Luigi's Mansion is a horror-themed action adventure video game developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo for the GameCube on 2001-09-14. It was ported to the Nintendo 3DS on 2018-10-12. The game was a launch title for the GameCube and the first game in the Mario series on the platform.
In the game's story, Luigi receives a letter that he's won a free mansion. He tells Mario to meet him at the address, but, when he arrives, he discovers it's haunted with ghosts who have kidnapped Mario! Luckily, he also meets Professor Elvin Gadd who has invented tools for capturing ghosts including a high-tech vacuum called the Poltergust 3000, which he gives to Luigi so he can imprison the ghosts and save Mario.
By the time this game came out, I was no longer paying attention to new video game consoles or their games. I only had a few friends who owned a GameCube, saw very little of the console, never played a single game on it, and never saw this game being played. However, no doubt because it was made popular as a launch title, the game kept showing up in the video game media I consumed. So, when I finally bought a computer that could emulate GameCube games at full speed, it was one of the first games for the platform I tried out. I finished the game on 2020-09-01, fairly unimpressed.
I don't own the game, but I have beaten it with a rank of C.
Best Version: Nintendo 3DS
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game utilizes classical ghost tropes effectively. They can be sucked up with vacuums, they are naughty little tricksters, they appear behind you and spook you, etc.
- The game's art really fits the theme, and the 3D is adaquately rendered.
- I like how Luigi emotes when he's frightened and how he hums to himself when he's scared.
- The change when you capture the ghosts from the scary dark haunted rooms into warm inviting light rooms is a nice mechanic.
- The various puzzles you need to solve in order to get the ghosts to reveal their hearts adds a much-appreciated cerebral element to the game.
- Luigi's nose-bob when he walks is funny.
- Capturing the ghosts gets old fast. Most ghosts are just variations on what you fought in the training room. Only the portrait ghosts add a semi-interesting puzzle element, but this isn't really a mechanic to base an entire game on. I became bored about a quarter of the way into the game.
- Having to chase boo buddies across rooms was fun for the first couple times, but it quickly became annoying, and, near the end, when they have hundreds of hit points, it's especially tedious. And, the reward for finally capturing all 50 is just more money. That's not exactly a worthy bonus for spending so much time collecting them.
- I like the game's main music theme, but I really wish there were more songs. Other than a boss theme, ending theme, and a couple jingles, you hear the same song for hours.
- There should be an easy way to fill up your life (like the Toads). Having to walk around cleared rooms searching for hearts in furniture is not fun.
- The first time I fell for a fake door I thought it was clever, but, as I accidentally got slammed by more and more, I was really sick of them. You can burn them away, but, since there is no way to permanently remove them, you either have to memorize the location of every door in the game, or check your map over and over again, which is annoying.
- There were several times when the camera was too close to Luigi, and I couldn't see enough of the room, which resulted in getting hit by off-camera ghosts. This didn't happen too frequently, but enough to be annoying.
- Using the camera on the Game Boy Horror to get info about objects in the rooms began as interesting, but, as I started seeing the same generic messages for a lot of objects, it became tedious and I stopped using it. This got me stuck at a couple places where you have to use it on specific items. This was a bad design decision. Even if there was a unique message for every object in the mansion, it slows down game play a lot to have to do it.
- Power-downs are not fun to begin with, but having only a power-down mushroom without a power-up is just annoying.
- Luigi is stupid enough to think he won a contest he never entered? Do they not have scam artists in the Mushroom Kingdom?
- The controls are pretty awful. I tried using both standard and sidestep controls, for long stints of game play, but neither of them ever felt comfortable. Trying to get the vacuum at both the right direction and elevation while also positioning Luigi was always a struggle, especially in the Boolossus and King Boo fights.
- When the power goes out in act 4 the game becomes obnoxious for awhile. You're constantly barraged with ghosts, and fighting them isn't an option since they respawn endlessly, you just have to avoid them the entire time. However, since they scare Luigi and interrupt his movement, this is a tedious process.