Ghost Squad is a masterpiece. It revels in in its own silliness and simplicity and thus becomes what I’d call a perfect game. It’s weird, fun and entertaining, and that is all what it’s aiming for. The story of the light gun shooter is paper thin, the characters barely register on our plane of existence and the action is non-stop. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I have to wonder, how much of this is intentional. You can always aim for badly written dialogue and horrible voice actors, but rarely come the two together in such a perfect way. Some lines are just cringe worthy, others are in broken English and some manage to seem normal at first, until they’re butchered by their voice actors. While nowhere close to House of the Dead 2’s magnificence, the overall plot makes for an outstanding experience. Even on repeat playthroughs, the lines manage to catch you off-guard.
It helps that the actual gameplay is pretty top-notch, at least when it comes to light gun shooters: You aim, you shoot and you kill your enemies. Quick time events or other tasks, like disarming bombs, are interspersed in order to add some variety, but that’s pretty much it in terms of complexity. It’s simple, fast and well executed. Enemies are plentiful, pop out from all directions and become tougher as the game goes on. Some targets, like helicopters or motorboats need more shots in order to be destroyed and the boss battles are unique enough to break the action up.
There are only three missions, which thankfully are quite different in terms of looks and structure, and you can clear them in 20-30 minutes. But Ghost Squad is endlessly replayable, thanks to various choices you can make during the missions, the score system and plenty of unlockable weapons, modes and costumes. Clearing the game gives you XP, which let you level up. At some levels, you unlock new items, which switch up the gameplay a bit. Right now, I’m using a shotgun, which makes hitting enemies at lose range easier, but is terrible at greater distances and has a tendency to hit colleagues or hostages. Another neat feature is that the missions become tougher each time you complete them. It adds to the challenge and overall replayability and is a really interesting choice.
Then there’s multiplayer, where you can play with 4 people at the same time. It’s great fun and actually has two additional modes: Ninja and Paradise mode. The first one is self-explanatiory. The second on lets you fight the terrorists as bikini babes with squirt guns. It’s pure nonsense, but I love it!
Now, the productions values are solid, but nothing really sticks out. The controls work well on this Wii port of the arcade game. It even lets you turn of the reticle for a true arcade experience. The graphics and sound are nothing to write home about, but I appreciate that gunsounds also come out of the Wiimote speaker. There’s nothing here I could really complain about, even if the graphics could look a bit crisper.
Ghost Squad is a prime example of a game that is enjoyable because it’s weird: The cheesiness and nonsense presented here make the game unforgettable. If you ever stumble upon it, I highly recommend you getting it. It’s really fun in short bursts and it makes for a great party game thanks to its multiplayer.