Ghost in the Shell (video game)
|Ghost in the Shell|
North American box art
|Series||Ghost in the Shell|
|Genre(s)||Action, third-person shooter|
Ghost in the Shell (攻殻機動隊 GHOST IN THE SHELL Kōkaku Kidōtai Gōsuto In Za Sheru , lit. "Mobile Armored Riot Police Ghost in the Shell") is a cyberpunk themed third-person shooter video game developed by Exact and Production I.G for the PlayStation. The game was originally released in Japan by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan in July 1997. It was localized for a North American release by THQ and released in North America on October 31, 1997 and in Europe on July 1, 1998.
The game's style, environments and characters are inspired by the Ghost in the Shell manga by Masamune Shirow. Ghost in the Shell's plot revolves around a new recruit of Public Security Section 9 and investigate and combat the Human Liberation Front. The player controls a Fuchikoma, a robotic fighting vehicle, capable of traversing walls and ceilings.
The game received mainly positive reviews for its graphics, animation, music and unusual wall-climbing mechanics, including living up to the Ghost in the Shell namesake. However it had also received criticism for its tedious and repetitive gameplay and low difficulty. Fifteen years after its release, Game Informer listed Ghost in the Shell as one of the best manga and anime-based games.
The player controls a spider-shaped "think tank" robot known as a Fuchikoma. Players can control the Fuchikoma by jumping, thrusting forward, strafing, climbing walls, and hanging from ceilings. Both first and third person cameras are available. Night vision is also available to allow players to find enemies in dark areas. The camera adjusts its position when scaling walls and ceilings for easy maneuvering and switches from first and third person depending on the environment. Several cutscenes can be unlocked throughout the game depending on the Player's score for each mission.
The Fuchikoma is armed with twin machine guns and grenades. Players have unlimited ammunition for the machine guns, but grenades must be found throughout missions and only three can be carried at a time. The human and robotic enemies sport an array of firearms and explosives. Some stages of the game are governed by a time limit.
The game includes six training stages to introduce players to the controls and basic game elements. The first five of the training stages introduce the player to targets in various settings and effectively using the controls; the sixth is a battle against another Fuchikoma. The twelve missions that comprise the story vary between different environments, from a warehouse complex, a sewer, a boat on the sea, the city streets, and the enemy base inside of a skyscraper. The missions are also varied; the first mission is a raid and the third level is a search and destroy mission that involves the elimination red barrels. The fourth level is a sea chase on a boat and the fifth level is a game of hide-and-seek with the player having to locate a boss with thermoptical camouflage. The game's final boss ends with a freefall battle down a skyscraper under a timer.
Players assume the role of a nameless male rookie member of Public Security Section 9 who pilots a Fuchikoma robotic tank. The terrorist organization, Human Liberation Front, claims responsibility for blowing up the Megatech corporation building and Section 9 must resolve the situation. The game's story is told using mission briefings and animated cutscenes.
After Section 9 conducts an assault on a warehouse in the bay area, its chief Aramaki announces that they have identified a mercenary known as Zebra 27. Section 9 discovers that someone at the Energy Ministry, named Sawamura, has been in contact with Zebra 27 and has ties to the Megatech corporation. While conducting the raid on the enemy base, the nuclear reactor begins to overload as Section 9 squad leader Motoko Kusanagi attempts to stop it, issuing her partner Batou and the player to proceed to the final area.
The final scenes come to a free-fall battle off the top of the building as the player plummets towards the ground. At the end of the game the plot becomes clear, Sawamura had attempted to collect bribes from Megatech and Zebra 27 wanted to take over the nuclear reactor to extort money from Sawamura. At the end, Motoko declares the entire ordeal a training mission for Section 9.
Development and release
The game was in development for one and a half years. Ghost in the Shell was designed and targeted to a mature audience; the inability to play as Motoko was deliberate to prevent the game appearing to be a character-based game. The story was provided by the original manga's creator Masamune Shirow; Kan Ho, producer from Kodansha, acknowledged that Shirow was also the main designer of the characters and mechas for the game.
At Production I.G., Hiroyuki Kitakubo directed the animation and did the storyboards and Toshihiro Kawamoto was animation supervisor and the in-game character designer. Production I.G had adopted a full digital coloring technique for the game considered to be groundbreaking in the industry. The difference in the scenes when compared to the Ghost in the Shell film stemmed from this difference and the new director.
