Review by Shinnokxz

"Suki Suki!"

The Game

When Luigi's Mansion was shown at E3 (Electronic Exposition), people were not only stunned by the graphics, but the originality of the title. As the name implies, our green brother of the popular duo, Luigi, wins a suspicious contest for a huge mansion. The thing is-- he never entered in a contest. He quickly calls Mario to meet him over there, with suspense growing quickly. As he is walking to the mansion, he finally happens upon a dense, spooky looking forest that surrounds his big prize. He walks into the haunted mansion-- looking for Mario.

While in the process, he runs into an odd, yet old, scientist by the name of Prof. E. Gadds, who has been living in the mansion for over 20 years. Prof. E Gadds gives him his only weapon in the game-- the Poltergeist 3000! With it, he can use it and his flash light to suck up ghost and other ghastly things.

Comments on The Game:

In the world of mushroom heads, red hats, and plungers (Mushroom Kingdom), many characters have gone missing before. Most notably, Princess Peach. The game sticks to that same synopsis, but instead of Peach gone missing, it's the series star-- Mario. With Mario missing, it seems a bit filling story wise. The chemistry of Mario missing, and Luigi, his loyal brother, looking for Mario adds a lot more to the games mood.


Graphics

When shown at E3, Luigi's Mansion looked fantastic. Hell, it still does today. The characters look excellent, with excellent animations and wonderful detail. Luigi has never looked so much better! The ghost also look wonderful. They almost look like the kind in Ghost Busters, only with a high polygon count and wonderful transparent effects. The haunted mansion is also something to gawk at in this game. Everything in the mansion, vases, drawers, beds, pictures, are all wonderfully detailed. The mansion's architecture, colors, and atmosphere are all brought out nicely thanks to the Gamecube's graphical power. The lighting is another awesome graphical touch that Nintendo added to add to this games atmosphere. Shining your flashlight on an object will not only light it up realistically, but will cast a true to form shadow behind it.

Comments on the graphics:

When I wanted a Gamecube, I wanted a game that would show off the systems true graphical power. I got it, and it's a game called Luigi's Mansion. The amount of detail is outstanding, and the lighting effects will blow your mind. Kudos to Nintendo.


Sound

Audio wise, this game delivers, without laying it on too thick. The sound effects make a crucial part in these kind of games. Thankfully, the sound of the vacuum, the footsteps, the effects of the ghost, and of course Luigi and his heroicly manly, voice are all done very cleanly (haha, I like puns).

The music is some tedious, but doesn't really get on your nerves too much. The music tone depends on what part you are in the mansion. If you are in a part of a mansion that is dark and has ghoulies in it, the creepy, cello like theme comes in. When you walking around in a part of the mansion that already has been ridden of ghost, then Luigi will actually hum the tune of the creepy cello theme to himself, to calm himself of his ghostly fears. The boss themes are nicely done, with increasing intensity as the suspense of catching a boss grows.

Comments on the sound:

While I was progressing through the mansions rooms and sucking up all of the ghosts, I found myself humming to myself the whole theme of the game. But, it goes without saying that at times, it seems a bit repetitive. If coming up with a sequel, Nintendo should indefinitely come up with more than 4 tracks in a game.


Gameplay

While graphics and audio can only take a game so far, the gameplay is quite solid. Your main point in the game is to find Mario, while doing this, you run into many ghost that needs you to suck them up with your Poltergeist 3000. In the mansion, there are numerous rooms you go into and conquer, and gain keys in. The keys open up other rooms, you go to those rooms, clear them, rinse and repeat.

Controlling Luigi will take some mastering, but eventually, it will meld into your taste. To move Luigi around, you use the normal analog. To point his body, flashlight, or vacuum in a certain direction, you use the C-Stick. The A button is use to progress through menus and talk to ghost or people. And the B button takes you back through menus. X and Y bring up your Gameboy Horror, in which I will explain later. The R button is to boot up your vacuum, and the R button is to use the ''Elements'' that you find throughout the house, in, again, I will explain later.

Comments on controls:

For me, the controls took a little getting used to. Due to the game only appearing on a side-view, it it sometimes hard to aim at bosses, objects, or any such things that need to be sucked up. Besides the few flaws, Nintendo did a pretty good job with the controls.


In the game, you can also pick up items, money, gold and jewels to increase your score. Firstly, the elements that you pick up do add a nice variety to the game. The three elements include Ice, Water, and Fire. Water ghost are vulnerable against ice, ice ghosts are vulnerable against fire, and fire ghost are vulnerable against water ghost. Although most of the game just has the normal ghost you can shine your flashlight on them and suck 'em up, but you do run into the element ghost on occasion. It's an interesting idea, and it plays out seemingly harmlessly, but it seems lacking. Also during the game, you can bang, suck, or do what ever you need to any vases, drawers, or closets to get the big moo-lah. Of course, I mean, money. Money-- so when you finish one of the four areas, you exchange it for points.

The game also gives you an interesting doo-dad-- The Gameboy Horror. It's uses include telling you if there are any Boos hiding in the room, gives you a nice map of each level of the mansion (what rooms you've been in, haven't been in, need to be in, etc.) and it also gives you the power to acquire the first-person perspective. Unfortunately, you only can look around is first-person mode, not move.

Comments on the items:

Even though they are useful, and nice to collect, the item system seems a bit lacking to me. It all seemed to have been slopped together to look like a cartoony survival-horror game. There should of indefinitely been other side-quests. Such as containing items for friendly-ghosts, people, or anything of that sort.


Although the game excels in most areas, it does lack in a few much important categories. Firstly, the replay value is severely lacking, and drops this game a few points. After you beat all four areas, then there will be absolutely no temptation to you to ever put this in your Gamecube again. Sure, you can re-go through the game in an extra-hard mode (Ghosts' HP increases), but it is not very tempting.

Another gripe is the difficulty of the game. To the Average Joe, this game will only really retain it's toughness in the boss levels. The main game is pretty easy, and passing through the rooms have no challenge at all. Hell, the game even TELLS you where to go with a key you just had recently acquired. This almost seems like Nintendo didn't really want to confuse the younger gamers.

Luigi's Mansion's length is also something that keeps it far from being perfect. To an average gamer, the game will take at least 7 hours to beat. To a serious gamer, they can complete it in a whole sitting of about 5 hours. And although each of the four areas took at least an hour to complete, a few more areas or even side-quests should have been put in.

Lastly, I would like to point out how linear the game is. Although the mansion may seem big, you are just on one straightforward path, thus decreasing the difficulty severely. At times, it's almost too easy.

Comments on the flaws:

When playing through the game, you won't notice the flaws at all. But once you complete it, you will glance at the clock and notice only 6 hours have passed. After that, well, there is just nothing much doing.


The Verdict

When playing through the game, you will be quite enjoyed, and pretty much in awe on how much the survival-horror them fits in with the Super Mario World. But the replay value flaws and little quirks here and there keep this game far from perfect, and some changes are needed if a sequel is in the works. -Shin (4/5/02)


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 04/26/03, Updated 05/19/03


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