This is the Ghostbusters II game which was made by HAL Laboratories, and never released in America due to licensing problems. America got the Activision ones, which are in no way like this game
Pretty short game, especially if you know what you’re doing. I did not know what I was doing at first, and kept hitting a wall at the next-to-last boss. The continue system is pretty brutal: If you lose 3 lives, 3 times, you have to start the entire game over. There is no form of checkpoints, saving, or password system. Fighting all the way back to the boss where I was stuck did get pretty annoying, but I have persevered.
Note for posterity: There are 3 game modes for Easy/Normal/Hard, and I just played this one on Normal.
The soundtrack to this game is WAY better than it has any right to be. I had to look up who was responsible, and of course it’s Jun Ishikawa. It looks like this was one of his earliest jobs at HAL. He’s also still making Kirby soundtracks today, which is pretty cool. If not for the great music in this game, grinding back to the last place I got Game Over would have been a real chore.
It’s a shame there were no other Ghostbusters games made in this style, because it has a LOT of potential. Would have been nice to be able to collect items or powerups or flesh out the ‘exploration’ aspect more. The only thing really to ‘collect’ is points (there is a system where you get an extra life at certain points milestones). You do get bonus points for meeting certain conditions like clearing rooms fast though.
Interesting footnote of history: When you clear a room, a giant white arrow appears onscreen telling you which direction to go next. Very forward-looking of the developers to include things like ‘affordances’ and ‘ux design’ way back when this came out.