The game's animated scenes are a combination of cel animation and three dimensional digital renderings. Masamune Shirow's character and mechanical designs of the Ghost in the Shell were the basis for the game's look and feel. The storyboards consisting of camera shots and movement became the groundwork for the animation. The cel animation consisted of numerous individual cel layers that were combined to create the scene digitally. The backgrounds were digitally rendered in three dimensions to ensure a smooth transitions throughout scenes for the camera movement. The three dimensional computer backgrounds were merged with the two dimensional cel animation to complete the scene. Adobe Photoshop was used to complete the animation and add additional details to the scenes.
The Japanese release of the game was on July 17, 1997. On the day of its release, a special launch party was held at the Yebisu Garden Hall. The "Megatech Body Night" event featured the game's music artists such as Takkyu Ishino and Joey Beltram performing live. All who bought tickets also received a 3D papercraft kit of the Fuchikoma. A Japanese demo disc for the PlayStation was also released.
A special demo disc was included with the first edition of Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, which featured the game on its cover. The game was released in North American on October 31, 1997 and in Europe on July 1, 1998. Don Nauert, THQ's producer for the English localization of the game, said that aside from dubbing and changing the button configuration, the game was not modified nor censored.
The voicing for the Japanese version of the game was done by a different cast than the film, with Motoko Kusanagi being played by Hiromi Tsuru, Batou by Shinji Ogawa, Chief Aramaki by Soichi Ito, Ishikawa by Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Togusa by Hirotaka Suzuoki, Saito by Nobuyuki Hiyama, and the Fuchikoma were voiced by Katsue Miwa. The English localization does not credit the voice actors to their respective roles, but the same cast was used for the original movie.[Note 1] Motoko was played by Mimi Woods, Batou by Richard Epcar, Aramaki by William Frederick Knight (credited as William Frederick), Ishikawa by Bob Papenbrook, and Togusa was played by Christopher Joyce with the roles of Wendee Lee, Jimmy Krakor, Julie Maddalena being unknown.
|Ghost in the Shell: Megatech Body|
July 17, 1997
|Genre||Video game soundtrack, techno|
|Length||Megatech Body CD.
Megatech Body CD., Ltd.
Megatech Vinyl. Ltd.
Megatech Body. Picture Vinyl., Ltd.
A soundtrack album series for the game, titled Ghost in the Shell: Megatech Body, were released on July 17, 1997, by Sony Music Entertainment Japan in several versions. The album, named after the fictional cybernetic body manufacturer in the Ghost in the Shell series, was produced by Takkyū Ishino and features tracks composed by various techno music artists.
The first version, Ghost in the Shell: Megatech Body CD., is the standard single disc version. The second is a limited version titled Ghost in the Shell: Megatech Body CD., Ltd. and contains an additional second disc and poster. There is also a limited two-disc vinyl LP record edition, titled Megatech Vinyl. Ltd., and a second vinyl promotional picture disc, titled Megatech Body. Picture Vinyl., Ltd..
|1.||"Ghost in the Shell"||Takkyū Ishino||6:44|
|2.||"Firecracker"||Mijk Van Dijk||5:25|
|3.||"Ishikawa Surfs The System"||Brother From Another Planet||3:58|
|4.||"Spook & Spell (Fast Version)"||Hardfloor||5:53|
|6.||"The Vertical"||Joey Beltram||6:28|
|7.||"Blinding Waves"||Scan X||4:44|
|8.||"The Searcher Part II"||The Advent||3:27|
|10.||"Can U Dig It"||Dave Angel||7:17|
|11.||"To Be or Not To Be (Off the Cuff Mix)"||Derrick May||7:01|
|Disc 2 (Ltd.)|
|1.||"Fuchi Koma"||Mijk van Dijk||5:09|
|2.||"Down Loader"||The Advent||6:19|
|5.||"Brain Dive"||Mijk van Dijk||4:48|
|6.||"Spook & Spell (Slow Version)"||Hardfloor||6:30|
|8.||"Section 9 Theme"||Brother From Another Planet||6:01|
|9.||"So High"||Dave Angel||5:35|
|10.||"To Be or Not To Be (The Mix of a Mix Mix)"||Derrick May||7:03|
|1.||"A1 - Ghost in the Shell"||Takkyū Ishino||6:44|
|2.||"A2 - Blinding Waves"||Scan X||4:44|
