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Video Game / Ghosthunter

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"It's a living hell - minus the living."

"There are thousands of ghost stories, tales of loss, suffering and rejection - into a few - intrude the living."

Sir Michael Gambon in the Attract Mode

Ghosthunter is a survival horror video game developed by SCE Cambridge in 2003. The game has a lot more humor and less violence than the average survival horror, earning it a T for Blood and Violence, when the usual survival horror is rated at least M. Like the Fatal Frame series, it's unusual in pursuing ghosts instead of zombies or Body Horror monsters.

Play alternates between snarky police officer Lazarus Jones and Astral, a spirit girl. Astral can only summoned at special circles. Astral is cute but mute.

Play through a wide variety of well-modeled, well-textured detailed environments. Abandoned high-school, ancient cemetery, three increasingly evil versions of a decrepit southern mansion, a ghost ship, haunted prison, half submerged ghost town, abandoned mine, swamp complete with ghostly redneck snipers, and a military complex littered with old corpses and their lively ghosts.

Use firepower, capture ghosts with a ghost grenade, solve puzzles, use stealth, snipe from cover, wade chest deep in swamps and sewers, and use Astral, the lovely spirit companion draped in a thin sheet.

Notable Voice Actors:

  • Rob Paulsen, probably best known for his portrayals of Raphael, Morte, Pinky, and Yakko Warner, voiced Lazarus Jones. His trademark ad libs show up in the game.
  • Joe Morton voiced Professor Richmond as well as his younger computer incarnation, Digital Richmond. Ends up Acting for Two in the late game.invoked
  • Sir Michael Gambon voiced Sir William Hawksmoor. Sir Michael took over playing Dumbledore on the big screen. This makes Ghost Hunter one of the few games with performances by a Knight of the British Empire.
  • Michael Cochrane voiced Fortesque as a silly Englishman turned up to eleven.
  • Veronica Hart (credited as Jane Hamilton) voiced both Lady de Montford and the Librarian. The Librarian is also turned up to eleven, even breaking into the school song.

