GCN Review: Luigi's Mansion
Review by: Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Game Info

 System: GameCube
 ESRB: Everyone
 Genre: Adventure
 # of Players: 1
 Developer: Nintendo
 Publisher: Nintendo

 Save: 3 blocks

 Release Date:
 US: Nov 18, 2001
 EU: May 3, 2002
 JP: Sep 14, 2001

Screenshots:

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Final Score:
7.5/10

Reviewed on: December 16, 2001

To the gaming world, a video game system launch is a big deal, a very big deal. When the Nintendo GameCube was launched, a lot was expected, and the system was coming out 3 days after Microsoft's Xbox, a fierce competitor.

Luigi's Mansion was one of the many launch titles available for the GameCube on launch day. Though this time, Mario's brother Luigi is taking the spotlight for Nintendo, as there is no Mario launch game, which is somewhat unfortunate.

Contrary to what most people would think, since this is technically a "Mario Bros." title, Luigi's Mansion is not exactly an platform game, it's more like a mystery, puzzle-solving type game. There aren't gigantic levels to explore, but rather smaller areas that require the brain a little more, just a bit.

The game story is a little odd though, Luigi won a mansion for something, or someone, and the mansion is haunted with tons o' ghosts, and Mario is trapped inside... Nooooo! How can a hero like Mario who rescued the Princess a countless number of times get captured by a few ghosts? It just makes no sense.

Here we are, Luigi is armed with a flashlight, ghost sucking vacuum (known as the Poltergust 3000) and a Game Boy Horror (a communication device that looks exactly like a Game Boy Color). He can also shoot out fire, water, and air, to add to the experience, and make life tougher for the ghosts. But wait, ghosts aren't exactly living.

Luigi's Mansion is graphically delicious. It really shows off the power of the GameCube. The lighting effects from Luigi's flashlight really are stunning, there are even simulated glares if you have the light point at a certain angle. The transparent effects are also very well done, such as the ghosts. The game's animation is always smooth, and the GCN's load time doesn't hamper it, and it's rarely slow and choppy.

The camera in Luigi's Mansion though seems to be a fixed position at a time, you can only see one angle of the rooms you go in, and it could get somewhat annoying. But you can see the rest of the room using the Game Boy Horror, and sometimes it's absolutely necessary, to find certain secrets.

The sound is quite good, it's not unlike a horror movie that you see at the theatre. When combined with a surround sound system, you'll be able to hear every detail of the game, well, very detailed. The music gets annoying as there are many variants of the Luigi's Mansion theme that go on and on as you play. What's even more annoying is that Luigi always says "Mario?" in around 10 different tones.

The controls in the game are a little odd at first, mostly due to the fact that the GameCube controller is quite unique, and it needs time to get into the feel of it. The control stick is used for the movement of Luigi, and the L and R buttons are for using the vacuum. The buttons do seem very odd, but they actually make sense. You will never use the C-stick and the "game play" buttons, at the same time, you will either use one or the other, so there aren't any absurd situations where you can't control the game properly.

The point of the game is to "suck up" the 50 Boos with Luigi's vacuum, and the Boos are hidden throughout the game, in closets, drawers, lights, under the table, just about anywhere. The Game Boy Horror will "beep" as you approach a Boo. There are other ghosts and bosses too, scattered around the mansion, and you have to find ways to suck them up to, some of them you can just suck in, some you have to victimize with your flashlight, then suck them in, it all depends on what the ghost is. Different strategies are needed, but once you play the game for awhile, you'll get the hang of things.

Final Comments

As interesting as Luigi's Mansion may be, it's not very difficult, and there isn't much to explore. The replay value is very little, once you beat the game, there's a "new" hidden mansion to play, that is just more difficult. There is no multiplayer mode included. Luigi's Mansion isn't a bad game, but on the other hand, it isn't an amazing game either. Still, it would make a good game to start off your GameCube collection.

-- Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Bottom Line: It might not exactly be a Mario game, but Luigi's Mansion gives the gamer a unique experience, despite its length.