The Real Ghostbusters (Game Boy)

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North American box art.

The Real Ghostbusters is a platformer puzzle video game developed by Kotobuki System for the Game Boy. It was published in Japan by Kemco on 1993-04-23 as a Mickey Mouse game, in the USA by Activision in October, 1993 as a Ghostbusters game, and in Europe by Kemco in 1993 as a Garfield game. In actuality, the game was an unauthorized clone of the Amiga game, P. P. Hammer and His Pneumatic Weapon. Kotobuki stole not only the game's premise and mechanics, but even the bulk of the level design. Kotobuki System seems to have avoided a lawsuit because both the developer and publisher of the original game had gone out of business before Kotobuki's game was released. The US game was originally skinned as a Kid Klown game, but it looks like Activision secured the rights for The Real Ghostbusters in time to switch before publication. They also added an additional 10 levels before the final boss.

Game play is separated in a series of levels which take place in underground caverns. In each level, the player must collect a set amount of treasures. They do this by breaking through the floor using a jackhammer, finding keys to unlock doors, and avoiding monsters and hazards.

Personal

I originally found this game while looking through Kemco's 8-bit back catalogue. Having already been mildly entertained with The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, this game seemed like it would be a good distraction as well. I chose to play the Garfield rendition because I prefer him over the other two brands. I beat the game on 2020-02-05.

Status

I don't own this game, but I've beaten it.

Review

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4 4 3 3 4

Best Version: Game Boy

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • Some of the levels are pretty cleverly designed. Although, that is the work of the original designers, Traveling Bits Production, not Kotobuki.

Bad

  • Both the graphics and music are bland. The pixel art for the three franchises aren't that great.
  • I don't care for the fact that you lose forward momentum after you reach the arc of your jump. I understand that this is for level design, but that play control doesn't work in platformers.
  • A lot of the maps have invisible spike traps that hit without any warning. Likewise, there are also various maps which contain blind falls into fire or water that can't be predicted. If the designers allowed you to look down, they could have prevented this. You're almost always given enough health to not have to worry about dying from these hazards, but it's still poor level design.
  • Since you're given a password after each level, and starting a new game resets your lives, and you have infinite continues, lives are meaningless. The game doesn't even bother to show you how many you have left, so the 1-ups don't really help.
  • The clock power-up should apply the moment you acquire it, rather than require you to use it. Likewise, keys should just be activated the moment you read a locked door.
  • In the European port, Odie talks, however, Odie doesn't talk in the Garfield universe.

Ugly

  • The game exhausts itself very quickly. You'll see everything the game has to offer before the 10th stage, so the next 30 (or 40 if you're playing the American version) are just going through the motions.
  • Later levels are increased in their difficulty, not through clever level design, but by decreasing your time limit, hiding stars behind random blocks, and making you have to dig deep holes that will fill in on you if you make any mistakes. These level designs do not make the game more fun, just more tedious.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Fan Art

Videos

Longplay - Japan.
Longplay - USA.
Longplay - Europe.

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English (Europe) Garfield Labyrinth
English (USA) The Real Ghostbusters
Japanese ミッキーマウスIV 魔法のラビリンス Mikki Mausu Fo: Maho no Rabirinsu Mickey Mouse IV: Magic Labyrinth

Links

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