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Review: Luigi's Mansion

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A new review, for Luigi's Mansion that is. Played it a while ago and wanted to share my thoughts about the game. Oh and I will from now on try to treat my reviews as if they were written around the time the game was released. Just so you know. Oh, and here you've got the link to my original review. 

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"Luigi's Mansion may not be long, but the unique concept and feel of the game make it worth to reach for in the shelves."

Difficulty: Just Right

Time Spent: 10 Hours or Less

The Bottom Line: "Worth playing"

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While Mario gets all the fame, Luigi is forced to play the sidekick for his older brother in several games. Yet with Luigi's Mansion, this tradition finally takes a twist for the better of Luigi. Instead of hopping from platform to platform while holding on to his green plumber-cap, the brother of the oh so popular Mario takes a risky step into a much different genre. Unlike the red guy, he has to go on a ghost hunt in a huge mansion, suck these ghosts up with a vacuum, and free the mansion from all evil that is haunting the interior architecture of the giant mansion. 

But is it worth going along with Luigi on this spooky adventure?

--- Presentation ---

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One of Nintendo's objectives with Luigi's Mansion was to show off the graphical abilities of the Gamecube, and it sure worked out well. Luigi's Mansion is a wonderful game to look at. Not only is the atmosphere in the game captured perfectly, but the environments and the mansion look outstanding, with many little details scattered across the locations. The visual effects, like lighting effects, are just as outstanding. 

One of the biggest strengths of Luigi's Mansion is the personality the game has. The mansion is spooky and gloomy, but this "spooky" aspect is mixed with a great sense of humor throughout the game. The ghosts for example, aren't what you'd call spooky. Sure there are the Boo Hoos, but there are also many other, goofy looking ghosts haunting the mansion, with a lot of variety, keeping the ghost hunt entertaining until the end. Luigi, despite facing rather funny looking spirits, is scared as hell, throughout the whole adventure. This is highlighted by the great voice clips and facial expressions Luigi has, making each cutscene a delight.

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Of course, in respect of Luigi's extreme fear, there must be some reason why that scaredy cat even risks one footstep into the mansion. Everything begins with the message that Luigi has won a mansion in the middle of the woods. Without even participating in some kind of contest. Not suspicious at all! Mario sets out to visit the mansion some time before Luigi does the same. When Luigi arrives, he looks out for Mario, but he is nowhere to be seen. Despite the spooky indication outside of the mansion, Luigi enters the mansion through the noble doors, hoping to find Mario somewhere inside. But the interior of the mansion does indeed not look inviting at all. Farther into the mansion, Luigi meets the crazy Professor E. Gadd, who tells him that this mansion just popped out of nowhere and now he's in for some ghost hunting action. The Professor trains Luigi to become a ghost hunter, and from there on the search for Mario starts. 

There really isn't anything bad to state in this category. The visuals are great, the atmosphere and personality the game contains is outstanding, and the story suffices the needs of the game. The music sounds good as well, however, the game has only very few tracks that it repeats throughout the whole game; which can become a little annoying.

--- Gameplay ---

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But what if the player hops into Luigi's role and starts busting ghosts? 

Now, first of all, before sending you farther into the mansion, the game makes you familiar with the controls. Which work quite well most of the time, though using the right control stick to direct Luigi in steamy fights can take some time to get used to. 

But controls aren't important either way when the gameplay is bad anyways. Luckily, Luigi's Mansion handles the entry into a much different gameplay concept perfectly well. Sucking up ghosts is indeed fun, and the farther you get into the game, the more challenging these fights get. It's incredibly fun hanging on to ghosts that try to escape the beam of the Poltergust 2000, trying to direct the right control stick into the exact opposite direction of where the ghost is flying to. And the battles get more and more frantic the more ghosts appear at once, with only a few times becoming frustrating.

The variety of ghosts just add to the fun, in this case. There are a lot of different ghosts that get in the way of Luigi, as well as Mini bosses, that are mostly human-like ghosts which seem to live in the mansion, as well as 4 main bosses and the final boss that are generally fun to battle. Well except one mini boss late in the game, which holds the potential to frustration pure. 

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Before sucking up the ghosts though, Luigi is forced to blend the ghosts with his torch, and that doesn't always work that well. Way too many times did I blend the ghost, without getting the slightest chance to catch him with my Poltergust's beam right after, which was a main reason why some fights against ghosts became rather frustrating than entertaining. 

Of course, wondering through the mansion and sucking up the ghosts isn't the only thing you have to do. The mansion is full of collectibles, mostly money, but also some gems as well, that make your money count rise up and up, and the game gives you a little reason why to try to collect as much money as possible at the very end. But you won't be searching the mansion only in order to collect money, it's also crucial to advance in the game, your main objective being to find keys. At the end of the adventure, you will have gone through pretty much every single room; however, it is the order in which you visit all the rooms that makes the exploring of the whole mansion so entertaining. With that said, Luigi's Mansion does lack variety overall. The main concept is sucking up ghosts, and while the game adds a nice amount of variety to that concept, it is not nearly enough to fill up the game; yet the rest of the game is just searching for collectibles, keys and the way to proceed. It's fun, though you'll also notice that repetition is not to be avoided, which can lead to some boredom if the game is played to long during one single session. 

However, Luigi's Mansion isn't what you call a long game anyways. It takes about 5-10 hours to beat the main game, depending on how you play the game, and the only reason to revisit the game is to try to collect more collectibles another time through the adventure or to master a more challenging version of the main adventure. It's pretty short, though, in this case, the length fits quite well in order to not make the game seem too repetitive. On the bad side however; the length of the game may suffice the lacking variety of the game, but not the game's price. Of course, the best solution would have self evidently been giving the game more length as well as more variety.

--- Verdict ---

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Luigi's Mansion could be described as a small, yet glorious diamond with a few scratches here and there that boggle down it's value. It's a very unique game, both gameplay wise and in particular presentational wise, and capturing ghosts with the Poltergust 2000 is pure fun. The fun withdraws a few too many times, may it be because of frustration or the possibility of boredom caused by the missing yet needed variety, and the game's length isn't there to justify the price in anyways. Yet, it's one of the Gamecube's launch titles, and definitely one unique and special game that keeps the adventure entertaining until the end, despite the bumps lying in the way. Yes, the game lacks quantity, yet it's an outstanding game unlike any other.

The Good

  • Unique in it's concept and presentation
  • Sucking up ghosts with the Poltergust 2000 is a lot of fun
  • Great graphics
  • a lot of personality
  • outstanding humor
  • the mansion Luigi explores is outstandingly well designed

The Bad

  • the game lacks the variety it could have needed
  • occasional frustrations 
  • short length of the game doesn't justify the game's price



Review Score: 7.0/10

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