Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 11/08/04 | Genre: Action
One of the most beloved anime franchises is Ghost in the Shell. When the movie came out back in 1995, people went nuts over the deep story and awesome animation. However, there has yet to be a decent videogame based on the franchise. Can Bandai help change that with their latest release based on the franchise?
Ghost in the Shell: The Stand Alone Complex is an action game that requires the player to master the somewhat difficult controls. You use the left and right analog sticks to move around the camera and hit L1 for your main weapon and L2 for the secondary. To jump, players will use the R1 and R2 buttons. This leaves players with the face buttons to perform everything else in the game such as reloading, using items in the environment, and changing weapons. Due to the complexity of the control system, you really are going to have to sit down and give the game an hour or two to master the use of the controls.
The Stand Alone Complex takes place in the year 2029 and tells the story of Major Motoko Kusangi and Bateau who work for Section 9. While players will control both characters through the course of the game, you will spend more time with Kusangi. Despite the character you are controlling, you will still make use of the same control scheme I mentioned above.
Bandai has done a good job of incorporating computer hacking into The Stand Alone Complex. However, the real draw is the run and gun action. For those of you looking for a bit more depth and strategy, this title may disappoint you due to it being fairly straightforward. It also doesn't help that the AI isn't very intelligent. Besides the run and gun gameplay elements, controlling your characters through the environment is similar to other 3D action/adventure titles like Tomb Raider. You will have to navigate yourself through small ledges and make jumps to get to the other side. All of this is done in the anime style you would expect to see with the Ghost in the Shell license.
Unfortunately, the game is relatively short. Players should be able to get through the title in well under 10 hours. However, the final boss is an absolute blast to defeat... I just wish that there was a bit more challenge besides mastering the controls. For some added replay value, there is a multiplayer mode included for two to four players. These multiplayer maps can be rather large and you may have some difficulty locating the other players. This takes a bit away from the multiplayer aspect of the game but playing against an actual human is much more satisfying that facing off against one of the horrible computer controlled opponents in the single player game.
Overall, Ghost in the Shell: The Stand Alone Complex is an average action game that has the look and feel of the series. This is the best title released under the Ghost in the Shell Name. Hopefully the next incarnation of the series can bring a little more substance to the table.