Who You Gonna Call? "LU-IGI!"
When the Nintendo GameCube was originally unveiled, it seemed to be a given that a new game starring Mario would launch right alongside with it. In November 2001, Mario was nowhere to be found. Instead, Luigi took up the starring role for once in a different type of Mario spin-off in Luigi's Mansion. The game not only was a spooky romp, but it was a nice tech demo of the graphical prowess of Nintendo's new 'Cube. More than a decade later, and Nintendo is finally releasing a sequel to the game, much to fans' rapture. Before Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon rises on the Nintendo 3DS, how does the original Luigi's Mansion fare after all these years?
Luigi receives a message in the mail congratulating him on winning a luxurious mansion. Reveling in the news, Luigi lets his brother Mario know, asking for the two of them to meet one another at the mansion to celebrate. However, when Luigi arrives at his won mansion, not only is the mansion not like the one on the brochure, but it's infested with ghosts! Add into the equation that Mario is missing and Luigi isn't the bravest plumber on the planet, and you have a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, a researcher of the paranormal named Professor E. Gadd enters the picture and gives Luigi two special devices: a ghost-sucking Poltergust 3000 vacuum and a Game Boy Horror handheld device.
There's little time for pleasantries--
Mario is missing!
|Get acquainted to collecting a lot of keys.|
Luigi's Mansion focuses a fair portion of the gameplay on puzzles, whether related to the environment or ghost-related. The majority of rooms have a special portrait ghost in them that need to be put back into their pictures. The catch with these particular poltergeists is that their hearts won't appear through the normal means of shining Luigi's flashlight on them. In these cases, some ingenuity is needed. One of the earliest ghosts will only reveal its heart through having all of the instruments in the room begin playing. Another will be ready to be vacuumed up when it yawns. These portrait ghosts have much more health than your average specter, so sometimes it might feel like an endurance match to reel them in.
|The portrait ghosts possess the most personality.|
When a room has been cleared of all "ordinary" ghosts (just how ordinary a ghost can be is beyond me) and the lights have turned on, many rooms will have a Boo hiding inside them. Luigi's Game Boy Horror has a signal on it that will indicate when he is close to a Boo. Blue means there are no Boos to be found, yellow means there is one inside the room, and red means Luigi is very close to it. Once found, Luigi can begin sucking up the ghost. However, many times the Boo will flee from its current room to an adjacent room, meaning you have to follow if you want to capture it. On many occasions I found myself trekking back and forth between hallways and rooms just to suck up 15 out of 150 HP of a Boo. Sure, a Boo's health doesn't regenerate, but it is still a tedious hunt to be had.
Outside of ghost hunting, Luigi can amass mad money in his mansion. Drawers, shelves, coat racks, treasure chests, and more are loaded with coins, dollar bills, pearls and gems to collect. Once the game has been finished (which won't take most players too long, perhaps 5-8 hours), the game tallies your total money gathered and rewards Luigi with a real mansion worth living in. Depending on how much money he amasses, Luigi can live in a shack or a mansion that royalty would be jealous of.
Search high and low for cold
hard coins and cash!
You can't help but feel sorry
for Mario's shadow-- I mean-- Luigi.
Luigi's Mansion is still a stellar looking game. It is all of the touches added to the game that make the sum so appealing. From Luigi nervously humming along with the music in hallways, to shadows cast by different points of light, to Luigi's breath showing up in the chilly recesses of the mansion, there is a lot to appreciate in Luigi's Mansion. Still, after 11+ years, the game looks and feels great.
Spooks aren't generally what you'd expect from a Mario spin-off, but that is what you will sometimes get with Luigi's Mansion. The game will most definitely deliver thrills and fun too. Even though I had mostly remembered the solutions to most of the puzzles Luigi's GameCube launch title possessed, I still had an enjoyable time. The puzzles are smart, the difficulty is challenging and balanced, and there are some signs of longevity. I say bring on Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Nintendo!
[SPC Says: 8.0/10]