Ghost Squad Hands On Impressions

ghost_squad_e4a.jpgOne of the few games at this week's E For All Expo that I hadn't had extended hands-on time with was Sega's arcade light gun shooter Ghost Squad. The Wii port of the Chihiro hardware arcade release doesn't reinvent the genre, but it makes a fine addition to the library of games playable with the Wii Zapper peripheral. This is straight up, old school arcade action, providing plenty of terrorists to shoot dead, and potentially loaded with more replayability than any home light gun shooter to date.

Ghost Squad's gimmick is in its branching paths, a series of divergent approaches to each of the game's levels. You'll be given on-screen prompts at certain points, giving you the option to, for example, attempt to free a group of hostages first or head down to the main floor of a building and eliminate hordes of terrorists. You may simply be presented with which direction you'd like to follow at a checkpoint. Sometimes you have two options, sometimes three.

The game also differs in its use of an action button. Freeing those aforementioned hostages requires you to point your targeting reticle at a hostage and press the action button for them to be freed. The same with diffusing a series of claymore mines. In two-player mode, players must cooperate to make these actions happen. There are other "quick time event" moments that utilize the action button—the Nunchuk's Z-button—including one that requires your Ghost Squad team members to punch a bad guy in the chest, requiring quick reflexes, good aim and teamwork.

The pace of constantly shooting people in the face, while avoiding firing at hostages and teammates, is also broken up with non-standard weapons. You'll have limited access to missile launchers and grenades at certain points, adding a little variety to the action. Power ups and bonuses are scattered about levels, like bullet proof vests that reduce damage from enemy fire in half.

Ghost Squad isn't the prettiest of Wii games, but it gets the job done in the graphics department. Character models are blocky, but environments have plenty to shoot at and the game never slows down. It's surprisingly fun, especially for anyone who considers themselves a fan of arcade light gun shooters.


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