Geist Review

Developed by N-Space

Published by Nintendo


Played on: Gamecube

Not available on any other official platform


John Raimi, a scientist, joins a counter-terrorism unit tasked with investigating the strange happens at the Volks Corporation. Raimi is tasked with analyzing the technologies and processes of the Volks Corporation as his team attempts to rescue an undercover agent from the compound. Strange monsters and heavily armed guards block their path however, and Raimi and his team are forced to fight their way out. Just as they are about to escape, one of the team members is possessed and kills the entire team except Raimi, who is shot in the leg. When Raimi wakes up, he is in an experimental machine that rips his soul from his body turning him into a “Geist.” From there, he is guided by the spirit of a small girl named Gigi, who helps him escape the compound. It’s up to Raimi to find his body and stop the evil doings of the Volks Corporation.


As far as story goes that all I’m going to say. That is the first level in a nutshell. Geist is a first person shooter with action adventure game elements. Because it was advertized as an FPS in America, let’s talk about those segments of the game first. This being a Gamecube game means that it has technical limitations, which is fine. But this game feels like a sloppy N64 shooter. The controls are downright insulting with only two preset layouts to pick from. The only difference between the two are that the first layout has the C-stick (the little yellow nub) control your field of view while the second layout has it control your movement. Normally the C-stick isn’t terrible for dual joystick games. But here it’s just horrid. The dead zone of the sticks, including the regular analog stick, are enormous, meaning you have to ram them in one direction to get a response. Even when pushing all the way to the side, Raimi will slowly turn like a fat man dying of obesity. How can I shoot three enemies in quick succession if I can’t even move my character around fast enough? But the problem only gets worse. In almost every shooter, whether it be modern or old, when you push up on the stick you look up, and when you push down on the stick you look down. Not here. The controls are inverted and there is no way of changing this. Many times I would try to arc a grenade by looking up, only to look down and blow myself up. Not to mention looking up and down is just as slow as turning left to right. Luckily left and right are still normal. Movement in this game is almost as bad with many characters moving at a breezy walk when “running.” But speaking of running, let’s talk about the bare bones abilities in this game.

I know that the Gamecube controller has fewer buttons than the other controllers of it’s day, but how the game compensates for this is ridiculous. You use the left trigger to use your special ability, which includes such ground breaking mechanics like crouching and sprinting. WOW, fuck Medal of Honor and Call of Duty, this is the first person shooter of the sixth console generation. Some levels in this game have little cover meaning that your only means of avoiding enemy fire are luck because many of the characters you play as can’t sprint because they can crouch. It’s a sad world when people’s legs are too weak to run but can be bent at 25 degrees in a pathetic attempt of avoiding bullets.


Even if you can somehow ignore all of the controller issues, and the fact that the game has barely any of the must have actions of other shooters, there are still a potluck of problems. I think it would only be fair to bring up the AI in this game because of how stupid it is. There are two types of enemies you fight; generic soldiers, who march to their deaths, and monsters from hell. Let’s start with the soldiers because 90% of what you kill is human. The highly trained soldiers you fight are about as smart as a brain dead five year old. They refuse to use cover even when it is available. They fire their weapons in random directions at walls, ceilings, and sometimes each other. I guess this is where all the people who can’t afford Ritalin got a job. I think the funniest, or maybe just the most obvious, issue is when the soldiers don’t even notice you. I counted at least five times when I walked up to an enemy who just sat there and didn’t do anything. How is that even possible? Even shit games have AI that reacts, even if that reaction is something ludicrous.


But now we have to talk about the monsters. They have far better AI than the soldiers do. They do really radical things like attack and respond to the player. And I thought that this game was behind the times? What was I thinking? But to be honest, they still have little intelligence to them. They tend to get very close to the player before attacking which allows the player to pick them off. Now this may have been intentional since the first monsters you encounter in the game are meant to be easy enemies, but nonetheless, it feels strange. The other monsters in the game are the same thing except they do more damage and take more shots to kill. Overall there isn’t anything noticeably vomit-inducing about the monster AI but at the same time it’s not doing anything revolutionary.