Video modes include 16:9 ratio. Also supports Progressive Scan when booted with the X and Triangle key held down. Progressive Scan requires component cables and a TV capable of supporting it without damage. This did not prove to be a major marketing point.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: in a prison. With a ghost surgeon gliding noiselessly about in a black old-fashioned surgical gown. Snipe him from a distance and he turns and points at you, directing the guards to you. Eerie to see through the telescopic sniper scope.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer
    • Beneath the Old School
    • Beneath the Prison
  • After Boss Recovery: There's a secluded upper area in the Research Lab with plenty of health, and real and spirit ammo. It doesn't matter much because Lazarus dies shortly after and has almost no use for any of it.
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • Lazarus finds pages from Professor Richmond's notebook as the game goes along. Usually just in time to explain a new power Astral gains. This stops when Lazarus finally joins up with the Professor.
    • Colonel Fortesque leaves a verbal Apocalyptic Log on ancient wax cylinder phonographs scattered about the ship.
  • Attract Mode: Ghost Hunter features the voice of Michael Gambon booming out "There are thousands of ghost stories...into some intrude the living."
  • Boom, Headshot!: Headshots on the redneck snipers with the sniper rifle is a one-hit kill. Headshots are rumored to be more effective vs other monsters as well.
  • Bridge Logic: Detective Lazarus Jones uses a sniper rifle to blow up a cabin high on a cliff face by a waterfall. The debris falls into the river, floats down and fetches up against rocks in the stream forming a bridge.
  • Captain Ersatz: The game itself for the Ghostbusters franchise.
  • The Chosen One: Kate Heller/Astral. Explicitly named so in a cutscene. What she's chosen for or why is never explained. Her final fate is uncertain.
  • Cool Gate:
    • Lazarus does most of his interdimensional and intradimensional travelling through cool gates that are actually ancient doorframes. One is even used as a visual anachronism in the Research Laboratory.
    • Lazarus turns a painting in the Weird DeMontford mansion into a portal to the Evil DeMontford mansion. Whereupon it becomes a Cool Gate. On the other side the portal is a plain doorway standing in the open, through which the interior of the mansion can be seen.
  • Cute Ghost Girl - Astral. Video Game Caring Potential is kind of limited by lack of talking. Caring is frustrated since Astral's fate is left in limbo at the end of the game.
  • Die, Chair, Die! -
    • Chairs, of course.
    • Trophies in the high school display cases. (Go ahead. You know you want to.)
    • Urinals and lavatories in the school bathrooms. (Go ahead....)
    • TVs
    • Un-reinforced glass
    • Some school lockers
    • School sign out front.
  • Down the Drain: Averted. Any underwater work is done by Astral, who is unaffected by water.
  • Emergency Weapon: Lazarus' starting pistol never runs out of magazines.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Character Sir William Hawksmoor is an Expy for Oliver Cromwell
    • Britain's first and (so far) only military dictator,"
    • known as "Lord Protector"
    • Militaristic fanatic
  • Evil All Along: Richmond turns out to have been driven mad from his ghost hunting experiences, leaving Lazarus to die at the hands of his partner, who's under the influence of Hawksmoor. Later subverted when he pulls a Heel–Face Turn and hands Lazarus a rifle to take down Hawksmoor and his army of ghosts, and ultimately takes his own life using the Zero Bomb.
  • Faux Action Girl: Lazarus’ partner Anna seems set up to be your standard tough-as-nails female detective, but in fact gets taken hostage by Lord Hawksmoor right at the start of the game and takes almost no part in the action from then on.
  • Fission Mailed: When Lord Hawksmoor has you realize that there is absolutely no way out of your predicament, and possesses your partner to shoot you dead, the game returns silently and sadly to the main screen. Then the computer AI that's been guiding you on the game, and is present on the main screen, speaks up. And possesses a robot with a giant chaingun. And sets about fixing the problem and reviving the main character.
  • Floorboard Failure
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: The Spectral goggles come in very handy.
  • Have a Nice Death: Dying will result in the lovely image of Lazarus falling to the ground and his spirit rising up from his body, which is then torn apart by ghosts.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted. The main character picks up five or six weapons over the course of the game, and carries them in various holsters and slings on his body. it never affects his aim, of course.
  • Idle Animation: Lazarus will 'adjust himself'.
  • Large Ham:
    • Rob Paulsen as Lazarus Jones. "I was a monitor." A library monitor.
    • Sir Michael Gambon as Sir William Hawksmoor. "Now you see 'em. Now you don't!"
    • Michael Cochrane as Fortesque chews the scenery up one side and down the other. "Hurrah for the haunting life!"
    • Veronica Hart (credited as Jane Hamilton) as Lady de Montford and the Librarian. The Librarian is turned up to eleven, even breaking into the school song. "Sing hey, hey, hey for old Montsaye"
  • Lighthouse Point: The Prison section has one.
  • Living Statue: Lazarus encounters a statue of a man fighting an alligator near a cemetary. The final phase of the boss fight for that level takes place there involving a giant man fighting a giant alligator.
  • Losing Your Head: The ghost of the British commander on the ship.
  • Magic Mirror:
    • Hawksmoor watches Lazarus through one.
    • Later he talks to Agglin through it.
  • Meaningful Name
    • Astral.
    • Lazarus - dies and then is returned to life.
    • Captain Kraken.
  • Mirror World: Ghost Hunter has two different versions of the DeMontford Mansion. There's a Weird version and an Evil version, so named in the save file titles. There's also a normal version, but only a few rooms of it are visited.
  • Motion Capture:
    • Sir William Hawksmoor, voiced by Sir Michael Gambon, seems to move like Gambon, down to his characteristic stoop.
  • Oh, Crap! - Fortesque's final words. He's just killed his opponent, then notices the dagger fatally stuck into his stomach. "Oh, Arse."
  • Painting the Medium - Leave the game on the select screen long enough and one of the ghosts flitting about will come up to the screen and audibly tap on it to get the player's attention.
  • Portal Picture - Lazarus turns a painting in the Weird DeMontford mansion into a portal to the Evil DeMontford mansion. Whereupon it becomes a Cool Gate, with different exterior on one side than on the other.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • the parlor at the DeMontford Mansion.
    • The lighting effects
      • The kaliedoscope light.
      • Zoetrope projection lamp in christmas tree room in the DeMontford Mansion.
      • Lights when a ghost is captured.
  • Scenery Object Modeling Porn
    • the parlor at the DeMontford Mansion.
    • Construction yard
    • School lab
    • vending machines
    • School theater
    • Anywhere Lazarus has been firing his Glock. Rapid-fire gives a waterfall of spent shells. They glitter as they litter the ground.
    • Lazarus portable armory.
    • The ship's cargo hold. - Tanks, trucks, forklifts, crates, barrels, sandbags, etc.
    • Freezer rooms
  • Reckless Gun Usage: HOLY CRAP, LAZARUS. In his introductory cutscene he points his gun at his partner, then after they enter the building he keeps it in his hand, waving it around. While there's no indication as to whether the safety is on or not, one would think that as a cop he would know better.
  • Shoulders of Doom:
    • Hammer Knight
    • Crossbow Knight
    • Hawksmoor
  • Shout-Out: Tons. See here.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: The sniper rifle, with zoomable scope, features this. It can be steadied some by kneeling to fire.
  • Spinventory: objects viewed in Lazarus inventory spin to show off the object models.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Averted. Astral, being a spirit, moves through water like it was air. Compare to Scree in the sister-game, Primal. A stone gargoyle that just sinks and walks.
    • Lazarus can't swim, but does wade. He has a different gait for different depths of water. At its deepest, he can't even fire his weapons.
  • Take Cover!: Ghost Hunter has cover system. In first person mode Lazarus can lean out from cover and shoot with almost no risk to himself. Too bad it was not at all obvious
    • That it could be done
    • That it was safe.
    • That it was very effective.
    • That it was better than the blatant "Wall Hug" shooting around corners.
    • How to do so smoothly.
  • Tank Goodness: Lazarus gets to operate the turret, but not on the move.
  • Third-Person Seductress: Astral, pretty hot for floating spirit girl wearing an artfully arranged bedsheet.
  • Troperiffic: What do you think?
  • Variable Mix: ''Ghost Hunter'' Interactive Music
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Digital Richmond contacts Lazarus more than once on missions with warnings and explanations.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Astral's ultimate fate is never revealed.
  • Where It All Began: begins with two cops talking about the abandoned high-school they're checking out. It ends in the same place talking about how they're going to report what happened.