Article on Ghostbusters for the Commodore 64 from the January 1985 issue of Ahoy!
Ghostbusters was one of the games I played a lot of on the Commodore 64. It was the first movie license that Activision ever did and one of the relative few movie licenses that have made for a good game. Ghostbusters was initially written by David Crane for the Commodore 64 and Atari 800 in 1984. Amazingly, it was completed in only six weeks and most of it before he had ever seen the movie. To be fair, some of the initial code was based on a previous game that was never completed. Ghostbusters was later ported to a number of other platforms including the Apple II, Sega Master System, Atari 2600 and NES.
All ports of the game are mostly the same with the Commodore 64 version being, in my opinion, the best and the NES version being the worst. As far as console ports, the Sega Master System is by far the best. For some reason the NES conversion was poorly done as the system was certainly capable of better. It even had a number of spelling and grammar mistakes, particularly on the end screen. There was a later Genesis version in 1990 but this was a completely different game (a pretty standard action platform game).
The Commodore 64 version starts off with a title screen that plays a very well done rendition of the Ghostbusters theme, including voice synthesis to shout the “Ghostbusters!” part and a bouncing ball follows the lyrics at the bottom of the page. Once you start the game, you open up a new Ghostbusters franchise with limited funds to purchase a vehicle and various equipment. The car from the movie is included as well as more and less expensive options. More money can be earned throughout the game by catching ghosts. Once you are adequately provisioned you can start hunting ghosts. You choose a call to answer on the map screen then you are off guiding you vehicle through the streets. This most involves just going down a straight road and trying to catch any stray ghosts with your ghost vacuum (if you purchased one). Once you arrive on scene, you position two ghostbusters in a way that you can fire your proton packs and catch the ghost. You’ll need traps too, of course and just like in the movie, be careful not to cross the streams! Eventually, you will have a final confrontation with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. At the end of the game, assuming you are successful, the computer versions will give you a code so that you can start with the funds you finished with in the next game.
Ghostbusters wasn’t a very complex game but I always though it was fun and the graphics, sound and music were all well done (at least on the Commodore 64 version). If you want to play this version you will need original equipment and a disk or to use emulation. The same is true whatever version you choose as this game has never been officially re-released. This is a game well worth playing, particularly if you are a fan of the movie.
The image at the top is from a review of the game in the January 1985 issue of Ahoy! magazine for the Commodore 64 and all screen shots are from the Commodore 64 version.