The best thing about Ghost Squad is that it's a lightgun shooter on the Wii that works. In the past few months we've had Link's Crossbow Training and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, but neither felt like true arcade games and they lacked the gratifying point and shoot immediacy of arcade classics like Virtua Cop and Time Crisis. Ghost Squad is almost criminally short, but it's the best lightgun game on the Wii.
As simple as it sounds, this is all possible thanks to two things. Firstly, the aim calibration in Ghost Squad is far better than in similar games on the Wii. You shoot where you believe to be the bottom right and top left corners of your TV screen, and you're off. The second, and perhaps more subtle thing is the ability to turn off the on-screen aiming reticule. With this on-screen guide no longer waving about all over the screen, you can forget about fiddling with your aim and instead go on instinct.
As well as pointing and shooting, there are occasions where you need to hit the 'Action' button in order to perform a secondary task. These vary, but always require you to target the item and hit the button. Even so, disabling mines and helping hostages mixes the gameplay up a little, as do the different firing modes and special weapons. When you're not using your standard gun you'll find yourself armed with a heat-seeking rocket launcher, sniper rifle or grenades, and more weapons can be unlocked through persistent play.
Although we still have some reservations over the design of the Wii Zapper, Ghost Squad is by far its best compatible game. If you prefer you can opt to use a Wii-Remote on its own, but it's far from the best way to play the game. Still, if you've only got one Wii Zapper, others can join in easily enough by picking up a spare remote.
Storyline and characters play second fiddle to hammy acting, ludicrous scenes and a general sense of fun. The three levels fly by in 20 minutes, but those minutes are packed full of great moments straight out of action movies - at one point the President of the United States even gives you a high five. We enjoyed ourselves so much that the end credits were greeted with an audible sigh of disappointment. After the lengthy campaign seen in Capcom's Umbrella Chronicles, Ghost Squad certainly takes the lightgun shooter crashing back to normality.
It's not all bad news though, as Ghost Squad isn't over the moment the game ends. Throughout each level you are given options to take the game into numerous directions, meaning that to see all the game has to offer you'll need to re-play numerous times. It still doesn't make for a long experience, but it makes it comparable to other lightgun games from the 90s.
The Wii game also includes numerous unlockables that modify the experience. One sees you and your enemies become ninjas, with your weapons replaced with an unlimited supply of spinning blades, while another replaces all enemies with babes in bikinis. In any other shooter it'd be extremely bizarre, but in the world of Ghost Squad you just take it in your stride. Rounding things off are a functional but limited training mode, online high-score leaderboards and a party mode for up to four players - although you're unable to disable the aiming reticule in the mode, which made for some less than ideal gameplay.
Ghost Squad is a port of a Chihiro-based (itself based on Xbox architecture) arcade game from 2004, so don't expect amazing visuals. The original game wasn't a looker for the time either, so this Wii game is best described as characteristically blocky. It's the over the top action scenes that make up for this, and the audio work is in the "it's so bad it's good" category, with some of the worst voice acting you're likely to see in a modern video game.
Available for £30 (or less online) Ghost Squad is well worth picking up if you fancy a proper lightgun game for your Wii, especially if you've already bought the Wii Zapper. It's a game that has the potential to be played for hours and hours if you want to go for high scores and all the unlockable items, but many gamers may find the 20-minute campaign to be far too short.
VideoGamer.com Score7 Score out of 10
- Plenty to unlock
- Fun storyline
- Great use of Wii Zapper
- Incredibly short