Tag Archive: ghostbusters

The Holiday Rush

Originally Published: December 21, 2009, on Lundberg.me and 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

I did this last year where I offered some last minute advice to help out people looking to pick up a couple of more items to stuff in the stockings or under the tree and due to positive feedback, we’re doing it one more time!

Now, if you’re looking for games for some little ones and don’t feel they’re ready for an over the top, alien shoot ’em up, or some action-adventure, sword wielding bloodbath, then here are a few E-rated games that will keep them happy till their birthday rolls around.

1. New Super Mario Bros. Wii – Nintendo Wii – Any older gamer will appreciate the nostalgia this game conjures up. Any young gamer will fall in love with the crazy characters, classic side-scrolling platforming gameplay, and the hours of exploration and fun it will provide. Just like every other great Mario Bros. game to ever come out. This Wii game has been flying off of store shelves this holiday season with good reason.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks – Nintendo DS –Another one of Nintendo’s powerhouse franchises with a new chapter in its long and storied history. What’s nice about this is that the kids can take this with them on the long car or plane ride you’re already dreading. At least it’ll keep the kids out of your hair as you prepare for departure delays or traffic due to the predicted bad weather. Not the longest or most in-depth in the Zelda series, it will more than do the job of distracting the little ones this holiday season.

3. A Boy and His Blob – Nintendo Wii – Rounding out the Nintendo dominance of kid-oriented games is a remake of a NES classic. A Boy and His Blob follows a young lad and his alien, shape-shifitng friend, who can help the boy in a plethora of ways by eating magical jellybeans. These jellybeans allow the blob to turn into a gun, a ladder, a trampoline, and many other useful items as you travel across these beautifully drawn 2.5 D worlds.

“But, Ray! My kid is in high school and I don’t think these childish games will work for him/her.” Never fear! There is plenty of T-rated games just waiting to be picked up.

1. Ghostbusters: The Video Game – All systems – The closest thing die-hards have seen to a third movie, this game picks up about three years after the end of the second movie and brings the story together better than any movie could have. With all the original voice cast returning to reprise their iconic 80s roles, ‘bustin’ has never felt so good.

2. Batman: Arkham Asylum – XBOX360, PS3 – One of the most critically acclaimed games of the year, Batman: Arkham Asylum is the initial offering of what looks to be a long series of new Batman games. With a free-flow combat system that flows like water and a plot worthy of a comic maxi-series, this game is a must have for any comic book fan.

3. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – PS3 – The SpikeTV Video Game Awards game of the year delivers on every front like no other game this year. Plot depth, tremendous characters that pull on your heart strings, probably the best looking game of the year, and flawless gameplay makes this a must have for any gamer’s collection if you have a PS3.

Now you’re wondering, “What about the games for Mommy and Daddy?” Well, there are plenty of M-rated games out there for long after the kiddies go to bed.

1. Madworld – Wii – It’s rare to see a phenomenal M-rated game on the Wii, but Sega’s Madworld delievers in ways I never thought a Wii game could. An unfathomable amount of gore and language brightens up the black and white world of “Jack”, a man tasked with winning a “Running Man”-esque game of death in a world that just screams “Sin City”. Either interacting with the entire environment to find new and interesting ways to kill your enemies, or just relying on the chainsaw on your right hand, you will have fun wreaking havoc in Madworld.

2. Assassin’s Creed 2 – XBOX360, PS3 – My pick for game of the year, Assassin’s Creed 2 expounds on the plot of the first game and trumps the action by leaps and bounds. A new free-flow combat system, being able to wield two weapons at once, poison, guns, and an entire economic system make what was once a repetitive, tedious chore to beat in AC1, makes AC2 one of the most unique mainstream gaming experiences of the year.

3. Halo 3: ODST – XBOX360 – My choice for first-person shooter of the year, any Halo fan needs to have this game. Aside from the amped up difficulty due to you acting as a lower class of trooper than Master Chief’s Spartan self, the film noir aspect of taking over every member of your squad at different moments as you unravel the mystery of the Covenant’s attack is one of the most immersive plot techniques I’ve seen in gaming in years.

Those are the games that will make everyone you know, no matter their age, happy. On this last list, are the games that leave everyone cringing and they will be returned. Guaranteed. Avoid these games at all costs Grandma!

1. Fairytale Fights – XBOX 360, PS3, PC – A nice concept that falls flat on its face. Living through some classic fairytale character’s stories with some bloody hack-‘n’-slash combat is a nice thought, but horrible gameplay, a poorly kept-together plot, and nothing really special about using these fabled characters from fairytale lore aside from the random weapons they find was really a disappointment.

2. TMNT: Smash-Up – Nintendo Wii – It uses the same engine as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but it lacks everything else. Only a handful of selectable characters, a miserable story mode, and controls that aren’t nearly as responsive as the Nintendo character counterpart. A bitter disappointment for any TMNT fan and another TMNT media project that doesn’t include the original theme music!

