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Antique Code Show In 1984 Activision released their adaptation of the classic movie Ghostbusters. I was 12 and remember after seeing the movie wanting the game more than George Michael's Careless Whisper which, in hindsight, was quite a sensible choice.

Ghostbusters 1984 game

The ghost of pixels past

As Ray Parker Junior says "I ain't 'fraid of no ghost" so expecting some ethereal entertainment I was surprised to find that this game is all about money. My success as a Ghostbuster depends on spending the bank's loan wisely on Ghostbusters goodies to save the city and avoid getting slimed.

I have never been good at balancing a budget in real life but hopefully the Ghostbusters franchise will be safe in my hands. The object of the game is to make as much money as possible, by catching ghosts in an allotted amount of time.

Ghostbusters 1984 game

Cash course

With an initial loan of $10k, I head out to my local ghost busting one stop shop to get the equipment I'll need to put an end to these supernatural shenanigans. Firstly I will be in need of a vehicle and the Ecto1 is my hearse of choice being big enough for all my equipment and cheap to boot. The bare essentials of the Ghostbusting business are traps, lots of traps, a Psychokinetic Energy (PKE) Meter, ghost bait and a vacuum. Since time is money I better hit the road before the town starts flashing red.

Ghostbusters 1984 game

Ghost of a chance

The user interface is a map of the city, my location is indicated by the flashing Ghostbuster symbol and I need to try and find the shortest route across the city to attend to any hauntings in progress. Hoover up the big yellow ghost floating around the streets to slow down the city’s buildup of PK Energy.

When I arrive at one of the haunting sites, it's time to whip out a ghost trap, take position with my proton gun, and with the help of another Ghostbuster guide the spook into the trap with our proton beams. I remember this being a fiddly process involving many a sliming incident as the ghosts escaped.

Ghostbusters 1984 game

Beaming with joy

Beware the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. He will appear when you least expect it. But being the greedy fatty that he is, I just take him down by button bashing B to tempt him with some nommy ghost bait. If I catch him I'm in the bucksas, the city rewards me with loot. But if he wreaks any saccharine destruction, they expect me to pay up.

Ghostbusters 1984 game

Banking on success

As I am sure I would be with any game basically based on accountancy skills I was always slightly disappointed by Ghostbusters ending. When the city’s PK Energy builds too high the Key Master and Gatekeeper come together for a tryst at Zuul’s pad. The boss fight involves avoiding a dancing Stay Puft, which is a shame as I would have liked a bit more proton action.

Ghostbusters was an original and addictive game and not the usual game/movie cross over fail but hey, more to the point: busting makes me feel good! ®

Developer Activision
Publisher Activision
Release Date 1984
Platform ZX Spectrum
More info Ghostbusters can be found on-line from around £5 or less. Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast is an iOS version of the game available on iTunes.

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