Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime, the new video game available by download on March 23, doesn’t feature Bill Murray’s Dr. Peter Venkman, but it does have plenty of allusions to the original trio of ectoplasmic warriors even as it introduces a new crop of rookie proton-pack slingers to the world. With more than a passing resemblance to games like Smash TV and Geometry Wars, Slime expands on the Ghostbusters saga, taking some inspiration along the way from the line of comic books published by San Diego’s IDW.
“We tried to keep the story pretty tight and concise,” explains Atari producer Jonathan Moses. “Both through the chatter of the game and through the comic books and the beginning of each level, you hear more about each of the characters and what’s going on in the world.”
The game’s story centers on the appearance of a destroyer called Dumaza (remember Gozer?), who faces off against the new batch of ghostbusters: the practical and hardworking team leader Alan Crendall; the optimistic scientist Samuel Hazer; the wisecracking Bridget Gibbons; and the group’s technical savant, Gabriel Sutter. To bolster the game’s relationship to Ivan Reitman‘s classic comedies, the creators made sure to play up the connection between Alan and Janosz Poha, the baby-napping bad guy played by Peter MacNicol in “Ghostbusters II,” who figures prominently in Sanctum of Slime.
“The developer came up with the first big idea on the story, and then [Tom Waltz] from IDW Comics helped give the characters voice and personality,” Moses said. “At the very beginning of the game there’s a scene with the classic Ghostbusters and the different characters like Janosz Poha, and we wanted them to be authentic. He helped us give them that authenticity.”
Waltz’s previous credits including the game-related graphic novels “Silent Hill: Sinner’s Reward” and “Silent Hill: Past Life.”
Unlike the ultra-realistic calculating action of hits like Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, Sanctum of Slime recalls the spastic, Robotron-like gameplay of yesteryear’s arcade hits. Moses understood that was part of the template the developers were following.
“Yeah. Smash TV, Geometry Wars and Castle Crashers. They had that really fast, frenetic pacing that we wanted. And Castle Crashers spoke to wanting to have something that’d be really fun in co-op mode where anyone could jump in and play and not really have a lot of experience leading up to it.”
Although “Sanctum of Slime” might have its roots in those early games, the fact that it is available as a download-only experience (available to PC, X-Box and PS3 online players) makes it very much a part of the future of gaming — when buying physical discs will likely become obsolete.
Here’s a quick look at some of the places that can be explored in the game.
— Jevon Phillips
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