Ghostbusters (Master System)

From Sega Retro

For the identically-named Sega Mega Drive game, see Ghostbusters (Mega Drive).


Ghostbusters SMSTitleScreen.png

System(s): Sega Master System
Publisher: Sega
Supporting companies:
Licensor: Activision, Columbia Pictures
Original system(s): Commodore 64[1]
Genre: Action[2][3]

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Master System
Sega Master System
Sega Master System
Sega Master System
£27.9527.95[7][8] 5065
Sega Master System
Sega Master System
Sega Master System
Non-Sega versions

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Ghostbusters is a Sega Master System action game developed by Compile and published by Activision. A port of the publisher's titular 1984 Commodore 64 computer game Ghostbusters[1] (in turn based on the 1984 supernatural comedy film Ghostbusters), it was first released in the United States in May 1987, and is generally considered one of the more playable versions of David Crane's original game.


Upon starting the game, you must select a vehicle to drive and some weapons and traps. You need at least one trap to begin. After buying the trap, you will be taken to the main screen. This is a grid-like map containing three decorated buildings — the Zuul building, the Shop, and the Ghostbusters headquarters ("GHQ"). To enter a building, first move to that building, hold the direction in which the building faces in relation to the logo, and hit 2 to enter it. Before being allowed to go to the building, you must travel on a road on which you may only hit Left and Right to dodge things passing by.

Occasionally a building on the map will flash red. Go to that building before it stops flashing red and you will be able to catch ghosts. Place your trap by moving left or right and hitting 1. Then, control one of the Ghostbusters using the D-pad. Hold 1 to fire your tractor beam to pull a ghost toward you, bring the ghost over the trap, and release 1 to suck it into the trap. You will get money for every ghost trapped. 2 switches which Ghostbuster you control. After using a trap, you must go to the Ghostbusters HQ to empty it before being able to trap more ghosts.

If the City's PK Energy bar on the top of the screen fills yellow, the Stately Puft Marshmallow Man will come out at random to destroy buildings. If it fills red, the game ends.

Eventually you should be able to enter the Zuul building, where you must ascend a flight of stairs and face off with Gozer to win the game.

Because of the short time supply until the final battle and constant need to gain money, players must keep costs and defeats low while earning enough money for final battle.

If players fail to enter Zuul building, the game will end, but as long as they have more than $10000 in their account, thr game will give out a password which will allow players to continue from thr beginning with their accumulated funds from the previous game. Interestingly, if players manage to defeat the Gozer, the game awards players with $5000, but does not give away any password, preventing them from restarting the game with the money they have earned. This is most likely a design oversight.


Map of the New York City
This is main part of the game. Your characters are depicted with a Ghostbusters symbol and you are tasked with reaching buildings which are under attack from ghosts. (Blinking Red) At the top of the screen, you can see the City's PK Energy bar, which will increase as time passes or yellow "Roamer" ghosts reach the Zuul building. As you travel in the city, Ghostbuster symbol will leave black marks. These dots are indicators of how much you have travelled and will increase travelling time during the driving sequences, so unnecessary movements are not recommended. Players can enter a building by pressing button 1 and use special equipment by pressing button 2.

Buildings that soon will be under attack will turn purple. Buildings that are under attack will blink red. Building that will be under attack by Marshmallow Man will turn white.

Touching the Roamers will make them freeze in place and make them appear in the driving sequences. Keymaster and Gatekeeper also wander around the city. Touching those two will reduce money from your account, so stay away from them.

When City's PK Energy reaches red, Marshmallow Man will randomly attack any building. You will see the warning "MARSHMALLOW ALERT" at the top of the screen and roamers will turn green. If you have the Ghost Bait, use it to stop the attack. If you fail, a large amount of money will be deducted from your account.

