Review by thesampleman

"What????? Is 4 hours of game play all you can do Nintendo?"

Luigi's Mansion for the Nintendo Gamecube turned out for me to be an utter disappointment. This was the first game to be based off of Luigi and I expected a lot from it. I expected to be dazzled, I expected great Nintendo workmanship, and most of all I expected to play the game for a long time. My expectations were unrealized and I was left perplexed at the quandary that is Luigi's Mansion. That quandary, is that is a great mediocre game.

GRAPHICS

The area that really shines in the game is the graphics. My favorite area of the graphical package is the environment itself. The mansion is highly detailed and drawn with care. Each room feels different from each other, and looks different from each other. The best part though is going through the mansion in the dark with the flashlight. I was amazed back in the day by the light effects from Luigi's flashlight and how it arced and when shone on objects, you could see a noticeable dynamic shadow behind the object. Aside from the rooms, the furniture itself is nicely detailed and looks fairly lifelike. The furniture is used to house money and other valuables and it is all searchable. You'll have fun looking at all the hidden places in the mansion, and you will even have to use mirrors in the game to find secret things.

The other area that I was impressed was of course the character models in the game. Luigi is nicely detailed and moves fluidly. All his animations run fluidly. The most important animation, that goes from him putting away his flashlight and whipping out his vacuum to suck up the ghosts is very fast and it needs to be in this game. They also did well with the ghosts. They are very bright when you get up to them and at the same time you can see right through them, which I thought was pretty cool. The only thing about the character animations that does get on my nerves is how slowly and kinda stupidly Luigi "runs". It is sort of like he's jogging in place and taking baby steps at the same time. It really was annoying and kinda disheartening to see it in action, because they could have made him a little faster.

The frame rate has no issue, at least none that I could see. There really was no hiccups in the graphics at all and I did not really see any bugs in the graphics package at all. Nintendo always does a great job with their games to keep them running at top speed, and Nintendo does not disappoint here as well.

SOUND

There really is no music in the game. The only music that you will hear is in the background of the pause screen and during the boss battles. The music that you do hear is well made and done very well. The music does promote the lighthearted fun that you will have and the theme of lightheartedness found within the game.

The sound effects are the bread and butter of this game. Just by tapping the A button you can have Luigi call out his brothers name. Then if you tap it again, he'll say it shriller than the last time you heard him call Mario's name. Luigi can tap on things and they all sound slightly different from each other. The other part of the sound effects package is the vacuum itself. It sounds like a vacuum cleaner, just toned down and is fun to hear while listening to the screams of the ghosts you are sucking up. The ghosts themselves have some of the funniest sound effects in the game. The sound effects range from laughing to one ghost screaming out. They are all lighthearted sound effects and promote the games slight wackiness.

CONTROLS

The controls can be a chore to learn. You use one analog stick to move your character and the other to control his torso. You must use this is conjunction with the ability to turn on and off your flashlight and get to your vacuum. You then have to pull back on one of the analog sticks to begin draining each ghosts HP meter. This control scheme takes a little time to master and may frustrate some younger gamers, however, when you have them mastered they become like second nature. The button placement of all the controls feels dead on (no pun intended), and everything feels as if it should be there.

The respondsiveness of the controls is an absolute gem in this game. The handle very well and responds to all your inputs in a quick manner. The controller responds very nicely to the layout, and everything works very well. The only thing that does not seem to always work is getting your vacuum on in the split second you need to, before the ghost disappears. The ghost always seems to be faster at one time or another. This is, however, a minor flaw and not a gaping hole in the respondsiveness category and is at best only mentionable.

STORY

Well basically Mario has been kidnapped. Shocked Huh? Well anyways, Luigi then gets a letter that says he has won a mansion. Luigi goes to the same mansion that his brother Mario checked out for him, looking for him. However upon getting there unarmed, he runs into ghosts. Luigi is the saved by E. Gadd a scientist that has developed a ghost catching vacuum. Now it is up to you as the player to go back into the mansion, clean up the ghost problem, and rescue Mario. The story as decent, and at least it is not Peach getting kidnapped for the thousandth time. It is a run of the mill story for a game released at launch of the Gamecube and in my opinion should have been better crafted and more thought out.

GAME PLAY

The first area that I will gripe about is the length it takes to beat the game. It will take a seasoned gamer literally four hours to complete this game. Four hours!!!!! Once you get through and you go back through the game it should take you even less time to get through the game. It is obvious from my strong statements here that the game has no replay value, and is basically a time burner, if say a baseball game is on your favorite local T.V. station and your favorite show is on after said game 4 hours from now. That may be the only time you might consider burning the four hours to play this game again.

The A.I. is not to terribly bright. The ghosts all come at you in waves and are fairly easy to beat. The boss battles are easy to memorize, because they repeat patterns. I mean I went through this game with no challenge to me, which is a disappointment, and should have been fixed before being released.

The next area where I will gripe is that the game is very linear. It tells you which key goes into what doors, and for me that took out all the exploration concepts that could have been employed within the game. Exploring the mansion and defeating ghosts would have been nice, but give me a little more freedom of picking rooms where I want to fight. Just having one key to one door was a bad idea, and the game could have been so much better had they included the exploration concept.

By far though the most annoying game play concept within the game has to be the Game Boy Horror. It is like a combo cell phone, map, and camera, and allows the annoying E. Gadd to appear. He always says the same thing even after several different boss fights. A little more variety may have been a good idea for E. Gadd to make him a little less annoying.

BUY/RENT

If you are a Nintendo fanboy then pick this one up. Otherwise this is a rental at best. The game is very linear, has stupid A.I., a weak story, and great graphics. This is the very height of mediocrity and is a disappointing Nintendo title in many respects.

THE RUNDOWN- One thing the A.I. in this game may understand.

GRAPHICS- 10/10 Ohhh...... so pretty!
SOUND- 10/10 Mario! Marrrioooo!!
CONTROLS- 8/10 the 8 is for toughness to learn.
STORY- 3/10 Geez. a kidnapping in a Mario-esqe game who would've guessed
GAME PLAY- 3/10 Short, Stupid A.I., linear game. Need I say more!
BUY/RENT- Rent


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 06/20/07


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