Some of the finest entertainment this reviewer’s ever had with a games console and a good night in was the original Time Crisis on the Playstation. The game was horribly short, but so insanely exciting that it consigned to the back of our mind the attempts in the old days to play light gun games on the ZX Spectrum, replete with a gun that’d miss the target as a matter of routine.
Moving to the modern day, and to the Nintendo Wii, the light gun game is getting a bit of a resurgence, albeit with the uncomfortable Wii Zapper device (not included with Ghost Squad) which invites you to get your Nunchuk and Wiimote and tie them together through a frame that’s shaped like a gun. Fortunately, you can play Ghost Squad either with or without the aforementioned contraption, and it makes not a jot of gaming difference.
Ghost Squad, then, is quite an old – by comparison – arcade machine, dating back a few years in fact, that’s suddenly been nominated for a console version. It’s not a great looking console version, either, with graphics that neither push the Wii nor look like they’ve been designed in recent times.
But they’re quickly forgotten when you get to the game proper: for unlike the earlier Link’s Crossbow Training, this is a frantic, exciting arcade shooter, very much in the Time Crisis mould. It’s perhaps less ambitious than Time Crisis, though, with no ducking and diving, and the game just requiring you to blast the numerous enemies who appear, sometimes seemingly out of nowhere, on the screen. Until you’ve played Ghost Squad, you’ll have no appreciation for just how many people can hide behind a sofa.
Ghost Squad’s main problem, though, is that it’s very short, which perhaps explains its lower-than-usual £32.99 price tag. There are just three missions in the game and it won’t take long to blast your way through them. That said, you’re encouraged to play through these missions again and again, with new weapons becoming available as you do so, but conversely, your enemies get tougher too.
Given that each level occasionally gives you a choice about which door to go through, or about what to do next, there’s more than initially meets the eye within each level. And there’s little doubt that both in single and multiplayer modes it’s a hoot to play. That you’re given infinite ‘continues’ means that it still won’t be long before you see the back of it, though.
While it lasts, Ghost Squad is terrific entertainment, offering high octane action and the perfect remedy for an itchy gaming trigger finger. But it’s a small dish, even if you go through and unlock everything in each level. If you’re happy to accept that, then it’s a game of pure arcade entertainment that’s hard to resist. But you might be trading it in a good deal sooner than you’d originally planned.