Being the popular franchise that it is, Ghostbusters has managed to spawn a few video games in its lifetime. These games have generally been hit or miss, depending on the console and the development.But the most successful of these games came out in 2009, in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the original movie. Given a major multi-platform release and significant support from multiple companies, on top of featuring the voice talents of the core four Ghostbusters and other key members of the films, the game was a strong success and renewed interest in the third movie.The plot of the 2009 game is set two years after the events of the second movie, around Thanksgiving 1991. The Ghostbusters have been set up as official exterminators by the city, allowing you to mostly do your job with little concern of being sued as you have a massive insurance policy financed by the city. The game opens with a Gozer exhibit at a museum and a massive paranormal presense rippling out, pushing the Ghostbusters to become even busier than anticipated. Luckily they have already hired an intern, whose name is never actually spoken, and he goes on to help the original four Ghostbusters get rid of ghosts all throughout the city and uncover mysteries behind the first two movies, which allows you to visit many of the same locales. It also serves to tie the second movie in as an indirect consequence of Shandor's actions.
This game provides examples of:
Admiring the Abomination: Egon admires Ivo Shandor's work from time to time. He's quick to add that he was completely evil. Winston reminds Egon to "stick to the Light Side." "It's hard."
Advancing Boss of Doom: The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Getting too close in Times Square gets the player "stomped into jelly."
Arc Welding: The game manages to tie the plots of the two films together, revealing that the pink ooze from Ghostbusters 2 was actually created by Gozer cultists.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Ghostbusters's descriptions of the chaos the mandala node will cause - whole city blocks vanishing into other dimensions, cockroaches the size of ponies, panic in the streets... and the return of disco.
Winston discussing the results of Shandor's antics: "...booger snot ghosts, marshmallow ghouls, spider witches, the comeback of the Civil War, King Tut, and new property in the Hudson that I can't afford."
Ascended Extra: The game's plot is heavily influenced by characters and places that played relatively minor roles in the movies, notably the Librarian ghost, the Sedgwick Hotel, and Ivo Shandor.
Beware the Nice Ones: After hearing that Peck's PCOC order at the closed Sedgewick Hotel mentions "especially the Ghostbusters", Egon's response is to tear the notice to shreds.
Blessed with Suck: Late in the videogame, Ray wonders why Gozer didn't take on a more effective Destructor form than the Staypuft Marshmallow Man again, and thinks that gods are probably limited to one Destructor form per dimension.
One has to wonder what Vigo's plan was for after he took on the body of an infant.
Cat Scare: Your teammates can do this to you. Forgetting they're behind you and then turning around and suddenly being half an inch away from their faces is alarming.
Continuity Nod: The plot of the game is essentially an excuse to re-visit every location and set-piece from the first film. The second film is also given some smaller nods, notably the painting of Vigo the Carpathian being disarmingly approachable and quite talkative in the firehouse, the use of the mood slime and slime blowers, and revealing where that slime came from.
Cow Tools: The firehouse is full of strange equipment of indeterminate purpose, most of which glows and/or beeps constantly.
Demonic Spiders: In-Universe—the Spiderwitch spawns literal, skull-faced demonic spiders. She herself is the Queen of the Demonic Spiders when you do battle with her.
Destructive Savior: The game keeps track of how much property damage you cause through the course of the game. Even if you play through as carefully as possible, it's still going to be in the 6-figure range. There are achievements/trophies for causing more than 3 million in damage (The Destructor) and less than $100,000 (Nice Shooting, Tex!).
The Stylized versions actually encourage this, as despite the money being useless, re-playing levels shows your "high score." The damage values only ever go up, meaning the goal is to break ALL THE THINGS.
Food Porn: Slimer has a calendar with pictures of large banquets inside his containment unit (November's is a rather delicious-looking Thanksgiving turkey).
Funny Background Event: Right before the Cemetery level, the 'Busters are standing in a line, lookin' real badass, and the recruit is a few feet behind him, playing with the Nutrona Wand. He accidentally fires a stream, which brings a tree down...blocking the only exit.
Giant Mook: Each level has its own variation, starting with the Kitchen Golem in Sargassi's.
Good Luck Charm: The Rookie keeps his nametag post-game initially because he sees it as this, and later because clients angry with his Chicago franchise see it and storm off to call his non-existent supervisor instead of harassing him.
A God Am I: Ivo Shandor becomes somewhat disenchanted with Gozer after the Destroyer he summoned to bring about the end of the world is defeated by the Ghostbusters twice. So he decides to do it himself.
Ivo Shandor: Anyway, I figured, why worship a god, when you can actually become one?
Hell Hotel: The Sedgewick Hotel on the second visit.
