually, against all odds, I found myself at the top of the staircase for the first time in over a decade CHEAT FREE!

The game takes over to make the Ghostbusters comically rush towards the hole at the top…which brings you to the final fight against Gozer the Gozerian!!!!

Wait a minute…..NOW THERE ARE ONLY 2 GHOSTBUSTERS??? Whatever, let’s just end this! The 2 Terror Dogs shoot tiny red balls randomly across the stage; Gozer the “Nimble little minx” (who is by far the best looking enemy in the game) just stands in one spot and shoots a wave of energy at you while spawning a new type of ghost (why couldn’t they have been in the capturing levels???) that block your shots. All your Ghostbusters can do is dodge and shoot. If you move down, you’ll be brought to a different screen that shows The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man climbing towards the roof top…


You need to beat Gozer before Stay-Puft reaches the top! Though, if I’m going to be SUPER PICKY, the two can’t be in the same place at the same time as Woman Gozer disappears and commands the Ghostbusters to choose the form of the destructor…which, thanks to Ray, comes in the form of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. In the movie, they cross the streams at Gozers Temple, not Gozer itself…just more proof that the developers did not watch the movie!!!

Back to the game, I’m dodging as best I can, but the ghosts that Gozer spawns keep blocking my shots! With this games lousy hit detection, I’m not 100% sure which of my shots are landing! And I need to hurry as Stay-Puft is getting closer…



I start firing like crazy, I’m hit! I start flashing! Dodge and fire, dodge and fire! Suddenly the screen starts to shake! I did it!! I beat Gozer!! I…

……………DIED!?!?!?!? GGGRRRAAAAHAHAHAHAHANOOOO!!!! That’s right, Stay-Puft got to the roof and I died, meaning I had to go through everything again…it took me at least a dozen more tries to get through the stair level until I finally made it back to Gozer. My hands are killing me, my eyes are killing me, my head is killing me from the music…but I am determined to take every ounce of pain that this game has given me and throw it right back at Gozer! I run into the same problem, but I found that venturing closer to Gozer allowed me to fire more shots quickly.

Suddenly, without warning, Gozer turns into some kind of a square of squiggles then disappears.

Oh, great, did my game freeze? That’s all I need. But then…

…I won?? I WON!?!?! AAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!!! YES!! Wait…what does the screen say…Congrat…no…CONGLATURATION……are you serious? I make it all this way and you great me with a fucking typo!?!? “You have completed a great game”, Pffft! Not bloody likely…”And prooved” GOD, it’s proved, one “O”, “the justice of our culture”…I’m not even sure what that means…”Now go home and rest our heroes”……ok?

The fun doesn’t stop there; look at the credits…

gb23 gb24

“Directed by…Heaven”…..”Codes by…Pokkey”…”Special Thanks to God (well he did direct it) and VOID”…..what kind of fucked up crack were these bastards on!?!?!?!

So, the game ends. I’ve won. The only joy I found in winning is that I will never have to play this game again!!


This game feels more like an amazing Atari game than a Nintendo game. I’m shocked at how bad the graphics are; and if you’re thinking, “Well, it WAS released in 1988 so that’s why the graphics stink”, please realize that “Super Mario Bros. 2”, “Metal Gear” and “Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link” among others were also released in 1988 and they look fantastic! For me, the icing on the cake is how the Ghostbusters headquarters are depicted…


Did my 3 year old niece draw this? Because, good for her if she did! But a team of ADULTS thought that this was the best way to depict the Ghostbusters firehouse!

Though this game does offer you a variety of ways to die! You can die by: 1) Not having enough money to pay for gas 2) Die on the Stairs 3) Die on the Gozer fight and 4) if the PK reading on the map screen reaches 9999, Stay-Puft appears and steps on a building…


This game is an insult, both as a fan of the Ghostbusters franchise and as an avid gamer. This game was produced not to provide a solid gaming experience, but to steal money from loyal Ghostbusters fans. The “best” part of the game by far is the fight with Gozer, as it at least keeps you on your toes with dodging and shooting, but that’s really the only positive that I can find.

There are a surprising amount of Ghostbusters games out there, including one of Ghostbusters 2 and several games based off of the Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters cartoons. The best Ghostbusters games include the newest one “Ghostbusters: The Video Game” released in 2009 which takes place after Ghostbusters 2…

In the Wii version, you actually get to throw the trap!!!

And a surprisingly awesome looking one released in 1990 for the Sega Genesis…

What did you do Ray????!!!!

Though, YET AGAIN, they feel the need to exclude Winston in the Sega version…Should you play this game? Yes, if only to experience crap in its purest form. If you don’t want to do that, then stay away!!

So what do you think? Are you going to track this down? How about the much better Ghostbusters games (The one for Sega is very rare). Are you following the developments of the 3rd all female cast Ghostbusters movie?? Sound off in the comments below!

Stay tuned next time for # 2! This one is another doozy. The first game to come out based off of this multimillion dollar franchise! It’s tough and it’s brutal, so if you’re going to play it, just be careful, I wouldn’t want you to get shell shock…

Tah tah!

Adamus Prime



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