It has to be said that Ghost Squad has a lot going against it. It's a classic example of the on-rails, arcade, light-gun shooter. It boasts a pitifully short running time, wretched cut-scenes and dialogue, mildly inept graphics and some of the strangest art choices I've seen in many a year. Frankly, it's the sort of game I should do my utmost to discourage anyone from making, let alone buying.
Yet at the same time, I do kind of love it.
Ghost Squad was originally made in 2004 for Sega's Xbox-based Chihiro arcade board, and the heritage shows through in the Wii conversion. It's a fairly simple light-gun shooter, with a grand total of three (yes, three!) levels which you and up to three chums can proceed through, shooting roughly anyone that appears on the screen. You earn points for how quickly and how accurately you blast away the bad guys, and lost health when you're shot or when you accidentally kill one of the few people you're not meant to kill - usually a hostage or a Ghost Squad comrade. If you're looking for tactical depth or long-term appeal, this isn't really one for you. Ghost Recon Wii it most certainly is not.
Admittedly, Ghost Squad does go deeper than some arcade shooters. In one of the missions, you're asked to handcuff hostages (by holding and pressing the A button), while in another you're expected to defuse landmines (by clicking the A button repeatedly over them). You might be commanded to defuse a bomb (target and clip the wires in the correct order) or blow away a helicopter with guided rockets (keep the reticule over the offending whirlybird, then fire away). You might even be asked to do a bit of long-range sniping or, in the trickiest boss battle, kill a terrorist head honcho with a single shot to the head. We even get a handful of sections that simulate hand-to-hand combat by targeting the highlighted limb and hitting A. In other words, it's not all a case of aiming the Wii remote at the screen and holding down the B trigger. Sometimes you have to aim the Wii remote at the screen and press the A button instead.
What's more, the game pushes for a little replay value by incorporating a system of branching pathways. At various points in each level you'll be asked to shoot one of two or three onscreen options, which will then decide which scene you have to fight through next. Different branches open up different scenes later on, and it will actually take longer than you might think to open and play through all the different combinations. Plus, the more you replay, the more difficult the levels get, so there is a certain amount of sense in going back for more.