Though the game frequently leads you by the nose, Geist definitely has its moments. At one point, Raimi finds himself in a women's locker room (no, it's not the first place he goes as soon as he realizes he's invisible). At another point, he must possess the body of an animal handler who has a real way with ill-tempered, stubborn mutts. Some of the later puzzles are pretty decent, too, and the action also gets better as the game gradually accepts that you've come to grips with the basics. The late-game battles are some of the best parts of Geist. You'll need to use your ghostlike abilities to suppress difficult odds, such as by frequently switching between hosts in the middle of a firefight, causing your foes to fire on one another in panic. Since the world seems to move in slow motion as you travel around in ghost form, it can be exciting to watch your foes caught up in the chaotic instant. And just when you think you're unstoppable...well, you'll find out. While the world of Geist isn't so detailed or open-ended that you can really lose yourself in the experience, the game at least succeeds at keeping you guessing, and it compels you to keep pressing on until the climactic conclusion.
Geist's multiplayer mode plays up the game's unique ghosts-and-humans premise.
Geist's multiplayer portion is subject to the same relative strengths and weaknesses as the rest of the game. That is, it makes up for its fairly standard look and feel with some distinguishing features. Multiplayer is split up into different modes of play: possession deathmatch, capture the host, and hunt. All three center on the game's possession mechanics. In deathmatch, your weapons are dependent on which host you possess. Geist has a good selection of different weapons in it, so this is a decent deathmatch mode with a twist. Capture the host works well as a team-based variant, where you try to possess a host and then safely get to a strategic point. Kill some foes along the way and you'll score bonus points when you get there. Hunt is a ghosts-versus-humans match in which ghosts must possess their human opponents and force them into environmental hazards, like pits or fans, while the humans must use their slow-loading antispirit pistols to immobilize and dispatch their ethereal enemies. Each of these modes has a different tone to it, so it's difficult to decide which is best. Hunt is the most unusual, but all tend to be action-packed, partly due to the rather small maps.
Geist supports four players in split-screen matches, but you can have up to eight characters running around in a match by padding it out with computer-controlled extras. The ability to play with bots is definitely nice to have, and multiple difficulty settings for the bots make them suitable competition for players of various skill levels. There are numerous other options you can tweak to customize your multiplayer sessions, and you can also unlock additional maps and characters by finding hidden secrets strewn through the single-player adventure. Overall, Geist's multiplayer mode is a solid addition to the game.
Geist is well worth playing if you're looking for an unusual spin on the first-person-action formula.
Sometimes Geist looks rather impressive, but at other times it's choppy and slow, making the game look dated and uneven. The sum total is still a fine-looking GameCube game that features some fairly expressive characters, lots of pretty-looking atmospheric lighting effects, and considerably detailed environments. There also aren't many interruptions to the action, as loading times during the single-player portion are thankfully infrequent--until you die, anyway, at which point Geist has the annoying habit of prompting you to save your progress before taking several long seconds to load your last saved point. All the while, Geist's audio is good but unremarkable. Weapon effects are a little subdued, and most of the dialogue is spelled out in onscreen text, while the portions of it that are delivered in full speech are of mixed quality. The soundtrack cues up fairly well to what's happening in the game, and it helps reinforce both the suspenseful and action-packed portions of the plot.
By now, the first-person shooter is probably the single-most-played-out style of gaming around. So many games have pushed this style of gaming to the limits, and so many more have fallen short of the mark, that it's difficult for any such game to stand out anymore. Geist at least serves as an important reminder that an original game design and a first-person perspective aren't mutually exclusive. The shooter portions of Geist aren't all that special, but there's a lot more to this game than meets the eye.