Driving sequences are viewed from top down perspective. Players must reach target building while simultaneously avoiding obstacles and other cars. Unlike the NES version, there is no need to buy gas. While hitting other cars will simply make your car slide (which depends on the car you are using) hitting the road sides while sliding will cause your car to blow up. If you touched any Roamers during the map screen, you can capture those ghosts during the driving screen, provided that your purchased Ghost Vacuum or Super Ghost Vacuum, you can gain some extra money.
Ghost Busting
When you reach the buildings flashing red, you can begin ghost busting. Controls of the ghost busting sequences are explained above. If you run out of ion energy (read: Proton Packs) or empty traps, ghosts will attack one of your people and knock him out, forcing you to return to the GHQ for replacements. You must also enter the GHQ for recharging your ion energy and emptying your traps.
Entering the Zuul Building
If you have $10000 in your account when City's PK Energy fill with red, you may enter this screen. (Otherwise game will end) While Stafpufft Marshmallow Man is bouncing around the entrance, you must make sure at least 2 of your 3 Ghostbusters must enter the building, which means you can fail only once.
Climbing the Zuul Building
This part of the game is a typical side scrolling action. While moving your men with directional pad, you can fire your proton beams straight with button 2 or diagonally upwards with button 1. Unlike the NES version, there no items to be used here. Roamers will throw plates at you and Slimers will menace you with their inpredictable movements. At least one character must reach the top level.
Final Battle with Gozer
This is a top down action sequence. Confined to the top of the building, you must defeat Gozer who will attack you with spread energy bolts. Gatekeeper and Keymaster also here, who will attack you with fireballs. Concentrate your fire to Gozer until she dies. Your ghostbuster will die with single hit and next one will take over. You must defeat Gozer before you lose your third character.


These vehicles can be selected at the beginning of the game.


Cheapest car. Slow, slides a lot and can carry 6 types of equipment. Not recommended.


Classic Ghostbuster vehicle. Regular speed, slides somewhat when hit and can carry 9 pieces of equipment. Great for beginners and overall good performance.


A large car with the largest carrying capacity. Fast, slides a bit when hit and can carry 11 pieces of equipment. Very useful.


Most expensive and fastest car. Can carry 8 pieces of equipment. Slides only slightly when hit. For experts.

Capture Equipment

These equipment are your main means to finish the game. They can be selected at the beginning of the game and later when your enter the "SHOP" building in the City Map. Your vehicle can carry only a limited amount of equipment and unlike the NES version, there is no option to sell your equipment so choose wisely.

PK Energy Detector

If the building you are passing by is under attack by ghosts in the City Map, building will turn purple. Useless, buy Super PK Energy Detector instead.

Marshmallow Sensor

Notifes you that the nearby building will be attacked by Marshmallow. (Building will turn white) Useless.

Image Intensifier

Ghost will appear solid in the game. Not really useful. Buy only if you are bothered by the constant blinking of the ghosts.

Super PK Energy Detector

Same as regular, except this detector will notify you which building will be under attack regardless of your distance from the building. A must buy.

Super Marshmallow Sensor

Same as regular, except this will paint the building that will be attacked by Marshmallow man regardless of your distance. Again, useless. Knowing the which building the Marshmallow Man will attack has no effect in overall setting. Only thing matters is to stop it.

Ghost Vacuum

Placed on top of your vehicle, this vacuum allows you to capture Roamers during the driving sections. A nice way to generate some extra revenue. Short ranged.

Ghost Bait

Used on the City Map with button 2, this item will draw all the roamers in the Map towards you. This is the only item that will stop a Marshmallo man attack. A must have if you don't want to pay hefty penalties after a Marshmallow attack. Buy it just before the City's PK energy turns red. Make sure you have extra space in your vehicle. Can only be used five times.

Ghost Traps

Traps are crucial for your survival. During the ghostbusting scenes, you must capture ghosts with your traps and if you don't have any empty traps, you will be attacked by ghosts. Filled traps must be returned to the GHQ for the purposes of emptying them. This item can be purchased multiple times.

High Capacity Traps

Same as above, except these traps are larger capacity for the same inventory slot. Quite expensive but can be worth it.

