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Video Game / Ghostbusters: The Video Game

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Now's your chance to show that you ain't afraid of no ghost.
Peter: Hey, how come this mump gets all the new stuff?
Egon: He's our new Experimental Equipment Technician.
Peter: He gets a cool title, too?!
Ray: It means he gets to carry around a bunch of untested, extremely dangerous hardware that if not handled correctly could blow him somewhere into New Jersey.
Peter: Oh, this knucklehead lugs around our very dangerous prototype hardware that could potentially blow us into New Jersey? Thanks! Keep the title, kid. It'll work hard for you.

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, developed by Terminal Reality and published by Atari, 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. Sadly, it was also the last Ghostbusters media in which the late Harold Ramis appeared.

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 the Museum of Natural History and a massive paranormal presence rippling out, pushing the Ghostbusters to become even busier than anticipated. Luckily, they have already hired on 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.

Due to being set directly in the movie timeline, featuring many of the actors and including some story contribution from Aykroyd, for a time the game was considered the unofficial Ghostbusters 3. It has since been overwritten by the official continuation with Ghostbusters: Afterlife, though the game still offers a glimpse of the ghostbusting adventures shortly after the second film.

The original release came out for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2 and the Wii. The latter three systems were dubbed the "Stylized" versions due to the systems not having the hardware to create the realistic graphics of the higher grade systems. To compensate, the models were designed more akin in the style of the The Real Ghostbusters, making it look more cartoon-y; it likewise gave you the option to play as a woman, had co-op mode, a greater emphasis on puzzle-solving, and a few additional scenes and dialogue not featured in the realistic version, making it a nice collector piece.

Ten years after the original release, a remastered edition of the Realistic version by Saber Interactive and Mad Dog Studios was announced for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Epic Games Store. Released, fittingly, on October 4, 2019.

For the earlier 1984 Activision game based on the movie, see Ghostbusters (1984). For the 1990 game for the Sega Genesis, see Ghostbusters (1990). For the 2016 tie-in game, see Ghostbusters (2016).

This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: You're encouraged to scan enemies and find collectibles in every version of the game except the DS one.
  • Actor Allusion: Among the many nicknames the ghostbusters give you, Peter at one point refers to you as "the Caddy", most likely referencing Caddyshack.
  • 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 "stay in the light." "I'm trying."
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Getting too close in Times Square gets the player "stomped into jelly."
  • Ambiguously Human: The Spiderwitch, even before becoming a Node Guardian. While she looked human back in the 1920's, the dialogue indicates that there already may have been more to her than just being a serial killer.
  • Anachronism Stew: Mostly averted in the 2009 game, though some of the Doritos Product Placement uses the logo used in 2009, along with the modern Frito-Lay logo appearing on the early '90s-styled Doritos vending machines, though the Remaster replaced the Doritos with the more aesthetically-appropriate "Crispy's", averting the stew further.
    • A Ghostbusters DVD appears as a cursed artifact as well. This is explained as the Shandor cult having tried to see the future and only finding that.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Rookie heading off to open his own Ghostbusters franchise in Chicago due to the events of the story ending up with the dimensional barrier between the ghost world and the living being pushed back, resulting in less ghost appearances and rendering the New York division overstaffed.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: The various cursed items you can pick up throughout the game appear back in the firehouse. Many of them are genuine decorative items, like paintings.
  • Arc Welding: The game manages to tie the plots of the two films together, revealing that the Mood Slime from Ghostbusters II 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."
  • Artificial Stupidity: A fairly common complaint. People have complained about Egon and Ray especially, seeing as they're the two you spend the most time around in the game, getting stuck on furniture, in doorways, doing things they specifically told you not to do (most apparent as you attempt to deactivate the librarian ghost's shield; you are instructed to shoot at the floating bookstands instead of directly at her due to said shield as swarms of book bats fly at you and chip away at your health, and what do your companions do? Shoot directly at the Gray Lady!), and dying constantly. You will always be running around in-mission to scrape your fellow Ghostbusters off the pavement... but they'll do the same for you multiple times, as well.
  • Artistic License – History: The original World Trade Center is inexplicably absent from shots of the New York City skyline, even though the game takes place in 1991, a full ten years before the September 11 attacks.
  • 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 Sedgewick Hotel, and Ivo Shandor.
  • As You Know: Ray uses this term when explaining to the Sedgewick Hotel manager about how the city's new policies and insurance means coverage for all Ghostbusters-related damage.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Juvenile Slor has a glowing green node on top of its head.
