The Many Digital Faces Of Vigo The Carpathian
March 18, 2009
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is just about three months away now, so lately I've been thinking about some of the older Ghostbusters games from console generations gone by. When reminiscing about the older games, everyone seems to remember encountering Slimer, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, and even Gozer in classic 8-bit form, but where is the love for the villain of Ghostbusters II, Vigo, the scourge of Carpathia, the sorrow of Moldavia? He appears in many of the Ghostbusters titles released by Activision to tie in with the second film, but the technology of the day limited the evil warlock to a rather basic, pixellated appearance. Let's take a walk down memory lane and have a look at the many digital faces of Vigo spanning across appearances on the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, and the Nintendo Entertainment System as well as the latest Ghostbusters adventure for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360.
Here we have the end of the Amiga version of Ghostbusters II. All four of the Ghostbusters have climbed down into the Manhattan Museum of Art and are about to engage Vigo, first as a floating head inside the painting and then, later, as a fully mobile man who walks around the restoration room and tosses energy blasts.
Fail to defeat him and he apparently returns to the painting to pose for the Game Over screen.
(Not to nitpick, but I believe the quote from the film refers to New York getting sucked down to the tenth level of Hell, not sliding into the seventh.)
The same basic game also landed on the Amstrad CPC, although the visuals experienced a serious downgrade as part of the conversion. Here we see the Ghostbusters first engaging a possessed Janosz Poha while Vigo watches from the comfort of his canvas.
Take care of Janosz to catch Vigo's attention. His massive head will appear in the painting before he steps out into the museum to fight.
Want to see how it all goes down? Here's a YouTube clip of the final battle.
This same game also made it to the Commodore 64 and MS-DOS. Here's a peek at how the Vigo painting changed slightly to match the graphical capabilities of the host system. When hampered by a limited color palette, Vigo is less threatening. Now is the season of hardware limitations, apparently.
Vigo looks the best on the Nintendo Entertainment System where he appeared in two different games. First came Ghostbusters II, a train wreck of a game that has few redeeming features and left plenty of disappointment in its path. Vigo looks increasingly menacing when he threatens to defeat you at different moments throughout the game, while he appears in his painting at the end of the final level and offers absolutely no resistance. Kind of wimpy for a guy who sat in a castle of pain on a throne of blood, don't you think? See for yourself in this YouTube clip.
The Game Over screen is especially memorable, as Vigo leaps from his painting and looms large over a slime-encrusted New York City. Say what you will, but you just have to respect that sinister sneer.
Finally, in HAL's New Ghostbusters II, Vigo again appears inside his painting before stepping forward to summon rotating energy blasts.
When defeated, he is sucked back inside of the canvas in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment as seen in this YouTube clip.
Vigo's presence in Ghostbusters: The Video Game for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and PC is felt right away. A large canvas propped up near receptionist Janine Melnitz's desk in the firehouse headquarters is instantly recognizable, as it features the living portrait of the seventeenth-century warlock himself. Once a powerful magician, now he rests from a powerless position, left only to make snide remarks and grandiose empty threats at whomever walks by. How the mighty have fallen!
"The demons in this realm are gathering to conquer. You have not a chance."
"Compete for my amusement."
Will we see Vigo again in a future Ghostbusters video game? Well, consider the Carpathian's final words just before his head died: "Death is but a door, time is but a window: I'll be back!"