Ghost Squad Review

If you’re a hardcore gamer like me, chances are every time you visit a mall or arcade and see a light-gun shooter, the quarters in your pocket start trembling, just asking to be used. In fact, among some of my favorite arcade-to-console ports have been classic shooters like the Time Crisis series or even House of the Dead. Admittedly, it’s always a drag having to purchase extra peripherals just to bring the arcade experience home (I can’t tell you how many different Guncons I have just sitting around), but thanks to the Wiimote, those days are gone. Now, SEGA released a fantastic shooter back in 2004 called Ghost Squad, but due to the dying popularity of arcades, it never really reached the fame level it should have. Luckily for us, SEGA has ported this baby to our little white console and even decided to throw in a few extras.

At the core, Ghost Squad is a pure and simple light-gun shooter. It has all the classics: weapon powerups, point-and-shoot gameplay, and stupid AI. The idea behind most of these arcade-style games is to make them pretty challenging, but not too long; they want to suck up a lot of quarters without you hogging the machine all day. While the first play-through lasts only around an hour, there are multiple versions of the main game that’ll change up certain elements, like spawn points and weapons, that create a new feel for another run. While this gives it a bit more single-player replay value, it doesn’t offer quite the diversity of, say, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles.

But even though it doesn’t have the same production values of Capcom’s new shooter, the gameplay feels more like the old-school shooting genre than any other Wii game. With the new IR calibration system, you can set up your Wiimote to pin-point any location on screen without the use of a crosshair. Now, this is great in theory, but in execution is tends to falter a bit. Unless you stay completely still and can keep your Wiimote level, the accuracy will start to diminish. (Using Nintendo’s Zapper can help this problem out, but it still gets in the way.) Of course, alternatively, you can simply use an on-screen crosshair to guide your shots, but your overall score will take a hit for this.

This time around, SEGA was nice enough to add in a keen multiplayer mode that really increases the fun-factor. If I’ve learned anything in the past few decades of gaming, it’s that co-op play is just awesome, and Ghost Squad keeps this theory alive. One to three friends can join in on the action for a truly intense experience, or you could just pick up another Wiimote to dual wield by yourself. While the difficulty pretty much stays the same, even when adding the other players, the overall enjoyment level rises when you get more people on your team.

Now, being that this is a port of an older 2004 arcade game, you’d be correct in assuming that the graphical department leaves something to be desired. Ghost Squad sports some retro Dreamcast-esque graphics, that’s for sure, but they’re still sharp and distinct, which is what you need in a shooter. SEGA decided to throw in progressive scan, which helps a great deal, but unfortunately they didn’t deliver in the single other aesthetic enhancement the Wii has to offer – Widescreen mode. While this is understandable, since the original only supported 4:3, it’s a drag for anyone trying to play on a widescreen television, especially because stretching the image results in skewed accuracy.

The thing about Ghost Squad is that it sounds just awful on paper – the single-player is short, the extras seem forced, and the graphics are far from special – but it’s actually a really fun game. The Wiimote makes for a great makeshift light-gun, even if it’s not quite as accurate. With all these A-plus titles being released right before the holidays, it’s possible this one might get overlooked. Ghost Squad excels in providing a ton of entertainment in short bursts, which defines bringing the arcade experience home. Pair that with a competitive price of $30 and it’s easily worth a purchase for lovers of the classic shooter genre.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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