It's a dark, spooky night in the woods as Mario's brother approaches an ominous mansion that seems to warn visitors away with its very presence. Luigi doesn't particularly want any business with the place, but it's his new home – he received word that he won the eerie location in a contest that he doesn't even remember entering. And he's supposed to meet Mario inside at midnight for a quick tour.
But Mario is nowhere to be found. Instead, Luigi bumps into a goofy, old, possibly mad scientist who explains that the mansion is in fact terribly haunted and that something must be done about it. He offers the green-suited plumber two necessary tools for the job – a flashlight and a backpack-worn vacuum cleaner. And the simplistic, but enjoyable romp that is Luigi's Mansion begins.
- Play as Mario's brother Luigi in his own new adventure
- Explore a dark and haunted mansion
- Solve room based puzzles
- Use Luigi's Vacuum cleaner to suck up ghosts, spray flame and ice
- Interact with a variety of off-the-wall spirit characters
- Clean out haunted rooms to earn cash and keys that unlock new areas
- Seek out 50 bonus ghosts hidden throughout the mansion
- Sports advanced real-time lighting and shadowing effects
- Cartoon-like character animation
- Runs in progressive-scan mode for televisions that support it
- Single-player adventure
Luigi's Mansion is an entirely straightforward 3D adventure. As the plumber apprehensively explores a giant, menacing mansion in search of his brother, his weapons – a flashlight and vacuum cleaner – work hand-in-hand: the light stuns enemy ghosts and the cleaner sucks them up and into Luigi's back-bag, where they remain unthreateningly. It's a rather simplistic premise for sure, and one obviously inspired by the Ghostbusters feature films, but it's cute and enjoyable all the same.
Spirits manifest each dark room of the big house. It's Luigi's job – and therefore the player's, to rid each room of the ghosts and restore order and subsequently light to the area. Luigi earns cash bonuses and usually receives a key that unlocks a new area of the mansion after he bests the immediate space. Some rooms are all too easy to successfully complete as they require little more than for Luigi to point his flashlight, stun a few ghosts and then suck them up with his vacuum. Others are decidedly trickier and may require the completion of a room puzzle.
For example, in one area, Luigi comes into contact with a female spirit who, applying makeup to her face, sits transfixed before a mirror. The plumber can't immediately get her to turn around and therefore he can't stun her with his flashlight. But observation of the room uncovers a set of window drapes nearby. If players walk to them and suck them back with Luigi's vacuum, a gust of cold wind will burst into the room, chill the ghost and she will get up to close the window whereupon she becomes vulnerable. It's these types of room puzzles that are most satisfying. The problem is that there aren't enough of them, and even the selection that's available is often too simple in nature to prove overly challenging.
Luigi himself is manipulated with the analog stick and the flashlight and vacuum with the camera one. The two-stick control scheme is a change of pace for Nintendo games as it's not immediately intuitive; in truth, it takes some getting used to. But once players become familiar with the setup it works quite brilliantly. It feels very good to tilt the light up and down, left and right while watching the resulting beam on surrounding walls and environments. And the best part is that because it's a dual control scheme Luigi can move about the mansion as he shines his light onto objects or sucks ghosts in with his cleaner.
There are of course other intricacies to the scheme. Pressing the A button near an object will make Luigi examine it. It also makes him open doors or call out for his brother. B turns the flashlight off. R activates the suction of the vacuum cleaner. L blows out whatever Luigi has inside the cleaner. X goes into a first-person examination mode. Y brings up a map of the current floor Luigi is on in the mansion. And Z serves as an items list. Each element is deeper than one might initially suspect. For instance, the L button becomes very useful later in the game because Luigi gains the ability to blow both fire and ice out of his cleaner and certain puzzles require that candles be lit or fires be quenches in this manner. Meanwhile, the first-person view mode becomes helpful in finding hidden areas; in fact, it must be used at least twice in the game or Luigi cannot proceed further.
This, though, is really the end of the rabbit hole. The play itself is moderately paced. Luigi explores room, hallway and room in search of ghosts and more ghosts. The process of stunning and then sucking in spirits is refined and proves to be quite a lot of fun. There are several different kinds of ghosts to fool around with too, which keep the variety somewhat fresh. But the game's frankly too easy and becomes repetitive at times. Going from room to room in search of keys is made all the more simple due to a map that highlights the next area of the mansion that has been unlocked. And players expecting the next Mario game are sure to hope for something more beyond the next door that unfortunately never materializes. Instead, a few more ghosts separated only by the occasional quickly beaten puzzle or boss fight encounter greet Luigi. And then poof – the game is over. With no reward and with virtually no reason to replay it.
Let's face it – Luigi's Mansion is a technology demo. It's Nintendo's way of saying, "Hey – look. This is what GameCube can do." And on this level the game mostly succeeds. It is all said and done quite a beautiful adventure. Luigi himself is a high polygon model brought to life with absolutely fantastic animation, both facial and body-wise. He shows fear, happiness, and more as he explores the giant, haunted mansion. The other characters in the title – ghosts and boss characters alike – are similarly well modeled, animated and detailed. The game employs a breathtaking particle effects system that sees sparks bouncing off walls and dust kicking up into the beams of the flashlight. It's all rich with detail and cartoony ambience.
The visuals that make up Luigi's Mansion are stunning
But beyond everything else, it's Luigi's Mansion's lighting, shadowing and physics effects that make it such a wonderful sight to take in. As the plumber searches the haunted locale, his flashlight beams onto objects that cast shadows onto walls and objects. Everything seems to be impacted by self-shadowing too, which of course looks amazing. Real-time light sources grace just about every illuminated piece in the mansion as well. Meanwhile, clothing sports real physics so that cloth sways back in forth in the wind and is even accurately affected by the suction of Luigi's vacuum cleaner. The same is true for drapes, bedspreads – whatever. It all comes together for an amazing visual experience.
But alas, it's not perfect. It seems that while Nintendo's programmers were working without sleep on the project, its texture artists and modelers were negotiating with N64 to borrow some backgrounds. Many of the scenes Luigi explores are decidedly low in polygons, probably due to the fact that so much rendering power has been devoted to shadows, lighting and physics. The environments don't look bad – they just don't match up with the incredible technology surrounding them. And while the textures in some rooms are crisp and clear, some in others are flat out blurry, which is definitely disappointing.
The listening experience that is Luigi's Mansion is both good and bad. It's got a lot of character. Luigi hums the theme song of the title as he explores the haunted house and screams out "Marioooo!" at the command of players. It's cute, humorous and satisfying for sure. The ghost sounds effects are similarly comical – sometimes to the point of being cheesy, and they do become redundant after the hundredth or so time of hearing them. Meanwhile, the music is catchy but unvaried. The same repeating song plays over and over and over again throughout the adventure. It drills into one's head until they can't help but hum along with it – and Luigi, in a kind of crazed daze. It all blends together for a sound that reminds us most of a funked-out pinball machine.
source IGN Cube
Number of Players