Published on December 7th, 2011 | by Adam Vjestica
Luigi’s Mansion Retro Reflection
Release Date: 2002
Genre: Action Adventure
What’s Da Matter You?
You can’t help but feel sorry for Luigi. Regularly eclipsed by his older brother’s more sizeable shadow, Luigi admirably sticks to a low-carb diet, passionately pioneers interesting inventions and works hard to broaden his existing repertoire.
Younger, leaner and as equally as charming; Luigi sadly ends up in the same cruel, mocking predicament. Always a bridesmaid, never the bride. Fleeting morsels of opportunity are offered to the green machine, opportunities which he begrudgingly accepts. Guest appearances comprise the majority of his resume, with sidekick roles papering over the gaping hole in his heart; the burning desire to reach the big time. Mercifully and unexpectedly, the ‘Big N’ came knocking. Finally, it was Luigi’s time to shine.
Yay For Me, Luigi!
Entrusted with launching Nintendo’s latest hardware, the Nintendo GameCube, Luigi’s Mansion was given a baptism of fire. The launch of new hardware is always a tentative time, where some games thrive and others are overlooked. Sadly, many dismissed Luigi’s fantastic escapade, with critics generally nit-picking at the length of the campaign (funny how times change) and the perhaps harshly dubbed, ‘simplistic gameplay’. Admittedly, the game was rather short depending on your ability; however, the gameplay was clever, unique and childishly fun.
Luigi manages to win a contest that he never entered (we can all relate to this, damn cold callers!), the prize being a beautiful mansion. To celebrate his win, and perhaps with the hidden intention of rubbing Mario’s big fat face in it, Luigi invites Mazza to the mansion to toast his unexpected win. When Luigi arrives fashionably late, it’s clear that something’s gone awry. First of all, this particular mansion looks nothing like the photograph. Secondly, Mario is gone, a toad’s in tears, and this sibling celebration has quickly turned into a desperate rescue mission.
That’s right. Even though Luigi obtained the role of the main protagonist, it wouldn’t surprise me if a a few curse words were uttered when he realised that the story revolves around saving Mario. “Madonna Mia! He’s-a always stealing the spotlight!” But have no fear, Luigi’s here…though the poor blighter’s going to get the bejesus scared out of him along every step of the way. The things we do for brotherly love hey?
It soon becomes frighteningly clear that there’s more to this mansion than meets the eye. The mansion…is haunted. And the wandering spirits have decided to nab Mr. Mario. Talk about a ‘Boo’ ‘Boo’ prize… Luigi courageously vows to find his brother, tentatively searching through the darkened corridors and many floors of the mansion.
So how do you catch a ghost? Yes, there is a team you can call, but this is personal. Luckily, Luigi meets the wacky, eccentric legend that is Professor Elvin Gadd or E.Gadd as he’s also known. This quirky codger informs Luigi of the grand task at hand, bestowing upon him his ghost catching invention the PolsterGust 3000, a vacuum which can hoover up the transparent terrors (eat that Sir James Dyson). To assist Luigi with more difficult spirits and the complex layout of the mansion, Prof. E.Gadd hands Luigi the ‘Game Boy Horror’. The Game Boy Horror cutely resembles Nintendo’s popular Game Boy Colour, acting as part of Luigi’s HUD, map and communications device with the Professor.
Walking With Ghosts
When the lanky Luigi enters a room, it’s almost guaranteed that a spooky visitor will be lurking in the darkness. Invisible to the eye and with an aversion to light, ghosts will appear when Luigi’s back is turned. To capture the ectoplasm producing annoyances, Luigi must first stun the ghost with his flash light. Thanks to the powerful rays, the ghost’s heart will be momentarily revealed, signalling an opportunity to vacuum the floating fiends. The player is then tasked with holding on to the ghosts (who will kick up an unruly fuss) until their hit points have drained. Once the heart total reaches zero, a satisfying pop accompanies your successful, sometimes hard fought, ghost capture. The vacuum is also used to plunder the mansion which contains a plentiful booty of pearls, dollar bills, diamonds and gold bars. Cleaning has never felt so rewarding! Once Luigi has cleared a room, the lights will remain on.
Boss battles involve the more difficult customers known as Portrait Ghosts. These artistic renegades can often require a puzzle to be solved, using the Game Boy Horror and the ghost’s surroundings. One delightful example involves vacuuming away a fat ghost’s food, then when he becomes hungry, it’s time to do some spring cleaning. The Portrait Ghosts are extracted at the end of each area with the help of E.Gadd, returning to their previous canvas-like state.
When the final boss is vanquished (can you guess who it is?) the player is given a rating. The score is calculated from the amount of treasure Luigi manages to hoard during the campaign. Luigi uses his riches to build his very own mansion on the ghostly grounds, with the size and grandeur of the building reflective of your total treasure haul. Upon completion of the game, a second version of the mansion is playable known as ‘the secret mansion’. Essentially, it’s a re-jigged mansion which is mirrored, containing different variables such as bosses and more ghosts. It adds a much needed dose of longevity to the title, and completionists will be keen on building the best mansion possible with their winnings.
Ghouls ‘N’ Gloats
The animation and graphics of Luigi’s Mansion were an absolute treasure to behold. It’s a fantastic looking title, one that showed off the processing power of Ninty’s purple box. The meticulous focus on subtle details such as Luigi’s honk-able, wobbling nose as he scurries along the dusty halls, or how he nervously hums along to the infectious title theme all add to the typical wonder of a Nintendo first-party game. Another example includes the ability to call out in vain for Mario using the ‘A’ button, a pointlessly brilliant addition.
The level of detail in Luigi’s Mansion is exemplary, with every chandelier, light fitting, table, book shelf or table cloth responsive to the suction power of the PolterGust. The lighting effects were also a delight at the time, as Luigi’s torch beam realistically lit up dust particles and cascaded across the pitch dark rooms. Even today, Luigi’s Mansion holds up incredibly well with it’s charming, comic-mischief style.
Fans of Luigi’s Mansion can rejoice as it was recently announced that the green plumber is making a welcomed return to the big time in Luigi’s Mansion 2 for the Nintendo 3DS. The game will build upon the successful foundations of the first game with the added bonus of beautiful, eye popping 3D! I for one cannot wait.
He Ain’t Skinny, He’s My Brother
So Ladies and Gentlemen, tip your hat to the man in green. A man who frankly deserves to be seen. A slender being who continues to beam, even when faced with adversity and a lack of free, sponsored moustache cream.