    • Lampshaded by Egon during the fight when he mentions that, in terms of scientific probability, the Slor doesn't necessarily have a weak point, but advises that the node is the best place to try.
    • In the Wii version, its replacement, the Black Slime Behemoth, has weak points in its mouths. They're only visible with the Ectogoggles.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
  • Auto-Save: All versions except the DS version automatically save progress, whether after a Checkpoint (realistic versions) or a level (stylized versions).
  • Badass Boast: Egon to Ivo Shandor in the game.
    Ivo Shandor/The Architect: I AM A GOD!
    Egon Spengler: We eat Gods for breakfast!
    Ray Stantz: 'We eat gods for breakfast'?
    Egon: Too much, you think?
    Ray: No, I liked it.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: Ivo Shandor.
  • Big "NO!": Shandor lets out one when you finally destroy his true form. More subtle in the realistic version as it sounds more like a demonic roar of pain, but in the stylized version it's more pronounced.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The Spider Witch.
  • Blackout Basement: Several segments in the Sedgewick have the power knocked out.
  • Blessed with Suck: Late in the video game, Ray wonders why Gozer didn't take on a more effective Destructor form than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man again, and thinks that gods are probably limited to one Destructor form per dimension.
  • Blood Magic: Ivo Shandor reveals that one of the components he needs to assume his own Destructor form is his own blood, which he notes is not easy to come by when you've been dead for over 50 years. However, it turns out that the blood of a direct descendent still qualifies, which is why he's after Ilyssa Selwyn.
  • Body Surf:
    • Midway into the game, Possessor-type ghosts appear, who can hijack your teammates.
    • It is revealed that the Mayor had this happen to him with Ivo Shandor.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: The Spider Witch in the stylized versions is immune to all of your weaponry. The only way to defeat her is to destroy the webbing she's on so that she drops to the floor and takes damage from the fall.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Ammo for the Slime Blower and the Dark Matter Generator in the stylized versions is kept in limited reserves that automatically refill when they are not used. Egon justifies the former by stating that the mixture of substances and slime samples used for the Slime Blower regenerate in the small tank added onto the Proton Pack.
  • Brand X: Something players of the original may notice upon playing the 2019 remaster, all the Dorito's machines are replaced with generic snack machines, with an obvious Bland-Name Product called "Crispy's" being most prominent.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: A mild example, Peter has a voice mail that goes, for the most part, like this.
    Peter's Random Girlfriend: Yeah, hi, Peter. I think I left my earrings at your place... and my shoes... and my cat. Anyway I had a wonderful time last night.
  • Call-Back: Egon's Beware the Nice Ones moment hearkens back to his hilariously vitriolic "YOUR MOTHER!" in the first movie, also delivered on account of Walter Peck's actions.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The final battle with Stay Puft has him climbing up the building you're on while you try to stall him until the ECTO-1 arrives with the super ghost trap. Instead, you fight until Stay Puft loses his grip and winds up a very large marshmallow-y smear on the pavement and surrounding buildings, at which point the ECTO-1 finally gets through traffic.
  • The Can Kicked Him: The game has this in the form of a Cursed Artifact—a commode with a demon bound to it.
  • Canon Name: The Rookie from the realistic games was named Bryan Welsh in the IDW comics. This is a play on the name of Ryan French, the Rookie's model.
    • Similarly, the Rookies from the stylized games were named Chad Fuller and Maddie Collins.
  • Car Fu: In the DS version, Janine temporarily drives the Ecto-1 to smash a hole through the kitchen of the Sedgewick Hotel at the end of the first mission to help the team escape after ghosts trap them in there.
  • 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.
  • The Chessmaster: Gozer cult leader Ivo Shandor, mentioned in the original film but featured much more prominently in the video game.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Your Neutrona Wand weapons are predominantly marked with a particular color in all but the DS versions. For the realistic versions, they are red for Blast Stream, blue for Shock Blast, green for Slime Blower and yellow for Meson Collider. The Stylized version colors the Shock Blast purple instead of blue.
  • Company Cameo: In the Stylized versions, advertisements around New York City depict the logos of Red Fly Studios and Atari, the developers of the game.
  • Construction Catcalls: The ghosts of the construction workers can be heard murmuring things like "Yeah, baby!" Apparently this is purely out of habit, since they do it even when no women are present.
  • 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.
  • Cool Boat: Ecto-8.
  • Cow Tools: The firehouse is full of strange equipment of indeterminate purpose, most of which glows and/or beeps constantly.
  • Critical Annoyance:
    • The realistic versions do show a red haze around the screen to warn of low health.
