logan j. fowler is cleaning house …
Back in 2001, Luigi’s Mansion was released alongside the debut of the Nintendo Gamecube. Featuring Mario’s overshadowed brother, Luigi, the game allowed the hero to take down ghosts using a vacuum cleaner, trying to locate his sibling in a spooky mansion. With the help of Professor E. Gadd, Luigi would not only have a powerful tool to suck up the ghosts but a flashlight to stun them, and a Game Boy Horror to look at his map.
12 years later, Luigi is back to take on the supernatural in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on the Nintendo 3DS. This time around, a crystallized moon has allowed E. Gadd to work alongside the poltergeists, but one night it is broken into pieces, and Gadd calls upon the blue and green clad plumber to do some field work. Luigi will trap ghosts, collect money, and toy around with household items once again in order to save the day.
Let’s start with the good; Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon looks incredible on the 3DS. Not only are the graphics superb, but the 3DS elements, while not as strong in context as Super Mario 3D Land, does add some extra oomph to the game’s appearance. However, there will be times where you go to shift your system to aim your vacuum and the screen goes blurry, so you may want to not bother and just go to 2D. Your call.
The game is colorful and full of life, and you’ll be curious to see where hidden treasures lie in drawers, boxes, and the like. Using your vacuum on regular objects will cause them to shake and rattle, and I’m guessing at least 80% of every room has this sort of environment reaction available. The game also features that core Nintendo element where discovery is key (no pun intended), so make sure you analyze your surroundings to the furthest extent before you think you get stuck.
Luigi traps ghosts the same way he did back in 2001; use flashlight to stun ghosts, press button to suck them up, repeat. The repetition kind of turned me off Luigi’s first game but I stuck with it, and here while I’m still early in the game, I’m consistently smiling at discovering new things or room secrets, and nabbing the spooks is still fun, especially when you zap them with the A button (that’s a piece of the dark moon shard helping out) to make it a tad bit easier on you and the “fishing for ghost” dynamic.
The music sets the mood and is quirky, and hearing Luigi’s slim pickings of voice are fun and they allow you to enjoy your progress as you root for the hero. He may not be Mario, but the Weege is an underdog of the highest degree, which earns him affection easier in the video game world.
On the downside, E. Gadd contacts Luigi using a DS, which is a novelty at first, but soon becomes annoying. Gadd will call you all the time and instead of just giving you a brief heads up every once in a while, or discussing it with you between mansions, the Professor becomes almost clingy with contact. I guess this may be to help younger players, but ultimately it’s distracting.
There’s also downfall in the motion controls. At some points you will have to aim your vacuum up to the ceiling, and you have to move your 3DS to do so. It’s kind of like how you would swim in Super Mario 64; down is up, up is down, or I guess it would be more like flying an aircraft in a video game. The gyroscope controls are a little fickle, sometimes they work fine but others I had trouble with direction. This area could’ve used some fine tuning.
Despite minor grips, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a fun, quirky game that looks amazing and brings along with it some solid 3D aspect. The sequel provides some much needed tune ups that were needed in game one and while it’s not bringing a creative adventure to the table, the roaming aspect that I have spent a few hours with already has made me crack more smiles than I could’ve expected. As a gamer, you really can’t ask for much more out of virtual entertainment.
Author’s Note: There is a multiplayer aspect for the game which was not looked at for this review.