Review by TheDeadHeart

"Pity, really."

Being one of the first GameCube games released, and at that the first with a ‘Mario’ cast, Luigi’s Mansion was expected to be a great game. Unfortunately for them, this game didn’t exceed expectations, nor did it even reach them. Luigi’s Mansion lacks length, difficulty, and overall good Gameplay.

Story – 7/10

Basically, Luigi receives a letter saying that he won a mansion in a contest that he never even entered. Gee, how ironic! Now who would honestly go to the mansion in the first place? And really, winning a mansion in a contest? Sounds a bit farfetched if you ask me. Anyways, Luigi invites Mario to go to his mansion and when he arrives, Mario is nowhere to be seen! The Mansion looks very repellant to Luigi, but he reluctantly enters and gets attacked by a flock of ghosts. A tiny scientist saves him, again luckily, with a vacuum.

Mario is somehow in a painting and Professor E. Gadd, the scientist, tells Luigi to use his vacuum, a.k.a. the Poltergeist 3000, to suck in the ghosts in the mansion and find his brother eventually. He also asks Luigi to collect ‘Portrait Ghosts’, an extensive family that lived in the mansion in their lives and became portraits, I believe, in death, and escaped from their portraits as ghosts.

This story is okay, implanting a few other things that I shall not reveal, but could use improvement. First of all, the way it all begins is a bit farfetched, being he never entered the contest, and the rest is pretty original.

The Main Characters – Luigi, E. Gadd and Toad – are pretty cool, and well made, but what is the real highlight, in my opinion, about this game is the Portrait Ghosts. Each of them has his or her own ‘thing’ that they like to do and most of them are funny at that.

Graphics – 10/10

The graphics in this game are enough to make you awe! Well, at least, at first. The graphics are very good, without any flaw evident to the eyes. The Characters look nice too, very well designed, and appealing to the eye.

The areas are great, as well. Well designed, and the vacuum is interactive with, well, just about everything! Plants can be watered, candles can be turned off, things can be frozen… Great! Not a flaw in the graphics.

Sound – 4/10

Here’s one of the downers about the game. The sound and the music aren’t all that great, at that, they aren’t even good period. The sound isn’t coordinated with the mouth’s movement, observable in times such as when Luigi yells ‘Mario!’, for example. The music sets the scary ghost-like atmosphere of the mansion, so it does its job correctly.

Room for improvement, to say the least. Maybe more effective music and better sound coordination would do the trick.

Gameplay – 9/10

This game has a Gameplay that may remind you of Ghost Busters. Scratch that, it will make you think of Ghost Busters. With the Poltergeist 3000, you can suck in regular ghosts, by using your flashlight, which is always turned on in dark rooms, and stunning the ghost, then using R to activate your vacuum to suck in the ghost. Each ghost has an HP, and you drain it with a combination of the C-Stick and the Analog Stick, in opposite directions.

Every kind of ghost is sucked in that way, with the mild exception of Portrait Ghosts, which need specific ways to reveal their ‘heart’, which is shown with the flashlight in the case of regular ghosts. Portrait Ghosts drop pearls, which improve the quality of the portraits once turned back, and have a monetary value, as well.

To advance in the mansion, to find new rooms and such, you’ll need an uncountable amount of keys. Most of the rooms are locked, after all. Through the game, you’ll find different kinds of money, such as coins and bills and gems. It has no essential use in the game, other than to rank you when you beat it.

There are also special Boss Ghosts, which are also considered Portrait Ghosts, before you enter a new area, each with their own arena. Before moving on the next ‘big’ part of the mansion, you must beat this ghost to get a key that unlocks the thorn-like door.

Also, through out the game, you will release a large flock of Boos, which are the owners of the mansion, in reality. You’ll need to capture them to weaken their power, and they hide in ‘cleared’ rooms, in furniture. Sounds pretty hard to find them now, right? Wrong! One of your other tools, the GameBoy Horror, has a Boo detector implanted on the top!

Speaking of the GameBoy Horror, let me explain its other uses. First and foremost, it serves as a map of the mansion, to help you get around and localize which doors you have the key to open, as well as which ones are locked or unlocked. Second, it displays the amount of coins, bills and gold bars you have and pearls.

The flashlight cannot stun some regular ghosts immediately. These are element ghosts, which you can beat by using the appropriate element. To use an element, you need to find its medallion, and then find a source of your element. You can find fire, water and ice, and, like Rock, Paper, Scissors, water beats fire, fire beats ice and ice beats water.

The puzzles aren’t exactly hard, but some can take a little while to figure out, like all games. However, there isn’t many difficult extensive puzzles, and most of them are straight forward. You’ll have more difficulty getting portrait ghosts then beating the puzzles.

Overall, the Gameplay in Luigi’s Mansion is excellent, almost perfect, but short fallen by just a few things, such as only being able to fight with the vacuum, and the elements.

Play Time – 2/10

One of the game’s worst problems is how short it is! If you don’t use a guide, it wont take you more than a week, and that’s exaggerated much! It took me two days to beat this game, it doesn’t take that long, and you’ll find yourself wanting your money back in words.

It might take you five hours roughly, give or take an hour.

Replayability – 3/10

There’s no real reason to replay, unless you want to get all the Boos or you think you missed a secret passage here or there. Apart from a ‘hidden’ mansion which isn’t even all that different, there’s no reason to replay this game.

Difficulty – EASY

This game isn’t hard, with the exception of maybe one or two bosses. The puzzles are easy, battling is easy, and everything IS easy!

Rent or Buy? – RENT

Now that the price isn’t nearly as much as it was before, you might be tempted to buy this game, which isn’t a bad idea if you consider the price, but you wont be satisfied with the value! Renting this game for three days or a week and you’ll be done. Heck, you may even want your money back from the renting place if you rent it!

Scores at a glance

Story – 7/10
Graphics – 10/10
Sound – 4/10
Gameplay – 9/10
Play Time – 2/10
Replayability – 3/10
Difficulty – Easy
Rent or Buy? – Rent

Had Luigi’s Mansion been a special coming with another game such as Super Mario Sunshine, maybe it would have been better than it being released as the ‘title’ game for GameCube, and at its beginning at that. Luigi’s fans might like this game more than others, and for them I recommend it, and I also recommend it for those who like to hunt down ghosts, as they will definitely like this game in that manner. Most of the rest of you should stay away from this game, by only renting it. Had it had a longer playtime, perhaps several haunted mansions or an even larger mansion, and it being a bit more replayable, with better sound, maybe it would have been more successful. The fact is was so pitifully easy didn’t help either.

However, the idea was fun and original, as well as different from other games you see today. Yes, it was a bit inspired from Ghost Busters and resembled it a lot, but it still remains very fun to play.

Overall Score: (Not an average: Average is 5.9/10)

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 12/28/03

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