Now there is one redeeming quality to the FPS sections of the game, which is in the boss battles. At the end of each level there is a boss fight. The player has to move quickly and and think on the fly while playing these parts of the game. The bosses themselves react to the player and attack the player directly unlike the other opponents in the game. They require some good old exploit the weak spot to win mechanics but in a way that feels challenging and different. I don’t want to spoil any of the boss battles since they are one of this game’s saving graces, but if you want to check them out just go to YouTube because as I go on you’re not going to want this game.

We still have more gameplay to go through. The Action-Adventure parts of the game make up most of your time surprisingly. When Raimi had his soul ripped from his body he became a Geist, which makes him a kind of spirit that can possess others. All the puzzles in this game revolve around a central theme. Possess a soldier, janitor, cook, scientist, etc. and then perform an action to move on throughout the level and into the next. Before you can posses a person you need to scare them. Every person starts out with a grey outline which Raimi can see when he is wandering as a Geist. First you have to disturb them to get them a yellow outline and then scare them again so they have red outline. Once you have scared an enemy you can now possess them and continue the level. You can scare people by possessing inanimate objects around the world such as steam pipes, soda machines, TVs, etc. First you perform one action to disturb them, and then when they move to another part of the room you possess another object and then scare them again. This sounds like a fun mechanic but it’s actually a pain in the ass. You have to investigate an object first, which means clicking A and then reading some asinine piece of text before being able to possess it. This is a minor complaint I admit, but having to do this time after time is just ridiculous. But to really drive home the point that the designers didn’t have a creative bone in their body, you only have one way of scaring someone. You can’t just go floating around the room possessing an assortment of objects and scare the person the way you want. You have to first possess one specific object, and then possess another specific object. After a while you develop such an eye for this that they aren’t even puzzles any more. I have to admit that many of these puzzles are interesting to do because of what you can take control of. There are times when you get to possess a mouse or a bat or a set of robotic arms. But this is just a distraction from an otherwise tedious and poorly made 3d action adventure game.

As far as gameplay is concerned this is it. There are some cool sections such as a high speed motorcycle chase and a timed mission where you have to destroy certain objectives before the time runs out, but even these feel weak and boring. I have other complaints about the game so at least we can take time to address those. The first I would like to bring up is the soundtrack. There are only three tracks in the entire game. One for combat, one for cutscenes, and one for when Raimi is a spirit wandering the level. The one in the cutscenes is the most generic drama piece I’ve ever heard and the one when Raimi is wandering around is very quiet but sounds okay. The only one I liked was the combat track which sounded like a grand tune for battling the Volks Corporation, until you find out that it’s the same 20 second piece looped over and over until all the enemies are dead. You are going to be hearing this track a lot so you better like it.


Another issue I have with the game is its cutscenes. Each level starts and ends with a cutscene. Not only are all the cutscenes executed in the in-game engine, which makes them look like crap, they also look like they were directed by a cringy seven year old. The camera angles make zero sense because half the time you can’t clearly see what you’re suppose to be looking at. The story is a cliché piece of shit in itself, but the directing makes it even worse.


My last major issue with the game is probably the voice acting. All the cutscenes are fully voice acted for every character no matter how minor. But for some reason in the game when you talk to someone the only thing you hear is your name or some sentence that makes no sense out of context followed by a textbox of what the character has to say. Why couldn’t they just had the voice actors say the in-game lines? Was it that much of a hassle or did they change the story too many times?

Overall my experience with Geist was shit. It was so bad that I didn’t even finish the game. I know that as a reviewer I should have finished it but I felt like that would be unnecessary masochism. I could have said more about how this game looks like shit even though it was a Gamecube exclusive. I could have talked about how the story made me cringe so badly that I wanted to turn my console off. But what would be the point? The core of the game is terrible. The additional elements are even worse. Some nights I would apologize to my Gamecube as it cried because I put this flaming turd of a game inside of it. At the end of the day I don’t know how with so much support from Nintendo Geist turned out to be such a disaster. It could be the fact that N-space and Nintendo had constant disputes. It could have been because this was N-space’s first ever FPS. But at the end of the day all of this could have been solved if the developers at N-space possessed some people who were actually good at making video games.


I am giving Geist a 2 out of 10



Some good boss battles



Terrible controls

Boring exploration

Puzzles with little variety or choice

Downright idiotic AI

Vomit-inducing cutscenes

Just awful to look at

The worst soundtrack I’ve heard in a long time

The lack of in-game voice acting

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