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The NL issue 886 - Ghostbusters, Timeshift, FEAR and more...

Author: Geoff Larsen
Friday, 23 November 2007
With all the game development houses getting ready to shut up shop a lot of news is coming out about what we can expect in the Year Of Our Nerd 2008. History has shown that, for some reason, the really huge releases tend to congregate on odd numbered years while the more rewarding and enjoyable underdog titles get released on even numbered years. With Super Smash Bros Brawl, MGS4 and the new Devil May Cry game just around the corner, 2008 looks like it is going to break this mold. Bring it on I say, this year is getting old.


If you’ve spent much time in the video game world you’ve likely learnt at least one thing: licensed games suck. Just as good video games become bad movies, good movies become bad games. The reason for this is usually that the game developers are usually under a tight schedule and are forced by Nazi movie executives to include every action scene from the movie which leads to unfinished and unpolished games.

So why should the newly announced Ghostbusters game be any different- Well, instead of a direct conversion of the original movies, the game is set to be a direct sequel and will follow the Ghostbusters on a new adventure. The game is being developed by Terminal Reality, makers of the mediocre Bloodrayne series – who are reportedly huge Ghostbusters fans – and this effort promises to be their biggest effort yet. With a script written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and a promise to be fully voiced by the main cast, with Bill Murray rejoining the writers to complete the trio (no word whether Rick Moranis will be returning), Ghostbusters is the best chance a movie series has of becoming a decent game. Only a year away from release, it should only be a short time before busting will make you feel good.

As long as it is better than the Amiga game which is notorious for being one of the worst games in history.


This year has seen a huge amount of first person shooters released on the market, on top of that the majority of them have been released in the last month. Unfortunately some of the blockbuster releases have overshadowed underdogs like Timeshift that, while not as flashy, still provide excellent gameplay and excellent value for money.
While games have used the concept of time manipulation before, Timeshift uses time distortion as a primary gameplay mechanic. The singleplayer portion of the game can stand up there with the best of them but what really has the gaming world talking is the revolutionary multiplayer mode. Expanding on an idea originally conceived in the PS2’s Project EDEN, Timeshift introduces ‘Chrono Grenades’ into deathmatches that allow players to create small pockets of space that slow down time with the grenade’s blast radius. The introduction of these chrono grenades allows the player to lob a grenade, unload several clips into an opposing player and be on the other side of the map before your enemy is able to react.

Time travel enthusiasts can get a taste of the game by downloading the demo form the Xbox Live Marketplace or for the PC at


2005 saw the release of the cheesily titled F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) on Windows PC and later on the Xbox 360. Incorporating some of the best enemy AI, excellent physics effects and cleverly designed scare tactics F.E.A.R. became a fan favourite and one of my most loved first person shooters.

Soon after its release, Timegate Studios, taking over original developers Monolith, released Extraction Point a PC-only expansion pack. Earlier this year an additional expansion pack was announced called Perseus Mandate. For a while it seemed that Xbox 360 owners were going to miss out on these additional chapters – however Vivendi have decided to port them to the console in a standalone pack entitled F.E.A.R. Files.

On top of the two expansion packs, which together add up to more game time than the original release, F.E.A.R. Files also includes eight new instant action and multiplayer maps as well as several new weapons.

Timegate Studios game design is unique and feels a little different to Monolith’s masterpiece but the game still serves to quench your bloodlust while awaiting Monolith’s upcoming spiritual sequel Project: Origin.


When the Wii was first released one of the main selling points besides the motion controller was that the console was designed to be something that the entire family can play. Electronic Arts’ newest release, Smarty Pants, is aimed at everyone from eight to 80 years old (anyone older than that will probably think that the Wii is some kind of demonic witchery) and allows family members to compete against each other to find out who has the smartest pants. The game topics cover everything from sport to history and allow players to compete in several different game modes involving unique uses of the Wii control system. Geniuses are made evident, intellectuals shine and posers and imposters steadily sink in EA’s new twist on traditional gameplay.


Aching for a fright before Christmas- If you’ve got a PSP you’ll be able to get one just in time. Konami is about to release Silent Hill: 0rigin for Sony’s handheld. While not developed by the original Silent Hill team, the game has been created by the staff who will be creating the eagerly anticipated Silent Hill V. Fans have expressed a bit of worry concerning the change in staff, however after having a great deal of hands-on time with the handheld title I can safely say that this is Silent Hill at its best.

As the title suggests the game is set before the original title in the series and shows how the quiet resort town came to be the surreal hellish netherworld that it became in the later games. The game sucks you into the atmosphere, a feat particularly impressive for a handheld game, and unleashes an amazingly polished experience equivalent to the console counterparts.

Due to be released within the next few weeks, Silent Hill: 0rigins will be sure to keep you awake long enough to see mummy kissing Santa Claus.