Review by SuperSmashBro13
"A potentially good game, but it does have quite a number of flaws"
I remember playing Luigi's Mansion (or rather, watching my older sister play it) as a demo at a McDonald's playground. I saw Luigi following a path to a mansion. According to his map, it's a lovely place! ...But when he looks up from the paper, it looks, well, creepy. More about the plot coming up. This review will be separated into seven categories: Plot, Graphics, Sound and Music, Gameplay, Replay Value, Control Ease, and Game Length. After that comes the total score gotten from all the categories, then any flaws you should know about (this game's got quite a few). Finally, there's the conclusion; rent or buy? So, to the plot, men! To the plot!
PLOT: 10/10. Surprising for a Mario game that isn't an RPG, Luigi's Mansion has a pretty good plot. Luigi discovers that he won a mansion in a contest! ...Although he doesn't recall entering one. Asking his brother to meet him at the mansion, Luigi sets off to find his new dream home. As he soon finds out, if it's a dream, it's a nightmare. The mansion is anything but pleasant and cheery; it's very creepy-looking. Luigi enters nervously and is soon attacked by a ghost. An old, strange man called Prof. Elvin Gadd (E. Gadd) saves him by sucking up the ghost in a vacuum called the Poltergust 3000. Luigi discovers that Mario entered the mansion, alright, but never came back out. He also learns that ghosts grow stronger when they gather; the mansion is full of them, so they must have overpowered Mario and captured him. Luigi heads inside, armed with the Poltergust 3000 and a flashlight, to find his brother, who, for once in a long time, plays the role of the captured one.
GRAPHICS: 8/10. The graphics are pretty decent. The graphics look pretty buzzy, which I think is to intentionally create the movie-like suspenseful atmosphere. As is usual for a game on the GameCube, all animations run fluently. Whenever rooms light up after clearing them of ghosts, you can fully see the color put into the decor of the mansion; bright red walls; purple-fire candles; a brown, wooden staircase; and even a glowing, milky white path leading to an important object.
SOUND AND MUSIC: 8/10. Music almost never plays, but when it does, it creates the much-needed suspenseful atmosphere needed in horror games (if you can call this a horror game). The music composes of a small set of notes with few instruments really playing. Boss music is pretty fun, as well. As for sound, it's pretty good. When Luigi activates the Poltergust 3000, it really does sound like a vacuum. When using the fire, water, and ice elements, it also sounds just like the said elements. Voices are very well-done; if you press A while not standing next to something, Luigi will call out Mario's name. If Luigi's health is low while doing this, Luigi's voice becomes increasingly shaky and frightened. Luigi hums nervously while in a dark room and whistles anxiously in a lit room. The final boss's cackle is silly-sounding but still creepy.
GAMEPLAY: 9/10. The game has a nice blend of puzzle-solving and staying alive. (Ghosts CAN kill you easier than you might think.) Exploring the mansion requires lighting up each room, usually by defeating each ghost in the room. When a room is lit up, no more ghosts appear there, and usually a treasure chest appears, containing either an element medal, loads of money, or a key to another room--usually a key. Each room leads to another room. Find keys until you catch all important ghosts and find your brother, Mario. These "important ghosts" are called portrait ghosts; they escaped from E. Gadd's lab when ghosts freed them. You must turn them all back into the portraits they once were.
And speaking of money, it's the collector's spirit that must be present to truly enjoy Luigi's Mansion. You will find coins, bills, and jewels everywhere by checking objects. The game encourages you to check every nook and cranny, every pot, shelf, vase, cabinet, table, whatever, to see what comes out. You are rated for how much treasure you collected at the end of the game and are given a rank. It is mentioned that E. Gadd "builds you a new mansion" from the treasure you collected. You can see a picture of this new mansion in his gallery. You can also start a new game with something new, like stronger ghosts or a mirrored mansion or something. That is also based on the rank you receive at the end of the game.
