Nintendo took everyone by surprise by announcing that the debut game for their new system, the GameCube would star Luigi.
Called Luigi’s Mansion, it sees Luigi winning a mansion in a competition that he never entered. Luigi tells Mario to meet him there so they can celebrate together but when he arrives Mario is no where to be seen. The mansion is a spooky old place on the outskirts of a forest & once Luigi is inside he gets attacked by a ghost.
He is rescued by an old scientist called Professor E.Gadd who tells Luigi that he saw Mario enter the mansion but not come out. He gives Luigi a modified vacuum cleaner that can suck ghosts up called the Poltergust 3000. Luigi sets about clearing out the mansion of ghosts while searching for his brother.
As Luigi explores the mansion he will come across many ghosts. To capture them he must shine his flashlight on them to stun them & reveal their hearts. Only when the heart is revealed can the Poltergust 3000 begin to suck them up, reducing their hit-points down to 0 before they can be captured.
As well as standard ghosts there are some that are more advanced known as portrait ghosts that take more work to capture. They are normally behaving in a certain way & you have to react to their behaviour to capture them. As Luigi makes his way through the game he will have to deal with bigger & tougher ghosts as well as newly released Boos!
One of Luigi’s tools is the Gameboy horror that works as a way to examine items, detecting a Boo’s presence in a room, contains a map & allows Luigi to communicate with Prof. E.Gadd.
As well as dealing with the ghosts Luigi can collect treasure. At the end of the game the amount of treasure Luigi has collected will give a rating & result in a new mansion being built, the size dependant on treasure collected. A hidden mansion will unlock as well which is the first one reversed with tougher ghosts & small changes.
Luigi’s Mansion manages to combine good-looking graphics, clever game play & a fresh idea. The variety between ghosts especially the portrait ghosts is excellent & the different ways in which they must be dealt with, clever.
Each room of the mansion has many ghosts to deal with as well as lots of treasure to be found. I liked that once a room was cleared the lights would come on so you knew it had been dealt with. There is a large variety of rooms ranging from bedrooms, to dining rooms, to gyms & even back gardens.
There are a lot of clever references throughout the mansion that relate to the Mario series overall but by far my favourite is the music room. There are several instruments that will play the Mario Bros’ theme when activated.
The game manages to stay interesting by introducing the classic ghosts; the Boo’s about halfway through. They are tougher, behave in a very different way & move from room to room. Capturing all them will take a lot more work!
Where the game deserves criticism is with the length of the game, it is quite short & there is not much reason to play it again. Especially if you collected enough treasure to get the best mansion at the end.
The game has a charm that makes me smile when I play it. Luigi taking centre stage was a nice touch & the ghostly game play is a lot of fun. An impressive launch title for the GameCube.