It has been almost 12 years since the first Luigis Mansion game came to the Gamecube as a launch title. Since then Luigi has helped his brother Mario in RPG’s, 2D side scrollers and even brawling with other Nintendo folk. Finally a true sequel has hit retail shelves dubbed Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on the Nintendo 3DS. Will the game succeed in providing a lasting experience or will it be haunted with problems of its predecessor?
Story | 8
The game starts off showing ghosts and Professor E Gadd experimenting and laughing, that is until the King Boo arrives and messes everything up by destroying the Dark Moon. In doing so the ghosts of Deepshade Valley turn into unruly beings and start destroying and pranking toads and the professor. Leaving Professor E. Gadd to ask himself “who ya gonna call?” Luigi! Summoned from the comforts of the Mushroom Kingdom, Luigi finds himself once again knee deep in electoplasm, thanks to ghostly apparitions who haunt the corridors of Gloomy Mansion.
Here we Go!
While chatting and laughing it up with E Gadd, Luigi learns to restore order to the valley he must find and collect shards of the Dark Moon. During your trip to Deepshade Valley Luigi will come across different locales such as water levels, ice and desert buildings. Each level containing a distinct visual style and upon defeating the ghostly minion of the level a Dark Moon piece will fall into the green fellows hand. Of course thanks to Professor E Gadd you will only have to find 5 pieces of the Dark Moon as you will start your adventure with the one he has stumbled across while escaping Gloomy Mansion. Setting off on his adventure Luigi is tasked with finding the Dark Moon pieces and more importantly the equipment he will need to battle the unseen foes. Visiting the first mansion you will uncover the poltergust 5000 and the dark light which play major roles throughout the game.
Gameplay | 9
Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon comes fully equipped with the proper tools to leave a lasting impression on gamers. Unlike the original, the game allows players to revisit their favorite levels and experiences of the game rather than having an open world experience. The Metroid style mansion is missed, yet the new level select system allows handheld gamers to easily pick up where they left off and to achieve new high scores, collect jewels, money and of course those dreadful Boo’s. Currency plays a key factor in the game as after each level ends the amount collected is applied to a new upgrade. This is one of the drawbacks of the game as there are only 5 upgrades and you can’t choose which upgrade as they are already picked for the player. The biggest let down is the ability not to save or reach checkpoints while playing each level. Most gamers will be playing this title on the go meaning the 15 minutes you played during one specific level can be lost if turning the power off as there are no save or checkpoints during the mission you play through. This will also leave gamers scratching their heads as once you fail or die in the mission you are forced to start at the beginning of the level.
Reeling in a big catch
Controls in the game are simple and easy to understand and the game starts to elaborate them with puzzles and challenges as the game progresses. Ghosts are stunned by light, leaving them vulnerable to be sucked up by Luigi’s custom vacuum. During the ghostbuster like scene of Luigi sucking up ghosts a numerical value is displayed above the ghosts head which represents the stamina of the apparition. In order to suck the ghost up you must wear it down until the stamina number reaches zero. Early puzzles in the game require you to shine your Flashlight or Darklight on furniture or paintings to find keys, gear pieces and clues. As Luigi travels to new levels he will find that ghosts use different items and become stronger over time leaving gamers to use their noggins to counter these tougher foes.
Multiplayer in the game is fun and diverse, allowing a team of 4 to tackle the different game variations the scarescrapper has to offer. During your local, global match players will assume different color Luigi’s similar to The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords games while the goal of the game differs from the game type. Hunter mode finds players scurrying through a randomly generated map to eliminate all the ghosts on each floor. Rush mode finds the Luigi team looking for the specific door that leads to the next floor with the time being more of the enemy rather than the ghosts. And of course we have the detective like Polterpup mode, where you use your darklight to track down that pesky pup that is hidden on each level. Of course a hidden Surprise mode can be unlocked which is a combo of all three game variants.
The Legend of Luigi: Four Vacuum Adventures
Graphics | 10
Nintendo’s 3DS has seen its share of great graphics, yet Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon proves the handheld is just getting started. Boasting some of the best graphics the handheld has seen to date. This is because the visuals are dark yet colorful and really capture the atmosphere of each level. Animation is smooth and hearing Luigi shriek or hum to the music is a delightful touch. Each room of the game has a purpose and helps not let the game feel bland and recycled.
Luigi at his Best
One of my favorite things about this game is the 3D effects. A 3DS game hasn’t felt as brilliant using 3D since the Super Mario Land 3D which came out a couple years ago. The definition of depth is truly an experience to see as the spectacle of 3D springs to life in this title, making Jaws 3D look like a blurry Atari 2600 game. Just don’t expect to play this game with 3D mode on at all times as you will become more cross eyed then Professor E Gadd himself.
Final Verdict |9
Luigi comes awfully close to perfection and misses the mark by just a tad. The level system is great, yet falls flat when only allowing 5 times to level up. The big let down here is that it just doesn’t live up to the creepy vibe of exploring a mansion and unlocking new areas. Boss levels are awesome but lack the creative touch that the original mansion had as far as creating an engaging experience to a specific room. All minor gripes aside Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon is a true hallmark on the 3DS. Leaving any true Mario fan or even a Ghostbuster fan pleased of their purchase. The genuine performance Luigi gives is an unforgettable one, make sure to give a good tug on your mommy’s dress for this one.