Gameplay is a ghosttown
Platform Presentation Controls Variety Audio Depth Value & FunOVERALL
Wii 6.00 9.00 5.00 7.00 4.00 2.005.05
General Information
Multiplayer Importance: Low.

Television set-up: 19" Sylvania CRT, SDTV 480i, composite cables.
Gameplay Description
Ghost Squad is a port of the arcade light-gun shooter of the same name.  The basic nature of the game is to use the pointer functionality of the Wiimote to shoot enemies as you are guided through the level.
Dedication Meter 1.00
A lightgun shooter is about as intuitive as it gets.
Presentation 6.00
Ghost Squad was originally released in arcades in 2004, and the visuals have not been updated.  The game's presentation, aside from direct technical visual flare is rather simplistic in nature.  Little use of the guided nature of the game is made, and in fact is neglected in areas where enemies spawn where you had just immediately seen clearly that there were none.  Fortunately, though, there's nothing in the game that interferes with the gameplay, so you can get by without being bothered by any particular issues.
Controls 9.00
A light-gun shooter on the Wii is a straight-forward exercise, and in Ghost Squad's case it has been done right.  You have the option of using simply the Wiimote on its own, which works well enough.  The menu navigation, though, is a bit obtuse as you select menu options using the B trigger, which is typically the "Back" button making navigation less-than-intuitive.  You additionally have the option of Wii zapper support or to use a Wii+nunchuck combination.  Targeting is quick and snappy with no apparent delay, which is critical; you'll be picking off enemies with perfect accuracy.
Variety 5.00
The game offers up plenty of armaments to unlock for use in the game (a total of 25) with varying power, accuracy etc.  Similarly, you have different uniforms for you and your team to wear, which is helpful as the default outfits can be a little difficult to discern from the enemy in areas.

In terms of the gameplay, it tries to keep things varied.  While you do have plenty of straight-forward blasting of baddies, you'll also find yourself in areas where you have to do some quick sniping, or close combat quick-time events, among other variants.  Ultimately the distractions, with the exception of the sniping, are underinspired.  The boss battles, though, do take on a different form, and are both fortunately and unfortunately not simply high powered shootouts.  On the good side, it keeps things from being stale or dated; on the bad side, what's in place is poorly implemented, being either simplistic to the point of being dull, or just frustrating.

There are some alternate paths throughout the levels, where you have the option of entering one room or another, though it doesn't really change much.  Some paths you have to unlock before you're even given the option, and in other cases the choice is completely pointless as every option is identical.

None of this really matters, though, as there are only three levels in the game.  And no, they aren't two hours each, but closer to ten minutes.  The distractions and unlockables are menial and simply are irrelevent with such a short length.
Audio 7.00
Heavy on the cheese, whether intended or not, the audio works well enough for the game, though some may find the script intolerable.  Give the voice actors a break, though, as there are only so many serious ways you can respond to the president thanking you for saving his life.
Depth 4.00
While being a lightgun shooter, that doesn't mean the developer is locked into a simplistic game, but that's what Ghost Squad is.  The variations in the game, such as the hand-to-hand combat are bland filler, and while the most fun is to be had with the gunplay as usual, there's nothing else than blasting whatever's on screen.  There's no incentive for good aim, no extras to target.  Nothing.
Value & Fun 2.00
Add on difficulty levels, add lots of other guns, throw in some wacking panda costumes.  It doesn't matter when your game us half an hour long.  The first level is a nice introduction to the game, but without standing out.  The second level is well done and enjoyable, and the third is longer and a bit drawn out.  And that's it, that's all there is.  When you beat the three stages, you "level-up" unlocking the higher difficulty which makes some adjustments in enemy responsiveness, numbers and spawn points, but you do have to play all three levels for anything to save.  You'll unlock one or two guns per completion, meaning you have to beat the game around fifteen times to unlock everything.

Meanwhile, it's not simply the length that's the issue.  The game is arbitrary in terms of success and failure.  When you simply die from losing all your health, all you have to do is press [+] and you continue as if nothing happened.  However, sometimes you fail for other reasons.  If you lose a knife fight, you are just skipped past that part and continue on with the level.  The third level ends with a timer, and if you don't meet that time limit, the mission ends in failure and you have to start over to beat it -- ALL the way over, that is if you beat the first and second stage first, you'll have to finish those again, too.  Given you can play in any order, though, you can at least avoid this by playing stage three first.

The first time through was enough, and certainly am not incentivised to finish it sixteen more times.

There's an additional mode call "Party Mode" which is basically just the option of playing with four players instead of the standard "Arcade" mode which limits you to two.
Overall 5.05
Ghost Squad is a competent light-gun shooter for the little that is there.  There is so little, however, there's little reason to bother.
Posted by Yodariquo Sat, 24 Oct 2009 06:23:21
 
Sun, 25 Oct 2009 02:48:53
Not that there was a chance I'd ever buy this, but I'm intested if you played the original, and what influenced you in getting this (and if you had played the original how true was the port)?
 
Sun, 25 Oct 2009 07:11:32
As I mentioned in the podcast, though jokingly, it really was simply that I got it in a 2 for 1 sale marked at 9.99 (that and I knew its scores were 7.0-8.0 and I was expecting something silly and over-the-top).

If I had played the original (may or may not have), I don't remember it at all to say.  I would expect it's very faithful because it wasn't as if they cheaped out on the game.  Overall it does seem like a solid effort, just the game itself never had enough content.
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