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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Action / Adventure

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Nintendo

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

November 2001

 

 

- Great looking and sounding game

- Luigi gets his own game

- More Scooby-Doo than Resident Evil

- Lots of different ghosts

- Multipurpose vacuum opens up different play possibilities

 

 

- Controls have a learning curve

- No jumping?!?

 

 

Review: Super Mario Sunshine (Gamecube)

Review: Super Smash Brothers Melee (Gamecube)

Review: Super Mario Advance 2 (Gameboy Advance)

 

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Luigi's Mansion

Score: 8.9 / 10

Who can think of a Mario Brothers game that didn’t feature 50 different ways to jump?  Even in Mario Kart you could hop.  Luigi’s Mansion doesn’t even have a jump function!

Luigi finally gets a game to call his own – it’s only taken about 20 years but he finally has it.  Let’s face it; Mario has been a glory hog and it serves him right that he’s taken prisoner by a bunch on ghosts.  Luigi was to meet Mario at a mansion Luigi recently won.  Upon arrival Mario’s nowhere to be found and Luigi quickly learns the place is haunted and Professor E. Gad has been trying to clear the the spirits out.  The professor, knowing a sucker is born every minute, hands over a couple of doo-dads and tells Luigi that if he hopes to see Mario again he’ll have to capture the ghosts and explore every nook and cranny of the house.

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It’s impossible to talk about Luigi’s Mansion (LM) without also mentioning Ghostbusters (one of the best movies the ‘80s produced).  The similarities are striking.  The main difference being that Luigi’s vacuum cleaner holds the ghost and captures it – a two-in-one proton pack and trap.  The mechanics of the game took me a while to learn. (Put in the hours in the training room.)  The controls are akin to one of my all-time favorite games, Smash TV, where one stick moves your character and the other points your flashlight and vacuum.  So you can retreat and still fire on a ghost.  My problem came from wrapping my head around the 3D aspect.  Smash TV was 2D (top-down) and 3D is a whole different ballgame.  (Sometimes your vacuum will automatically come to bear on the minor ghosts, but you still have to be facing in the right direction.)  For this reason LM is not as accessible as previous Mario Brothers games, where pressing the jump button was pretty much all you needed.  Once you do get the hang of the controls, you’ll be sucking up ghosts left, right, and center.

 

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Not only can you vacuum up ghosts, you can also affect your environment – like sucking up table clothes or rattling chandeliers.  This is essential to find all the cash and gold scattered throughout the house.  After finding elemental icons, Luigi can use the vacuum to expel fire, water, etc. whatever he’s stocked with (by sucking up an elemental).  Attaining these icons is necessary to complete some rooms and defeat bosses.  For example, early on you must use fire to light some candles so that a key appears. (Luigi must be taking lessons from Link.)

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Capturing ghosts is your main conduit for finding keys that unlock the copious amount of bolts throughout the mansion.  Practically every door is initially locked.  When you do snag a key your Gameboy Horror pops up with a mini-map to show which door the key fits.  This saves a lot of time – who wants to go back and check every door?

And speaking of saves, LM has a good save function.  Every time you capture a Boo you can save.  Plus, you can save by visiting Toad who appears throughout the mansion.  The easiest way is probably to warp through any mirror to get back the entranceway where Toad is. (To use the warp you must enter first-person mode.  This mode only allows you to look around, not run around.  Often this mode can provide clues that you might overlook in the 3rd Person mode.)

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Graphics are just what you would expect from one of Nintendo’s flagship characters.  You won’t find any guts or entrails lying around – just a lot of dust and glowing ghosts.  The ghosts themselves are also reminiscent of Ghostbusters. (There’s even a Slimer type ghost that gorges himself but when the food runs out he attacks with projectile vomit.)  The animation is first rate and there are no load times to speak of.  Layered with the graphics is the sound.  For some reason Nintendo decided not to use voices for Toad or Professor E. Gad, instead the old scrolling text is back along with the “wha, whaa, whoo, meuuun” accompaniment.  In place of jumping, Luigi can say Mario’s name about 20 slightly different ways. “Maarrrioooo?” or “Mario!” being my favorites. (When nothing in particular was happening I’d call for Mario just to hear the panic in Luigi's voice.)  The sound effects and music are also of the cartoon variety and fit the action to a “T.”

The “E” rating is misleading.  After my two year-old son watched me playing, it was suddenly very hard for him to fall asleep.  (When we go in to check on him he’s got the covers over his head and is wide awake.  When asked what the problem is, he points at the closet and says, “WHoooooOOO!”)

Luigi’s Mansion shouldn’t disappoint the hardcore Nintendo crowd.  No, Luigi can’t jump but it’s still a fun and engaging experience.

- Omni

(December 12, 2001)

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