Friday, 12 October 2007

Ghosthunter: The Review

Ghost Hunter
Released: December 5th 2003
Platforms: Playstation 2
Developer: SCEE
Genre: Survival Horror/ 3rd Person Shooter
Review: Almost as obscure as ….well, as obscure, Ghost hunter tells the tale of Lazarus Jones. An officer in the Detroit police department. He is sent on a routine callout with his partner to investigate a possible break-in at Montsaye High. The location of what became known as the “Detroit school murders”. A case in which ten students were all killed under mysterious circumstances ,with no marks on the bodies, the only clue to a murderer was the school science teacher, who vanished the same night and is the number one lad suspect for the murders. The school is currently under demolition and reconstruction ,however the construction workers have states they’ve been hearing bizarre noises coming from the school and this is were the police come in to it, believing the professor broke in and returned to the scene of the crime, Lazarus and his partner have been sent to investigate.
In the bowls of the school Lazarus discovers “the array” and unwittingly opens the device, releasing hundreds of violent and murderous ghosts, specters and revenants free to roam the earth once more. If this wasn’t bad enough Lazarus finds one ghost, a woman by the name of ’astral’ has fused her spirit with his own and now Lazarus can see ghosts. His partner is captured by the ghosts, the same ghosts who committed the Detroit school murders and were incarcerated by “the professor” self taught ghost hunter, and now the same mission falls to Lazarus. Recapture the ghosts he unwittingly set free, rescue his partner, and discover the truth behind the professors disappearance and what was the cause behind the murders in the first place.
Gamely wise this game is a 3rd person shooter were you capture ghosts using the capture grenade system, think ghost traps from Ghostbusters meets a Frisbee and you get the idea, throw the grenade into the ghost and a meter appears, you have to wear down its spiritual energy by shooting it, before the timer on the grenade runs out to capture it. Whilst this alone could get boring as its pretty easy as the corridors are all wide enough to get a good camera angle this is separated by intermittent puzzles which can only be solved by using astral and flying around the level as a ghost, utilizing the abilities of the ghosts you have captured to open doors Lazarus cant reach, or lure enemies away from a doorway or something like that. Both methods of control feel solid without any problems between the controller and actual onscreen movement, move the thumb stick a little and they move only a little, this is just one of the signs that this is move than another 3rd party title just made to sell a few hundred copies.
Music wise its very good, you might be walking through a library and hearing a ghostly voice saying “quiet ,please” to walking through a haunted Louisiana bayou to a banjo number being played to really set the scene, the compositions are all in keeping with the mood of the varied levels you visit and whilst not particularly memorable, it adds to the gaming experience as a whole.
The graphics, considering its 2003 are very good, whilst some areas do suffer from being poorly textured on the whole each level is varied and a character in its own right. Ranging from a ghostly WWII galleon or an abandoned prison island like alcatraz to a ghost town in a haunted bayou or a surreal mansion full of glass tanks full of decapitated baby figurines. It ranges from disturbingly realistic, to hauntingly surreal but it’s a memorable game from start to finish.
Whilst the lack of original plot, lock on feature or any replayability factors other than starting it all over again. ghost hunter is an acquired taste that, whilst not for everyone ,may be right up your alley, and to risk a copyright infringement suit against me : WHO YA GONNA CALL?


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