Review by lluuiiggii

"Is it revolutionary or a bunch of half-baked crap?"

Luigi gets a letter, saying that he won a mansion in a contest that he doesn't remember entering. He calls Mario and tells him the good (or bad?) news. Mario decides to go to the mansion and Luigi will go meet with him there. However, when Luigi makes his way through the dark woods and actually sees his prize, Mario is nowhere to be found. Rather than Mario and a nice mansion, he gets a haunted house full of ghosts and one mad professor. The professor gives the big L a ghost-sucking vacuum, a flashlight, and absolutely NO confidence. . . And off we go.

So, what we have here is a 3D romp through the mansion as Luigi solves puzzles, uses his vacuum for various purposes, and interacts with ghosts, furniture, etc. You've got cash to collect, 50 Boos to capture, and a hi-tech game to play in with cartoony graphics and no multiplayer.

This game is quite easy to follow and quite simple. You explore the mansion, using your light and vacuum as a team to stun and then ''suck'' the ghosts safely into the vacuum bag. Yes, it is a lot like Ghostbusters, which is pretty cool if you ask me.

Every room holds some ghouls, and once Luigi rids their presence, the lights come on, and the room is a happy place again. You usually get a key which unlocks another room in the mansion and/or cash. Most rooms are simply a matter of finding the ghosts, stunning, and then sucking. There are puzzles involved, and here's an example. It's early in the game. There's a female ghost gazing into a mirror. You can't stun her if she isn't looking at you, so you must find a way to get her attention. Notice the curtains in the room. If you use your vacuum on them, they'll blow open, letting in a cold breeze. This makes the ghost get up, leaving her vulnerable. Puzzles like these are more fun, but sadly there are only a few throughout, and still not very hard.

Luigi is moved with the analog, and the camera stick controls the flashlight and vacuum. This is hard at first, but I find it very smart as you get used to it. Shining the light around and seeing its effect is entertaining, and the fact that you can move and control your equipment at the same time is great. A button makes Luigi examine, open doors, or call ''Maaaario!!'' You can scare Luigi by turning the flashlight off with B. R turns on the sucking of the vacuum, and L blows out what you have in it (not ghosts). X gives you a first-person look at your surroundings. Y shows a helpful map of the mansion. Z shows you an item list. L is very useful as you go on, allowing you to blow out fire, ice, and water to solve puzzles. You can find hidden areas with the X button, and you have to use it to proceed at some points.

So far, it seems as if this game has more good points than bad. Well, I haven't quite gone through the bad yet. What I described above is really where the surprises end. This medium-paced game is really just a walk through rooms, and more rooms, sucking ghosts, and more ghosts. Yes, sucking up ghosts is quite fun, and there are different ghosts to keep you on your toes, but it is still much too easy at most times, not to mention it is completely without variety. The map holds your hand, showing which keys unlock what door, what lights are on or off, and so on, making it very easy to find your way in an otherwise confusing mansion. It seems like something will show up that will change the boring pace, but this isn't Mario 64. Just ghosts, then the easy puzzle, and an occasional boss fight (also not too hard). Then, the game is finished. No surprises or replay value (well, there ARE new options, but nothing interesting).

Well, how about the graphics? Okay, it almost seems like Nintendo made a cool movie with great effects to show off at Spaceworld, and then kept going with it. Very nice graphics. Luigi is very good-looking (yes, he's hot) and shows all his emotions throughout, and he's just brought to life with his movements. The same goes for other characters or enemies. You're going to see great little details. Dust around L's flashlight. Sparks. Thunder. Very good to look at, all cartoony in its appeal. Oh, but the shadows and lights are jaw-dropping. Light reflects off everything perfectly, shadows are shown everywhere, and just try to remove a tablecloth with your vacuum, and you will be amazed. It makes a great graphical package, although the backgrounds are a bit sloppy compared to the wonderful lighting effects. They obviously wanted light to be more ostentatious then the backgrounds. Really, the textures are just inconsistent, almost like they decided to concentrate on a different graphical aspect of each room, making for a disappointing experience. But I doubt you'll notice that as much as I did, and overall the graphics are spectacular.

On to the sound. Luigi makes awesome noises. His humming along to the music, calling out for his brother (provided me hours of entertainment) and his scared cries are very fun. The ghosts make cool sounds, but are annoying after a while. The music is really the same throughout the game, expect for some bosses. It is quite catchy, yet annoying (like that stupid Jimmy Eat World song they play every day on the radio). Okay, I've rambled on long enough.

Yes, this game is fun for the short time you play it. Fun and intuitive control, sort of fun and not at all intuitive puzzles, and a great big house to explore. The lighting and cloth effects are wondrous. The game is definitely Nintendo. Sony couldn't pull off a game like this. Only Nintendo seems to be able to put that character and the little Shigeru Miyamoto flare that I love. And this game certainly has the ''Nintendo Effect.'' But, there's nothing new to be had with the gameplay. You go around sucking up ghouls for the whole game. There isn't any variety to spice up that flavah I long for. Yea, it's short too. I finished it quickly, and I'm not the greatest gamer. If you're interested at all, you would probably rent it. Just save it on your memory card, and come back when you feel like it. But if you love Nintendo, and you like the Mario Bros. then go ahead and buy it. I'm not saying you'll enjoy it like Super Mario 64, but you will like the ride while it lasts. Like a roller coaster, Luigi's Mansion is fun while you're on, but at the end, those nasty side effects will make you lose your appetite.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 06/25/02, Updated 06/25/02

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