The next stop on the Halloween obscure old horror games tour is Ghosthunter. It’s also the last one, because this is finally enough old horror games in a row. Too much good new shit waiting for me to play! Anyway, I’ve always been surprised that no one ever seems to mention this one. Even back in the day I never knew anyone else that played this one, don’t remember ever seeing any marketing for it, and I only found it by randomly renting it. I guess that already answers why not too many people ever seem to mention it, but I imagine the fact that it’s more of a light horror may have something to do with it too. The tone is much closer to a cartoon or Ghostbusters than something like Resident Evil.
Ghosthunter shares quite a lot in common with Ghostbusters, actually. You play as a bumbling cop, voiced by Rob Paulsen who’s basically doing the Mighty Max voice the whole time, who stumbles onto a hidden ghost containment unit and accidentally lets out all the ghosts. You then have to run around shooting ghosts with special ghost guns until they’re weak enough to be sucked into your special ghost trap. Sure sounds familiar. The ghosts have a similar feel to them too, with cool, semi-sinister-looking ghost designs, but ones that are also vaguely cartoonish so they never actually feel creepy.
I felt like this had really good graphics for a PS2 game back in the day, and it still looks pretty impressive for its time now. The levels are mostly well designed and very nice looking, the ghost effects are great, and the animation of the ghosts getting sucked into the trap was especially well-done for this generation. The price of such fancy graphics on the PS2 is a few random bouts of slowdown, but nothing particularly gamebreaking or fun-ruining.
One other thing worth mentioning is the astral form mechanic, where you can release your spirit helper to fly/float through areas you can’t reach with mere mortal means, in order to solve various puzzles that allow you to continue to progress. It’s another pretty cool looking effect, and an idea with a lot of potential, though its implementation is a little clunky.
Ghosthunter doesn’t do anything particularly groundbreaking for either the 3rd person shooter or horror genres, but it is a pretty solid old supernatural shooter that has a lot of fun content for fans of ghost adventures that are more on the PG side.