I ain’t afraid of no ghost, which is why I’ve donned my Proton Pack and put on beige overalls to tackle the best Ghostbusters games of all time!
Who could have guessed that a 1984 film would have sparked a global phenomenon that is still prevalent today. The song by Ray Parker Jr. that makes up the iconic theme tune is a song that I would argue that everyone has heard at least once, and the logo has appeared on everything from t-shirts to lunchboxes over the years.
I’m not sure I fancy a Slimer sandwich, however…
But what about games? Which titles featuring the Ghostbusting-foursome (or lack of as you’ll soon find out) are the best in the business. Which are frighteningly good, and which should be thrown into Moaning Myrtle’s toilet for her to haunt forevermore?
Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
1. Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered (2019)
Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered takes the top spot as the best Ghostbusters game of all time!
I know that some of you might have been expecting the 2009 original to top this list, but in an ever changing world where TVs are getting bigger and computers have more flops than a Havianas stall, fans are turning to remastered versions in order to enjoy their favourite games in a whole new light.
And here’s the best bit, one of the main reasons why this game has topped our list – the characters don’t just look like the original Ghostbusters, but they actors gave their voices to the characters too!
See, there’s Bill Murray leading the charge with Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, joining the player to take down big ghosties and horrible ghoulies around the city.
Speaking of which, the story is completely new too, another factor that we love about this game. Akroyd and Ramis worked on creating a brand new adventure for Ghostbusters fans to dive into, and the ghost hunting and weapons will make any player feel like a huge kid again in an instant.
Listen; if you were impressed by Luigi’s Mansion, then you’ll lose your mind while playing this ghost trapping extravaganza, especially when coming up against the bosses!
2. Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed (2022)
What could be better than tackling ghosts as the Ghostbusters? How about an FPS-style multiplayer game where players create their own Ghostbusters and wield proton packs to close rifts?
Yeah, that could do it!
Play with up to 5 people as you immerse yourself in probably the most in-depth Ghostbusters experience we’ve ever had (without going VR, and you’ll hear my thoughts on those titles below). The graphics on the PS5 are immense as well, making every job that you set out on anything but a chore.
Notice that I said ‘up to 5 people’ above – one of you can actually play as a spirit in this game too!
The Ghostbusters have to close rifts and take you down, while the ghost player has to haunt locations successfully and avoid capture.
Come on; who doesn’t love causing chaos in games, am I right?
Whether you value teamwork and planning an effective takedown with your friends either online or offline or just fancy playing Sabotage by the Beastie Boys while causing a ruckus, this game is a multiplayer marvel and one you definitely need in your collection!
3. New Ghostbusters II (1992)
We’re jumping back 30 years now as we head to the third title in our best Ghostbusters games list! New Ghostbusters is the Hal Laboratory Inc spectre-cle (that’s the only time I will use that joke, I promise) that released in Japan in 1990.
Us PAL gamers had a little longer to wait to get our grubby paws on it, and in 1992, gamers in the UK got to experience the action.
The game is definitely not as advanced as the first two titles in our list, but we are talking about a title that was released over 3 decades ago! Players need to clear a screen of ghosts before moving onto the next area.
If you’re reading this from the US and wondering why you don’t recognise the title, it’s because due to licensing issues, NTSC gamers only ever got Activision’s side-scrolling Ghost Busters II
And here’s a little fact that hardcore fans will love; this game and Ghostbusters II are the only titles in the series that allow players to actually control Ernie Hudson’s classic Character Winston Zeddemore, one of the coolest names in gaming until Brandon and I came into the scene with our Sicilian & Italian heritage!
I prefer New Ghostbusters II for the NES over the Game Boy version and Ghostbusters II because I just feel that it has more substance, more imaginative cutscenes, and more classic Nintendo goodness baked into it.
It feels like playing through Silph Co. in Pokemon but with tonnes more ghosts, which is never a bad combination!
