Ghostbusters: Dimension (VR Review)
Ghostbusters: Dimension is one of four virtual reality attractions currently playing at The Void‘s location inside the Glendale Galleria. Like The Void’s other attractions, Ghostbusters: Dimension mixes free-roaming VR with physical sets to create an amazing interactive experience, which sends a ghost-busting team to flush spirits out of a haunted high-rise. In keeping with the tone of the source material, the spooks are more creepy than terrifying; one or two mild scares should not scare anyone away from enjoying the amusing thrills and spectacular special effects.
Originally released in 2016 to coincide with the arrival of the female Ghostbusters remake in cinemas, Ghostbusters: Dimension has since been retooled to tie in with the original film, thanks to the participation of actor-writer Dan Akroyd, who introduces and narrates the revised version (which made its debut in time for Halloween 2018). Participants (ideally in groups of four) watch a brief video in which Dr. Raymond Stantz (Akroyd) explains that he is sending them to handle a job he is too busy to do himself. Entering the building, the novice Ghostbusters encounter several apparitions: some in dark corridors, some outside on balconies, and finally one seen through the ruptured ceiling.
Unlike The Void’s Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment, which presents the appearance of a choose-your-own-adventure, with decisions to make and puzzles to solve before proceeding, Ghostbusters: Dimension is completely linear, with Stantz’s voice guiding the team every step of the way, via radio contact through the VR headsets. The result is a fast-paced adventure, perfect for VR-newbies who might otherwise be overwhelmed by the immersive nature of the Void experience. (God knows that, without prompting from Stantz, my predilection would have been to stand around and gawk at the computer-generated environments instead of getting on with the mission.) Consequently, Ghostbusters: Dimension is slightly less interactive than in Nicodemus but also slightly less confusing, because participants do not need to figure out what to do.
There are one or two potentially vertiginous moments, as when the novice ghost-busting team is standing on an outdoor platform, many floors above street level, and firing at a winged demon. Fortunately, the presence of actual physical sets helps participants maintain balance – there is almost always a wall or a handrail to grasp; otherwise, it would experience could get rather woozy.
Perhaps the major appeal of Ghostbusters: Dimension is the opportunity to strap on positron colliders and blast ghosts into globs of green goo. Since this is more of an adventure than a game, good aim is not required. After all, the positron beams are notable for their wobbly shape, which twists and turns until it finds its way to the target as if by magnetism. So even if your team is not made up of crack-shots, you will be able to cross the streams and prevail, even against the overwhelming might of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man himself!
Ultimately, the best thing one can say about Ghostbusters: Dimension is that the built-in appeal of the attraction is so immense that it would have been easy for the execution to fall short of expectations. Yet The Void delivers. Whether participants are consciously aware of the innovative combination of virtual reality and physical settings, they will feel completely immersed when they enter and completely satisfied when they exit.
Note: The VR gear, including headset and backpack, weighs about twenty-five pounds. The backpack (which occasionally simulates impact from the surrounding environment) can be a little tight for people not in the best shape, but any discomfort wears off quickly after the adrenalin starts pumping. The headset is large enough to accommodate eyeglasses. Lockers are available to store hats, coats, and sweaters.
Ghostbusters: Dimension rating
The Void delivers, meeting everyone’s expectations of what it would feel like to join the Ghostbusters.
Ghosbusters: Dimension is currently running on Fridays at The Void’s Glendale Galleria location: 1164 Galleria Way, Glendale, CA 91210. It is best to book ahead and arrive early, but walk-ins are accepted.
Also playing at The Void’s two Los Angeles locations (the other is on the Third Street Promenade) are Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, Ralph Breaks the VR, and Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment. For more information, visit TheVoid.com.