Review by GavLuvsGA
"Luigi gets the raw deal"
I feel sorry for Luigi. Whereas in the Sonic series, Tails got a very nice and enjoyable spinoff game of his own (Tails Adventures), all Luigi gets is this. I had heard a lot of talk about this game, and was quick to snap it up. Thank goodness it only cost me £18.99, because I honestly found this game to be something of a disappointment.
Gameplay - 5/10
The gameplay is somewhat different from other Mario games in terms of the style of play; you simply walk around the mansion, searching for ghosts, including the traditional boos, and the new "portrait ghosts". When you come across a ghost, you need to vacuum it up in order to trap it. This style of gameplay really does get repetitive after a while, with the only differences being that the boos get tougher. As for the portrait ghosts, they require different techniques; at first, you may end up vacuuming up these ghosts without even realising exactly what you did in the first place, and the introduction of using "elements" (fire, water and ice) is an interesting idea. However, very few of the portrait ghosts require a lot of thought and it does start to look as though the game programmers ran out of ideas towards the end.
Another thing I found annoying about the gameplay is that Luigi is such a dreadful coward. Every single time that you open a new door, you are forced to watch the same cinema of Luigi taking what seems like an eternity to unlock the door, as he is shaking so much (like he's never seen a ghost before), and after a while you may find yourself wanting to snatch the key out of Luigi's hand and open the door for him, or at least yell "Get on with it" at the screen.
The only way you can die in this game is by losing all your health, and for a lot of the game, having 100 health points just seems too easy, with the exception of some of the boss fights, which are where the gameplay actually picks up.
Exploring the mansion can be fun at first, but you might end up getting bored after a while. Also, the game has a few secret roomss, but they're generally very easy to find.
Story - 4/10
The story is somewhat patchy - Luigi has apparently won a Mansion in a competition, and he's found that it is haunted; the rest of the game mainly revolves around him getting rid of the ghosts, although there are two notable turning points in the plot, just to liven things up. You'd think Luigi would be able to pull off a game without Mario rearing his head, but no - about one-third of the way into the game, guess who shows up? Admittently, it is an interesting idea and somewhat turns the traditional Mario game storyline on its head, but it just doesn't work for me (especially as the Mario brothers appear to have lost several I.Q. points during this game).
The new character, Professor E. Gadd makes for an interesting new character, but he doesn't really play a particularly big part in the story. There is also a "sub-plot" with Luigi finding items to give to a fortune-telling ghost, but it isn't particularly good, and doesn't seem necessary to the plot, although it does provide an interesting fake-out regarding the possible presence of another familiar Mario character.
Sound - 6/10
The sound is okay, with some mildly creepy music playing throughout the mansion. However, this may eventually get on your nerves since it is just about the only tune that plays throughout the game. Some of the sound effects are generally good though. I rather liked the almost unearthly wailing of baby Chauncey, which comes quite early in the game and is probably the closest the game gets to being truly scary.
Graphics - 7/10
Everything is very well drawn, with some nice character designs on the portait ghosts but there is one problem - most of it just looks too childish (Professor E. Gadd, for example), with a few exceptions (notably a ghost by the name of "Bogmire", who could probably give small children nightmares.
One of the things that annoys me is that for some time, you have to walk around rooms that are in almost total darkness, which - rather than making the game creepy in any way, often makes it hard to see exactly what you are looking at.
Some of the rooms are nicely detailed, but often there is too much detail, and you will probably find a number of objects that look as though they should have a purpose, but don't.
Play Time/Replay Value - 2/10
This is where the game really falls apart. Most of the challenges won't take long to do, and you probably won't have any desire to play through the entire game again. Although the final fight is reasonably challenging, there is a good chance that you'll just lose interest before you even finish this game the first time. There is an interesting feature in the form of the Pikmin movie, but this is little more than a way for Nintendo to promote its own products, and it did not encourage me to actually buy Pikmin whatsoever.
Don't buy, or at least, rent the game first. This game could be summed up in four words: "Resident Evil for kids". Let's just hope that Luigi's next game is better than this.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 01/11/05
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