Though this game would have fitted perfectly for last month, it was released on Halloween and I wasn’t able to play it till the day after. So decided to do it this month and to give me a good amount of time to get to grip with the game. Also it gave me something to fill the time till Pokémon, and can’t do that just now, need to give that a good amount of playing to be fair.
Luigi’s Haunted Mansion first appeared as a tech demo for showing off the GameCube’s power. It featured Luigi entering into a mansion filled with ghosts. The portrayal of Luigi as a cowardly figure hit a cord with viewers and the first Luigi’s Mansion Game came out for the GameCube as a launch title. The game is what I’d call a controller game, a launch title whose main design is to show off what the new controller of the console can do, similar to Mario 64 and Wii Sports. So as you can see being a game designed to show off a controller isn’t bad in fact some great games are an example of one.
The game was considered good; not a masterpiece but the main element people loved in the game was Luigi himself. While still cowardly, he would however fight against his own fear to save his brother Mario, instantly giving him more personality than Mario ever had.
Several years later a sequel was made for the 3DS which while still welcomed wasn’t as well received as the original primarily due to it abandoning a more free flowing explorative feature for a stage select/mission select format. Once again the best element of this game was Luigi himself, and at the end of the game he got himself a pet ghost dog Polterpup.
The third game in the series (of which I’m now reviewing) starts with Luigi, Peach,3 Toads and Mario on a bus on the way to an hotel they were all invited to. Adorably Polterpup is also along clearly showing it’s now Luigi’s pet dog (also yes, you can pet the dog). Once they get there all seems fine, the hotel was waiting for them, it’s all golden and lovely and the staff are all wearing creepy as hell masks that will give you nightmares. To cut to the chase it turns out to be a trap. Everyone bar Luigi is captured in paintings and Polterpop leads you to a car with the poltergust (Luigi’s ghost capturing hoover inside), plus to continue to the trend of how much personality they give Luigi in these, you see a notable boost in confidence the moment he gets the hoover (he’s dealt with these things 2 times before after all)
The game plays like a partial mix of the previous two entries, while you are normally exploring one floor of the hotel at a time making it more linear than the original; it comes off as less intrusive and more organic than the second’s mission system which took you out of the game repeatedly. Each floor has its own theme to it and the music reflects that, adding different styles to the theme to fit the aesthetic.
Luigi also plays like he did in the older games, you move about with one analogue stick, while use the other to be able to point him in directions he’s not moving in (don’t worry not using that second one will mean he’s just pointing in the direction he’s moving, you don’t need to constantly turn him round). The other buttons are used to activate Luigi’s many MANY abilities, the flashlight to stun ghosts, the suck and blow features of the poltergust and the dark light to expose things the ghosts have hidden (and Boos, telling you this now cause I took a lot of damage from the first Boo till I was informed that was what I was meant to use)
New abilities include the ability to have a jump in place (this isn’t a Mario game, you can’t actually do normal jumping in this) which allows you to avoid some attacks, the ability to fire a plunger that can attack things allowing you to pull on them and the most heavily featured, Gooigi. Gooigi is a slime copy of Luigi created by E. Gadd that can either be controlled by you (leaving Luigi unconscious) or a friend for co-op. as well as having all Luigi’s moves he can pass through bars both horizontal and vertical but will dissolve instantly if he touches water.
As you can see Luigi has quite a lot of abilities and tools in his arsenal so the many puzzles in the game can sometimes feel overwhelming on how to handle them. Many times while fighting a boss I would spend a good amount of time trying to work out which of the many abilities I needed to use to beat it, which is exacerbated when you then throw Gooigi into the mix, and some things require you to sacrifice him.
There are several collectables to be found, as well as the usual ton of money, which can be used to by some useful items but sadly not upgrade the poltergust this time. Each floor has a set of gems to find by completing puzzles and on each floor a Boo to find after completing that floor. Each floor has a boss which can range from clever use of mechanics, to annoying use of mechanics and finally as mentioned which of the mechanics do I use here, oh damn I’m using up dog bones trying to work these out.
Loads of Nintendo characters are put into each floor, from little things to Easter eggs, heck even mechanics using sucking up, or moving sand, the hotel is a place it’s fun to explore in. The collectables affect your final score in the game which is an element once more taken from the first game so it’s not really required for enjoying the game.
The game also features a co-operative and pvp modes… which I haven’t tried out yet, sorry… FF14 came out with a big patch and also had work so I haven’t had time to really delve into that aspect. But from the single player alone it’s great fun. It continues to give Luigi vastly more character than his brother putting him up there as the best Mario character (Bowser and Rosalina are the others).