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Ghostbusters - NES - Angry Video Game Nerd - Episode 21

Ghostbusters! It was one of the most successful comedies of the '80s, and one of the most popular franchises I remember as a kid. There was a sequel, a cartoon series that ran for seven seasons, a huge amount of merchandise, and a line of action figures.

(The next part has the Nerd playing with his Ghostbusters toys) You got the firehouse, which was awesome, you got the Ecto-1, you got Slimer, the Marshmallow Man. Yeah, he's a little dirty, ya know; the dog shoved 'im up his ass. You had all the Ghostbusters, then they came out with versions that made facial expressions. Then there's this car that turns into some praying mantis or somethin'. Then you had all these weird ones that I don't even remember from the show. This one, I don't think- (realizes that the figure is Belle from Beauty and the Beast) oh wait - that's not mine, get that the fuck outta here! (throws Belle)

(The Nerd walks away from the camera and turns around to show his plastic proton pack) And every kid on the block needed a proton pack, and even though it's plastic, in our minds, it's an unlicensed nuclear accelerator. (WHIZZ!) Then you've got the ghost trap, which doesn't work anymore 'cause it's a piece of shit. Then you got the PKE meter which always reads ".03" and always shows a ghost.

So, I just wanted to take ya back to the '80s, when Ghostbusters and Nintendo were the best things in the world. Now, the Nintendo Entertainment System I believe needs no introduction. So, when we heard that a Ghostbusters game for Nintendo was comin' out, we were so excited, we shit our pants! (shows a drawing from Mike Matei of James and Mike as kids saying "GHOSTBUSTERS!") Literally, shit came out our asses and we rocketed through the roof! (a drawing from Mike Matei of James and Mike literally breaking through the roof of a house by shitting their pants) It was two of our favorite things comin' together, should've been like bread and butter. But more like dead skunk and dog shit!

(He inserts the cartridge into the NES.)

You pop this piece of crap in, expecting Ghostbusters, and whaddya get? Well, Ghostbusters. Got the logo there. Looks promising enough. But, are you willing to bet that it's gonna get really bad once you start playin'? Yeah, well - guess what? It gets bad as soon as you press the Start button. (The Nerd presses the Start button)

(an extremely low-bit GHOSTBUSTERS! sound can be heard on the TV) The fuck was that?! (the low-bit GHOSTBUSTERS! can be heard again, then the Nerd mocks it) "Gowsht Bushtersh!" (the low-bit GHOSTBUSTERS! can be heard yet again) Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not tryin' to criticize the game for its lack of voice clarity, but ya hear how bad this sounds? Let this set the tone for the rest of the game.

(Game starts) So here's the main screen. This is it. This is Ghostbusters on Nintendo. This is my wasted childhood you're lookin' at. I don't even need to comment. Just look at it! It's shits for the birds! (he appears in the bottom-right corner of screen) Okay, we gotta come up with a game about Ghostbusters, what can we do? How 'bout just have the Ghostbusters logo floatin' around playin' tag with cute little yellow ghosts? So if ya like Ghostbusters, it's right up your alley. More like up your ASS! (disappears from bottom-right corner)

Now for music, you got the Ghostbusters theme song, which sounds like a decent 8-bit rendition, but there's one problem: it's the only song in the WHOLE game, and it never, EVER stops. It starts playing from the first screen, all the way to the end of the game. It drones over you, makes your brain go numb, and then when it gets to the end of the song, it pauses for a second, then it loops again! So ya better get used to it. But, let me tell you, that one second when the music stops, it feels so satisfying to hear dead silence, even for just one brief moment, to put your mind at peace.

So, seriously, what am I doin'? Why am I just a Ghostbusters logo floatin' around, playin' tag with ghosts? Well, from what I understand, the more ghosts that go into the Zuul building in the center, the more the PKE energy goes up, I guess. (shows the ghosts going into the Zuul building sped up, the PKE meter going up) And what happens when it goes up all the way? (The Marshmallow Man appears and destroys a building) I dunno, so - the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man appears or some shit like that, but, I'm not here to try and figure out how the game works. I'm here to retell my experience as a gamer.