    • All console and PC versions use this to warn of equipment overuse, as shown below:
      • Over-using equipment in the realistic version will cause your proton pack to overheat. You can quickly vent out your pack with the press of a button at any time, but if you fully overheat your pack, it will automatically vent, but at a punishingly slower rate as a penalty for over-using equipment. A beeping sound will let you know when auto-venting is imminent and you need to stop using your equipment immediately.
      • If your Blast Stream is about to overheat in the Wii and PS2 versions (which you can do all too easily or often because the equipment status meter can be small enough to overlook), your controller will vibrate to warn you to cease fire and cool it off a little. The same goes for when your Slime Blower or Dark Matter Generator is running out of ammo.
  • Cutting the Knot: In the final level of the realistic version, ECTO-1 is blocked by a gate which has been rendered invulnerable through a significant PKE charge. Lacking any weapon strong enough to directly dissipate the charge, they instead solve the problem by destroying the extremely dilapidated supports holding the gate up.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Part of what makes Azetlor That One Boss in the realistic version is that his slam attacks don't just knock you down, they send you flying into the air like a rag-doll. Assuming you aren't knocked out, by the time you're done flopping around helplessly and finally stand up again, it's just about time for Azetlor to perform another slam attack...
  • Deadly Upgrade: A lot of the equipment the Rookie gets is untested (though the other Ghostbusters will start using it on the next level after you get it), and the warnings are hilariously dangerous. Stripping off some metal from the Neutrona Wand, for example, can cause numbness in the hands, while altering the PKE Meter can leave stains on your hands that will never come off. Most importantly, the Rookie is the one testing the equipment because, in case there's a problem, the other Ghostbusters don't want to be blown to New Jersey. The Rookie is not reassured by this.
  • Demonic Possession: In the Museum level, Possessor Ghosts are able to take over civilians and even your fellow Ghostbusters. Ray also gets possessed multiple times to the point where the others don't even display concern, just mild annoyance. He wanders off speaking in tongues, and all that happens is Ilyssa and the Mayor are told to keep an eye on him while the player and the other Ghostbusters catch up. Later, near the end of the game, it is revealed that the Mayor has been possessed for the last few months.
  • Demonic Spiders: In-Universe: The Spider Witch 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. From the smallest glass to the biggest car, everything is worth something if you break it. Times Square and the History Museum are particularly bad about this, being full of lots of expensive things that you can easily break while trying to take out the ghosts. Of the six levels that penalize you for breaking things, they'll make up 90% or more of your total. Consider yourself careful if your damage total by the end of the game is under $500 thousand. There are achievements/trophies for causing more than three 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 THINGSnote .
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: You're starting a career out of flipping the bird to Cthulhu.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You're testing weaponry designed to back up the aforementioned insulting of Cthulhu.
  • Diegetic Interface: Every important element in the game is displayed on your proton pack. Which mode is selectednote , your current heat level, and your active health are visible at all times.
  • Disposable Intern: The player's main purpose in-game is to be the guinea pig for dangerous upgrades.
    Stantz: What's your name again, kid?
    Venkman: No names, Ray. I don't want to get too attached to this kid. You know, just in case... You remember what happened to the last guy.
  • Double-Sided Book: The Strategy Guide has one side to be the "Realistic" version for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, while the other is the "Stylistic" version for Wii and PlayStation 2.
  • Ectoplasm: The game features multiple colors of ectoplasm. Ectoplasm often acts as a physical barrier, usually needing a specific gadget or proton pack setting to remove it. It's pointed out that black ectoplasm can be especially dangerous to come in physical contact with.
  • Enemy Mine: The Grey Lady secretly helps the Ghostbusters by letting them have the Gozerian Codex, as well as showing them how to get to Azeltor to disable the library's mandala node, which also includes them unknowingly taking revenge on him in her place for her murder.
  • Enemy Scan: The PKE Meter, in addition to tracking down paranormal disturbances, can also help identifying ghosts with categories from Tobin's Spirit Guide, listing their particular strengths and weaknesses.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: See Godhood Seeker.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: One of the major functions for the Proton Pack is a slime blower armed with positively-charged slime, which is usually used for black slime obstacles and enemies, which are associated with negative emotions.
  • Evil Chef: The Chef ghost in both the stylized and realistic versions of the 2009 game.
  • Evil Counterpart: Shandor's methods are a Raygun Gothic-influenced evil counterpart to the Ghostbusters', more specifically the "slime science" aspect of his work.
  • Falling Damage: The key to defeating the Spider Witch in the stylized version.