Defeating ghosts is a wacky process. When the ghosts are close enough, you have to suddenly turn and stun them with your flashlight, then quickly suck them in with the Poltergust 3000. The ghost's health will then go down. When it reaches zero, the ghost succumbs to the vacuum and is gone, sometimes leaving health behind. Ghosts don't find the idea of living in a vacuum very amusing, so they struggle and drag you around the room in the process. Tilting the control stick in the opposite direction the ghost is facing helps drain health and prevents you from losing your own health by being dragged. Boos simply need to be in the Poltergust 3000's suction to lose health. Portrait ghosts are a different matter; every one only exposes their hearts by special means, so finding out those means can take some trial and error.
REPLAY VALUE: 7/10. You can play your new mansion with the new rules after beating the game and hunt for more treasure while you're at it to get a better final score and rank. Other than that, there's not that much to do.
CONTROL EASE: 10/10. The controls are surprisingly simple. The only things you should really be concerned about are moving and aiming the flashlight/Poltergust 3000. You should be able to master the controls in a mere 20 minutes. When used near an object, A checks an object or opens/tries to open a door. If used out in the open, Luigi just yells Mario's name. (Not very helpful.) Hold B to turn the flashlight off; this is handy for letting a ghost come near, then suddenly turning it on and stunning them. (If you shine the light on them while they're far away, they'll just disappear and reappear somewhere else.) R activates the Poltergust 3000, and L expels whatever element you have stored in your vacuum (considering you even have an element medal and have stored an element in at all). Y views the map of the mansion, X looks around through the Game Boy Horror (name's a parody of the Game Boy Color) to scan objects where Luigi will say his opinion (like "There might be money behind that" or "That looks a little suspicious"). Z shows an inventory of treasure found and portrait ghosts caught. Use the control stick to move and the C-Stick to aim the flashlight/Poltergust 3000 (in dark rooms, you have to use this to make Luigi face another direction with the Sidestep control option on).
GAME LENGTH: 5/10. Here is where the game falters. Your first time around, it would probably take between 8-15 hours to beat the game. When you know where to go and what to do, however, it may take between 4-7 hours. You could beat it in a single day! The replay value doesn't really save the game length all that much, either. Luigi's Mansion was not really meant to be a masterpiece, but just a starter-off for people buying the GameCube. These days, the GameCube's now gone "extinct," as no more games are even being made for it, so Luigi's Mansion should rarely be your starting game. It's a good game to play when you're bored or feeling nostalgic, though.
TOTAL SCORE: 57/70. Pretty good score. However, that wasn't covering the flaws....
FLAWS: There's the game length. It's pretty darn short, especially for a home-console game. Also, there IS the thing of the game getting a little repetitive after awhile; not nearly as repetitive as some people might want you to believe, since every room is unique, and you STILL need to catch those darn Boos and portrait ghosts. Starting a new mansion over really isn't TOO terribly different from the real thing, so the replay value isn't that promising. There's also the issue of, um...a certain boss battle. The battle with Boolossus. On a recent list I made of the hardest bosses ever, Boolossus ranks #2. Not just for being hard; for being unfair. After taking Boolossus apart ghost by ghost to the point where only a few ghosts compose the hulking Boo, the ghosts flee out of your range when spewing the element needed to defeat the boss, but when you stop, they dash in and attack before you can even spew the element out again. A single Boo can do more damage than the many that make up Boolossus in this manner.
CONCLUSION: I personally do not rent games, because if a game is really that good at all, who wants to give it back? But if you're a renting kind of person, rent this. You can beat it in one or two days, and starting over in each new mansion and finishing them won't take too long, either. I'm kind of a game collector as well as a game player, so if you look at your stack of games with pride, Luigi's Mansion is a nice permanent addition to it.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/09/08, Updated 07/12/08
Game Release: Luigi's Mansion (US, 11/17/01)
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