4. Ghostbusters (1990)
There’s just something about Sega Genesis/Mega Drive game cases that makes me feel incredibly thankful to have grown up in the 90s.
I suppose that’s the reason behind our whole ethos of championing retro games – they make us feel nostalgic and remind us of a simpler time, a time where blowing dust out of carts was the norm and before online gaming even existed.
The 1990s Ghostbusters game is an incredible classic, with its big-headed characters (literally) ploughing through side-scrolling levels in true Sega shooting style (think the same format as Turrican and Gunstar Heroes).
As I mentioned above when talking about New Ghostbusters II, Zeddemore doesn’t feature in this game whatsoever. In fact, he was never even mentioned in the game’s code, with developers choosing to omit him from the game and marketing entirely.
Don’t worry though; there’s a clever mod that puts this fan-favourite back in the driving seat where he belongs!
Let’s talk about the gameplay. Players pick from Spengler, Stantz, and Venkman, each of which has their own specific attributes just like in the TMNT side-scrolling games.
There are six levels and some pretty gnarly bosses to knock back, and while the graphics resemble Maniac Mansion (which isn’t off topic if we’re honest considering the Ghostbuster’s line of work), it’s still a fun title to play through today!
5. Extreme Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Invasion (2004)
Let’s take it to the max with the next title in our best Ghostbusters games list – Extreme Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Invasion.
Now who are the Extreme Ghostbusters, and what makes them so different to the original Ghostbusters?
Egon Spengler (voiced by Maurice Le Marche in both the Real & Extreme Ghostbusters variations) trains up four new Ghostbusting recruits to tackle spectral interferences. Eduardo Rivera, Garrett Miller, Kylie Griffin, and Roland Jackson are the young guns to take on the job in this game.
I guess you can’t be busting ghosts forever; it must play havoc on your back… and your bowels!
Players can team up with a friend to take down the ghosts on this game. Graphically, the backgrounds look a lot better than the ghosts, who look a little like they’ve been crudely photoshopped into the mix.
Still, when I tell you that you can wield a lightgun with this game, that should add a few plus points and reasons for you picking up a copy (providing you have a CRT TV to play it through, of course).
6. Extreme Ghostbusters: Code Ecto-1 (2002)
Let’s go two for two with the Extreme Ghostbusters – Code Ecto-1 is up next, bringing some GBA action to the table.
In this Extreme Ghostbusters tale, two of the team members have been captured. It’s up Eduardo and Kylie to bring Garrett and Roland back safe and sound by picking up clues and saving the day.
The gameplay and storyline are both pretty solid, with players working through 12 levels in total. It’s not rocket science or incredibly long, but it’s a fun GBA game that will keep you occupied while on a bus or waiting for your zoom meeting to start.
As you might have guessed from the title, players can drive the Ecto-01 to specific locations, giving the player some varied gameplay options from racing elements to shooting apparitions.
It helps to keep things flowing and keeps the player interested (which is something I can’t really say about the next game in our list).
I’m surprised at how this game holds up on the GBA today too, as long as you’ve got a backlit SP or something like the Analogue Pocket to play on, Code Ecto-01 looks bright, colourful, and very well put together, making it a joy to play for any rookie Ghostbusters out there.
7. Ghostbusters (1984)
I bet you were wondering when the 1984 classic would make the cut, weren’t you?
This Ghostbusters game is synonymous with the film because of how fast it was turned around to meet the hype of the film. You can see why the film producers wanted to capitalise on the positive public reaction to the film, but Activision had to work like crazy to get this game finished, spending jut 42 days on the programming.
And it shows.
Having said that, it was a fantastic commercial success largely down to the fact that everyone wanted to be a Ghostbuster, and in 1984, this was the best way to fulfil that dream.
Again, Ernie Hudson’s character doesn’t even appear on the game cover, let alone in the actual game, which is incredibly sad seen as though he’s such a prominent character. I’m glad that the 2009 Ghostbusters Video Game cover finally rectified this.