  • Fat Bastard: The Chairman, Chef DeForrest/Sargossa, and the Sloth Ghost from the firehouse.
  • Fighting a Shadow: The video game battle against Gozer's Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The final battle of the game takes place in the ghost world.
  • Final-Exam Boss: The Stylized version of the final boss. You will use Boson Darts, the Stasis Stream, Shock Blast, and Slime Blower by the time the fight's over.
  • First-Person Perspective:
    • Played straight when you put on PKE Goggles in every version except for the DS version, which is usually played from a Top-Down View.
    • The Stylized versions seem to do this a lot when the main characters are talking to the player character. Apparently this was due to the developers not bothering to add facial animations for the player character for in-game cutscnces. Notice how your characters is either not in frame with the others and just hanging back like a plank of wood.
  • Food Porn:
    • Slimer has a calendar with pictures of large banquets inside his containment unit (November's is a rather delicious-looking Thanksgiving turkey).
    • Also taken literally with a collectible Cursed Artifact being a vegetable-based pinup calendar.
  • Freeze Ray: Subverted: The Stasis Stream function on the Proton Pack functions near-identically to one, but is stated to have nothing to do with cold. Instead, its effects derive from order-reversing particles.
  • 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 Neutrona Wand (Perhaps experiencing a malfunction?). He accidentally fires a stream, which brings a tree down... blocking the only exit.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • As stated further in this article, there is a chance that the PC version's Copy Protection may mistakenly flag your purchased copy as a stolen one, making it difficult to shoot the Candelabra Crawlers in the Sedgewick hotel and quartering your overall damage output.
    • The PlayStation 3 version of the game may also incorrectly deny that you have ever created and used a particular save profile, even if the system's "save data folder" says that you had, meaning that you might have to start over.
    • A lesser game-breaking bug also haunts the Realistic versions, specifically with regards to achievements. This particular error prevents two completed achievements from being registered as such. A software patch identified the problem, but such fix doesn't work for enthusiastic achievement hunters who already fulfilled the bugged achievements.
    • The Stylized version may have some situations where the game could softlock due to critical items (such as generator batteries) or enemies being stuck. However, the PS2 version is a bit worse, with a slight chance that the game may freeze, as an unfortunate consequence of that version being a somewhat rushed direct port of the Wii version.
    • There is also a chance that a save file for the Stylized version can be corrupted, causing the game to crash at the start of the boss battle against the Black Slime T-Rex in the level "Ilyssa Found". If this happens, you will have to erase your save and start over.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • In the realistic version, anything you destroy in the Ghost World portion of the library, the secret catacombs under the museum, the Spider Witch's lair, Shandor Island, or the cemetery that appears in Central Park does NOT count towards your property damage total. The city of New York isn't going to reimburse the ghosts or Shandor's cult.
    • Egon developed a "Stream governor" which allows you to cross streams without killing yourself. It's not good for you, but at least you don't have every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. It only gets disabled during the final cutscene, where the Ghostbusters cross the streams to destroy Shandor's Destructor Form.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: When used in cutscenes or by the other Ghostbusters, the PKE Meter acts as it does in the movies - measures all paranormal energy and always being active in supernatural zones. In gameplay, it only points towards towards important objects and gameplay objectives, which not only means that even when surrounded by paranormal weirdness it'll do nothing unless there's something specific nearby, but it occasionally points to things that aren't paranormal at all (like switches).
  • Ghost Invasion: This is the entire plot. Ivo Shandor, deceased architect of the events of Ghostbusters (1984), not only built the high rise near central park; he built a mandala out of several New York landmarks, including the Sedgewick Hotel and the Central Library. A series of underground tunnels channeled spirits from site to site, ending at Central Park. The end result is several locations completely overrun by spirits, and the barrier between the spirit world and the real world weakened until some areas were transformed.
  • Giant Mook: Each level has its own variation, starting with the Kitchen Golem in Sargassi's.
  • Good Luck Charm: The Rookie keeps his name tag 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.
  • Goo It Up: There is an obstacle called "Black Slime", negatively charged slime that hurts you if you touch it. You are given a Slime Launcher to shoot positively charged green slime to neutralize it. You can also use the slime to tether objects together, using them to do various things such as pull platforms together, break crumbling walls down, or loosen things that were stuck in place. Many enemies can also cover you in slime, just like Peter was in the first movie. This negatively affects your movement speed, making it harder for you to avoid incoming attacks. Enemies can cover you and your fellow Ghostbusters in the aforementioned black slime as well. This is also their safest option when dealing with ghosts possessing humans, which either kicks out possessors or only hurts the Chairman Ghost when he holds Ilyssa hostage since he's made of black slime.
