Luigi’s Mansion Review
Ahh, Luigi’s Mansion. I have great memories of the original title on the GameCube. Getting both the console and game on launch day, it was the first home console that was solely mine rather than one of my siblings. It was the title that I was most looking forward to as well. I didn’t care that a proper Mario title was nowhere to be seen because Luigi’s Mansion just looked so cool to me. Upon playing, I did not feel disappointed in the slightest, it showed just how powerful the GameCube was and it was unlike any game I had ever played up to that point. In subsequent years, while I still hold a very soft spot for the original title, I do see its downfalls, especially after playing the second game. What it mainly boils down to, is the fact that you can beat the game in a few hours and, of course, certain elements feel a bit dated by today’s standards, but that’s only natural.
Luigi has won a contest in which the prize is a mansion. In rather bizarre circumstances, he never entered a contest to begin with. Now I don’t know about you, but I get emails all the time telling me I’ve won stuff. I guess Luigi is rather easy to fool. Mario goes first, but when Luigi turns up, his brother is nowhere to be found. Unbeknownst to him, he soon discovers that it is, in fact, a haunted mansion and something has clearly happened to Mario. He meets Professor E. Gadd, a wacky scientist who looks like a very old baby, who coaxes him into cleansing all ghosts from the mansion in exchange for help to find the red-clad plumber. To achieve this, Luigi is supplied with his now famous ghost busting vacuum machine, the Poltergust 3000.
To defeat these ghosts, Luigi must use both his vacuum machine and flashlight in unison. Firstly, he stuns them using the flashlight, at which point they are open to be sucked up. The first Luigi’s Mansion featured a different mechanic than its sequel did when it came to stunning ghosts. In the original, you simply pointed your flashlight at an enemy for it to be stunned for a brief moment. In Luigi’s Mansion 2 however, you could charge up your flashlight and release it to produce a big flash of light, which would stun any enemy in its vicinity, making it easier to stun multiple enemies. For this remake, both of them feature and you can switch between them at any point in the game’s menu. Although it has to be said, it is instantly obvious that the game has been designed with the standard version of the flashlight in mind. I understand however, that the ‘Strobulb’ (as it was known in Luigi’s Mansion 2), has been added for those that started with the second game rather than the first, so it makes sense why it’s an option. I personally reverted to the standard version after a short while.
When you’re right down to it, the main gameplay loop here involves entering a new room, clearing the ghosts, looting the room, beating the boss (if it has one) and finding the Boo at the end, to then move on. That is what you will constantly be doing throughout your adventure and, at times, you could say it gets a bit samey, but thankfully without ever getting to the point where it becomes dull or tedious. This is because new elements are added as you progress and different kinds of enemies and puzzles show up that helps it feel fresh for longer.
The boss ghosts are certainly a highlight, which makes the decision to cut them in the sequel all the more bizarre in my view. Boss ghosts change the pace slightly and force you to complete a puzzle in order to lure the boss out into a catchable state, with varying degrees of difficulty. An early example of this involves a rather fat ghost who is eating food. You must suck up his food using the Poltergust, which makes it angry, forcing it to attack you, which makes it tired, at which point it leaves itself open for you to make your attack.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 received a little bit of backlash for featuring multiple mansions to contend with as well as having a mission-based structure and I certainly go along with those gripes, especially the mission aspect. Here, we have a singular mansion, which you can navigate through freely, to a degree. You’re still pulled out by Professor E. Gadd to his lab from time to time, but it is far less frequent and doesn’t break the immersion half as much. It also helps the world feel connected that much more.
A couple of things I want to touch on specific to the 3DS version. Firstly, the bottom screen now features a map of the mansion at all times, so no longer will you have to keep switching to a separate map screen to see if you are going the correct way to the room you now have the key for. It just makes things that much more convenient. Secondly, the controls can be a bit iffy but I personally found that the game plays better when using motion controls for aiming up and down as the C-stick on the New 3DS simply isn’t accurate enough for the more intricate movements. It certainly takes some getting used to and with the early sections of the game not being very difficult, it is a good time to try to nail down the controls ready for the rest of the game. Once you do get used to them, they feel great without ever feeling 100 percent natural.
One of the big additions made is the inclusion of a couple of co-op modes. The first sees you going through the full game with a buddy, but you both need to have a copy of the game, which is a bit of a bummer but it is great that it’s included for those that will utilise it nonetheless. The second sees you replaying boss fights and this only requires one copy of the game, so it’s worth trying out once or twice. Playing in co-op does, unfortunately, cause the frame-rate to drop on occasions, however, as the system clearly struggles with having two player-controlled characters on screen at one time, despite Luigi’s Mansion 2 not having that issue.
Achievements have also been added and, if you’re into that sort of stuff, can certainly add a little bit more of a challenge to the game, as well as increasing the replay value slightly as you might want your second playthrough to include getting all of these extra little achievements. They can range from things that are unmissable, such as clearing the first area, to things that are optional, like finding a hidden room or burning a fake door. It’s a neat inclusion, for sure.
The original Luigi’s Mansion featured spectacular graphics for the time, among the best I had ever seen up to that point. Of course, this time around, it’s not going to be the same feeling, but the graphics still hold up decently. Having said that, it seems that a few downgrades have been made to accommodate the 3DS and its smaller screens. Firstly, the mansion now seems much cleaner than it did before, but in a bad way. In the original, you got the sense that this was a very old mansion or one that hadn’t been occupied for a while as there were dust particles in the air that were more apparent in the light from your flashlight. Dust also littered the floor, only to be brought up whenever you ran through a room or whilst vacuuming. However, for reasons I cannot explain, that is not the case here, it just gives the mansion a little less personality. It isn’t all bad though, as some of the textures have been clearly improved upon, to the point where what was once a blurry mess on the GameCube, is now a lot more cleaner and legible this time around.
Luigi’s Mansion has received a decent port to the Nintendo 3DS. Nothing more, nothing less. It isn’t the Nintendo Switch port that I’m sure most of us would have preferred, but that does not deter from the fact that this is still a very good game. It’s just a very good game with the same problems as the original, mainly being the length of the main story. If you missed it back when it was first released and enjoyed the sequel, then I urge you to try this. If you already took a trip to Luigi’s Mansion on the GameCube, then I don’t see any need to revisit it on the 3DS, as you could argue that the original remains the better version.
Version Tested: Nintendo 3DS
Review copy provided by Nintendo