Review: Ghost Rider

The film? One of the finest guilty pleasures of the year, which we'll defend in any pub in the land. The game? Ah, you got us on that one...

What’s better than a skeleton that goes on fire and rides a motorbike? Not very much, believe me. The Ghost Rider movie defied all expectations by turning out to be a rollicking good time — all CGI nonsense and a pace that never let up long enough for anyone to notice the plot was bobbins and Nicolas Cage couldn’t be more self-conscious about his ‘quirkiness’ if he super-glued a mirror to his face.

The game, on the other hand, stalls before it even gets out of the garage.

At first, the game seems to have promise. You’re a skeleton that goes on fire, for heaven’s sake! What could go wrong? Well, first, you start off wandering around Hell, so everything else is on fire, too. This should be cool, but it actually makes it quite hard to see what’s going on. The sprawling levels feature room after room after room, all of which look exactly the same, making figuring out where you’re going almost impossibly hard.

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Anytime you open a door, there’s a little cut-scene animation, which wastes time. And then in each room, there’s a pile of indistinct demon things, which you fight by, frankly, button bashing. Since all the buttons seem to perform similar functions, and combos are thrown at you in too rapid a succession for any human mind to remember them, the best way through is just to button bash and hope for the best.

Like in Soul Reaver, you can suck up the souls of the things you’re dispatching (as well as some that are just hanging around in the ether) to power yourself up.

Once you’ve got enough souls, you can buy extra move combos (which just makes the results of the button bashing more interesting) or you can make your weapons more powerful. Occasionally, there’s a bigger demon in one of the rooms, but these are just as easy to dispatch.

There are a couple of cool moves, like the Penance Stare, but it’s all very samey. Alternate levels let you jump on the bike and ride around fighting demons, as well as jumping over endless ramps and gaps in the road, but the appeal of even this runs out after about five minutes.

It’s all just so tedious that I’d almost rather look at Nic Cage. Even if he was drinking jelly beans at the time.

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