  • A God Am I: After becoming a god, Ivo Shandor's power goes straight to his head.
    The Architect: I AM A GOD!
    Egon: We eat gods for breakfast!
  • Godhood Seeker: Ivo Shandor becomes rather 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.
    Ray: What about Gozer? I thought you did this all for him!
    Ivo Shandor: I did, but he failed me, twice. How he earned the title "The Destroyer" is beyond me. Anyway, I thought to myself, why worship a god... when you can actually become one?
  • Happy Ending Override: A mostly non-depressing example. Peter and Dana clearly aren't together anymore, and Louis doesn't become a full time Ghostbuster and also evidently didn't end up with Janine. Both cases are expanded on in the IDW comics.
    • Mitigated somewhat by the fact that Louis's jumpsuit and earmuffs can be seen in the firehouse in between levels. There's also a sick note on his computer that says he's out sick during the events of the game. Maybe he caught something helping the guys out on a bust?
  • Haunted Fetter: The myriad "Animator"-type ghosts found throughout.
  • Hell Hotel: The Sedgewick Hotel on the second visit.
    • Also, the PC version's Copy Protection 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.
  • Heroic Mime: The Rookie.
  • Hero Insurance: It's mentioned that the City pays for any and all damages that the Ghostbusters create.
  • High Turnover Rate: Implied with the rookies in the game.
    Venkman: No, no. No names. I don't want to get too attached to this one. You know, just in case; you remember what happened to the last guy.
  • Homing Projectile: Tagging a ghost with the Meson Collider will allow the Overload Pulse to home in on the specter.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: There are three difficulty levels in every version but the DS version, and they are idiosyncratically named. What they are called depends on the version. For the realistic version, it's Casual, Experienced and Professional. For the Stylized version, it's Rookie, Buster and Gozerian.
  • Improvised Golem: Several. A good number of these creatures are actually spirits that can manipulates objects around them to create corporeal bodies to manifest their rage. The Kitchen Golem, Book Golems, Graveyard Beasts and Black Slime Monsters are prominent examples.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • Subverted with the characters returning from the film - whilst they're all voiced by the original actors, the character models resemble how the actors looked in 1991.
    • The Rookie (In the PS3/360 version) resembles his voice actor. Of course, the Rookie never actually speaks, only letting out the occasional grunt and scream in battle.
    • Dr. Illysa Selwyn resembles Alyssa Milano, her voice actress.
  • Isle of Giant Horrors: In the Shandor Island level, there is a huge Slor which is not only the source of all of Shandor's experiments, but also the final node guardian, making it the Boss Battle. It's explicitly a Juvenile Slor, which suddenly makes the Third Reconciliation of the Last of the McKetrick Supplicants (where Gozer came as a giant Slor) all the more unnerving to imagine.
  • It's Personal: Played for laughs after the escaped Slimer slimes Peter again. For Venkman, This Means War!.
  • 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.
    • Done in-game at one point, when Venkman runs ahead of the player and hides, then jumps out from around the corner with a loud "BOO!"
  • 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.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • This line:
      Peter: "Okay, for one minute pretend someone here doesn't know what a mandala is."
    • One cutscene involving a tilted TV with a news broadcast cuts to the team looking at the broadcast with their heads tilted, which most players also would've likely done.
  • Let's Mock the Monsters: In keeping with series tradition, Peter Venkman takes no monster seriously, not even the Big Bad. Being old hands in the business, the other three get in on it, too, to lesser degrees. When they stop doing this the scare factor of the game ramps up quite a bit.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: There are lots of times when the Ghostbusters will split up to investigate different things or cover multiple approaches. However, they almost always split off into pairs so that each of them has another to watch their back, and they maintain frequent radio contact between the groups. Those few times where they end up apart as lone individuals are usually the result of circumstances outside of their control.
  • Lighter and Softer: The PS2 and Wii versions. While having the same plot, the ghosts are not shown to be as menacing as their HD counterparts, including certain dialogue, such as detail of the Spider Witch's victims was removed.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: Papa Sargassi (realistic version) or Chef Sargossa (stylized version), the boss ghost(s) of your first visit to the Sedgewick Hotel, are the only level boss not affiliated with Ivo Shandor and his cult.
  • Mad Scientist: Egon used to be a licensed coroner... but now it's "just a hobby."
  • Make My Monster Grow: The Chairman absorbs energy from the mandala node before confronting the Ghostbusters, becoming nearly as large as Stay Puft.
