E3 2001 Hands-onLuigi's Mansion

Nintendo's haunted mansion game is playable here on the floor at E3.


Luigi's Mansion

Luigi's Mansion is, for all intents and purposes, Nintendo's flagship game here at E3. The game, starring Mario's younger brother, Luigi, has a fairly simple premise. Luigi, armed with a flashlight and a vacuum cleaner, must wander around a haunted mansion, using his flashlight to startle ghosts and sucking them into his vacuum cleaner to dispose of them. Upon sucking up a ghost, coins or other items can pop out. Clearing a room turns on the lights in that room, preventing more ghosts from appearing. Luigi also runs around with a Game Boy Color in his hand, which he uses to communicate. It also serves as your map of the mansion.

The control in Luigi's Mansion takes a bit of getting used to. The left analog stick is used to aim Luigi's flashlight and vacuum, and the right analog is used to move Luigi around the mansion. The R trigger is used to activate the vacuum, and either the A button or the Z button can be used to open doors and advance text. While you might think that Luigi's Mansion is a fast-paced adventure, it's actually a very slow, deliberate game. Luigi, spooked out of his mind, almost shuffles around the mansion, never really breaking into anything other than a mild trot. Also, aiming takes a little longer than you'd think, enabling some of the closer, faster ghosts to get the jump on you before you can swivel around to startle them.

Graphically, Luigi's Mansion has some really excellent lighting effects, with realistic shadows that really add to the overall spooky feel of the mansion. Most of the ghosts are somewhat transparent, and there are lots of nice little touches, such as flickering candles, moving curtains, and mirrors. Some of the backgrounds have a slightly jaggy look to them, especially one library area that features a large bookcase.

Hopefully, the later portions of Luigi's Mansion will move a little faster than the early rooms shown here at E3. Luigi's Mansion is scheduled to ship alongside the GameCube on November 5.

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