I didn’t like Link’s Crossbow Training very much. The first attempt to bring a lightgun-style game to the Nintendo Wii, it seemed to rely on a precision that I found nigh-on impossible to match with the Wii Zapper frame. On the Wii, y’see, instead of a lightgun, you’re invited to buy the Zapper, which is a container of sorts in the shape of a gun, into which you need to wrap your Wiimote and Nunchuk. It’s a slightly clumsy solution, perhaps, but the thinking is sound. It’s just at times it was like the non-darts player on Bullseye: no matter what they aimed for, they couldn’t hit the right target for love, money or Jim Bowen.
Ghost Squad is the latest to capitalise on the Zapper’s potential, but truthfully, after a while I simply decided to use the Wiimote and Nunchuk in the usual way. It certainly did Ghost Squad no harm, and for a good hour, this was as fun a game as I’d played in absolutely ages.
Brutally short, and containing just three missions, at its best it evoked the halcyon days of Time Crisis’ peak. Enemies jump onto the screen from all directions, you blast them, make the occasional choice about what route to take, what door to open or how next to execute your mission, and then move on. It’s pulse-pounding excitement in the short term, which makes it all the more disappointing when – courtesy of infinite continues – you get to the end in double quick time.
Fortunately, Ghost Squad does have something else in the can, because it then challenges you to replay its missions, albeit with the difficulty notched up a little. In return, you get more interesting weapons, and the chance to explore every hidden nook and cranny of the missions. This does manage to prolong the game’s excitement and fun factor, but it’s still ludicrously quickly that you’ll be seeing the credits roll.
And that’s a pity. Because Ghost Squad is just the sort of pure arcade blaster that you can’t help but resist. Even factoring in the fact that you can end up with seemingly 358852 enemies hiding behind a single tree, you can’t help but admire its determination to entertain you, and to keep you on your toes.
The retail price is a relatively tame – by Wii standards – £32.99 (or less if you shop around), and there is the small matter of multiplayer to consider. But the conclusion to Ghost Squad must still be that it delivers energetic short term fun, but very poor long term value. Not a problem if you’re rich, or if your local Gamestation does good trade in prices. It is a problem if neither of those factors apply.
Ghost Squad is published by Sega, and available now.