A strategy/puzzle game where you take on the role of an undead civil servant, a Ghost Master in charge of a group of ghosts tasked with scaring the living for a variety of reasons.
There are ghosts of people, animals and even general feelings, each with their own powers. These are further divided into Elementals, Frighteners, Sprites, Vapors and Horrors.
Each ghost has its own 'Fetters' or objects/areas they can be attached to while in the mortal world.
Missions involve scaring 'mortals' or tricking them into doing you bidding. It's not that simple though: to scare effectively you need to work out what the mortals fear, their conscious and unconscious fears as well as what is likely to rattle them enough to cause them to go insane.
Hailed by PC Zone
as a 'Sims
beater'; you can guess how that went.
This game provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: There was an official strategy guide. This supplied one with
useless informative tidbits that couldn't be found anywhere else, such as that Old Man Carter once commissioned a self portrait from The Painter, Harriet is Irish-American (you wouldn't tell — she's Not Even Bothering with the Accent), and the reason Fingers has cement shoes is because that was how they disposed of the body.
- Buried Alive: One ghost, the spirit of a Native American chief, can do this to mortals.
- Cement Shoes: 'Fingers', a former piano player for Don Bartholomew, is shown with cement shoes, plus tendrils of seaweed floating up from them. Makes for some Fridge Logic as he clearly states he was shot. I guess There Is No Kill Like Overkill.
- Counting Sheep: Referenced by humans that are sleeping or have fallen asleep, by a picture of a sheep being vertical over a fencepost.
- Deadly Prank: Wendel, one of the ghosts in the "Weird Seance" level, was the victim of a fraternity hazing that, in his own words, "really was suicide."
- Demonic Possession: Sort of, the only real demon-like ghost is The Bad Ass Darkling (some ghosts can possess mortals and make for hilarious bodily function manipulation.)
- Don't Go in the Woods: There are a few locations that take place in the woods, on at a cabin where an occult summoning ritual takes place (Sound familiar?), and another on a farm.
- Elemental Powers: Anything's a go...except maybe the element of void and space (if you count it as an element).
- Emotion Eater: Mortal fear gives you power, in the form of Plasm.
- Fear Discover Power: Various powers can uncover a mortals conscious or unconscious fear, using this against them fills their terror bar faster.
- Game-Breaking Bug:
- Occasionally a mortal would freeze up, preventing them from fleeing, often making the mission Unwinnable.
- If you hit someone with a haunt while they're in a scripted action, it may break the mission. An example is in Summoners not included, where haunting a student at the right time confuses him
- Ghostly Chill: An ability of many ghosts is to create a chill in the area near their fetter.
- Guide Dang It: You'll have to think a bit to figure out how to accomplish anything other than scaring people, but the only way you'd find the two secret ghosts without a walkthrough is through pure, blind luck.
- Headless Horseman: The Dragoon.
- Haunted House: Many of the locations you're assigned to haunt already have a few spirits trapped inside.
- Haunted Technology: Ghosts with the Electrical Fetter. As stated in a tutorial, the fetter needs to be must than just simply electricity and needs the subtle electronic manipulation in order to be a usable fetter.
- Homage/Affectionate Parody: the Ghostbreakers
- Incendiary Exponent: Arclight, Firetail or Sparkle can make any cutscene more awesome by setting fire to mortals in the background, or the foreground.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: 'Deadfellas', 'Poultrygeist'...not to mention the description of 'The Painter' stating 'No one wanted to hang his paintings, so he hung himself'. The list goes on.
- Indian Burial Ground: And somebody built a shed on top of it. Also parodied in the "Poultrygeist" mission, with an ancient chicken burial ground.
- Informed Ability: Averted big time, every ghost has abilities and none of them are proclaimed. However, the Darkling's soul-eating abilities is pretty much not usable.
- Kavorka Man: Dr. Seth Greenwood. Half-bald. Wears glasses. Has an affair with half the nurses in the hospital.
- Luck-Based Mission: Any mission that involves getting mortals to do a particular thing
has an element of this, at least if you want to complete the level quickly almost entirely involves goddamn luck.
- Mirror Scare: There are a few ghosts who inhabit mirrors (Rose, Tricia, etc).
- Obvious Beta: Not in the typical fashion, but the game ended on a cliffhanger, despite the lack of sequel. Thankfully, the final mission, bringing a more satisfying end, was released for download via the internet and packaged with the Steam version.
- Odd Name Out: The emotional ghosts are Shivers, Fingers, and...The Painter.
- Off Screen Teleportation: One doesn't have to wait after binding a ghost to one room before binding them to another — which must lead to a peculiar effect for the mortals, as they can see the ghost they just ran away from in the room they just ran into.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Very, very different, and all over the place. Former humans, a cat, a monkey that got caught in a barrel organ's gears, assorted elemental creatures, and even the rage of the aforementioned chickens.
- People Puppets: the power 'Dance macabre'
- Scary Scarecrows: Scarecrow, who is, predictably, a scarecrow.
- Shapeshifting: Two ghosts (a Seductive Female Bunny (no, not that bunny) and Coyote) have the ability to transform into a visible mortal that isn't their fetter, before being able to walk around without need of proximity to same fetter, and then they commit Bodily Horror, oh The Exorcist reminiscent horror...
- Shout-Out: Many of the names of the mortals, the names of the missions, and even some of the ghosts are shout outs to pop culture references.
- Speaking Simlish: Mortals, when talking amongst themselves.
- Stealth Pun: The strategy guide says about Hogwash's origin story: "A surfing groundhog? Surely he must be making it up." Which would make it...well...hogwash.
- Tricksters: The same two Shapeshifter Ghosts as before. Another ghost however, one who uses mirrors as her fetter, can create a clone of anyone who looks into her surface.
- Totally Radical: Hogwash, a groundhog with a technology fetish, speaks this way.
- Unwinnable: Certain missions had characters that could banish some of your most vital ghosts, were you not careful. This could effectively drive a player mad.
- Unfinished Business: Ghosts that are trapped in certain locations are usually there because they still have a grudge against the living or something they want you to do for them.
- Valley Girl: Tricia, one of your haunters.
- Variable Mix: The game switches among a set of soundtracks based on the situation. However, camera height is a factor in deciding the chosen music, as you may find in The Blair Wisp Project.
- Who You Gonna Call?: ...Ghostbreakers! And they are not afraid of no ghost.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: All mortals have two fears (conscious and subconscious) for the player to exploit, ranging from creepy-crawlies to storms to water to being hunted. Things that relate to their fears will scare them as well (i.e. a mortal scared of water will also be scared by storms).