Luigi's Mansion

"Luigi’s Mansion" gives some spectacular spooks

Much of the Mario universe always felt like its best when they actually had a fresh new concept aside from the typical platformer games. From these innovations, there was always fun to be had, which have made plenty of classic experiences for all (Sunshine, Yoshi’s Story, Paper Mario, Galaxy). With a new one now looking to break the mold once more, let’s check out a smaller title that was just as memorable, albeit a bit short. “Luigi’s Mansion” took players into the shoes of the more cowardly younger brother, and his quest in ridding his new home of ghosts and finding his brother Mario. A fresh new concept that was the right length, “Luigi’s Mansion” felt like a creative way of bringing exploration and horror into a Mario game.

Scarily simple

Players move Luigi in a fully realized scary mansion, and much of the beats of every room felt different. In fact, much of the mansion itself felt like the big personality of the game, serving as a hub world and dungeon filled corridor leading to difficult challenges. With the trusty Poltergust 3000, the goal of the game is vacuum each ghost in a room, get a key, get into the next room, and eventually locate a portrait ghost. Portrait ghosts are a lot stronger than the typical grunts, which would take much more brains to capture, as well as some contextual hints with the help of a Gameboy that takes pictures (GameBoy Horror). The majority of this combat is all about timing, and how much one is willing to compromise with their GameCube control sticks. Luigi’s flashlight is directed towards the ghost, which will stun it and cause it to reveal its heart. Once they are stunned, players must press the right trigger, which will lead to the next part of the capture. The ghost will give a tug as the vacuum sucks them through, and players must then continue circle motions with both control sticks in the appropriate direction. While this is happening, any banana peels or other ghosts can get involved in the struggle, which could essentially cancel the engagement. This is done until the health of the ghost is depleted and placed in the vacuum. With ghost busting like this, the fear of losing all health or being overwhelmed by the ghost gang bang in some rooms really settled in. Even with the cutesy art style for a Mario game, so much of the haunting soundtrack, Luigi’s cries of fear, and spooky encounters can really feel uneasy, which is something that Nintendo doesn’t have a knack for. Survival horror for kids? Maybe, but the combat system, puzzle solving and boss battles left plenty of fresh encounters. However, if it weren’t for the fast pace gameplay or additions to the game’s core mechanics, this would have been a very repetitive game. Even the story felt a bit too simple, which probably does not compare to the strange dialogue and storyline that was Super Mario Sunshine. Even after a satisfying completion, there was not too much of an incentive to play through the whole thing again. Every puzzle was just an afterthought at that point, and breezing through familiar territory never really felt compelling the second time. The fact that getting all the rubies, diamonds, pearls and coins hidden every piece of furniture just to get a better picture of a house just wasn’t worth the grind. However, as short as the 15-hour experience can be, it is one that is well worth the time.

Video by NinBuzz

Written by Jarek Martinez