Review by Tenshi No Shi
"A great game for an excellent manga series!"
First thing I should mention is that if you want to play this game and expect to find something similar to the incredible Japanese animation, don't bother. The anime was more of a side-story from the manga (comic). This game is based off of manga, which is the true world of Ghost in the Shell. Prepare yourself for the ride.
As I mention above, this is based off of the manga, not the anime. That said, I should point out as incredible is the movie was, the comic story line is a million times better. The premise of the game concentrates on you (as an agent of law enforcement) controlling robotic tanks that look like spiders. But instead of using physical content to drive the tank, you use your mind. Some of the same characters found in the movie are in the game and the tank you see at the end of the film is similar in design to the tanks used in this game.
Graphically, Ghost in the Shell offers you what you'd expect for a third generation game. Not wonderful, but better than most in many respects. The one good thing I can say about the not-so-detailed graphics is the animation and pace of the game is quick, even while outside in huge, open areas. Also, you are treated to anime sequences between each level, which are animated by the people responsible for that animation of the movie! That in itself is worth the price of admission.
The sound offers no more or less quality than that of the graphics, meaning its good, but not great. The music isn't too bad, and actually kicks on certain levels. But in a whole, nothing to shout from the rooftops over. Adding to the great anime scenes that are found in the game are the same voice actors found in the movie. At least when they made this game, they tried to think of what fans would want. And since all we as Americans really have to base our comparison on is a movie, they concentrated on bringing us more of that movie.
Personally, I happen to think the controls for this game are perfect. I don't say that about many games (especially a game like this), but when you play a game with a controller scheme as smooth as this, you'll change your opinion. Since the game is really a FPS within a vehicle (sort of like Descent, but without 360 degrees of insanity), I was surprised to find the controls on Ghost in the Shell better than most of the traditional FPSs found on the Playstation. But then again, this game seems to be full of surprises. You'll adapt rather quickly to the style of the game, and find yourself playing quite a while despite yourself.
An altogether very well designed game. I found little fault in Ghost in the Shell and enjoyed almost every minute of playing it. While some of the levels may seem simple and uninspired in both look and layout, other levels are true works that will test the limits of you skills. Plus there's a lot to do in the game that will keep you busy. You'll find yourself not only playing hide-n-seek with an invisible boss, you also have to speed down a city highway to stop a rather nasty transport, and you'll find yourself surfing the ocean to stop a pair of well-armed gun boats.
Where do I begin with the bonuses? Well, as you progress through the game, you can unlock the movie sequences to watch at you leisure. There is also a training mode that is a game in itself (much like that of Metal Gear Solid). The training mode offers grades, which are based on accuracy and time. I played this mode more than I played the story mode! So much to do, so much to find, so many challenges to beat, you'll be at it for a while.
If you can still find Ghost in the Shell, I suggest you give it a go. It may not seem like much to look at, but there is a solid game underneath the now slightly dated graphics. I can't tell you the last time I had this much fun playing such a little known game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 07/05/02
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