Best Ghostbusters Games On Nintendo Systems

Best Ghostbusters Games
Image: Nintendo Life

There have been plenty of Ghostbusters games across all platforms in the years since Egon, Ray, Winston, and Peter first busted onto screens in 1984, and they run the gamut from classic licensed cash-in to carefully constructed homage.

The first Ghostbusters game Nintendo fans got their hands on was a NES port of the David Crane-designed 1984 home computer game, but in the decades since there has been a good selection of spooky emissions on Nintendo platforms, several of which rank among the very best Ghostbusters games anywhere.

Below you’ll find a full list of every Ghostbusters game that has come to Nintendo systems — including the recently released (on Switch) Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed — as ranked by you, Nintendo Life readers. We’re ready to believe you.

Remember: The order below is governed by each game’s User Rating in our games database and is subject to real-time change depending on its score, even as you read this! Something weird and it don’t look good? No need to call anyone — simply click the star rating and assign a score from 1-10 to exert your personal influence on the ranking. (You’ll have to refresh the page to see any changes take effect.)

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that while Nintendo platforms have arguably cleaned up the town when it comes to the best Ghostbusters games, we also have a lot of affection for the 1990 Genesis / Mega Drive Ghostbusters which, sadly, doesn’t appear below as it has never been released on a Nintendo platform. Feel free to let us know in the comments if there are other games in the series that you’ve enjoyed elsewhere.

So, let’s strap on a Proton Pack, heat ’em up, and make our way through the mass hysteria to take a look at the best (and worst) Ghostbusters games ever to grace Nintendo systems…

Ghostbusters (NES)

Ghostbusters (NES)

Publisher: Activision / Developer: Bits Laboratory

Release Date: Oct 1988 (USA)

Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. That would be more enjoyable than playing Ghostbusters on NES.

This was a deeply unattractive and unsatisfying NES port of David Crane’s Ghostbusters: The Computer Game. With a heavy emphasis on resource management (including equipment, fuel, and finances), it sees you driving around New York City cleaning up spook-infested buildings for cash to buy upgrades and, eventually, take on Gozer after an ultra-tedious stair-climbing section which apparently, hilariously, adapts the jump cut in the movie when they’re crawling to the top of Dana Barrett’s building — you know, the bit where the Ghostbusters are exhausted by the unending staircase. This game may not make you throw up, but it tries.

Ghostbusters II (NES)

Ghostbusters II (NES)

Publisher: Activision / Developer: Imagineering

Release Date: Apr 1990 (USA)

Compared to the first film’s NES iteration, Activision’s Ghostbusters II isn’t total dump, but it is the very definition of a disappointing licensed game. Released many months after the film it was based on, Imagineering’s tie-in is a fairly basic side-scrolling platformer/shooter with visual echoes of David Crane’s original home computer Ghostbusters. You blast ghosts shooter-style in various settings; on foot, of course, but also while driving Ecto-1 (which can ‘jump’ over hurdles and holes) and piloting Lady Liberty herself just as in the film, although a NES Advantage stick isn’t a requirement this time.

Far from the worst 8-bit licensed game in the world, it’s just incredibly repetitive and exceptionally dull. Definitely the second-best Ghostbusters II game on NES.

Extreme Ghostbusters (GBC)

Extreme Ghostbusters (GBC)

Publisher: Light and Shadow Production / Developer: Magic Pockets

Release Date: May 2001 (UK/EU)

Only ever released in Europe, this GBC game was based on the 1997 follow-up series to The Real Ghostbusters. 2001’s Extreme Ghostbusters is a side-on platformer which has you switching between ‘busters and zapping ghosts as you complete missions assigned to you by Egon and Janine. It’s got some decent character animation, but repetition and turgid controls make this one for GB — be that Ghostbusters or Game Boy — completionists only.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (DS)

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (DS)

Publisher: Atari / Developer: Zen Studios

Release Date: 16th Jun 2009 (USA) / 6th Nov 2009 (UK/EU)

A loose, cartoon-y adaptation of the game that appeared on home console platforms, Ghostbusters: The Video Game on DS has more of an action RPG flavour and is the only version where you actually play as one of the four original Ghostbusters and not the rookie recruit. Played from a top-down perspective, you command the other three ‘busters you’re not directly controlling and wander around NYC upgrading the team and generally doing what makes ‘busters feel good.

Driving sections have you negotiating the foggy streets of Manhattan and offer some variety, but the DS game starts to grate after a while. It’s passable paranormal fare, but certainly not a patch on its home console brethren.

Extreme Ghostbusters: Code Ecto-1 (GBA)

Extreme Ghostbusters: Code Ecto-1 (GBA)

Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive / Developer: Magic Pockets

Release Date: Dec 2002 (USA) / 5th Apr 2002 (UK/EU)

Unlike its GBC predecessor, Extreme Ghostbusters: Code Ecto-1 did get a US release, where it lost the subtitle. It added Ecto-1 driving sections and the GBA’s additional power meant this run-and-gun platformer looked a lot better, too. The animation of Eduardo and Kylie (Garrett and Roland have been kidnapped in this one) was pretty good, but it’s still an inessential entry in the Ghostbusters’ video game canon.

The Real Ghostbusters (GB)

The Real Ghostbusters (GB)

Publisher: Activision / Developer: Kotobuki Systems

Release Date: Oct 1993 (USA) / Sep 1993 (UK/EU)

A Ghostbusters game in name only, this entry in Kemco’s convoluted Crazy Castle series starred Mickey Mouse in Japan and Garfield in Europe, but US players got to control Peter Venkman as he negotiated its puzzle-platforming with yet another 8-bit rendition Ghostbusters theme blasting out of the handheld’s tinny speaker.

So, ironically, this Real Ghostbusters game isn’t a real Ghostbusters game at all. In fact, it’s a rip-off of P.P. Hammer and his Pneumatic Weapon for the Amiga and Commodore 64. You can check out our feature on the Crazy Castle series for more details, if you’re interested:

Spooked by that ranking? Who ya gonna call? Us for a multi-hour discussion about how Ghostbusters II (the film) is an underrated, more-than-worthy follow-up to the original?… Oh, not us. Ghostbusters. Figures.

Let us know below where your favourite falls, and don’t forget that, even now, you can influence the ranking above by clicking on the stars and rating any of the games. Happy bustin’!

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