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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ghost Master (2003)

Haven't you ever wanted to be the villian in a game?  I know I have.  Luckily, there are games out there that let you be good or bad... or just bad to the bone...

You are the Ghost Master.  Your job is to use "field ghosts" to scare mortals out of their wits ultimately taking the Ghostbreakers who want to send you back to the ether...

"Ghost Master" is a Real Time Strategy game that puts you in control of ghosts that can be used to haunt a location, and cause the mortals on site to flee... or go insane.  You start out small- scaring college students, and work your way up to wreaking havoc in a mad scientist's laboratory.

To do this, you can assign various ghosts to the case, and use their abilities to scare the mortals and free trapped spirits.  Each ghost has different abilities that create different effects within the game.  You are limited on the number of ghosts you can assign each mission, so you have to think strategically about which ones you want to use and where.  Like any strategy game, you have to manage your resources as well- this is called, "plasm".  Plasm allows your ghosts to use their abilities, and is gained by scaring mortals.

The game mechanics are very simple, making it quiet easy for a casual gamer to start playing.  The interface is pretty basic, and relies more on you click on your ghosts for menu options.

The graphics aren't bad, and remind me a bit of "The Sims".  The visual effects of the ghosts are interesting, though only for a limited time of repeated use.

The story is pretty basic... so basic, it's almost non-existant.  Because of this, the levels got rather repetitive, and my focus often wandered.  There are some nice humourous references to various horror movies in the titles of the levels, but they were only worth a quick chuckle.

Some of the puzzles you need to solve to accomplish your missions can be rather frustrating.  On one level, you have to cast an "illusionary gift" and pretty much wait for someone to carry it to where it needs to go.  More often than not, it would be picked up and carried around endlessly.  Of course, I had to wonder why a person would pick up a mysterious gift wrapped box in the middle of a full-blown poltergeist fit in the first place.

This game is fun for the first couple of levels, but the repetitive nature of the levels, the lack of any real story, and frustrating "puzzles" can suck the life from this game quickly.  I'm going to have to put "Ghost Master" in "The Ugly".

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