PRODUCERS never seem to be happy with resting on their laurels. They always feel the urge to produce a series of follow-ups, the sum of which is usually considerably less than the merit of the first. So when we got Ghostbusters and all the related paraphernalia, it would only be time until the spin-off series followed.
Instead of using people, the spin-off was a cartoon, The Real Ghostbusters; it's pretty amusing too, if you're not into overly cerebral stuff. So now Activision has got the conversion of the arcade game of the cartoon of the film.
The original arcade machine, by Data East - a company not renowned for its originality - is a mildly enjoyable affair which plays like a demented Alien Syndrome. In it, the city is about to be taken over by ghosts, so The Real Ghostbusters have to save the city by shooting them and then beaming them inot the containment backpack. The wholw thing is filmed in a semi-
Ghosts come in many shapes, colours and flavours. Werewolves and mummies are fairly innocuous, only being nasty when touched. Other spooks are a bit more unpleasant, with the large purple mutant wombles, who shoot projectiles in all directions, being the worst.
At the end of each level there is a big guardian which must be defeated to get the key to the next level. Yawn.
Oh, and before the lack of interest overtakes me, some ghosts leave bonuses which can help or hinder you. Zzzz.
OK, that's the plot over. Now for the whinges. The arcade machine sported very smooth, clear graphics and killer sound, which is the minimum requirement for a coin-op to keep its head above the water in today's arcade. Well, someone at Activision must have thought, "It's only a conversion, and since we've written an ST version let's use that".
So instead of neatly defined graphics we have grey fuzz. It's hard to tell whether the little Ghostbuster is on top of or underneath the buildings because the perspective is so bad.
All the fonts are bog standard ST ones and the screen is 56 lines too short. OK, so maybe the retort is that not all machines can do the 256 line PAL screen - but there have been documented methods for telling whether a machine is PAL or not for at least two years, so that doesn't wash.
Scrolling is fairly slow and none too smooth, and the sprites are badly defined and flicker. When your person cops it - maybe twice in the first three seconds, if you're good - all it does is put its hands on its head. No noise, nothing. I used to wonder why I got "Game Over" so often until I realised it was meant to be a death sequence.
The tune is not bad - a kind of Bustin' the House, Frantic Remix - nor is the two player gameplay if you're used to a CPC. Discerning Amigans, which of course you are, should avoid. Don't touch this even with something bargepolesque.