Up until 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game from Atari and Terminal Reality, a solid Ghostbusters game was hard to find. Sure, the original Activision title for the Commodore 64 and related systems had some interesting ideas for its time, but other licensed titles fell flat. Activision's 1989 follow-up adaptation to the second film for the Nintendo Entertainment System was a disappointment all around with simplistic visuals, frustrating level design, and screechy music. However, HAL Laboratories created their own take on Ghostbusters II that faired much better. Their effort, New Ghostbusters II, was released for the NES in 1990 across Japan and Europe, while the United States would only see a watered-down Game Boy version. The NES version sports some peppy music composed in the typical HAL style of the era, but more importantly also contains a few chiptune renditions of songs from the film's soundtrack which we'll explore in this installment of Beyond Beeps. Yes, the familiar Ray Parker Jr. title theme is included, but so are songs from Bobby Brown and Glenn Frey. Since I know most of you aren't familiar with the Ghostbusters II film soundtrack (and shame on you if you're not; I still own the CD that I purchased in 1989 from Costco), be sure to check out the original songs in addition to the 8-bit renditions embedded below.
One cannot have a Ghostbusters video game without including some version of the famous theme song from the original 1984 film. HAL's version is one of the best 8-bit incarnations from the era and includes most of the song's key sections. The first level's theme includes elements of this song as well.
Glenn Frey's "Flip City" turns up in the film when psychoreactive slime overflows from the old pneumatic transit system underneath Manhattan. It also pops up in the game as the theme to the second stage set in the aforementioned abandoned subway.
Bobby Brown composed several songs for the film soundtrack, and while "On Our Own" is the better known of the set, HAL chose to use "We're Back" as the theme for the the game's fourth stage. HAL kept the verse and chorus parts of the song and discarded the rest.
A snippet from film's score loops endlessly as the theme from the final level at the warlock's altar. This theme appears in the movie when the Ghostbusters are drilling down through the street in search of whatever is causing strange readings on the PKE and Giga meters.
That's going to do it for this installment of Beyond Beeps. It's a shame that more of the soundtrack wasn't used to create the New Ghostbusters II game. I'd like to have heard what HAL could have done with Run D.M.C.'s rap version of the Ray Parker Jr. song.