Review by ChronoCactaur
"Nintendo's definitive Halloween video game"
Almost 10 years ago, the Nintendo GameCube launched in the US and Japan. Amongst its launch titles were the likes of Super Monkey Ball, Wave Race, and a couple of sports games as well. One launch title that stood out among the rest was Luigi's Mansion.
An ambitious game for its time, Luigi's Mansion was an attempt to not only exploit the potential of the GameCube at launch, but also a way to shed some spotlight on Mario's underrated brother, Luigi. At the time of Luigi's Mansion's release, there was no other Mario game like it, and very few other games outside of Nintendo. The premise of it is that Luigi supposedly won a mansion in a contest he never entered(It's not mentioned directly, but it's actually the Mario Bros. who won the mansion, and Luigi is actually trying to rescue Mario).
Upon entering the mansion, Luigi is greeted by quite the scary imagery, and only after a few minutes of fumbling in the foyer, Luigi is spooked by a ghost, only for an old scientist to rescue him using a vacuum-like device known as the poltergeist. In his ripe old age however, the scientist is unable to fully capture ghosts on his own, so he enlists the help of Luigi to suck up the ghosts himself. Luigi is naturally a fraidy cat, but in his brother's moment of need, Luigi is willing to risk it all to ensure his safety.
Using the GameCube controller's L and R shoulder buttons, you must use you vacuum to inhale or blow as you see fit. Ghosts need to be sucked in, though there will be a few that need a good blow before being sucked up. To do that, you will need elemental ghosts found later in the game. These elements are also used for puzzle solving around the mansion. The gameplay is seperated into four "areas", with each one having a handful of "portrait ghosts" and one Area Boss, who is usually a portrait ghost as well. In addition to the Portrait Ghosts, you will need to capture Boos as well starting a bit after Area 2. There are 50 scattered throughout the Mansion, and you will need to capture at least 40 to reach the final boss.
Luigi's Mansion isn't lacking much in any way, but it is a bit short, considering it is a launch title. However, upon completion of the game, the game allows entry into a "Hidden Mansion", which doubles your playing time. Even with the Hidden Mansion factored in, the game sits somewhere around 6-8 hour territory. Despite the lack of content overall, what the game does offer is fun, and there's barely any moment where you will feel like there needed to be "more". The experience is both satisfying and rewarding.
Could Luigi's Mansion be one of the best launch games in history? Possibly, it was very ambitious for its time, and even today there have been very few emulators of its gameplay experience. If you manage to enjoy it, Nintendo is working on releasing a sequel for the Nintendo 3DS, set to release in 2012. It looks to expand upon what the first title established, and will grant you access to multiple mansions with different themes, the return of E. Gadd, and overall another Luigi game to add to the fold. My only gripe for the sequel is that the ghost enemies don't seem to have the same style as the first, but that shouldn't be a huge detterent if the gameplay is just as good as the first.
Until then, Happy Halloween from Nintendo! Muh ha ha ha!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/25/11
Game Release: Luigi's Mansion (US, 11/17/01)
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