8.5

Best ghost-busting game out there, even now in 2009. Charming, sweet game. Enjoy what's there because it's over too soon

Wow. Blast to the past! Luigi's Mansion was a launch title for the Gamecube as well as being a showcase for the machine's capabilities in light/shadowing, load times and controller. It used the GC pad to good effect with rumble, analogue sticks and analogue shoulder buttons. This was a game I anticipated even though I was expecting a mainline Mario platformer, and yet it was a game I skipped because I gave gaming a break during the GC/PS2/Xbox period. 8 years on, i've completed the game - here's my overdue review.

As the title suggests, this is a Luigi game. Mario and Luigi has won a mansion in a contest, a contest which they had no knowledge of. Even so, the pair has agreed to meet up at prized mansion. Mario didn't turn up though. It seemed as though Mario had went inside ahead of him and has since been missing. Like a good brother, Luigi decides to track him down. The creepy mansion also happens to be haunted with 'Boos' and an encounter with them has shaken Luigi's nerves. He lucked out though because a Professor E. Gadd coincidentally arrives packing a 'vacuuming machine' to fight off the ghouls. Back to safety within a workshop, the professor explains to Luigi of the ghosts inhabiting the mansion and gives the 'Poltergust 3000' to Luigi. With this contraption, Luigi must explore the mansion and rescue Mario!

The game looks great. The over-darkness which shadows each and every room is broken by Luigi's torch to great effect. You can see your reflection in the mirrors, you tremble as you pace back and forth. Giving the Poltergust 3000 a swirl flutters cloth, moves chandeliers and shakes the furniture with convincing attention to detail - it has a feel of quality throughout. The shadows and lighting are dynamically impressive as you battle the Boos, it's hard to knock the game's graphics even in this day if you overlook some slightly low-res textures. The design itself is just perfect. the audio is also excellent to match. The main theme is drummed out eerily in the background, yet is a catchy tune. catchy enough for Luigi to start humming it himself! there is voicework for conversations but what little of it is in the gameplay itself is quite amazing. The humming is pulled off with that hint of fear. As you press 'A', Luigi will call out for Mario in a slight passive tone as if to search for hope. It's all charming yet cartoonish.

Luigi's Mansion has excellent controls; rumble is in effect, you can change the strength of your machine with the analogue shoulder buttons, and the C-stick is effective for accurate aiming. It all melds together to create an experience as if you're actually reeling and wrestling a ghost into your vacuum cleaner! The highlights of the game are the bosses and the usage of elementals such as fire and water. Just exploring the mansion is fun as you anticipate your next boss encounter or unique room - like the gym, the baby room or even the backyard. It's not all straightforward though as you're hampered by locked doors and a section in which you require to capture a number of special ghosts to proceed. It's rather formulaic when the game's structure is put down to paper but the experience is so nice, short but so well-crafted that repetition barely ever sets in. The only negative i'd give the game is just how short the game is. You can easily complete the game in an afternoon sitting, but then again you could say the game is nicely condensed to the point where it's not artifically lengthened beyond the scope of the plot and gameplay. Also, i did find the game easy but that's me. For those who are less-adept, the game wouldn't be as short and sweet as i've described it.

To conclude my review, i can't recommend enough how much the game HAS to be played. Gameplay, visuals and sound are all top-notch. The length of the game could be considered a let-down especially for someone who's paid full-price. At this point in time though, the game can be had for cheap and it is definitely deserving a spot in your game collection despite the short length. It's a definite rent but a must-have for those who like a collection of awesome games.

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