Now, what am I tryin' to do? (a white box appears) What is this white box that keeps appearin' when I press the B button? Well, I'll explain later. So, here's what you're supposed to do: you need to find which buildings have ghosts in them. And they vary at any point in the game, so you need to go around the city, and when you touch certain buildings, they blink red, and that means that there's a ghost in there. You try to enter, and whoops, you can't do that yet, you need to BUY your proton pack and ghost traps. The Ghostbusters don't have their own equipment, so they have to go BUY it from a store.

(Enters the store) So this is it, this is the Ghostbusting store. When and where would there ever exist a store that sells equipment for catchin' ghosts? And if the Ghostbusters aren't inventing their own gadgets, then who the hell is? Anyway, buy your shit, then get out. Now we can see that that weird white box shows you what equipment ya have. And you can hold four items at a time. Go find a blinking red building and then go in.

(a street is shown with the Ecto-1 driving down a road) Now you're in the Ecto-1, drivin' down the road, and why you still have to drive to the building is beyond me. On the map screen, it looks like you're right there, and when you move all around, you don't have to drive. Only when you're already at the building do you need to drive there. Well, every other car in the city is out to hit ya. They move back and forth, nobody stays in their lane, so it seems like the city actually has a bigger problem with drunk drivers than it does with ghosts. Oh, and guess what? When the cars hit you, who has to pay for the damage? You do. That's right, every car that hits ya takes a few hundred dollars away; it's bullshit.

So ya get to the building to capture the ghosts. Drop the trap, catch the ghosts with your beam, bring 'em to the trap, open the trap and time it so the ghosts get dragged in by that... that white thing that goes up and down. So keep goin' around finding buildings to go in, avoid drunken drivers and catch more ghosts. When you catch ghosts, you get money, and you're gonna need it to buy other stupid shit later. Now there's a time limit, so when you're catchin' these ghosts, your goal is to catch as many of them as ya can. Most of the time, you'll probably be able to get all four of 'em, but sometimes, they go somewhere you can't reach without buyin' a longer beam. But GOOD LUCK CATCHING ENOUGH OF 'EM SO YOU CAN AFFORD A LONGER BEAM! Sometimes they go too low, and you can't reach 'em there either. Now, whatever you do, DON'T cross the streams. This is an important safety tip thanks to Egon from the movie. It would cause a total protonic reversal; try to imagine all life as you know stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. (crosses the streams, the Ghostbusters turn into pixels and a funny 8-bit noise is heard) Now THAT'S epic.

Now every time you catch a ghost, you can't re-use the same trap, so if you try to enter a building, you might get a message that says, "You need an empty ghost trap." So you need to go to the Ghostbuster Headquarters to empty the traps. When ya get there, you may be baffled to see that the size of the car is the same size as the building. So as you're constantly runnin' around, emptyin' your traps, you'll keep runnin' outta gas! That's right, you can run outta gas in the game. How do ya get gas? You need to go to the gas station. What happens if you run outta gas? Two little fuckballs get out to push the car. (runs out of gas, two Ghostbusters come out of car and push it) Do you really have to go the gas station, at all? No, you can also slam in the gas tanks on the highway. So fuck the gas station. I wish it was that easy in real life. Need gas? Just run over the gas containers. (drives car over gas container)

So, because needing to get gas, needing to empty your ghost traps and needing to buy stupid shit, are all such a big part of the game, it would be wise from the beginning to buy a "Super Trap" as one of your first items. This trap you don't need to empty, so the regular trap is just a piece of crap! Another thing you might wanna buy is the "Ghost Vacuum". It's a vacuum that goes on the top of your car to suck ghosts in, which is a good idea to get a little extra money, so you can hopefully make up for some damage that the drunk drivers cause.

A ghost vacuum. Does there exist any store that sells... a ghost vacuum? Let's find out. (The Nerd turns on his cellphone and punches in a phone number)

The Nerd: "Hi, do you sell vacuums?"

Manager: "Uh, yes."

The Nerd: "Um, yeah, uh, I'm lookin' for a special kinda vacuum. It's like, shaped like a funnel, sort of."

Manager: "Hmm, what kind of vacuum?"

The Nerd: "It's like, shaped like a funnel, like you put it on the roof of your car."

Manager: "You want a vacuum to clean your car?"

The Nerd: "No, you put it on the top of your car... like while you're drivin'...?"