|3.||"A3 - Ishikawa Surfs The System"||Brother From Another Planet||3:58|
|4.||"B1 - The Searcher Part I"||The Advent||6:26|
|5.||"B2 - Can U Dig It"||Dave Angel||7:17|
|6.||"C1 - Firecracker"||Mijk Van Dijk||5:25|
|7.||"C2 - Featherhall"||Westbam||6:42|
|8.||"C3 - Spectre"||BCJ||5:46|
|9.||"D1 - Mysterious Traveler (J.Q.Public Mix)"||Derrick May||7:00|
|10.||"D2 - The Vertical"||Joey Beltram||6:28|
|Picture Vinyl Ltd.|
|1.||"A1 - Ghost in the Shell"||Takkyū Ishino||6:43|
|2.||"A2 - Down loader"||The Advent||6:18|
|3.||"A3 - Section 9 Theme"||Brother form Another Planet||6:01|
|4.||"B1 - Fuchi Koma"||Mijk van Dijk||5:09|
|5.||"B2 - Spook & Spell (Slow Version)"||Hardfloor||6:30|
|6.||"B3 - To be or not to be (Off the cuff mix)"||Derrick May||7:00|
- An artbook titled Ghost in the Shell Official Art Book (攻殻機動隊 OFFICIAL ART BOOK Kōkaku Kidōtai OFFICIAL ART BOOK ) was published by Kodansha on July 4, 1997. It contains concept designs, scenes and commentary on Ghost in the Shell.
- Two guidebooks were also published by Kodansha. The first one, Ghost in the Shell Basic File (攻殻機動隊 GHOST IN THE SHELL 上巻 ベーシックファイル Kōkaku kidōtai gōsuto in za sheru jōkan bēshikku fairu , literally "Mobile Armored Riot Police Ghost in the Shell First Volume: Basic File"), was released on July 17, 1997. The second one, Ghost in the Shell Master File (攻殻機動隊 GHOST IN THE SHELL 下巻 マスターファイル Kōkaku kidōtai gōsuto in za sheru gekan masutā fairu , literally "Mobile Armored Riot Police Ghost in the Shell Final Volume: Master File"), was released on August 29, 1997.
- A video titled Making of Game Ghost in the Shell All of Digital Animation Video (MAKING OF GAME 攻殻機動隊デジタルアニメーションのすべて ビデオ), featuring interviews with game developers was released by Kodansha on April 22, 1998 on VHS/Laserdisc and on April 25, 1998 on DVD.
Reception and legacy
Ghost in the Shell had received mostly positive reviews, gaining an aggregate rating of 78.50% at GameRankings. Geoffrey Douglas Smith of Allgame gave the game 4 out of 5 stars, praising the graphics, sound and gameplay stating, "Even with plenty of eye candy and strong audio, a game is nothing without actually being fun to play and as you've probably guessed, Ghost in the Shell supplies the fun, whether you're familiar with the license or not." Joe Fiedler of GameSpot rated the game a 7.3 out of 10, stating the game's controls are "simple, and most people will take to them like a fish to water" and praising the animation sequences. GameFan gave the game three scores: 88, 88, and 86 from three different reviewers, who also praised the game for its unique wall-scaling mechanics and noting how it lives up to the name of the Ghost in the Shell series. Adam Douglas of IGN also praised the game for being faithful to its manga counterpart stating, "the game mimics its manga counterpart well, and the techno music, including tracks from artists like Derrick May and Hardfloor, is superb," but adding that "the levels aren't incredibly difficult, and don't really encourage replay."
On the other hand, GamePro criticized the game's quality, opining that its "graphics, particularly the buildings and enemies, [are] lackluster at best. The sound effects are bland, and there are no power-ups to be found. Put that all together and you get a very generic video game." Next Generation rated it three stars out of five and criticized the game for being tedious, but recognizing that it is still an enjoyable game. Computer & Video Games gave Ghost in the Shell a score of 3 out of 5 and offered a similar criticism, declaring "it was too repetitive to become anything more than a good game." Edge gave the game 7 out of 10, criticized the gameplay features such camera control and boss difficulty. Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game four scores: 7.5, 7.5, 7.5, and 6.5 from four individual reviews, who mainly criticized the game for its easy bosses, repetitive gameplay, and short gameplay value.
In 2013, Game Informer listed Ghost in the Shell as one of the "Best Anime and Manga-Based Games" released in English. It also received praise for being able to break away from other games adapted from movies and being original despite being based upon the manga and movie.
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