3. The Conduit – Nintendo Wii – This is probably one of the most hyped games of the year and instead should be considered as the worst first-person shooter of the year. Basically a remake of Perfect Dark from N64, but with some more high tech weapons and a looser plot. The graphics look like something from the Gamecube and the multiplayer, although probably one of the better ones for the Wii, is still subpar when compared with the multiplayer offered by games for the XBOX 360 and PS3.

Well folks, there it is. For all you last minute shoppers out there, those are some helpful hints. Thanks for reading my article and have a happy and safe holiday season.

-Ray Carsillo

Ghosts and Heroes

Originally Published: October 19, 2009, to 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com), Lundberg.me, and Comicvine.com

With numerous TV, big screen, and broadway credits to his name, Ernie Hudson is easily one of Hollywood’s most recognizable personalities. His ability to portray a gamut of emotions has earned him the chance to play a wide range of characters over his career.

His most recent character is Captain Lubbock on NBC’s Heroes, every Monday night at 8pm, as he tries to chase down Sylar and attempt to wrap his head around the concept of a world full of super powered beings at the same time.

Possibly his most famous character though is as Winston Zeddemore from Ghostbusters I, II, and Ghostbusters: The Video Game.

I had a chance to talk with the veteran actor about everything ranging from his favorite type of role to play to possibly nailing down some solid details about a third Ghostbuster movie.

– to listen to my conversation with veteran actor Ernie Hudson.

-Ray Carsillo

‘Bustin’ Makes Me Feel Good

Originally Published: June 15, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com), Examiner.com, and Lundberg.me

The 80s was a hotbed for geek culture. With Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles permeating the popular culture, it’s hard not to see why my generation is having a renaissance of our childhood, as these franchises have celebrated or soon will be celebrating anniversaries.

The only geek-geared franchise that began in the movies though, and is now celebrating its 25th anniversary by releasing both a brand new video game and both movies on Blu-ray on June 16, was, of course, Ghostbusters.

With shock-value scares and classic humor from some of the greatest comedy minds of the era, Ghostbusters struck chords with fans young and old (although some of us younger fans couldn’t truly appreciate all the comedy until we hit our early teens).

From an entire universe being encapsulated in the fictional work of “Tobin’s Spirit Guide” to the gluttonous green ghoul called “Slimer” haunting the Sedgewick Hotel, Ghostbusters caught our imaginations from the opening scenes. Add in classic characters like the sarcastic Peter Venkman, and “the heart of the Ghostbusters,” Ray Stantz, and you had an instant classic.

Unfortunately, after two movies, a long running cartoon series, and a cartoon-inspired line of action-figures and video games, Ghostbusters faded away far quicker than those other classic 80’s franchises. Die-hards of the series though had always been clamoring for more; especially a third movie to complete what many have felt should have been a film trilogy.

While rumors continue to swirl about a third movie script being green lit by Columbia Pictures (which actually have some validity to them after I chatted with Harold Ramis, which you can check out by CLICKING HERE), many fans are saying this new video game is the closest thing we will get to a third movie.

The story opens up in 1991, two years after the end of the second Ghostbusters movie, with your character being hired as the newest Ghostbuster. Simply known as “the rookie,” you begin your Ghostbusting career ominously by short-circuiting the famed containment grid that holds all the ghosts, ghouls, and specters that the Ghostbusters had already caught. Only a couple of ghosts escape, including our old friend Slimer, before Egon can get the grid back online. However, since you let them go, you have to catch them. Thus begins the obligatory training level as you hunt the loose ghosts in the Ghostbusters firehouse’s basement. After catching the first ghost, Slimer floats out of the firehouse to find safety at his favorite old haunt, the Sedgewick Hotel.

After arriving at the hotel and disposing of Slimer in similar fashion to the first movie, Egon reveals the startling news that there is a lot more ghost activity going on in the hotel other than Slimer (anyone remember the twinkie?). Thus begins the stirring of a plot that started in the first two movies and will come to a fright-filled, comedic head in the game to give a fitting finish to this trilogy.

Visually, this game is stunning. From the ghosts and goblins to the Ghostbusters themselves, this game looks hauntingly good. The environments set the mood perfectly as you work your way through such unsuspecting settings as the New York Public Library to the murky New York City sewers as you uncover a cataclysmic plot over a century old. Add in the classic Ghostbusters soundtrack to help lighten or darken the mood as necessary and you’ve got a game that feels like you’re playing a new movie.

The gameplay is strong, but not perfect. No one actually dies in the game, but if you or the other Ghostbusters get knocked around too much, you’ll be planted on your backside like a turtle as you wait for someone to help you up (they’re carrying around 100 lbs. of equipment on their backs, not easy to lift while on the ground). This sets up an interesting conundrum while fighting harder ghosts. Do you keep saving your own bacon or risk it to pick up your teammates and get some extra proton streams on the ghoulish baddies? Sometimes the decision is made for you though as some ghosts, either by accident or on purpose, not quite sure, will hover directly above your fallen comrades and prevent you from reviving them. Unfortunately, if everyone in the party gets knocked out, you have to start the mission over from a checkpoint. To say this can be frustrating after being knocked out 15-20 times on hard mode is an understatement. Along with a few too many glitches for my liking, it does a lot to remove you from the overall experience that this game tries to create.