  • Marathon Level: The stylized versions have a few, namely "Splitting Up", "Rivers of Slime" and "The Coming Storm". Take note that you cannot save mid-level if you get to such levels.
  • Menacing Museum: The Natural History Museum in New York has become a hotbed of paranormal activity due to it being one of the places where a node for Ivo's mandala was placed. It has become haunted by the ghosts of Civil War soldiers still fighting each other, and various other hostile spirits, such as Cornelius Wellesley, the old chairman of the museum).
  • Mini-Game Credits: The end credits of the stylized version take place inside the firehouse, where you can catch Slimer over and over again with a limited subset of your controls (i.e. you can only use your Blast Stream and move from side to side).
  • Mundane Utility: A Cursed Artifact is the "Swiss Death Clock"; a clock which shows the exact time nearest person will die. Unfortunately, placing it near the firehouse makes the hands turn really fast due to being constantly near lots of ghosts with varying death times. Peter uses it as a desk fan.
  • Murderous Mannequin: These exist within the Natural History Museum. Their spears pack a punch.
  • Mystical City Planning: The buildings designed by Ivo Shandor form a Mandala on the map of New York.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • After you collect the Stay Puft figure, it appears back at headquarters in Ray's bed. This is likely a reference to The Real Ghostbusters, in which Ray also slept with a Stay Puft toy.
    • 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.
      • The Ghost Traps from both The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters can be seen in the basement too.
      • 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.
      • The Reduced Slime Consumption upgrade for the Slime Blower is based on an improved growth medium for the slime that was discovered in Egon's collection of spores, molds and fungi.
    • 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.
    • Vigo's painting identifies itself as Vigo Von Homburg Deutschendorf. This is a combination of the last names of the actor who played Vigo's face (Wilhelm Von Homburg) and the twin "actors" who played Baby Oscar (Will and Hank Deutschendorf).
    • The 1984 game (released for NES etc.) is 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...
      • Which might also be a reference to the end of the first movie, where they had to walk up the stairs all the way up to Dana's apartment and were already exhausted before they even got there. (Maybe the NES game took that scene too literally?)
    • This game contains the infamous NES ending screen: "Conglaturation!!! You have completed a great game. And prooved the justice of our culture. Now go and rest our heroes!" It appears on a computer monitor in the Firehouse.
  • 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. This was actually a reference to The Real Ghostbusters animated series, or possibly this old music video. 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).
  • Nightmarish Nursery: Both the Realistic and Stylized versions have Juvenile Curriculum, a section of the New York Public Library dedicated to children's literature. Despite the colorful decorations and child-friendly appearance, disembodied children's voices can be heard and objects move on their own.
  • No Name Given: Your character in the 2009 game is only ever referred to as "Cadet", "Kid", "New Guy", "Hoss", "Tiger", "Sport", "Scooter", "Rookie" or "Rook" for short. Even his nametag says "Rookie". The IDW comics series give his name as Bryan Welsh.
    • 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. You know, just in case... You remember what happened to the last guy.
    • Also, Egon talking to Peter in the first level about "the Ellis Island Incident," never spoken of again.note 
  • Nostalgia Filter: Played for Laughs between Ray and Winston. They're nostalgic for days when they would only have to go up against Class 2 and 3 Possessor ghosts, which would have only been a couple of months ago. For the record, the Museum's possessors are Class 7.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain Subverted by Walter Peck in the game, going hand in hand with the below-mentioned Red Herring.
  • Obviously Evil: The Node Guardians, including Shandor, are all people who, in life, had a definite creep factor going for them.
  • One-Winged Angel: Whatever version you play, Ivo Shandor truly becomes a monster to behold for the Final Boss.
  • Overheating: The Blast Stream (and also, other equipment in the realistic versions) can overheat if used too frequently, and you'll have to wait to cool it down (or press a button to vent out your pack on the realistic versions). This trope's principle also governs the use of your Slime Blower and Dark Matter Generator in the stylized versions, which do not overheat, but rather deplete and reload automatically.
  • Paper Destruction of Anger: Egon furiously shreds the notice that Peck puts up at the Sedgewick after learning that it explicitly singles out the Ghostbusters.
  • 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.
  • Place Worse Than Death: When describing the horrors of Ghostworld, Pete Venkman says, "It ain't pretty. It's like Brooklyn and the Bronx with no Queens in the middle."
  • Possession Levitation: The possessor ghosts take over the guests' bodies during a gala in the New York Museum of History and float around the room along with the possessed Walter Peck.
  • Potty Emergency: At one point in the museum level, the team are barricaded by a door coated in black slime. Winston Zeddemore complains that he has to "go".
