Monday, July 4, 2011

THEPLAYGAMER3: Ghosthunter

Ghosthunter is a video game based on ghost hunting developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. The game was released on the PlayStation 2 in Europe on December 5, 2003, North America on August 17, 2004.


Ghosthunter follows the adventures of Detroit police Officer Lazarus Jones (voice by Rob Paulsen) on his first day on the job. He is sent with his partner, Anna Steele, on a routine call to investigate a disturbance in an abandoned school which also was the scene of an unsolved massacre. After the two split up to investigate the building, Jones discovers a paranormal research laboratory along with a digitized version of its creator, Professor Peter Richmond (voiced by Joe Morton). As Jones investigates the laboratory, he inadvertently releases the ghosts contained within it, including an evil ghost named Lord William Hawksmoor (voiced by Sir Michael Gambon).

Anna is subsequently kidnapped by Hawksmoor and Jones, aided by the digital Richmond, is sent to recapture the escaped ghosts and rescue his partner. Lazarus' secondary quest is to find Professor Brooke, the reason behind Lazarus and Anna's visit to the school, and to question him about the massacre that happened two years ago. Lazarus is told early in the game that Professor Brooke is actually Professor Richmond, who was actually a Ghosthunter, searching for Kate Heller's / Astral's body in order for her to regain her true form.

Early in his adventure, Jones meets and bonds with the ghost of a woman named Kate Heller (Astral). Astral supports Jones by granting him the ability to see dead people as well as use her other abilities to help him on his quest to rescue Anna Steele and stop Hawksmoor in his quest to regain a living body. Professor Richmond gives Lazarus new equipment suitable for ghost hunting, including a rifle, which uses ghost energy, and a special grenade, which captures weakened ghosts.

Lazarus travels to locations the Professor has previously visited via teleport gates. First, he travels to an abandoned ghost town, named Oakville, where he meets Lady DeMontford, and eccentric old woman, who carries a shotgun, fearing that ghosts swarming the town will come for her children, saying that her son would deal with them, however he "has been called away", and sending Lazarus to find him. It is later revealed that her family, the DeMontfords, were once a wealthy and powerful family who owned Oakville as well as the mines. Her son, the leader of the mine workers nicknamed "Rednecks", made the town wealthy due to the successful mining operation. He was killed and eaten by a crocodile when trying to help a little girl who was trapped in the swamps. His mother, driven insane by grief for the loss of her only child, blamed the Rednecks for that, and started kidnapping and killing their children before she killed herself, becoming a ghost as well. Following these events, Oakville was abandoned by the people. Chief Redneck, and his two sons stayed and fought Lady DeMontford. Lazarus encounters several times sniper ghosts and ghosts wielding chainsaws. These are mere projections of the Chief Redneck's sons, who think he is not one of them, until realizing he "is fighting with the good side".

After the ghost town, Lazarus visits a ghost ship, full of hostile ghost soldiers. As he progresses to the ship bridge, he meets the ship captain, Coloner Freddie Fortesque, who informs him that the ghosts were actually WW2 English soldiers, carrying "the spoils of war" to the King in 1945. Among them was a special treasure, The Dagger of Poseidon. After a conflict with the ship captain Captain Kraken, who did not want to have it on his ship (as he said, "Never take the Dagger of Poseidon at sea"). The colonel also tells him that, even after his and the crew's death, they have been trying to protect the treasure from the Beast. Immediately after he finishes, one of the Beast's tentacles grabs him and takes him away. When the player reaches one of the taped messages in the phonograms, they can hear that captain Kraken became greedy with the treasure, and tried to take it, killing the Colonel's men. Colonel killed the Captain, though, ironically, with the very same Dagger. They also hear that Kraken became the Beast, Fortesque talked about, and that Professor Richmond caught it before. After Lazarus defeats and captures the Kraken, colonel comes to congratulate him, and he captures him, too.

Right after Lazarus returns from the ship to the research laboratory, he goes to a prison. There, he meets with Professor Richmond, and learns that he was innocent about the massacre in the high school. He also uncovers the story of a Death Row prisoner, Frank Agglin, a former police officer, who was possessed by Hawksmoore into murdering his wife. In Death Row, there is a puzzle where the player has travelled mentally into Agglin's past, and so the story uncovers.

After that, Lazarus and Richmond try to escape the prison, but they are ambushed by the Electric Guardian, Frank Agglin's ghost, possessed by Hawksmoore. Lazarus defeats it, and he and Professor head to the scrapyard, where they fight with a behemoth made of former car bodies.

When Lazarus defeats it, with the help of Professor Richmond, they make their way to an abandoned Military Base. After making their way to the computer room, Richmond reveals his former job, being a scientist in that base, as well as the real reason of his departure: Hawksmoore had proposed a deal to the executives of the base: If they granted him Kate Heller's body, as well the right to exploit the Professor, he would destroy their enemies once and for all. Of course, he wanted Kate's body for a different purpose: he desired a living body once more, by feasting on another. Professor also shows Lazarus the Zero Bomb, a top secret weapon, not for capturing ghosts, but for eradicating them.

After a while, Lazarus and Richmond meet Anna, possessed by Hawksmoore. Professor Richmond then removes Lazarus of all his equipment, leaving him completely vulnerable. It is then revealed that Hawksmoore made a deal with Richmond: If Richmond brought to him the body in which lies Astral's Spirit, he would unite Astral to Kate's body once more, as well as let him leave. Hawksmoore separates Astral from Lazarus and has Anna kill him. The start screen then loads.

However, it is a false ending, as the digitized Richmond-computer becomes a machine, resembling RoboCop, and it goes to eradicate the ghosts. Along the way, it finds Professor Richmond, hiding in an empty room. It then tells him how disappointed if is of him, for letting Lazarus die, and making him feel bad about himself. It then walks away to the Military Base Core to save Lazarus, who, in his spiritual form, resembles Astral, as well as to stop Hawksmoore from achieving his purpose. It tries to destroy the machine in which Kate is bound, as well as Astral, but Hawksmoore drops it from a higher level to the ground, almost destroying it.

At the same time, Lazarus has entered the machine, and regained his body. He then tries to destroy the machine, though unarmed. All of a sudden, Professor Richmond comes and gives a rifle to Lazarus, as well as Steele, revealing he had a change of heart. Lazarus then tries to eradicate the ghosts, as well as Hawksmoore. In the end, Richmond makes Lazarus and Anna leave, and stays with the computer, which took the Zero Bomb, plotting to use it. As Hawksmoore draws near, he detonates the bomb, seemingly killing Hawksmoore, the computer, and himself. Kate's fate is not specified.

Right before the credit roll falls, Lazarus and Steele are seen getting out of the high school, into their car.


Ghosthunter can be classified as an action shooter. Jones is equipped with a range of projectile weapons and may control Astral, a ghost with various abilities. Astral's powers are charged via the capture of the various ghosts in the game.


Ghosthunter is an unusual mix of horror, action, comedy and drama, blending these disparate genres together in a manner some critics have compared to the Ghostbusters films or the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. While the action and horror aspects predominate throughout, some sections of the game - such as the "Redneck" aspects - are more comedic, while others - such as the later prison plotline - are dramatic and sometimes even rather tragic. Certain sections, such as Mrs. de Montford's mansion, contain highly surreal elements. Ghosthunter is also a relatively rare example of a game including the cinematic convention of the false ending: Lazarus is killed, apparently for good, and the game then brings up the title screen, inviting the player to start over and strongly suggesting that the game is over. But within moments, the action begins again.

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