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Video Game / GHOST Squad

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GHOST Squad is a Light Gun Game/Rail Shooter developed by Sega's AM2 division and released in arcades in 2004 and on the Wii in 2007. Players assume the role of a special forces operative under the command of top-secret multinational black ops squad. Officially known as the Global Humanitarian Special Operations and Tactics unit under the United Nations' Multiple Operation Program group, they are deployed on a black ops capacity when nations request Ghost Squad presence to help them deal with terror threats before things can get worse. The unit is deployed to take on a terrorist group known as the Indigo Wolves.

Like in most light gun games, there are stiff penalties if a player shoots a civilian by mistake. Players can find items such as gun attachments, health items and body armor in the course of a mission. These can be obtained by shooting at them. Missions can be selected in any order, according to a player's preference. In addition, the weapons used in the game can be adjusted to fire at single shot, burst mode or full automatic, depending on the situation. There is a grenade launcher attachment, but it's only used when you play at the third and last level of the game.

It also has a sequel, Operation G.H.O.S.T. The game takes place in 2035, where the Ghosts are assembled to take on the Blue Wolf after intelligence reports indicate that they're assembling nuclear weapons for a WMD attack. However, Sega has mentioned that there are no plans to port it to any console. Unlike GHOST Squad however, the game is more linear, with weapon selection omitted in favor of team-switching mechanic based on the situations.

