Ghost in the Shell
As a fan of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex anime series, I had to play the first game for the PlayStation. This was after I played the Stand Alone Complex games for the PS2 and PSP, but wanted to play the first one. This game was made after the first movie and resembles that more so than the anime. I watched the first movie several times before finally playing this game, but definitely prefer the anime, especially due to the voice actors that are missing from the anime.
This game was played using the PlayStation emulator, DuckStation. I increased the resolution with PGXP on.
Based on the highly popular manga and movie, Ghost in the Shell takes place in the not so distant future where humans have merged with machines and have prosthetic bodies and cyber brains and are always connected to the net.
Public Security Section 9, consisting of Chief Aramaki, Major Motoko Kusanagi, Batou, Togusa, Ishikawa, Saito, and a rookie (your character) are investigating an act of terror committed by the Human Liberation Front, a group that opposes cyberization. They have blown up the Megatech Body Corporation building. Upon investigating, Section 9 discovered the leader, Zebra 27.
Upon finding the base of the Human Liberation Front, Section 9 discovers that their goal is to use a nuclear reactor. Sawamura, an individual who has been in contact with Zebra, is also part of Megatech Body Corporation’s development section. Section 9 storms the place and deactivate the reactor, and the rookie is ordered to the top to defeat Zebra.
Afterwards, it’s revealed that Sawamura was trying to cover up a faulty reactor that was about to explode and collect bribes from Megatech’s development section. Zebra took over the facility and wanted to extort money from Sawamura.
Control a Fuchikoma, a red think tank that a person can fit in and shoot guns and missiles. It should not be confused with a Tachikoma from Stand Alone Complex, but it’s the same concept. The Fuchikoma has wheels to drive around fast, it can jump, sticks to walls and ceilings, has a machine gun, missiles, and grenades.
Drive the Fuchikoma around, destroying enemies and completing the objective of the level. There are different objectives such as finding keys, reaching a destination, and destroying objects. At the end of each stage is a boss. Better save those grenades for the boss!
Firing the machine gun requires mashing the shoot button, but holding the button will allow the tank to lock onto enemies to charge up for a missile attack. There are health and grenade pickups on the field.
Various enemies and bosses will try and stop your mission. There are ground, flying, and water enemies, as well as a variety of larger bosses that will take many hits to defeat and have a variety of attacks that can severely damage your Fuchikoma.
The graphics are quite impressive for a PS1 game. There is even a native widescreen mode in the options. The Fuchikoma, enemies, and environments are done well and you can tell what everything is. However, this is not a colorful game. Most of the palette is whites and blacks, with various shades of gray for the buildings. This is mostly because of the setting the game takes place in.
There are a handful of anime style cutscenes that tell the story. It’s only about 10 minutes in total, and can be viewed from the options menu once unlocked, but it adds a bit more to the game. The quality of these scenes is quite poor since it’s a PS1 game.
Sound / Music
I love the voice acting for the Stand Alone Complex series, and this game (as well as the first movie) use many of the voice actors. However, there are some notable differences, such as Major Motoko Kusanagi and Togusa not being voiced by the same actors I liked from the anime (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn & Crispin Freeman).
The music in the game is mostly techno and I believe most of the tracks are original to the game, some even being by popular techno DJs, while others may be licensed.