Back in October, I was faced with a little dilemma; should I buy an X-Box or a Gamecube? To make this difficult choice, I enlisted the aid of the store clerk and a few of my fellow customers and listened as each had their say into the pros in cons of the individual consoles. Unfortunately, this led to shouting matches between both sides of the spectrum with one screaming "H4L0 R0x0rZ" and the other yelling "H410 1s 4 F4Gg13s M37r01d RuL3z!!11". After about twenty minutes of this, I remember that I liked the Zelda series and its on the Gamecube so I picked one up along with a couple new and used games, one of which is Luigi's Mansion.
Oddly enough, when I asked the clerk for it he gave me a weird look like I had just killed a cow and wore it's carcass as a coat. This made the person behind me feel obligated to inform yours truly that said game "sucked ass" and that I'd be better off paying someone to kick me in the nuts. This struck me as odd because the only way I can think of a Nintendo game "sucking ass", was if the entire thing was a image of Shigeru Miyamoto jumping on an American flag while holding two large sack of money hmm...come to think of it, wasn't Yoshi's Story like that? Now I've heard and seen a lot of negative things about this game so I felt it was about time that I sat down to see for myself just what, if anything, is wrong with Luigi's Mansion.
The star of this game is none other than one of Nintendo's often ignored characters, no not Pit from Kid Icarus but Luigi the younger of the Mario Bros. Luigi has just won a contest he never entered and the grand prize is a beautifully dilapidated mansion fully furnished and infested with ghost. Upon inspecting his new home, Luigi is soon attack by the freeloading spirits but is quickly saved by ghost-busting scientist E. Gadd who takes our hero back to his lab and informs him that not only is his name one of the worst puns in videogame history but that Mario had also entered the house and never came back. Fearing that his brother would try to claim his newly acquired winnings, Luigi sets out to find and kick Mario's chunky ass all over the four story abode. Before he leaves though, Gadd gives him a ghost catching vacuum cleaner and a Gameboy to fight off ghost during his man hunt.
You'll notice that the game itself is a sort of side-scroller where Luigi can move freely anywhere in the rooms and hallways he has access to. It's kind of like playing Maniac Mansion only you don't have a command/item list or arrow and there's ghost everywhere trying to feast on your delicious innards. Speaking of which, Luigi has a life bar represented by a heart and number that changes as damage is received. When it reaches zero, Luigi will collapse and the player will be treated to the Game Over message which is, get this "Good Night!". Can you believe that shit, couldn't they think of something other than that like "You're Dead" or "You Died" or the classic "The hounds of Hell will now devour your wretched soul throughout eternity" from Barney's Hide And Seek.
Anyway, your job is to explore every room and floor of the house catching ghost, collecting keys and relieving the place of all the coins, dollars and diamonds you can fit in your pockets. At first each room will be covered in darkness and the only way to get the lights back on is to flush the ghost out from their hiding spots and suck them up. Now I hear you asking, "How do I go about doing this, illegal gun running?" of course not. All you have to do his shine Luigi's flashlight at the ghost to stun them and then suck them up in the vacuum, see it's fuckin' simple just stun and suck them...hmm that didn't come out right, oh well. The Gameboy Horror serves as your map, status screen and two way communicator which is used to receive information from Prof. Gadd and show what door goes with whatever key you have.
That's pretty much all there is to the game, you just catch ghost, find keys and then do it again. It's kind of repetitive but lets not kid ourselves here, if people hated repetitive games then they wouldn't be so eager to purchase the newest Resident Evil or Mega Man titles now would they.
Graphically, this game is real purdy to look at. The house is believable and follows the same design style throughout and everything has a nice aged look to it adding to the atmosphere. Luigi himself has an impressive character model with smooth animation for all his available actions from his power jogging to his shivering and shaking upon entering a dark room. The ghost themselves show off nice transparency and lighting effects while disappearing /reappearing and just randomly chasing Luigi throughout the room. Not bad at all for the first game of the system and just perfect for a tech demo.
The controls are very simple to get used to and this is easily the best game to get someone new to the system familiar with the button layout on the Gamecube controller. The anolog stick controls Luigi's movement while the C-stick controls the direction of his flashlight/vacuum. Pressing the B button turns the flashlight off while A is used for opening doors, searching and confirming messages and so forth. Shoulder buttons activated the suck/blow functions of the vacuum and the X,Y and Z buttons operate the Gameboy Horror.
There's not a whole lot to say about the music here mainly because the same song is repeated throughout the game. Well, that's not entirely true sometimes you'll hear familiar tunes from past Mario Bros. games and sometimes Luigi will join in and hum or whistle the theme song.
As for the sound effects, they compliment the game as best as possible. Doors creak up being opened, ghost make ghost-type noises, chandeliers rattle and so forth. Luigi himself has some dialog but not much, most of it's just different ways to yell for Mario starting out normally but becoming more drastic and as his health is depleted.
Now that I've done my rambling I'll finish this up. Personally, I really enjoyed this game but can also see why others hate it as much as they do. It's really short and while there is a so-called second mansion to explore, it's nothing more than the first mansion with easier to catch ghost (although I hear the European versions second mansion is different and if so then good for them, they get the shaft more than anyone else when it comes to video games). Also, I pretty sure paying fifty dollars for a game that should have been a pack-in title added much to the amount of hatred for Luigi's Mansion which may explain why I liked it so much, I got it for twenty.
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