Find ghost activity on a city grid map, race to a location, trap some ghosts, and repeat. Sometimes you’ll play with another member of the team, sometimes you’ll play with three, eventually coming up against bosses and ol’ marshmallow features himself.
If at any point you have less money, than what you’ve spent on equipment when the PK Energy level hits 9999, it’s game over. Yes, it’s not just Returnal that is hardcore; old games were ruthless!
It’s all a little repetitive, but when you’ve got six weeks to make a game, I suppose you can’t reinvent the wheel!
8. Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord (2023)
Ok, it’s time to step into the world of VR, with Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghostlord taking the 8th spot on our list.
This is the newest title on in our terrifying compendium, and it aims to make you feel even more like a Ghostbuster than ever before by putting you completely inside the action.
It’s set in San Francisco with a new set of characters in order to keep things fresh (I guess Ghost’s can’t just haunt New York City forever, especially with all of the bad publicity they get from these Ghostbusters films!).
There are lots of references to the the original Ghostbusters films to keep continuity, but for me the game just doesn’t work.
Regular Retro Dodo readers will know that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of VR titles anyway. I’m old-school when it comes to gaming; just like I think that pocket-style monsters shouldn’t be wandering around with their pals while holding guns, I prefer to play on the couch and experience games from a distance.
Still, the graphical elements of the game are what keeps me from just shoving Rise of the Ghost Lord straight to the bottom of this list, and as a fantasy writer myself, I can certainly appreciate the work that has gone into the plot.
9. Ghostbusters: Sanctum Of Slime (2011)
We’re getting close to the bottom of the barrel now, readers. Sanctum of Slime wasn’t the best game of all time by any stretch of the imagination, with many critics treating it as though it was actually covered in slime itself.
I always liked the concept of rookies having to take on the task of saving the day as the Ghostbusters were otherwise engaged (probably in bed, let’s be honest – hey work pretty hard). Everyone loves an underdog, and it promoted the importance of having time off no matter what your job is.
The fact that it’s a four player game is also very appealing; as our Bomberman loving writer Theo knows, having friends round for a good gaming blow-out is the key to ultimate relaxation.
The game feels a little like Gauntlet Dark Legacy, but in all honesty not a very good version. Compared to the majority of titles in this list that boast intricate plots (sorry 1984 Ghostbusters, but I’m not including you), it feels a bit like unorganised chaos.
Defeating hordes of ghosts is the main element of the game, which I understand is exactly what a Ghostbuster would have to do when ‘ectoplasm hits the fan’, so to speak, but I quickly lose interest when playing and start to think about what I’m going to have for my tea instead.
Which is pointless really; it’s always pasta.
10. The Real Ghostbusters (1987)
Finally, The Real Ghostbusters takes the 10th spot on our list of the best Ghostbusters games!
I’ve left the strangest game to write about till last, because for some odd reason, this game shares the exact same framework as two other games – Garfield Labyrinth (EU) and Mickey Mouse IV (JP).
They’re identical for the most part, with the same weapons and enemies to fight, just with the North American version seeing players taking Bill Murray’s Venkman out for a stroll instead of Mickey or Garfield.
So, a black and white Ghostbusters game based on the Real Ghostbusters cartoon that’s actually just a generic game with a likeness of Bill Murray thrown into it… that’s what we’re dealing with here.
Once you get past that weird feature, it’s actually a pretty decent game, if a little bland and ‘un-ghostbusters-like’. I’m just not sure why this came to be a thing, but hey, like our video producer Rob with some of the more obscure Oddworld games, hardcore fans are going to want to give it a try.
Plus the password system for jumping ahead with levels is one of those retro gaming voodoo whispers that younger gamers only hear about as a thing of legend, which adds an extra level of cool to it.
A weird mix that is barely a Ghostbusters game, but a nice title to end this list of Ghostbusters games off with nonetheless!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.