The game features examples of these tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: Promotional material indicates that the GHOST team was secretly created with backing from the United Nations.
  • Anachronism Stew: The ABG1 crossbow. Yes, a crossbow, in a game featuring pistols, assault rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, and even machine guns. It's also a Joke Weapon because arrows don't travel fast like bullets do.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Weapons with a "Penetration" property can shoot through objects to hit enemies. Some weapons have stronger penetration than others; the two best weapons at this can hit through trees and mainframes.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Shotguns, particularly in hostage segments. Also, the weapon unlocked at level 99 is a 100-bullet rifle with moderate shot penetration...that takes several seconds to reload.
    • Also averts Revolvers Are Just Better - Sure, they are, but the magazine size and damage, compared to some of the assault rifles, is wimpy.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Enemies never bleed when injured.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Called a "Good Shot" in the original and a "Critical Combo" in Operation G.H.O.S.T., this awards bonus points.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: Turning the difficulty level for a mission past 8 is actually detrimental to your score, in part because enemies take more hits to die now, resulting in less Quick Shots and Medals.
  • Button Mashing: Some segments require you to detain hostages by pointing your gun at them (but not shooting them) and then pressing the action button repeatedly to cuff them. A similar segment occurs in Mission 3 where you have to do the same to defuse some mines.
  • Character Level: The carded and Wii versions of the game have you gain levels by playing. Subverted in that the levels only affect what weapons and costumes you can use; it has no effect on the gameplay itself.
  • Context-Sensitive Button: The proprietary gun controller features an action button on the foregrip that performs different actions based on the current situation, like parrying enemies during a Hand-to-Hand segment, detaining hostages, defusing mines, or firing a Grenade Launcher.
  • Difficulty Levels: You can adjust the difficulty on a per-mission basis, from level 1 to 4 (normal cardless arcade version), 16 (carded arcade version and Evolution), or 20 (Wii version). Changing the difficulty determines how many shots an enemy needs to die, the placement of enemies, how often they fire killing shots, which routes you can take, among other things.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The SPR11 is an early-obtained weapon but has ludicrous penetration and a burst-firing option.
  • Escort Mission: Several optional segments have you protecting your allies from enemy fire or preventing enemies from opening fire on hostages and Secret Service agents that are trying to escape. They're not too hard to fail.
  • Expy: The GHOST team is one for Team Rainbow from the Tom Clancy franchise. By the time Operation G.H.O.S.T. starts, they're a clear expy for the Ghosts.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Global Humanitarian Operations and Special Tactics.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Oscar Brazius, the true leader of the Indigo Wolves.
  • Groin Attack: Completing Mission 3's cottage hand-to-hand scene, if you can get to it in the first place, has a cutscene where, among other things, your Player Character punches one of the Mooks in the crotch.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Many paths are only available if you turn the mission level up.
  • Harder Than Hard: Mission levels 17-20 in the Wii version. Levels 5 and up for those used to the 4-level version.
  • Have a Nice Death: The boss of Mission 2 mocks you verbally if you miss.
    "Ha! Don't you know how to aim?"
  • Hold the Line: A few segments require you to prevent enemies from entering a particular point until the time runs out.
  • Hostage Spirit-Link: You lose one life. Kill too many, and you fail the segment.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: What happens if you fail the last objective of a mission.
  • Kind Restraints: Several segments have you detaining hostages with handcuffs, something that civilians often associate with arresting a criminal suspect. But you don't want panicking civilians just running around potentially disrupting a precision anti-terrorist operation (even if they don't mean to do so), and some of those civilians could actually be enemies in disguise, which is why you have to detain them.
  • Life Meter: Instead of lives (like most Light Gun Games), you get a four-segment health meter. Certain hazards, as well as being shot while wearing body armor, will take off a fraction of a segment. Regular shots will still take off a whole segment.
  • Luck-Based Mission: In Mission 3, you come across three cottages: One holds McCoy and allows you to move to the next section without resistance, another holds a few mooks and hostages, and another has a Hand-to-Hand Combat scene. You get the most points for doing hand-to-hand, but the three cottages are randomized on every play. The cottage with white smoke is the one holding McCoy, but that simply means you still have a 50% chance of getting the hand-to-hand segment.
  • Macro Game: Playing the game earns you EXP, and leveling up allows you to use new weapons and costumes on subsequent playthroughs. Additionally, completing a mission successfully (as in, defeating its endboss; failing that part is a failure for the whole mission) at the highest level you can play it at unlocks the next lowest level for the next time you play. This feature is exempt on its sequel OPERATION GHOST.
  • Missile Lock-On: The boss fight against the helicopter in the Mansion mission equips the player with rocket launchers. Each player has a crosshair that will slowly converge on the target the longer it's aimed at, together with the usual rising beeps and lock-on prompt.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Even though the GHOST unit is introduced by name in OPERATION GHOST the sequel game, the game has essentially no story with no clear motivation of what the terrorist did.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Most enemies are downed in one hit, unless you're playing with the mission difficulty set to 9 or higher, in which case enemies take at least two hits to die.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Some weapons—specifically shotguns and weapons with piercing properties—can hit more than one enemy with a single hit; doing so results in a Double Down bonus. Unfortunately, you can do this to hostages by accident as well.
  • Press X to Not Die: Knife fights, the first boss battle.
    • Operation Ghost has several scenes that ask you to quickly perform some order like having a teammate throwing a granade or shooting a rope that's holding a large container. You can sometimes ignore those requests with no penalty other than having to deal with more enemies.
  • Rotating Protagonist: Operation GHOST switches between the teams depending on the vantage points.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ghost Squad is essentially a Japanese version of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon which came out in 2001, only as a light-gun game instead of a third person shooter.
    • One of the costumes is based on a character from Virtua Cop. The Guardian and Guardian II (the default weapons of the VC series) are available too, but by this game's standards, they're crap, with the lack of penetration not even making up for the fact they're pistols and a 14-bullet mag.
    • The entirety of Mission 2 is one to Air Force One, right down to having the boss battle with Laccard Zimone take place in the cargo area of the plane, much like the final showdown with Korshunov in the film.
  • Sniping Mission: Missions 1 and 3 have sniping segments...with a crappy sniper rifle that must be reloaded after every shot. Mission 2 requires you to headshot the boss without reloading (which means each player gets ONE shot in multiplayer) to complete it.
  • Spiritual Successor: To both Virtua Cop, Gunblade N.Y. and L.A. Machineguns, whom the games take cues from. The latter is even more pronounced in Operation GHOST, where one mission (Stage 4) has the exact same gameplay albeit on the land.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Stage 4 in Operation Ghost has sections where you have to shoot down groups of 2 or 3 high-HP cars in a row. The thing is that they're supposed to be shot on a specific order, but you don't find out what it is until you're halfway done with destroying the wrong vehicle. Then there's the three or so points the game gets outright unfair and jump scares you with a knife-wielding enemy at point blank range with no warning and only an instant to shoot him down.
  • Updated Re-release: The Evolution machines and the Wii port. The evolution machines have all the content available from the start, as well as having a hidden ending where the events of the game were orchestrated by the kingpin responsible for organizing the Indigo Wolves. The Wii port is basically the carded machine for the home, except with lower framerate but in return, it has (now defunct) online leaderboards and even more gameplay modes (ranging from training mission to Ninja and Beach mode)
    • Target Bravo: Operation GHOST. It's Operation GHOST played in a reskinned Let's Go Jungle Cabinet with new gameplay modes and mechanics.
  • Warm-Up Boss: The Mission 1 boss, a helicopter, is easy enough to defeat. You get a homing missile launcher and all you have to do is point at the chopper until the reticule locks on and fire, then reload and repeat. Your NPC allies will likely die in the meantime, but there are no rewards or penalties associated with whether they survive anyway.
  • Western Terrorists: All the antagonists speaks English without distinct accent, although hammy.
  • A Winner Is You:
    • Your reward for beating the three missions on Level 16 is you being told to go after Oscar Brazius, who is planning his next attack. The game ends before you can do this, however.
    • In OPERATION GHOST, there's Multiple Endings, whether you succeed in downing the terrorist leader helicopter or not. Regardless, the only ending cutscenes are very short: either the helicopter escaping with the leader smiling smugly, or the helicopter being shot down.
  • Wire Dilemma: One segment of mission 1 has you defuse a bomb by cutting a red wire, yellow wire, and blue wire in the proper order. Not very hard on lower levels (unless you have very bad short-term memory or accidentally skip the part of your CO's speech that reveals the wire order), which give you as many as 15 seconds, but later levels give you as few as 3 seconds.

Alternative Title(s): Operation GHOST