Manager: "T-to, t-- you want a vacuum to clean the inside of your car?"

The Nerd: "No, y'know, these vacuums are for catching ghosts...?" (The Nerd struggles to contain laughter)

Well, apparently these vacuums don't exist in real life, so, if you wanna suck up ghosts on the roof of your car, you're gonna have to do it in this game. Really hate these driving stages. Naturally, you wanna speed up to get 'em over with. But when you speed up, your car goes to the top of the screen and you can't see what's comin' at ya. Whether it be ghosts you're tryin' to catch, gas barrels or drunk drivers. (he hits a car) FUCK! Assholes! So you might be wondering, is this all you do in the game? Just go from building to building, catching ghosts and dodging cars? Well... yes. This is all you do. I am dead fuckin' serious.

The main idea is to go into the Zuul building, but you can't do that until the game says ya can. How it decides that, I don't have a fuckin' clue. Maybe it has somethin' to do with how many ghosts you catch, or when the PKE energy gets to a certain number, which would probably mean just letting the ghosts go in, so, I dunno. For whatever reason you're not allowed to go into the Zuul building right away. M-maybe there's like an invisible barrier... that takes like a fuckin' HOUR to go away! Also, why is it called the Zuul building? If it's meant to be named after the main villain in the movie, it should be Gozer. (shows movie clips from the movie) Gozer had two minions - the Key Master, also known as Vinz Clortho, and the Gate Keeper, also known as Zuul. So, why is the building in the game named after Zuul? Who knows...

So anyway, it takes forever to be allowed entry into this building, so, in the meantime, ya just keep catchin' ghosts. After doin' this for so long, you start to wonder: who pays you to catch the ghosts anyway? And why are the ghosts so generic, innocent and cute-lookin'? They don't do anything to you, so why are ya bustin' 'em? 'Cause bustin' makes ya feel good? Well, don't the ghosts have a right to death? Obviously, I'm thinkin' too deep about it, but that's what happens. That's what happens when you play such a boring-ass shitty game. Your mind gets delirious! I mean - right now, I feel like I'm goin' fuckin' crazy!

So finally you get a message that says, "ENTER ZUUL BUILDING", but it's at the very bottom of the screen, so you need to be paying attention. Seriously, half the time I don't really notice it, because I'm not lookin' down there. A little sound cue would've helped! Ya fuckers. Now you go into the building, and it's a breath of fresh air to see somethin' different, but unlike the rest of the ghosts in the game, these ones harm you. In order to move through the stage, you have to keep tapping the A button as fast as you can. W-Why couldn't you just use the Control Pad? Now you move so slow, the ghosts are impossible to dodge, and constantly goin' up the stairs doesn't help either, since you're basically defenseless. You can't get away when you're on the stairs. Now when the ghosts touch ya a few times, you fall, and when you fall three times, you're dead. Then the game's over, and if you wanna try again, you gotta start all over from the beginning.

Now, let me ask this: why can't the Ghostbusters use their proton beams here? Well, let me answer my own question: that would mean making the game resemble a decent side-scroller shooter, and the problem there, is that the game would actually be kinda good. And apparently, that wasn't what they were goin' for.

So, playin' through the game a second time, just for another shot at that damn stairway, it would be wise to invest in some items to help ya out. There's an "Anti-Ghost Suit" that supposedly gives ya maybe two extra hits from the ghosts. Then there's the ghost bait. What kind of food would ghosts eat? Then there's the "Sound Generator", which I think slows the ghosts down, but forget about it; it's too fuckin' expensive. So anyway, now you know why a lotta these items are so important. You need every bit of help you can get. But you'll never have enough money to buy everything in this game, especially when you keep getting hit by the drunks and- (runs out of gas) Fuck, I'm outta gas! Really sucks that ya need to keep re-fueling your car. It sucks even harder that the gas costs money too. More money than it does in real life! So you need to keep catching ghosts for money, you spend the money on the gas that you need to catch MORE ghosts, and it just keeps on going! It's an endless cycle!