Laser Confinement System

Miniaturized version of the confinement system in the Ghostbusters HQ. With this most expensive item, you will not have to return to the GHQ to empty your traps. You will still need to return to recharge your ion beams and get more men however.

Super Anion Beam

Ion beams will last longer during the Ghostbusting scenes. Might be worth it.

Ghost Paralysis System

Ghost will move slower than normal allowing you to capture them more easily. Somewhat useful for Ghostbusting scenes. (NEEDS TESTING: Does it work for Zuul climbing part?)

Turbo Charger

Your car's speed will be increased by one level. (Example: Slow become Normal, Normal becomes Fast etc.) Useless, but fun.

Super Ghost Vacuum

Same as regular, except this one's range can affect the entire screen.

Defensive Wall

Places a wall in the street that will stop roamers, Gatekeeper and Keymaster. Will dissappear after you enter a building. Single use. Most useless item in the game after Marshmallow Sensors. Don't waste money or equipment space.


Depending on your actions, money can be added and substracted from your account.

Stopping a Marshmallow Man attack +$2000

Capturing a Ghost during driving or ghostbusting scenes +$200

Touching either Keymaster or Gatekeeper during the City Map -$10 every second

Crashing your car -$2000

Allowing Marshmallow Man to destroy a building -$4000


Despite being published exclusively in the United States and Europe, Ghostbusters contains unused bootup code for the Japanese Sega Mark III, indicating a possible planned domestic release; however, such a release ultimately never materialized.

Sega would later contract development of the next title in the Ghostbusters series to Compile, resulting in the original 1990 Sega Mega Drive action platform game Ghostbusters.


Production credits

Developer mentions[10]

Magazine articles

Main article: Ghostbusters (Master System)/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #96: "November 1989" (1989-10-16)
also published in:
  • ACE (UK) #26: "November 1989" (1989-10-xx)[11]
Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #97: "December 1989" (1989-11-16)
also published in:
Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #100: "March 1990" (1990-02-16)
also published in:
  • ACE (UK) #30: "March 1990" (1990-02-01)[13]
  • ACE (UK) #31: "April 1990" (1990-03-xx)[14]
Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #101: "April 1990" (1990-03-16)
also published in:
  • ACE (UK) #32: "May 1990" (1990-04-xx)[15]
Print advert in Pixel (GR) #74: "Fevrouários 1991" (1991-xx-xx)
Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #111: "February 1991" (1991-01-16)

Physical scans

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Aktueller Software Markt (DE)
Complete Guide to Consoles (UK)
Complete Guide to Consoles (UK)
Complete Guide to Consoles (UK)
The Complete Guide to Sega (UK) PAL
Console XS (UK) PAL
Computer & Video Games (UK) PAL
The Games Machine (UK)
Joystick (FR) PAL
K (IT)
Micromanía (segunda época) (ES)
Mean Machines Sega (UK)
Power Play (DE)
S: The Sega Magazine (UK) PAL
Sega Power (UK) PAL
Sega Pro (UK)
Sega Pro (UK) PAL
Smash (DE) PAL
Sega Master System
Based on
19 reviews

Ghostbusters (Master System)

Master System, US (℠ variant)
Ghostbusters SMS US Box SM.jpg
Master System, US (® variant)
Ghostbusters sms us cover.jpg
Ghostbusters sms us cart.jpg
Ghostbusters sms us manual.pdf
SegaAdventure SMS US Poster Back.jpgSegaAdventure SMS US Poster Front.jpg
Master System, US (re-release)
Ghostbusters SMS US Box Rerelease.jpg
Ghostbusters SMS US Cart Rerelease.jpg
Master System, EU
Ghostbusters SMS EU Box NoR.jpg
Ghostbusters SMS EU Manual.pdf
Master System, EU (Sega®)
Ghostbusters SMS EU Box R.jpg
Ghostbusters SMS EU Cart R.jpg
Master System, PT
Ghostbusters SMS PT back.jpgNospine.pngGhostbusters SMS PT cover.jpg
Master System, BX


