Ghostbusters: Sanctum Of Slime
“Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.” That’s Dr. Egon Spengler, describing the effects of total protonic reversal – the result of crossing the streams of the Proton Packs.
Yet not so in Sanctum of Slime, it would seem. Playing the four-player twin-stick shooter will see the crackling electric beams slip and slide all over the place as you take out the numerous ectoplasmic foes constantly descending on your position. Everyone’s molecules stay perfectly intact, and life as we know it goes on as normal.
It’s not the only bit of Ghostbusters lore that’s been glossed over in this so-so shooter. Once again Atari seems adamant that you’re not going to play as Venkman, Spengler, Stantz or Zeddemore, following in the footsteps of 2009 boxed title Ghostbusters: The Videogame and putting you in the overalls of four new rookies.
Just why the company is so defiant to keep you away from the characters we all really want to play is a bewildering and unknowable concept. It wouldn’t feel so frustrating if the game that surrounds the four rookie characters was exceptionally enjoyable, but it isn’t.
Sanctum Of Slime is a very basic top down arcade blast-em-up with a lick of Ghostbusters paint applied over the top. Playing online or offline with other players, or with the AI in single player, you’ll traverse a number of New York environments evocative of the films – fancy hotels, ooze-filled sewers and so on – moving from room to room busting as many ghosts as possible as a team, but competing for the high score as an individual.
An element of strategy is introduced in the different weapons each player carries. There’s the standard thick stream of red energy emitted by the Proton Beam, but you also have a Fermino Shock – a slower weapon that releases a web of yellow electricity – and the Plasma Inductor, which fires balls of blue energy that bounce off the first surface they touch.
You need to shoot enemies with the corresponding weapon to ensure that you’re dealing the maximum amount of damage, and this is about as tactically ‘deep’ as Sanctum Of Slime gets. It can be quite fun in four-player co-op; one player can focus on the red enemies while other players focus on blue or yellow foes, but it’s not exactly Left 4 Dead.
The single-player is a less attractive proposition given that the AI is fairly suicidal. It’s only game over when all four of you are dead, but the AI will wander into danger too willingly. You can be revived by a surviving team member when knocked down, but again, the AI will rush in to do so even if it means a certain death. It doesn’t break the game, but Sanctum Of Slime becomes far too infuriating when playing alone. Getting others involved is a must.
Still, that’s not to say that doing so will vastly improve the experience. It does not. Sanctum of Slime still feels like a lazy cash-in, Atari struggling to find something to do with the Ghostbusters license and make a quick buck out of our nostalgia.