The fact that Ghost Squad is a port of an old game is immediately obvious. Take a look at the visuals and try not to recoil in horror too much. Yes, it looks like a poor quality Playstation 2 game. The mouths of characters do not come anywhere close to accurately syncing with the audio. One of the characters you have to rescue looks like a mix between Hans Scorpio and some sort of wolf man. There should be no way they could be qualified as acceptable in this day and age, yet we find ourselves looking past them. Why? Because Ghost Squad is just so damn fun.
As a member of the elite Ghost Squad, your mission is to run around and dispatch terror threats in sensitive situations without leaving a trace - the latter part of which is surely failed, judging by the amount of smashed objects/bullet holes/corpses you leave in your wake at every turn. You customise your character and then plough your way through three shortish levels that will last you somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes in total. 'Huh,' you might say at the length, and at first glance we wouldn't blame you. However, Ghost Squad's aim is not to give you a long play through - it is designed for multiple completions, with player-selectable branching paths all over the place through the stages. Each of your games will be slightly or completely different in parts, unless you're boring and pick the same choices every single time. The replayability and value for money in Ghost Squad is not in perfecting one long single run; it is in discovering every element of it and uncovering every route. It's an arcade game through and through, short enough to hold your attention but with enough depth to keep you tipping in the pounds. Though on Wii, you don't have to dispense any shiny gold discs into a machine and practically have an unlocked arcade machine in your living room. Unlimited credits!
As you might expect, the Wii's pointer works extremely well with the game, so much so that Ghost Squad almost feels like it was made for the system. Using the B trigger to fire your weapon and a quick flick to reload, you also have to hammer on the A button to perform actions such as rescuing hostages, diffusing bombs and taking part in hand-to-hand combat, which help to keep the levels fresh. As predicted in the comments of our Link's Crossbow Training review, the Zapper also comes into its own with Ghost Squad, with the Z button on the nunchuk taking the place of the A button as the action button. Don't get us wrong - we still find the thing bloody uncomfortable after far too short-a-time, but there is certainly something positive to be said for playing a game where you're wielding a variety of big guns with a gun shell rather than just a standard controller. In this configuration it is pretty much the same setup in terms of button layout as the arcade original, too. That's one game that the Zapper works with, then. You'll be picking off multiple enemies in a blink of an eye in no time thanks to the controller's accuracy, and what's actually quite scary in an extremely impressive sort of way is how easy and intuitive it is to aim without the reticule on at all. If you switch it off, effectively leaving you blind, you can be pointing where you think you should be pointing and getting it right nine times out of ten, which leads us to believe that the pointer is even better than we've thought for the past year or so.
You get more points for playing the game without the reticule, and that's certainly beneficial with the amount of things there are to unlock. Your character levels up with experience points gained during play for good shots (head shots, for example) or quick shots (blasting out an enemy's brains before they've even worked out where you are like some kind of merciless action hero), and as you rise through the 100 levels you gain army ranks and various unlockables such as new weapons, new costumes, etc.. There are a lot of unlockables to keep you coming back, and there are even some random game modes wherein all the bad guys get replaced by women in bikinis and guns by water pistols and things. Bizarre but fun. You'll also be wanting the highest scores possible for when you upload your high scores to the Wifi leader boards. Sadly, that's the only Wifi functionality, but the online competition element helps it to retain the arcadey competitive spirit.
Another thing to mention - Ghost Squad is without a doubt one of the cheesiest games in years. As well as the aforementioned random game modes, it's full of some of the most pure so-bad-it's-good dialogue about delivered in either monotone or extremely hammed up fashion. Half of the enemies look like they've just sprung out of a Village People video, complete with oversized shades and vests, and they burst into scenes in the most ridiculous fashions - sliding in under tables, leaping at you from table tops, and so on. Your characters, whether you're playing in single player or co-op, will celebrate with an extensive handshake. The president high fives you when you rescue him from a terrorist who plans to blow up Air Force One. It's fantastically insane, seemingly being played simultaneously seriously and for laughs.
Ghost Squad is a great example of a title that is perfect for Wii; despite being a port that really could have done with at least some visual sprucing up, it's a well thought-out one that takes advantage of the system's controls as though it was created for it originally in the first place. You're not meant to play it solidly for days on end, you're meant to dip in and out of it and run through it every few days. Play it any other way and you could easily get sick of it sooner rather than later. Play it as intended and you'll love it.