Review by iceman505
"One of the more unique games Nintendo has made throughout it's history"
Back when the GameCube launched many Nintendo fans were up in arms over the fact that there was no Mario game. Instead, Nintendo gave people a game starring his sidekick brother Luigi. Contrary to popular belief this is not the first game where you play as Luigi. There was a game back on the Super Nintendo called "Mario is Missing". In it Mario is captured by Bowser, this sends Luigi on a quest around the world looking for clues as to where Bowser's new stronghold is.
Simply put, when this game was launched it was an amazing looking game, trumping anything seen on the PS2 up until that point. It's obvious Nintendo put alot of emphasis on the visuals. They especially concentrated on Luigi, they packed alot of polygons into our lanky hero. Back at launch these graphics were simply stunning as mentioned before, and they still measure up to alot of the games coming out even almost four years later. The environments are very detailed, but the thing that is more impressive is the flashlight. The flash light casts shadows that are very convincing, and lights things up they way you would expect a real one to. While the use of lighting, and shadows isn't quite up to snuff with later games such as Splinter Cell it was very good for it's time.
At first glance it may seem like they worked on only making this a game to show off the eye candy that the GameCube is capable of. On the contrary, The physics in this game are absolutely brilliant, everything reacts almost exactly like you would expect it to when Luigi interacts with it. When he opens dressers they pop open similar to the way they would in real life; When he uses the vacuum to suck things up it creates a trail of dust that gets pulled into the vacuum, making it look like he is really sucking up years worth of dirt, and dust. When you direct it at fans they spin in the way they would in real life, you also can pull sheets off of beds, table clothes off of tables. Simply put, the physics in this game are pretty darn good.
Now we get to the real meat of the game, the main aspect of the game is basically you going from room, to room looking for Ghosts to suck up into your vacuum. Each room is different from the last, you run into a fairly diverse group of ghosts. Your main goal is restore the lights in every room in the mansion, to accomplish this you will have to clear each room of ghosts. The ghosts like to pop up out of no where and catch Luigi off guard, and he does react if he is caught by surprise by jumping a little bit. The types of ghosts that are your main target each have a unique way that you will have to approach them to capture them. If you are facing them they disappear, they only appear when you are facing away from them. With one ghost you simply have to face away and wait for him to yawn to catch him off guard. With another you have to pull open the curtains of a window to let in a breeze, thus causing her to get cold, that is your chance to strike. Suffice it to say that some will have you completely stumped at first as to how to capture them. Thankfully though most of the you will be able to quickly figure it out.
There is another type of ghost that you can only capture after you have restored the lights in a room. I won't ruin the surprise of what they are, but suffice it to say they are classics that have appeared in past Mario games. The boss ghosts can be really fun, and are a bit tougher to battle than their normal comrades. A little later on in the game you will get what are called element medals. When you collect one of these it allows you to use certain natural elements such as water, fire, and ice. Once again you will have to use these powers to catch certain types of ghosts. Some will only be damaged by water, fire, ice, and so on, and so forth. There is a surprising amount of variety in the gameplay that on the surface appears to be just about sucking up ghosts, some will cause you to use your noodle to capture.
The basics of the story is that Luigi has won a Mansion in a contest he never even entered. He arrives on a dark and stormy night, he is expecting to meet Mario there, but the venerable hero is no where to be found. He comes to find out that Mario has been captured by ghosts, surprise, surprise, and he sets out for a second time to free his brother from captivity. He meets up with a quirky old Scientist named Professor E. Gadd, who tells him of how Mario went into the Mansion but never returned. He is the one that introduces Luigi to the vacuum aptly dubbed the poltergeist 3000. The story holds water for those who think it is Luigi's first adventure on his own, but those that have played Mario is Missing will have a slight feeling of déjà vu
If this game stumbles in any area it is with the controls. They are somewhat awkward in the way that they are mapped out, but there are two different variations for you to use. Thankfully though Professor E. Gadd will run you through a brief training session to help you get the hang of the controls. However, this isn't enough for the average gamer, it will take them up to an hour to get the hang of them; and even then they will be battling the controls somewhat. This isn't helped at all by very slightly annoying camera angles, but the only time it really gets in the way is during Boss fights, but this game is really forgiving so even that isn't that big of a hassle.
Well, this game is kind of dated, and can be beaten in about 10 hours due to it's easy difficulty. However, this game is no longer $50 and can be found for as low as $12 used. There is some replay value to it, as you will want to play through it a second time to try and clear all the bosses without being hurt. Simply put, this game should be at least tried by every person claiming to be a Nintendo fan, it is just that fun. If you are a collector I say this is a definite buy, if not you should rent it first to check it out.
Overall this game is a nice package, and to be fair to the fact I am writing this review so long after the game's release I am going to score it against other games that were available at that time. The graphics are slick, even for today. The gameplay is probably one of the most unique experiences out there, and the atmosphere of the game just can't be beat. There are some negatives though, mainly the controls, but otherwise this is an amazing game, with flashes of real brilliance mixed in.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/29/05
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