Published on March 22nd, 2013 | by octaneblue1
Retro Review: Luigi’s Mansion
Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
Release Date(s): November 17, 2001
Luigi’s Mansion, released as a launch title for the GameCube, is Luigi’s debut solo adventure (not counting the non-Nintendo-developed educational title Mario Is Missing!). Armed with the Poltergust 3000, Luigi sets off to rescue his missing brother. Is Luigi’s Mansion worth playing, if you haven’t already? Read on and find out in this Retro Review!
In Luigi’s Mansion, Luigi is drawn to a mansion that he won in a contest that he didn’t even enter. Mario was supposed to meet up with Luigi at the mansion, but he seemingly vanished. And now it’s up to Luigi to explore the mansion and find Mario. Around the start of the adventure, Luigi meets Professor E. Gadd, who gives Luigi the Poltergust 3000. This high-powered vacuum is used to combat the various ghosts the inhabit the mansion, as well as pull objects in the mansion’s various rooms.
The common, multi-colored ghosts that are in the game have different attack patterns, but they are mostly captured in the same way. They try to sneak up on Luigi, and to catch them, you must shine the flashlight on them to stun, then start vacuuming. Once the capturing process starts, the ghosts flail wildly, and you must tilt the control stick in the opposite direction to start draining their life meter. Once it hits zero, the ghost will be successfully captured. Not only does the Poltergust 3000 function as a vacuum, but once Luigi finds the appropriate medal, it can also shoot elements. Certain ghosts must be shot with the opposing element (fire over ice, ice over water, water over fire) to defeat, instead of using the vacuum. These elements are used for certain puzzles in the game too, and they can be restocked by finding the tiny, elemental spirits in certain rooms in the mansion.
The mansion of the game is huge, featuring several floors, a basement, and a rooftop. Nearly every room in the house is haunted, and to clear a room, you have to capture all of the ghosts in it. Clearing rooms usually spawns a treasure chest with a key in it. These open doors to new rooms in the mansion, so you’ll have to go through nearly every room to unlock all the doors. Some rooms have special ghosts that escaped from E. Gadd’s paintings. These ones are unique, and there’s somewhat of a puzzle element to capturing them, as you have to figure out how to scare them with the flashlight. They are usually surprised in a different way. There are also a number of boss fights in the game, each one taking part in a special area of the game. These fights are /
Also scattered throughout the mansion are 50 Boos. After clearing a room of the other ghosts, Boos appear in nearly each room. At first, they’re hidden in an object somewhere in the room, but the Game Boy Horror, another device invented by E. Gadd, has a light that turns yellow when a Boo is in the room and flashes red when Luigi is in close proximity to it. The Boos try to escape, so they often run to other rooms. This part of the game can be annoying for some, because there is a lot of backtracking involved. And the game often respawns obstacles and common ghosts along the way, so it basically gets repetitive.
The graphics, for their time, were really good. As a debut title for the GameCube, Luigi’s Mansion featured some nice touches such as the lighting in dark rooms via the flashlight or lightning, glows from the ghosts, and Luigi’s facial expressions. There are some low-res textures though, and sometimes black lines oddly pop up on Luigi’s face while he’s running towards the camera. And Super Mario Sunshine which was released several months later, really overshadowed Luigi’s Mansion‘s graphics, looking much better by comparison. But for what it’s worth, Luigi’s Mansion is a pretty decent-looking early GCN game. The soundtrack features appropriately eerie music, centered around a specific leitmotif. In a nice touch, Luigi often hums the main theme to himself as he’s exploring dark rooms. Luigi, voiced by Charles Martinet, is especially hilarious with his scared yells. You can even call out for Mario by pressing the A button in empty rooms. It’s hard to resist doing that even when you know Mario’s actually not anywhere near your location.
What’s probably Luigi’s Mansion‘s biggest flaw is that it’s quite short. The game can be beaten in around 7-8 hours, and that’s factoring in unlocking every room, capturing all the portrait ghosts, and finding all the Boos. Throughout the game, Luigi finds money, gems, and other currency, and the amount that he finds at the end of the game affects the ending. The best ending ranking involves collecting a lot of money, but it’s really up to the player if it’s worth seeing a different picture during the ending. Completing the game also unlocks the “Hidden Mansion”, which is basically a slightly more difficult version of the game, albeit with the same exact layout.
Luigi’s Mansion is a fun GameCube title that, while short, provides a good amount of entertainment. It’s easy for anyone to get into, and it’s just charming. Luigi’s Mansion is a title that’s definitely worth playing if you haven’t already.
The sequel, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, launches for the Nintendo 3DS in North America on March 24, 2013 and in Europe on March 28.
+ Gameplay is easy to get into
+ Nice lighting effects and funny facial expressions on Luigi
+ Appropriately eerie yet lighthearted soundtrack
– Respawning enemies & obstacles
– Short length
– Lacks replay value
Final score: 4 out of 5