Review

Luigi's Mansion

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2003-04-19

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Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 18, 2001 Also On: None

One thing that was disappointing for many Nintendo fans at launch was the absence of Mario. That might have been a factor in why the Xbox took a bit of an early lead over the GameCube in North American hardware sales. Well, even without Mario, the GameCube did fairly well during the 2001 Christmas season and had a few good games out too. Out of about 20 games that were released in 2001, only a few were "must-haves": Super Monkey Ball, Super Smash Brothers Melee and Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II were the only must-haves on my list. Other games to round out the launch were Luigi's Mansion and Pikmin. Nintendo tried to take Mario's brother and make him into a Mario clone? It didn't work as well as expected, but Luigi's Mansion is still a decent game.

Even though Luigi's Mansion is based in a haunted mansion which Luigi earned from a contest, the mansion isn't scary at all. It looks more like a Saturday morning cartoon than anything. The impression that I get from this is that Luigi's Mansion was a Japanese attempt to maybe scare 8 year olds with pink ghosts. To me, pink ghosts are pretty scary, especially when you find out that they were males when they were alive. Anyway, the graphics weren't great and eye-popping, rather more of a "that looks cool, I'm playing in a cartoon" sort of look to it. Lighting (rather not much light) is a perk in the game. It puts a spooky feel to this not-so-scary game. Shadows and mirrors put a cool twist on a game which we never saw with the N64. For instance, in one of the rooms you have to find a switch on the wall by looking at a mirror and going to the other side of the room to push it, without seeing it on your screen other than threw the mirror. ::end spoiler:: The one thing that really gives the title a boost are the well detailed ghosts, Luigi himself, paintings, and architecture. The physics in the game, such as clothe and curtains blowing with the wind is unbelievable. If Luigi was trying to suck up the chandelier, it would shake along with almost anything else.

Yes, the controls do take getting used to, but not a real big deal. Like all games, I never have a problem with controls (other than in Agent Under Fire for the GCN) but I must admit that I had a problem at first with Luigi's Mansion, perhaps due to the fact that I wasn't acquainted to the controller at the time. You have to catch ghosts by vacuuming them up with none other than a vacuum backpack. The challenge is capturing the ghosts. After a good hour or so, you'll be fine, but the first hour of capturing ghosts is annoying as heck. First of all, they bombarded you with a ton of ghosts in the first 3 rooms. You just start and you’re getting slapped around by these pests like you are an animal. To capture them you have to stun them by flashing a light on them quickly and then pressing R to vacuum them up. This can be challenging when you are moving with the joy stick, pressing B to keep the flash light off, and using C to put the flashlight/vacuum in the correct position. Phew! To defeat the more challenging bosses, you will have to use “elements� such as water, fire, and ice. This does seem to add a cool feature to the simple game like this (other than the somewhat complicated controls.) The “Gameboy Horror� is a cool and easy to get used to feature that you will need to use for finding the weaknesses of the ghosts throughout the mansion.

A game always has faults and the sound is Luigi's Mansion main fault. Why can’t the characters actually talk? If I felt like reading a child’s book then I would, so don’t make me read what someone is saying in a video game. I believe that some games even on the N64 had the players actually talk. I guess there are some kind of cute ballads, but overall the songs are boring and way too kiddy. Not everything about the sound is bad though. You can find Luigi humming the theme song to his game as he explores the haunted mansion, as if he were trying to focus on something other than how “creepy� this house is. Maybe might not be creepy for us, but I bet that Luigi is about to crap his diaper. Nintendo made it so that we’d go mad listening to the same song that Luigi hums over and over again and we are forced to hum along or lose what sanity is left. Yes ladies and gentlemen, this game will take your sanity away from you more than Eternal Darkness, for the music is so repetitive.

Barely any replay value can be found in this game, other than the “Hidden Mansion.� I’ve found that the “Hidden Mansion� is the exact same thing as the main mansion. I have found myself playing this game 3 times only to find that I’ve forgot what I liked so much about it each time. For me, Luigi’s Mansion was fun, but more of a rental than a keeper. I doubt that I’ll ever play it again unless it is 10 years from now. One reason why it only got a 4 is because the first time playing it isn’t even long. After the first time you play it, unless you really love it, you’ll never play it again. The first time playing only took me 3 hours. The game should only cost a budget-priced $20 and I bought it for $50 and it’s still $50 today. Rent!

I never expected to beat it in one night, let alone only in 3 hours. The game is very fun, but repetitive; actually very repetitive after about 1 ½ hours. Even if they would have made it longer, it still would have felt as if they just tried to prolong a life that was bound to be short. The real fun in the game is just looking at its good graphics and accurate physics. The thing is, it fails to intrigue you past the first hour or two. You feel that the game isn’t fully developed and an under-developed game isn’t all that fun to play. The length of the game could be easily matched with a NES game that was made 15 years ago. At the end of the day, you had a great time sucking the suckas up, defeating king boo, and saving Mario for a change.

Luigi's Mansion was pretty disappointing for me and a false look at where the GameCube was going. I felt as though Nintendo had lost its touch forever after this game, but I was surely wrong. Way too short, repetitive, and corny music/storyline describe Luigi's Mansion to its fullest. Please don't buy this game, at least rent it first (and then you’ll never play it again, because there’s no replay value).

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 9.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 2
Final: 7.2
Written by Kyle Review Guide

Reviewed by Kyle Bell

1022 Views