The Mario Brothers have been a household name since the 80s. From dwelling in the sewers, to invading stone castles, they typically go on adventures where they stomp and kick all different kinds of creatures in pursuit of rescuing the kidnapped Princess Peach. However, there have been many different directions in which this series has decided to go over the past 40 years.
While this isn’t the first game in the series to star brother Luigi in the main role, ‘Luigi’s Mansion’ is definitively the first to achieve a level of success that would warrant future sequels down the line. It also was one of the launch titles for the brand-new Nintendo GameCube system.
In this story, Luigi has received a notice that he has won a mansion in a contest he did not enter. He informs Mario and they agree to meet up outside of the mansion later that evening. When Luigi ventures through the dark forest and arrives, Mario is nowhere to be found. Upon entering inside, Luigi encounters a series of mischievous ghosts that overwhelm and toy with him. Before he is tormented too badly, he is saved by a mad scientist named Professor E. Gadd. The Professor has created a device that sucks and captures the ghosts into a high-tech vacuum called the “Ghost Portrificationizer”. He brings Luigi back to his laboratory, hands the device over and teaches him the proficiencies of it before sending him back to the mansion to collect the ghosts so they can be trapped within portraits. Along the way he discovers what has become of Mario and must save him from King Boo.
This game is honestly a classic. It’s one of my girlfriend’s favorite games but I’ve never played it until now. The gameplay is rather simple – you use your vacuum and a flashlight. The flashlight paralyzes the ghosts which allows you to suck them up, but it requires some strategy to lure them towards you in darkness before blinding them. The vacuum later on earns the ability to absorb elementals (such as candle flames & water) which are also utilized for more advanced boss spirits. The gameplay is simple by having so few mechanics, but the mansion itself changes over time. Certain floors are only accessible after you’ve hit a certain point. Every room requires you to solve a puzzle to reveal the ghosts hiding within. There are some further complicated additions – such as using a GameBoy “Horror” to take photos and reveal some certain ghosts – but the game introduces these mechanics as they are needed. There’s also a life system where you have to find hearts to restore health, and some of them can be trickier to find when you need them. Some are gathered by absorbing unimportant ghosts, some are hiding in chandeliers, and so on. But none of it is overwhelming and each part is introduced organically, you just have to get the hang of how this game plays.
It’s a lot of fun, and with my only single gripe being that I do not fare well with inverted aiming mechanics, I can easily say I’m excited to play the next games in this series. It’s a bit pricey to find nowadays (as almost all GameCube games are), but if you can acquire a copy, you’re in for a great time.
“Luigi’s Mansion” is playable exclusively on Nintendo GameCube.
‘Til Next Time,
Your source for everything horror