The PC version of the game contains SecureROM Copy Protection, a much-maligned, user-unfriendly system. This particular version actually alters gameplay if it's set off; a pirated copy with a poorly done crack or a legitimate copy flagged as a false-positive will give the candelabra enemies in the Sedgewick smaller collision boxes so they're nearly impossible to hit, as well as reduce the player's weapon damage to 25%, making it a literal and unwinnable Hell Hotel.
Herd Hitting Attack: The Boson Dart can take out groups of minor enemies, especially the Marshmallow Minis and Flying Skulls. The shock blast, a dark-matter powered shotgun works well on large groups of weak enemies.
Subverted with the characters returning from the film - whilst they're all voiced by the original actors, the character models resemble how the actors look in 1991.
The Rookie (In the PS3/360 version) resembles his voice actor. Of course, the Rookie never actually speaks & only grunts in battle.
Dr. Illysa Selwyn resembles Alyssa Milano, her voice actress.
It's Up to You: In-Universe: During the Times Square level you can see scrolling text that says.
"Stay Puft Marshmallow Man attacking the City Again. Evac and let the Ghostbusters take care of it."
Jump Scare: Frequent, and enforced by the goggle-vision, which leads you slowly toward the nearest haunted item, and you know something's going to burst out of said item when you're right in front of it.
Knight of Cerebus: The game starts off with the typical lighthearted humor that the Ghostbusters films are known for, but things start to get especially creepy when the Spider Witch turns up in the mission where the Ghostbusters revisit the Sedgewick Hotel.
Law Enforcement, Inc.: Averted, in time. By the 2009 video game, the Ghostbusters have become licensed state agents in the direct employ of New York City. A good thing, considering they seem to solely provide a service that seems nearly, if not equally, crucial as firefighting or crime deterrence.
Make My Monster Grow: The Chairman absorbs energy from the mandala node before confronting the Ghostbusters, becoming nearly as large as Stay Puft.
Never Trust a Trailer: This trailer has scenes of the Ghostbusters dancing down the street and a parade looking up at a float, as well as a scene of several ghost chasing the Ecto-1B down a street, none of which shows up in the game.
Many of those scenes are from the Thanksgiving Day Parade level, which was cut from the game for unknown reasons (but is still referenced by the mayor).
Nintendo Hard: The titular NES game of the first movie is one of the biggest examples in all of gaming history, just for those fucking STAIRS. Until Lord Kat revealed a technique in episode 1 of Until We Win.
Possibly referenced in the 2009 video game during the ghost-dimension-library level.
Egon: Oh, no. Ray: See something scary Egon? Egon: Stairs, LOTS of stairs...
The Playstation 2 version of the 2009 video game had Nintendo Hardness also — mostly stemming from the lack of save points. If your game freezes up and glitches, you're forced back to the start of the level you were on once you restart.
This is likely a result of being a port of the Wii version, which as designed from motion controls.
The Atari 2600 game of the first movie was even worse. The jumping Stay Puft only had one point in his jumping arc where his altitude was greater than the height of a Ghostbuster. That point was the exact width of a Ghostbuster. So you had to figure out that exact point, run to it, and stop exactly on it - with no margin for error - and then continue the rest of the way across the screen once Stay Puft jumped over you in order to beat the game. And you have to do this twice in order to be able to cross the streams.
No Name Given: Your character in the 2009 game is only ever referred to as "Cadet", "Kid", "Hoss", "Tiger", "Sport", "Scooter", "Rookie" or "Rook" for short. Even his nametag says "Rookie".
In the Wii version, the female PC doesn't even get altered dialog, still being referred to as male.
Noodle Incident: The handwave for the player-character's anonymity (and what happened to his predecessor) in the game, see No Name Given above.
Peter: No names, Ray. I don't want to get too attached to this kid. Remember what happened to the last one?
And also from the game, Egon talking to Peter in the first level about "the Ellis Island Incident," never spoken of again.
That's probably just a reference to the second movie.
Not-So-Harmless Villain ( Subverted by Walter Peck in the game, going hand in hand with the below-mentioned Red Herring)
Party Scattering: For various reasons, usually a bit of architectural malevolence or some minor task that has to be seen to elsewhere, the Ghostbusters are always splitting up into groups of 1-4 and never work together as a full team until the finale.
Product Placement: The developers of the game hope you'll get hungry for Doritos. It's possible that the "what about the Twinkie" scene was, as well, but it also plays into Egon's lovable fondness for junk food.
Obviously Evil: The Node Guardians, including Shandor, are all people who, in life, had a definite creep factor going for them.
