New Ghostbusters II (NES) Review

By Athanasios 10.01.2020

Review for New Ghostbusters II  on NES

1990 saw the release of Ghostbusters II on the NES by Activision, but only for the USA, and, later on, the UK, as another 'Ghostbusters II' would see the light of day, again on the NES. Created by HAL Laboratory, and because of licensing issues with Activision, New Ghostbusters II was available exclusively for Europe and Japan. Which of the two was better, you ask? Well, as it's known to fans, the franchise hasn't been so lucky with video games, so, yes, none of these were actually big hits. That being said, this may probably be the best amongst the two. Read on, for a retrospective look at a solid action game, where you are called to zap and bust some ghosts.

Whereas most movie licensed videogames of the NES era didn't really mind adding completely irrelevant and unnecessary elements, New Ghostbusters II is one of those rare instances where most of what can be seen in here was actually taken from the source material. This takes its cue from the second Ghostbusters movie, with the few available levels (and monsters) actually being influenced from the film's "core" scenes, with a courthouse, a series of apartments, a sewer system, a museum, and so on. The music follows suit, with some tunes being 8-bit remixes of the originals, with the rest being brand new themes that fit like a glove with the atmosphere of each stage. Generally, presentation-wise, this is surprisingly well made, and not just for a movie licensed game.

Screenshot for New Ghostbusters II  on NES

This is a HAL Labs creation, and it sure feels like it, from the polish seen in the colourful, appropriately cartoony sprites, and nice looking areas, to the soundtrack and effects on offer, which sound as if they run on the same engine as Kirby's Adventure, the developer's NES masterpiece (change this reviewer's mind). Then again, audio-visuals are fine and all, but what about the action? What about the actual ghost-busting?

This has you picking one amongst the five Ghostbusters (shut up! Louis Tully counts as well), which will then ghost-trap their way towards the big bad of the show. You control the first, who zaps enemies in order to stun them, with the second character following you around, imprisoning zapped foes in his trap. In essence you control both, but you only have to press B to capture, as movement is handled by the AI (which can occasionally go bonkers), which is probably why a 2-player mode isn't an option.

Screenshot for New Ghostbusters II  on NES

This zap 'n' trap mechanic is very interesting, and could potentially lead to some really challenging confrontations, as the one who "beams" an enemy has to keep on moving so that he won't be hit by any projectiles - but sadly, this game rarely tries to beat you. In other words, apart from a few enemies, plus some bosses, most of the critters here just run around, waiting to be zapped. Yes, you die in one hit, but, apart from a few tricky spots, or some moments of carelessness, few will need more than one try or two to reach the end. Oh, and by the way, said end will come pretty soon, as this is a mission that needs less than an hour to do so. Is it fun? Despite a simplicity that's surprising even for the 8-bit era, it actually is... but that doesn't say much, to be perfectly honest.

Screenshot for New Ghostbusters II  on NES

Enjoyable or not, it's a bit of an unbalanced experience. The first stage can be beaten lighting fast. That's great, as there aren't many things to do. The second stage is equally small, but with new set of challenges. Yes, it's repetitive and all, and these new challenges aren't that different, but hey, it will all be over soon. Then comes the third stage, which New Ghostbusters II probably thinks it's the best thing ever, as it feels like it is larger than the whole journey. The few subsequent levels are, thankfully, smaller, but the third one's aftertaste won't subside any time soon.

Long story short, this is very simple, and as such, highly repetitive. Its short length, and lack of any additional content or interesting gameplay mechanics, makes this a good rental, and nothing more than that. This is one of those NES titles that you would play once, and then never again. It's fine and all, but unless you are wearing your nostalgia lenses, are a big Ghostbusters fan, or simply need to complete your NES collection, there's little reason to try this out.

Screenshot for New Ghostbusters II  on NES

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


Believe it or not, good Ghostbusters games from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras do exist, and HAL Lab's New Ghostbusters II is one of them... but that doesn't make it a must-have. Nice too look at, with a neat OST, and, generally, a respect towards its source material (something rare with licensed titles back then), plus its easy-to-grasp, fun gameplay, this is far from a bad experience, but maybe it's a bit too simple, repetitive, and too darn short for the fun to last for more than an hour. Better stick to Luigi's Mansion.


HAL Laboratory


HAL LAboratory





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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