  • 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.
    • Q*bert is one of the arcade games at the firehouse (Sony owns it via Columbia Pictures— Columbia owned Gottlieb at the time).
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: The stylized versions let you choose to play as either a male or female Recruit, but the only change is the character model; Girl Recruit has the exact same stats, capabilities, and even pronouns as Guy Recruit does.
  • 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 was still a possibility at the time. They probably just didn't want to make him a Canon Immigrant to the movies and focus on the original four.
    • Also within the game, Louis Tully (due to Rick Moranis's semi-retirement) and Dana Barrett (due to Sigourney Weaver having scheduling conflicts) are absent, though referenced; a note at his desk indicates Louis is out sick during the events of the game.
  • 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.
  • Reality Bleed: Thanks to the mandala powering up, the ghost world starts to fuse with the real world, warping the real world locations into bizarre and sometimes impossible sets.
  • 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.
  • Recursive Canon: A DVD copy of the first Ghostbusters film appears in the realistic versions as a collectible Cursed Artifact.
  • Red Herring: In the game, the flagrant, obvious implications that Walter Peck is a Gozer cultist, thus explaining his completely unreasonable attitude towards the Ghostbusters, turns out to be untrue. Subverted; from dialogue at the end of the game, it's obvious that Egon figured it out before the actual reveal.
  • Regenerating Health: The player's health will start to regenerate if he is kept out of harm's way for a few seconds.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Several of the Golem monsters are animated by a single object which serves as their head, drawing in other objects to form the body. Once you've sufficiently weakened them, you have to wrangle their head off with the proton stream, which will promptly cause them to explode.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: In the Stylized versions, you'll need to destroy some stuff to find art pages.
  • Right Behind Me: The Collector (or his mask, in the HD version) appeared behind Ray after he made the comment about the Ghostbusters taking the Gozerian Codex. It was even lampshaded.
    Ray: Uh... he's right behind me, isn't he?
    Egon: Yes, I think you got his attention, Ray.
    Ray: Oh, boy.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: The Sedgewick Hotel manager.
  • Secondary Fire: Each of the Proton Pack's functions have two firing modes (see Stance System for more information):
  • Seen It All:
    • Based on the answering machine messages, it seems that New Yorkers have become rather blasé about ghosts.
      Caller: Is this Ghostbusters? I'm trying to get some sleep over here, but it's non-stop with all this screaming and moaning and opera singing and things flying around throwing rocks. Am I the only one in this city that has to get up for work tomorrow? Keep it down!
    • Ray has been possessed so many times that the other Ghostbusters treat it as an annoyance at worst. They can just slime him later.
  • 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.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • When asked what a backup generator switch looks like, Egon suggests that it "probably looks like a switch, or something that would start up a generator".
    • In the Wii version of the game, your Wii Remote becomes the remote for the firehouse's television if you go up to it to replay a previous level, using the Plus and Minus buttons as if they were the channel buttons to cycle through levels.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The Shock Blast, full stop.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To another famous set of "busters", when after an explosion, Egon asks if he still has eyebrows.
    • 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.
      Professor Jones: It belongs in a museum!
    • Statues attacking people are standard horror fare, but you can find the head of a weeping stone angel. That stretches chance a bit.
    • 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.
    • The opening sequence at the museum includes the line "Wanna hear something really creepy?", which is very similar to Dan Aykroyd's signature Schmuck Bait line ("Wanna see something really scary?") in Twilight Zone: The Movie.
    • In the stylized versions, Tobin's Spirit Guide entry on Phantom Craftwork (Chef Sargossa's wedding cake) says that many of his contemporaries believe it's a hoax — in other words, that the cake is a lie.
    • Also, the level "Going Up" in the stylized versions take place inside a video game developer studio with posters parodying famous video games, such as Fungus Dudes (parodying Red Fly Studio's Mushroom Men) and Captain Blast'em (parodying the Duke Nukem series).
    • At least in the 2019 remaster, in the sewer Peter mentions, among other sewer dwellers, Morlocks.
    • The cursed artifact "Ali El-Baluu's Irksome Rug" is a clear shout-out to Aladdin, both because it's a literal flying carpet, and because the name of the owner is nearly the same name used by Aladdin's prince disguise (Ali El-Baluu, as opposed to Ali Ababwa). Additionally, the rug's owner was said to be a minor Persian magusnote  - though unlike the story, Ali is killed when he falls due to the rug dipping at around 9 stories high.
      • One could, however, say this is a second, related shout-out to the fan theory that the magic carpet ride should have killed Aladdin and Jasmine.