Eventually, ya see the "ENTER ZUUL BUILDING" message again, but sometimes, you're not fuckin' ready because there's equipment that ya still need to buy in order to get up the stairs. The offer to enter is only good for a short period of time. So by the time you catch enough ghosts, make enough money, and buy the gear ya want, it's too late to enter the building! The only way to get that offer again is to go catch more ghosts and wait another hour, or however long it takes. The only sure way to be able to go in the first time is to trade your traps and ghost vacuum and whatever other equipment you don't need for the stairway stage. You can only hold four items at a time anyway, so ya absolutely NEED to trade something in. But, by the time you get the message, drive to the store, trade your shit in, buy the stuff you need and come back to the ZUUL building, you're too fuckin' late! So what do you gotta do now?! CATCH MORE FUCKIN' GHOSTS! So, go back to the fuckin' store again, trade your regular stuff back, and... FUCK! I HATE this fuckin' game! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!

Well... let's try to get through this stairway and hopefully see the end of the game. I think one of the problems is that my thumb gets tired pressin' the button. So the hell with this controller; we're going Turbo. (Gets out an NES MAX controller)

Alright, drop the damn food. (he drops the bait, and the ghosts slowly move towards the food) Get the fuckin' food. Get outta my way. Outta my way, ya bitches! (he goes up the stairs, but the ghosts follow him again) The ghost bait doesn't do shit. Even if you outrun the ghosts, they never leave the screen. Once you start climbin' the stairs, they scroll up with you, and as soon as the ghost bait's off screen, the ghosts start chasin' you again, so what's the point of dropping the ghost bait if you're not allowed to go up the stairs to get away? What am I just gonna do, just drop the bait and stand there? Why would I do that? Oh my God - now they're right in the way! How am I gonna get up there? Oh c'mon, c'mon, oop, I think I can just barely do it, uhh, aaaah, there we go. Oop, oh oh oooh, r-right in between two of 'em, how do you like that? Oh man, uh-oh, oh my God! Ohhhhh! (he loses again) Oh, fuck! FUCK!

(Shows an NES Game Genie) Oh, please, Game Genie, grant me three wishes! (attaches Game Genie to "Ghostbusters" cart, and inserts it into NES) That's right, we're gonna cheat, but there's only one cheat I care about: immunity to ghosts on the stairway. (enters Game Genie code OXOXKPVK)

Well - at least now I can't get killed by the ghosts, but that still means that it takes all day to get up the fuckin' stairs. It just keeps going. Even if you did it with the Control Pad, it would be tedious, but the fact that you're s'posed to tap the button the whole time and dodge ghosts? And I've counted: there's twenty-two floors! Do ya think THAT'S enough?! I mean - what the fuck were they fuckin' thinkin'?! This is the worst game I ever played in my life. It's worse than Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde... well, maybe not that bad... (he gets to the top of the ZUUL building, and the Ghostbusters run really fast.) An-and then they run?! (shows them moving slowly) They move like slugs the whole fuckin' time, but as soon as they get to the top, they run like they got propellers in their asses! (shows them running)

Well, here's the last screen of the game... and it looks like shit. The whole layout is designed like a grid with a flat grey floor; there's no background, it's just black, the little ghosts with their tongues stickin' out look like kindergarten Halloween decorations, and neither Gozer or the dogs move. Hey - I can even name the dogs: that's Vinz Clortho and Zuul. Zuul apparently bought the building that they're standing on.

Now, you know what's really shocking about this part? You're movin' around, dodging projectiles and shooting at things? Kinda like a game... Surprising, right? I mean - this is the closest moment that this piece of shit ever comes to POSSIBLY being decent. But you know what's REALLY annoying? Every time you ever go anywhere near the bottom of the screen, THIS happens. (Marshmallow Man climbs up the side of the building, climbing higher each time) Say hello to Mr. Stay Puft climbin' the building. I dunno what the point is, but every time when you accidentally go down there, Stay Puft's higher up the building. I can guess that when he reaches the top, that can't be good so, let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown.

C'mon, I'm gonna get ya. Oh, you're gonna get it. Come on, here we go... oh, there ya go! Yeeeeaah! Alright, c'mon take it, you fuckin' bitch! This chick is TOAST! (screen flashes) What the fuck...?

(The end screen is shown) (Zoom in on "CONGLATURATION !!!") What? (Zoom in on "PROOVED") Wh-wh-whaat? (Zoom in on "A GREAT GAME") (The Nerd starts to laugh)

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