A big positive for the game is the replay value. An impressive multiplayer system that allows you to team up with up to three friends to bust ghosts in three different modes will have you coming back for more as you try to rack up the high score as you catch more and more ghouls online. Add in a varying amount of possessed collectibles per story mode level and the challenge of trying to scan every breed of ghost with your PKE meter into your own personal Tobin’s Spirit Guide and what is only a 10-15 hour story mode will easily give you many more hours of secondary gameplay.

Of course though, the best part is that there is no greater feeling than listening to all of the original Ghostbusters come back and do their own voices for this video game. Bill Murray sounds like he forced his performance a bit since it has been so long since he has been involved in a comedy anywhere near the quality of Ghostbusters, but age hasn’t affected any of the other Ghostbusters and Ernie Hudson surprisingly sounded the best of the bunch. Along with Alyssa Milano as Venkman’s newest love interest and this star studded cast delivers for the most part another classic comedic performance.

If you are a fan of Ghostbusters, this game is beyond a must-have. A story that has been waiting 20 years to be made, this game is the culmination of everything fans have come to love from the series and more. There is no greater satisfaction than forcing a ghost into a well-placed trap and listening to Venkman whine when a new ghost slimes him from behind. An instant classic! For the nostalgia alone, this game could be a game of the year contender.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Graphics: 9.5: The game is beautiful visually. From the way the proton stream wraps around ghosts as you try to wrestle them into traps to the character and ghost models themselves, this game will blow you away with graphics. Only that the models look a tad cartoony at times keeps this game from getting a perfect score (not counting the Wii version which purposely looks more cartoony).

Audio: 10.0: The entire original Ghostbusters soundtrack is included and it makes even the load screens entertaining. Add in tremendous voice acting from everyone involved and the SFX being spot on with how they should sound and this game is a treat for your ears.

Plot/Plot Development: 9.0: The plot ties together with the first two movies perfectly and develops at a natural pace like you were watching another 90-minute masterpiece. The game explained many common questions from the first two movies very well, but also brought up a few new questions with the Ghostbusters canon. For the most part though, everything was well explained in terms of new plot points, technologies, and spirit guide additions. Only drawback would be that if you haven’t seen the movies, you might miss many references. Of course, if you haven’t seen the movies, you most likely aren’t going to want the game either.

Gameplay: 7.5: Glitchy and frustrating at times, considering everything that is happening on screen it can be forgiven to a point. It was nice to see a game’s hard mode actually be hard and not just a walk in the park like the easy mode. If you’re looking for a challenge and can tolerate the, at times, weak teammate A.I., then you’ll definitely enjoy the game experience overall. Another nice feature would have been able to customize your rookie Ghostbuster on all systems, a feature only found on the Wii.

Replay Value: 8.5: Plenty of collectibles from haunted items to filling your personal Tobin’s Spirit Guide will be plenty to keep you coming back for a few more story play throughs. Add in though a very enjoyable multiplayer mode online where you compete with friends to catch ghosts and earn cash and any fan of the series, the game, or both will keep coming back for more.

Overall: 9.0 (not an average): The game provides everything you could have hoped to expect from it. A great plot that continues the classic Ghostbusters storyline along with awesome surprises will make any and every fan of this classic series jump for joy on more than one occasion as they play through the story mode. Along with a solid multiplayer mode and this game is a must have for anyone where ‘bustin’ makes them feel good.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game will be out for every system on June 16th.

-Ray Carsillo

Originally Published: June 8, 2009, for 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com) and Examiner.com

When trailers were leaked on Youtube about 18 months ago, I can still remember the cheers eminating around the office as I forwarded the link along.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game strikes a cord with fans young and old alike and looks like everything die-hards of the franchise have been waiting for since the end of the cartoon series.

Picking up about three years after the second movie, the Ghostbusters are revered like heroes, but the ever rising amount of paranormal activity leaves them looking to expand their ranks.

That’s where you come in. You’ll get your chance on June 16th (ironically, the 25th anniversary of the franchise) to strap on a proton pack and lace up your boots as the 5th Ghostbuster and learn the ropes as you battle the newest paranormal threat to NYC.

I had a chance to catch up with the man who played Dr. Egon Spengler, acclaimed writer, director, and actor, Harold Ramis, about the franchise lasting 25 years, doing voice over work for the new game, and if we will ever finally see a third Ghostbusters movie.

– to listen to my interview with one of the original Ghostbusters, comedic genius Harold Ramis.

Also, be sure to check out my preview of the game with Josh Parker of Red Flag Studios who worked on the Ghostbusters video game.

Ray Carsillo: Ghostbusters: The Video Game Preview
Video by Jared Bodden

Look for my full review of Ghostbusters: The Video Game when it is released on June 16th, 2009.

-Ray Carsillo