Luigi's Mansion Review
Luigi's Mansion features some refreshing ideas but fails to match the classic status of Mario's adventures.
After being Mario's sidekick for more than a decade, Luigi has finally been given the chance his fans have cried for. Starring in his very own 3D game for the first time, Luigi has become the Peter Venkman of the 21st century by taking up the mantle of a ghostbuster in Luigi's Mansion. An extreme departure from what Mario Bros. games have been in the past, Luigi's Mansion features some refreshing ideas but fails to match the classic status of Mario's adventures.
The story in Luigi's Mansion is adequate enough, but there are few if any twists or turns. After receiving a strange letter from his brother Mario, Luigi heads out to meet him thinking he's won a mansion in a contest he doesn't remember entering. Upon reaching the mansion, Luigi is greeted by a short, bald scientist named Professor E. Gadd, who explains that the mansion only appeared a few days earlier and is overrun with ghosts. Professor Gadd goes on to explain that he met a fellow with a red cap shortly after the mansion appeared and hasn't seen him since. Luigi, realizing the fellow in the red hat is Mario, sets off for the mansion after Gadd equips him with a flashlight and the Poltergust 3000, a modified vacuum cleaner that can be used to trap and exterminate the ghouls.
Controlling Luigi is fairly simple, but it takes some time to get accustomed to it. The left analog stick controls his movements, while the C stick controls the direction he points his flashlight and vacuum cleaner. It's the same control scheme that is found in most modern first-person shooters, and after a few awkward moments you'll be swinging Luigi's vacuum around with precision. Opening doors and examining objects is accomplished with the large A button. The Z button is used to check inventory, the X button is used to view Luigi's ghost-sensing Game Boy, and pressing the Y button brings up a 3D map of the entire mansion. Learning to accurately aim the vacuum is one thing, but sucking up stalwart ghosts with it is another. To catch a ghost, it must first be stunned with Luigi's flashlight. Once stunned, its heart will appear, which is the cue to commence with the sucking. Pressing the R button will make the vacuum suck air and begin to bring the ghost in for capture. But it won't be snared without a fight. Ghosts will pull Luigi around the room as he attempts to snare them, but holding the analog stick in the exact opposite direction of the ghost will make the process easier.
The Poltergust 3000 has more than one use. It can also be used to shoot objects or spray a variety of ammunition such as fire, ice, and water by pressing the L button. If you press the left shoulder button all the way in until it clicks, the vacuum will fire a projectile. The elemental ammunition is also put to good use for solving puzzles throughout the game and for taking out enemies with special elemental ratings. As mentioned earlier, a ghost's heart must be seen before the ghost can be captured. But it's not always as easy as illuminating the ghost with a flashlight. That tactic works for the majority of drone ghosts located in the mansion, but there are 23 special ghosts in the house that must be snared in more ingenious ways. This is where the puzzle elements of the game come into play. Some ghosts require Luigi to perform special tasks before showing themselves. One particularly buff ghost must be drubbed with a heavy bag before being captured, and another must be struck with billiard balls before it's vulnerable. It's essential for Luigi to search every last nook and cranny of each room, because items can be hidden virtually anywhere. At the end of the game, you are rewarded for how much money has been collected, so finding every last coin, gold bar, and jewel is worth the time. Luigi's Mansion progresses in a completely linear fashion. Once Luigi exterminates a room of ghosts, the lights will come on, and more often than not, a chest will appear with a key inside. The 3D map will then automatically appear to show you which door the new key opens. This same process repeats until the end of the game. If Luigi's Mansion were as long as most Mario Bros. games, the lack of gameplay variety would be an issue. But just when things start to become tiresome, the game ends.