Master System, AU
Ghostbusters SMS AU Cover.jpg
Ghostbusters SMS AU Cart.jpg
Master System, AU (Hotline sticker)
Ghostbusters SMS AU hotline cover.jpg
Ghostbusters SMS AU Cart.jpg
Master System, AU (Not for rental sticker)
Ghostbusters SMS AU norental cover.jpg
Ghostbusters SMS AU Cart.jpg
Master System, BR
Ghostbusters SMS BR Box Back.jpgNospine.pngGhostbusters SMS BR cover.jpg
Ghostbusters SMS BR Cart.jpg
Ghostbusters SMS BR Manual.pdf
Master System, KR
Ghostbusters SMS KR backcover.jpgNospine.pngGhostbusters SMS KR cover.jpg
Ghostbusters SMS KR cart.jpg

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Master System
CRC32 1ddc3059
MD5 dbae1ad6d3917a95b96d28bfc6f3f90a
SHA-1 8945a9dfc99a2081a6fb74bbabf8feaac83a7e1a
128kB Cartridge (EU/US)


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. File:Ghostbusters SMS EU Box NoR.jpg
  3. File:Ghostbusters SMS KR backcover.jpg
  4. Computer Entertainer, "June 1987" (US; 1987-06-xx), page 14
  5. 5.0 5.1 New Computer Express, "October 28, 1989" (UK; 1989-10-26), page 6
  6. File:BristolEveningPost UK 1989-10-26 Page 79.jpg
  7. 7.0 7.1 ACE, "January 1990" (UK; 1989-12-xx), page 50
  8. Computer & Video Games, "December 1989" (UK; 1989-11-16), page 36
  9. Supergame, "Agosto 1991" (BR; 1991-08-xx), page 27
  10. Private correspondence between Dissident93 and Masaru Setsumaru/Tokuhiko Uwabo
  11. ACE, "November 1989" (UK; 1989-10-xx), page 111
  12. Computer & Video Games, "January 1990" (UK; 1989-12-16), page 115
  13. ACE, "March 1990" (UK; 1990-02-01), page 70
  14. ACE, "April 1990" (UK; 1990-03-xx), page 64
  15. ACE, "May 1990" (UK; 1990-04-xx), page 12
  16. Aktueller Software Markt, "Oktober 1989" (DE; 1989-08-28), page 70
  17. Complete Guide to Consoles, "" (UK; 1989-10-16), page 56
  18. Complete Guide to Consoles, "" (UK; 1989-10-16), page 86
  19. Complete Guide to Consoles, "Volume IV" (UK; 1990-11-xx), page 97
  20. The Complete Guide to Sega, "" (UK; 1991-05-xx), page 56
  21. Console XS, "June/July 1992" (UK; 1992-04-23), page 140
  22. Computer & Video Games, "August 1989" (UK; 1989-07-15), page 100
  23. The Games Machine, "September 1989" (UK; 1989-08-18), page 96
  24. Joystick, "Janvier 1990" (FR; 19xx-xx-xx), page 139
  25. K, "Novembre 1990" (IT; 1990-xx-xx), page 72
  26. Micromanía (segunda época), "Febrero 1990" (ES; 1990-0x-xx), page 34
  27. Mean Machines Sega, "October 1992" (UK; 1992-09-xx), page 133
  28. Power Play, "12/89" (DE; 1989-11-13), page 84
  29. S: The Sega Magazine, "January 1990" (UK; 1989-11-xx), page 21
  30. Sega Power, "October 1991" (UK; 1991-09-05), page 57
  31. Sega Pro, "Christmas 1991" (UK; 1991-12-12), page 19
  32. Sega Pro, "April 1993" (UK; 1993-03-11), page 71
  33. Smash, "July/August 1989" (DE; 1989-06-23), page 54

Ghostbusters (Master System)

Ghostbusters SMSTitleScreen.png

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