Luigi’s Mansion GameCube Review

Many people were expecting a Mario game to be ready for the Nintendo GameCube’s launch. With those hopes quashed until October when Super Mario Sunshine would be released, many people were interested in Nintendo’s other launch titles. Along with Wave Race: Blue Storm is Luigi’s Mansion. At long last Luigi has been given his own outing, but is it as adventurous as Mario’s previous escapades?

Graphics

The environments and lighting effects in this game are beautiful. The ghosts have just the right degree of transparency and the dust and grim that will fly up during your vacuuming adventures really add to the sense that this mansion has not been inhabited by anyone but ghosts for some time. The environments are gorgeous and very interactive. Luigi can suck the table cloths off tables, and pull on the chandeliers, as well as opening the drawers on most furniture as he searches for hidden treasure in the mansion. The light from candles and from Luigi’s flashlight cast moving shadows on the wall. The physics of this game are amazing, featuring some of the most realistic real-time lighting effects you will see. Paper money floats more slowly than coins and continues to act as pieces of paper as they are sucked into the vacuum.

Gameplay

In his first-ever starring role Luigi steps out from the shadow of his brother Mario and into the gloomy shadows of a very haunted house. Armed with a flashlight and a customized vacuum cleaner, Luigi must rid the mansion of boos and ghosts – and find his missing brother Mario. Luigi has won the huge and very mysterious mansion as the grand prize in a big contest.

It seems that Luigi was recently notified that he was the winner of a new Mansion and was planning to meet Mario at the site to inspect his winnings. As he approaches the Mansion, however, things are far from the idyllic Mushroom Kingdom Estate that Luigi was expecting – it seems that his Mansion is haunted, and that Mario is missing. Luigi quickly runs into Professor E. Gadd, who provides Luigi with the Poltergust 3000, a modified vacuum cleaner that will suck in the evil spirits permeating the mansion. In addition, the airflow can be reversed and the Poltergust 3000 can be made to shoot out Fire, Water, or Ice to further help Luigi with his Ghost busting.

Luigi walks around with a powerful flashlight in his hand, and a vacuum cleaner strapped to his back, and catches ghosts in his huge new mansion. Luigi also carries around the Game Boy Horror, which allows the player to view the environment in first person perspective, and also allows for closer examination of objects and characters in the rooms. Most, if not all, of the action in Luigi’s Mansion is through capturing ghosts. Regular ghosts usually appear behind Luigi, and can only be caught when a beam of light strikes their “heart”. This is accomplished by switching off your flashlight, turning around, waiting for the ghost to come in range, and then “surprising” it with the flashlight, thus causing it to freeze. Once the ghost is frozen, you then turn on the vacuum and attempt to suck the ghost into the bag. Portrait ghosts are caught much in the same way, except there is a puzzle element to the way in which you get their hearts to appear. Each portrait ghost has a different method, which is usually mentioned in one of the diaries scattered around the mansion, and hints can be gleaned from examining the “heart” of the ghost. Controls are well laid out, but take some getting used to. Luigi’s movement is controlled with the control stick, while the Poltergust 3000 is aimed using the C stick. The Poltergust is controlled by using the trigger buttons – L button to shoot out and R button to suck in. The ‘A’ button is the action button, allowing Luigi to interact with his environment, and the ‘B’ button turns Luigi’s flashlight on and off.

There are a huge number of rooms in the mansion to explore and a wide variety of ghosts to battle as you travel through the mansion. There is a large amount of treasure in the form of jewels, cash, and gold bars hidden throughout the mansion. The ending that you receive depends on how much treasure you are able to accumulate. You can boost your plunder by performing special tasks like sucking up more than one ghost at a time, or locking on to a ghost and sucking down all its energy without allowing it to break from your stream. On the downside in spite of these unique gimmicks, the games difficulty level is not all that high if you are not trying to maximize your cash and most players can probably finish it in about 8 hours.

Sound

Sound effects are clever, mostly consisting of Luigi talking to himself under his breath to keep up his courage to face the ghosts of the mansion. One of the sound effects that adds atmosphere to the game is when Luigi hums and whistles to the theme song as he tiptoes through the mansion. The music has a catchy tune, although there is not that much variety in the games music. Other sound effects include pressing the ‘A’ button for Luigi to call out for Mario. There are three distinct and random calls, which indicate Luigi’s health, being a strong call, one more feeble, or a desperate, hoarse cry.

Lifespan

As already mentioned, although the game is great fun to play the lifespan will be fairly short. Most gamers should complete this game within 6-8 hours. To add replay value, once you complete the game you can play through it again, this time with the rooms back-to-front and the ghosts harder to catch. Still there is little incentive to try this and the limited replay value is one of the few downsides to this game.

Overall

Luigi’s Mansion is quite an entertaining game with some innovative gameplay and it is great to see Luigi having his first game in the starring role. Luigi’s Mansion is a graphically stunning game, and offers a few solid hours of fun, although limited replay value prevents this title from gaining a higher score.

8 out of 10
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