Put on a Bus: Heavily implied in regards to the Player Character from the 2009 game, although it makes sense, considering the game was polished by the original writers, and a Ghostbusters 3 in movie form is still a possibility. They probably just don't want to make him a Canon Immigrant to the movies and focus on the original four.
Also within the game, Louis Tully and Dana Barrett are absent, though referenced.
Readings Are Off the Scale: At one point, Egon reports that PKE readings are off the charts. Then he mentions with mild annoyance that he's going to have to make new charts.
Real Men Wear Pink: In the game, Winston - the most down to earth of the Ghostbusters - is revealed to have a vested interest in theatre.
Secondary Fire: Each weapon has two firing modes with vastly different effects. The slime blower can close black slime portals while the slime tether can move massive objects out of the player's path.
In the Stylized version, this is replace with time-delayed slime mines, which do more damage the longer they're charged.
Serial Killer: All of the Node Guardians in the video game were stated to be this during life (except the Juvenile Slor, of course). After seeing the inside of the Spider Witch's domain, it's not hard to doubt.
Seen It All: Based on the answering machine messages, it seems that New Yorkers have become rather blasť about ghosts.
The Sloth Ghost is a shout out to Monty Python; more specifically, the "Mr. Creosote" sketch from The Meaning Of Life.
A crayon drawing in the firehouse gives one to amateur Ghostbusters movies Freddy Vs Ghostbusters and its sequel Return of the Ghostbusters. You can also see the ending screen of the 8-bit Ghostbusters game on the computer monitor in the firehouse.
Also featured in the game is an answering machine message from one Professor Jones demanding the Ghostbusters return the Vigo painting.
There are multiple references to The Real Ghostbusters in the form of Slimer being the Team Pet, the upgraded containment unit looking like a bank vault and the show's PKE meter showing up on a table as a piece of random technology.
Replaced with the movie versions of the same in the Wii version.
The online Tobin's Spirit Guide may be a reference to "The Bird of Kildarby," in which an electronic version of the book appeared.
When the Ghostbusters are talking about possessions, Winston mentions "having your head spin around and puking pea soup", a clear shout-out to The Exorcist.
If the player interacts with Vigo's painting in the game, one of Vigo's possible responses is commanding the Rookie to bring him a child, but from some of the other things he says, he seems depressed and resigned to the idea that he isn't getting out.
Sidetrack Bonus: Most of the collectible items are to be found down dead-end hallways when the rest of the 'busters are indicating the correct path.
Starter Villain: Pappy Sargassi in the realistic versions and Chef Sargossa in the stylized versions. Both are the first level boss you fight, and the only level boss without any ties to the Gozer Cult or the overarching plot.
Staying Alive: In a minor case, the haunted painting of Vigo the Carpathian is inexplicably whole, despite being blown back to the middle ages in the second film. But since Vigo seems unable to get out of the painting, his only role is to provide some mild taunting if you ever happen to be in the mood for it.
The Unmasqued World: The New York City municipal government, after the events of second film have fully accepted that the supernatural is real and now contract the Ghostbusters to deal with it, unfortunately with Walter Peck as their liaison.
Take That: Vigo the Carpathian, the painting from the second film, is in the game. As well as comments ranging from Badass Boasts to demands he be brought a child to moping about his defeat he has this gem: "You will elect a leader more evil than I. Twice." Oh..., ouch.
Tempting Fate: After the Rookie takes the Gozerian Codex from the Grey Lady and she vanishes, Ray suggests that taking the book - the reason she was murdered by the Collector - allowed her to finally cross over. Seconds later, she crosses right back.
Businessman #1: Let's stay in for lunch, you said. Why leave the building, you said. It'll be quiet, you said. You know you're fired. Businessman #2: You know, you're right. I secretly knew our lives would be in danger, and made sure to trap Mark with me inside AN ELEVATOR!!
Video Game Cruelty Potential: There's an entire game mechanic based around slamming ghosts really hard into walls. Your teammates will comment on particularly nasty hits.
Vocal Evolution: The 2009 game is set 2 years after the second movie, but it's obvious some of the voice actors have aged more than 2 years since that movie came out in 1989.
The Voiceless: Your character in the 2009 game has no dialogue whatsoever (apart from the occasional scream). His facial expressions and body language are detailed enough to tell what he's thinking, though.
He DOES attempt to talk a few times, but always gets cut off.
A Winner Is You The infamous "Conglaturation!!! You have completed a great game. And prooved the justice of our culture. Now go and rest our heroes!" ending screen of the NES game.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Dana Barret is mentioned in the game, but no information on her current whereabouts circa 1991 is given. Sigourney Weaver initially refused a role in the game on account of Bill Murray not having any creative involvement, but the game was too far along to swap characters in and out by the time she was told this had changed.