Retro Review: Luigi’s Mansion

This republished review was originally written in 2002, this review is unedited and appears as it did back then. We hope this review gives you an idea of how the reviewer felt at the time and at the end you’ll see a small review from today where you can see how well the game held up over time.

My own game, my own sodding game at last, Oh while Mario has fun in 3D worlds with lush green hills and beaches, all I get is a sodding castle full of scary ghosts while I cack my pants. Thanxs.

Luigis mansion may not be your typical Mario game, hell it doesn’t even star him, but his skinnier, shaggy and Scooby like brother. Luigis mansion is none of the typical Mario type platforms you’ve come to expect. Imagine if you will, Ghost busters, and that’s the game for you.

Luigi has won a mansion in a competition he didn’t even enter, Mario rush’s off ahead to find the mansion, saying he’ll meet Luigi there later. Luigi, after spending hours trying to find it, finally does. But there’s no Mario. Checking inside he gets an eerie feeling. Ghosts appear and chase after him, but he escapes just in time as a weird little man with a vacuum cleaner stuns the ghosts, allowing them enough time to escape.

Luigi has to use this vacuum to suck up the ghosts, Ghost Busters stylee. You also have a torch. To catch as ghost, you first have to shine the torch in their eyes, they hate light see, and this will stun them enough for you to be able to suck them up with your vacuum. You use the left control stick to move Mario around and the right C stick to control your direction. Using both at the same time takes a bit of practice but becomes second nature after a few minutes and allows total control over Luigi, which is what you’ll need.

The game basically see’s you going around the mansion clearing rooms of ghosts, solving small puzzles to get ghosts to appear and collecting money. On the way you’ll find out what really happened to Mario among other things. Collecting money found scattered about helps you get better portraits. All ghosts once captured are put into a machine and turned into portraits, for your sadistic viewing purposes.

The graphics in the game are simply stunning. With everything casting a realistic shadow, with the light from your torch moving them, making them stretch and twist around corners. It really effects everything that you see, even the ghosts look scary in a cartoony sort of way. Luigi has a wide range of expressions from gasps of fear, to clattering of his teeth and err, gasps of fear. In rooms he has completed he even whistles the annoyingly catchy theme tune. And a push of the A button screams out Marios name which you cant help but smile at.

As it stands, Luigis could be called the kiddies version of Resident evil, you have puzzles to solve, and ghosts to capture and kill. Rooms are locked until you find the key for it and bosses happen on every level. The game is fun to play, looks nice, sounds nice, but it is missing something. There’s just not that feeling to carry on. It all gets a bit brain numbing.

You’ll play because you want to complete it, not because you want to see what happens next, you know what’ll happen next. Another room full of ghosts to capture. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a good game, but more of a renter than a game to own and keep. You’ll play it, you’ll enjoy it, but you wont come back to it. Once you have done it once, seen it all you wont feel the need to do it all over again. As stated, it’s a bit mind numbing, you play it because you know you should get your moneys worth.

2012 Re-Review
At the time this game was often marked down because it wasn’t a Mario game and we were just as guilty for that. Like a fine wine this has aged beautifully and deserves a lot more respect than it gets. We’re glad its getting a sequel on the 3DS as it is a great game. Sure its short and can be completed in half a day but its like a good film, all action and no filler. It always looked amazing for a launch game and it still looks just as good. Released on the Wii today and it’d still be one of the better looking games out there. Nintendo have crafted a wonderful game, full of little touches and great controls.

Playing it recently theres lot of little things we missed and appreciate more now, if only we all at the time had realised what a great game it is. Well now we’ll put things right, buy it, it is amazing and should be in every Gamecube or Wii owners collection. It looks great, sounds great and is such a fun game. Sure its a little on the short side but it ends at just the right time leaving you satisfied.