Hello all! Last week, we looked at one of the greatest licensed games ever, in which you swung freely around Manhattan like never before (or since).
This week brings us to an obscure GameCube title with a neat concept. In fact, the game leans very heavily on said concept. So much that you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that’s all the game had.
Geist is a GameCube exclusive from ten years ago. It was developed by n-Space, who’s credits include a lot of portable licensed games, along with the pretty solid Heroes of Ruin for 3DS and the recently released Sword Coast Legends.
The game tells the story of John Raimi, a silent Gordon Freeman-type who investigates the Volks Corporation as part of an anti-terrorist team. The investigation quickly goes hilariously awry as Raimi’s squad is wiped out by a monster. Raimi himself has his soul torn out of his body, becoming a ghost. This won’t do, so Raimi begins the quest to get his body back with the help of Gigi, a little girl who is, coincidentally, also a ghost.
It’s an iffy setup, but Geist ends up telling a pretty decent story, one that’s rife with science vs. the supernatural and all that. It’s B-Movie stuff, sure, but it’s entertaining enough to last you a playthrough. I’d appreciate some more character development, but overall, it’s not a bad story.
The constant button displays were a bit much, at times.
Geist plays mostly as a standard first-person shooter. I say “mostly” because Geist’s entire selling point is the fact that you’re a ghost. As Raimi’s ghost, you have the ability to possess nearly any enemy you come across, gaining their weapon and abilities. Should you die as that soldier, you’ll just exit their body and hunt down another. You can only spend so much time outside of a body before Raimi is pulled into the afterlife, so, while everything slows down in your ethereal state, there’s still a sense of urgency.
At times, you’ll have to possess a dog, or a rat, and go through hidden paths only they can use. You can also possess objects, and that’s where some of the fun lies. See, some people can only be possessed after they’re sufficiently scared and their guard is down. Thus, you possess objects like ladders to send them crashing down in front of them, or dog food dishes to make them jump and scare the poor dog. Maybe possess a sink and make it pour blood. It’s a light but fun sense of schadenfreude, though that last one makes you feel bad, because you use it to possess a girl named Anna that you use for a large portion of the game. Still funny, though, if a bit limited in scope. The solution to these scare puzzles is usually laid out for you, so each playthrough ends up being about the same. I wish it was a little more open-ended.
The entire game uses this general possess-shoot guys-puzzle-possess loop, but it’s broken up by bits like playing as the dog. The game isn’t terribly long, either, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
A shot of the ghost realm.
Geist is one of those games where...well, I hesitate to call it a “guilty pleasure,” because there’s no such thing. I think people should just like what they like, and that’s how I feel about this silly game I got for ten bucks years ago. It’s not a life-changing game, and the plot is not something we’ll be dissecting for years on end. And that’s fine. Way back, I wrote an article about how some games are just good, and that’s okay. I think nowadays, some gamers spend so much time looking for the next big, great experience, that they miss out on fun romps like Geist, which is a game that tried to do something new for FPS’s, and, in my opinion, succeeded.
I mean, the way I see it, you’re not a connoisseur if you stick to only what a subset of people has called “the greats.” You’re someone who plays only AAA titles. And that’s fine. Chances are, you’ve got a solid collection of games. But I think once in a while, you should treat yourself by jumping off the beaten path. Pick up a game based on the box art. Try something completely out of your comfort zone. Exclusively play RPG’s? Try a fighter, or even a racing game. Only play Call of Duty? Try Prince of Persia. I think Jaws Unleashed is a terrible game, but Good Godzilla, it’s a riot to play. Try it.
And find a copy of Geist while you’re at it. It’s still original, if slightly clunky, but it’s fun, and there’s a pretty good chance you haven’t played anything like it before.
Thanks always for reading my stuff! As always, leave comments, suggest future games to be featured as Game of the Week, and find me on Twitter!
Next Week-There’s some movie about space or some crap coming out in December, so let’s talk about a Star Wars title. Commence guessing!