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Ghost Squad Review

Sega aims its sights on the Wii Zapper

The times, they are a-changing. 15 years ago, consoles could only hope to capture the essence of high-octane arcade games, not the look. Technology for the biggest releases of the era far out-stripped what the home systems could achieve.

Then the shift occurred; Namco's Time Crisis squeezed onto Sony's original PlayStation with only a few jagged edges marking the transfer. We soon entered into a world where videogaming at home matched and even outstripped what was occurring in amusement arcades around the country. By the time Sega's Ghost Squad burst onto the scene in 2004, it found most of its comrades dead or dying. But sometimes what goes around, comes around. Retooled and reloaded, Ghost Squad redeploys to the Wii via legendary Sega studio AM2 (also responsible for Outrun and Virtua Fighter).

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That said, what amounted to an excellent ten-minute adrenaline shot in the arcades doesn't necessarily translate as prime home console material.

However, Sega has realised in the last few years that gamers want more. Crazy Taxi on the GameCube stuck in another city on top of the arcade port, while both Outrun and Virtua Fighter added extensive single player quest and mini-game modes. And so it is with Ghost Squad.

The developer has created what is in essence a director's cut of the original, applying new modes, paths and customisation options that wouldn't be possible in arcades before. Ghost Squad has found a proper home at last.

The game is divided into three parts, Story, Training and Party. The Story is lifted directly from the arcade version and is split into three scenarios. The first is a hostage situation as you storm a mountainside villa, the second a rescue mission as Air Force One is captured by terrorists, and the third a rescue and extraction mission through a jungle. Each ends in a grandiose boss fight.

Phantom Menace

It's good fun, but an entire run through will weigh in at just half an hour. However, a post-mission statistical screen flags up an in-game map. It's here that you notice a number of branching points in each operation, along with several route markers adorned with a question mark. At points during each scenario you're given a choice of three routes but, more interestingly, every time you successfully complete a mission, new routes and encounters unlock.

Headshots and quick fire take downs contribute to an accumulating score counter. The higher the score, the more items, from costumes to weapons, are made available for the next run through. Armour protects you from more shots, while higher-class weapons are more efficient at taking down foes. It all enrols Ghost Squad into that rarest of classes; the 'massively replayable' school.

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The Party mode allows three other players to join in the fun, while the training mode creates three different scenarios (see above) to master and outscore your friends. Oh, and you can upload your scores onto online Leaderboards thanks to the Wi-Fi connection.

So it's got the look, it's got the feel (the Wii Zapper does a fine job), but most importantly, it's loaded with essential extras. It makes this one of the longest-lasting arcade experiences we've come across. It's like having the arcade at home. If you want, cut a hole in a cereal box and slip a quid every time you need to continue to complete the experience. All in all, it's better than the real thing.


12 comments so far...
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  1. el_wezo Friday 18th Jan 2008 at 17:25

    Nice to see a decent arcade style shooter on the Wii... besides resident evil: umbrella chronicles. Hopefully more to come!

  2. HDB Saturday 19th Jan 2008 at 13:19

    Just went into game. You can get this for Ł20 (at my one anyway) so I might pick it up sometime this week.

  3. CaptainSam Saturday 19th Jan 2008 at 13:21

    So, does the Wi-Fi ONLY let you upload your scores to a leader board? If so, that's a bit lame.

  4. chojin Saturday 19th Jan 2008 at 20:24

    Got mine today from BLAH DVD Ł23 they posted it yesterday. I have played it for a couple of hours and its great i have unlocked the ninja mode which is fun.

    The Wi-Fi stuff is just for scores which is a shame as it would have been fun to play with other people over the internet.

  5. ShinynewJB Wednesday 23rd Jan 2008 at 11:38

    A very well put and fair review. Got this on Saturday and been playing it quite a lot. Certainly has that "just one more go" factor to it, especially when you get a new item or costume to try out.

    In the arcade version you could get your player up to level 99, which might be a bit mental to achieve.

  6. monkie_scott Wednesday 23rd Jan 2008 at 16:57


  7. Nico-Tine Sunday 27th Jan 2008 at 16:58

    :) some people think dat this game can be boring and repetitive, but the game has so many unlockables and the amount of times the level changes is just unbeleivable

  8. 2D Apprentice Monday 28th Jan 2008 at 17:11

    I got this game yesterday and it is indeed excellent. I'd like to have seen more levels but it has a lot replay value and tons of unlockables which make it worthwhile.

  9. uster dog Monday 28th Jan 2008 at 20:03

    i got this the friday it came out & played it allday long,the games a bit short & at Ł29.99 from gamestation i thought it was a bit of a rip off :!: so i took it back to gamestation the nextday :!: i will buy it again but only when the price is right :)

  10. dai Saturday 2nd Feb 2008 at 20:52

    its fairly cheap better than the arcade wat mor do ya want

  11. Mr. Nintendo Sunday 3rd Feb 2008 at 12:39

    You can get this amazing game for around Ł20 why not i am going to.
    It looks good and fun

  12. MickG Monday 2nd Jan 2012 at 20:16

    We've had this game for more than 3 years and it still delivers the goods!
    Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good on-rails shooter.

    As you improve your skills, you start finding the shots that will net you bonus points, medals and serious satisfaction!

    Try doing the 3 missions without losing a life, then try doing it again at the next ability level (upto 16 levels). As the review suggests, this has fantastic replay value, even when you've unlocked all possible mini-missions (i.e. different routes to the boss stages) and know which are the 'medal' and 'quick' shots.

    Brilliant fun.

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