    • An obscure one: The painting "The Ravishing Red Prince" was painted by an artist named "Remco deGroot." His name combines two 60s-era toy companies: Remco, which produced Mr. Machine among others, and Cowan deGroot, which most notably produced Clockwork Dalek toys.
  • 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.
  • Stance System: The proton pack has four firing modes which can be switched between on the fly, allowing you to counter any ghost that may come your way:
    • Particle Accelerator: Contains the iconic Proton Stream, which can weaken and wrangle ghosts, and the Boson Dart, which fires a concentrated ball of proton energy, useful for blowing up groups of weaker ghosts, or dealing decent burst damage to singular larger ones. Firing a Boson Dart while the Blast Stream is active causes the Dart to travel along the Stream.
    • Dark Matter Generator: Contains the Shock Blast, a dark matter shotgun that is powerful in close quarters, and great against most Corporeal-type ghosts, and the Stasis Stream, which uses order-reversing particles to paralyze enemies for a short period of time.
    • Plasm Distribution System: Contains the Slime Blower, which, just like in the second movie, fires a stream of positively charged slime to neutralize negatively charge black slime and force ghosts from humans they possess, and either the Slime Tether or the Slime Mine, depending on if you're playing the realistic or stylized version, respectively. The Slime Tether creates strands of slime that contract, dragging whatever they're connected to together, and can be used as an alternate way of trapping ghosts if your aim is good and you have the Slam Dunk Trapping upgrade, while the Slime Mine acts as a delayed explosive that covers things with slime, and that's about it.
    • Composite Particle System: Contains the Meson Collider, a powerful and precise energy bolt, and the Overload Pulse, a rapid-fire, low-powered variation of the Meson Collider. If an enemy is shot with the former, the latter's shot will follow the target until they connect.
  • 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. It's possible that Vigo had more than one painting, just in case.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Suffice it to say that this game is not the Rookie's story. He's just the player character, not much more. He does save the day a few times — particularly on Shandor Island — but the story is solidly about the movie cast.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: In the Stylized version, the only way to defeat the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man while he is climbing up the building is to use the Capture Stream to catch the ectoplasm-imbued slabs of concrete he tosses at you, then drop them right back on him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Peter Venkman.
  • Tragic Villain: While not so much as a villain, The Grey Lady is revealed to have been killed by her boyfriend, who was exploiting her librarian position to get his hands on the Gozerian Codex.
  • Truth in Television: It's repeatedly stated that the Sedgewick doesn't have a 13th floor. While this may confuse some players due to the exterior clearly being taller than 12 floors, the manager mentions that none of the "grand old hotels" like the Sedgewick have a 13th floor. In Real Life, this is usually the case with hotels in general due to superstitions; not having a Room 13 and/or large hotels outright not having a listed 13th floor, meaning that floor 12 would be followed by floor 14.
  • Turns Red: The Spider Witch will periodically disappear during her boss battle, appearing somewhere else in her lair and feeding upon one of her webbed-up victims. Not only does she regenerate some of her health from this, but if you don't manage to track her down and blast her soon enough, she literally starts glowing red and her attacks are temporarily supercharged.
  • Uncertain Doom: Russell, the guard at the Gozer Exhibit at the beginning. Illysa pushes past him and then he turns as something (the Chairman?) rushes at him in a P.O.V. shot, and as he screams we cut to black. But Russell's exact fate is never mentioned.
    • Unexplained Recovery: Despite this, he's one of the guards Peck orders to kick the Ghostbusters out of the museum later.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: If this quote is any indication:
    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!!
  • Updated Re Release: The 2019 remaster has marginally improved graphics (mostly due to better contrast and less post-processing blur), and also can be played at up to 120 fps, compared to the original game's 60 fps lock.
  • 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. Most of the ghosts probably deserve it, but still.
  • 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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Dana Barrett 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.
  • Where's the Fun in That?:
    Winston Zeddemore: Just once, I wouldn't mind running with these other fools away from the trouble.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Where's the fun in that?
  • Yandere: The Cursed Artefact, Featherwell's Stalking Chair, to the point that it both killed its owner and the ventriloquist dummy it was jealous of.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Actually Double Subverted. The Ghostbusters shut down Shandor's mandala, forcing Shandor to resort to a backup plan by releasing all the ghosts from Containment.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good!: Ray feels this way about Shandor, who developed tech on par with the Ghostbusters decades ahead of them, but used it for destructive purposes.
    Ray: You can't deny the pure genius of Shandor. It's a pity that it was all used for evil. If he'd just channelled some of it for good... the things he could've done.