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Luigi's Mansion

by Mike Hrusecky - November 24, 2001, 7:22 pm EST


Mario fans should be pleased with Luigi's Mansion until Mario comes next year. Because of its short length, you may very well be able to beat it during the course of a rental, but that doesn't make the game any less fun

It has been a LONG TIME since I played a game all day long. This is what happened when I first got my GameCube on the 16th and played Luigi's Mansion. It's easily my favorite of the EBworld.com bundle (also including Rogue and Wave Race). I played the other games only momentarily as a break. None of them could capture my interest nearly as much as Luigi.

Luigi won a Mansion in a contest he doesn't remember entering. Apparently, Luigi follows a map to find his prize. Mario, who should have gotten there first, is nowhere to be found. When Luigi arrives, he is confronted by Professor E. Gadd, who gives him the rundown of the story and what must be accomplished in one night (I'll spare you the spoilers). Suffice to say, Luigi has to reclaim the Mansion from a horde of ghosts to save Mario.

The concept of going from room to room sucking ghosts in with a vacuum cleaner doesn't sound like a compelling foundation for Miyamoto's latest, but there's something to be said for playing it ALL DAY LONG. The uniqueness of the ghosts and rooms keep it interesting, and there's a small dose of strategy required as well. The usual Mario-isms are alive and well, with Toad in various locations throughout the Mansion to save your progress and give you some helpful details. You'll also hear the familiar chimes of coins as you suck them up. Defeat the "boss" ghosts, and you will be rewarded with a big key that leads to another area or floor of the house. Luigi gives the famous 2-finger "victory" salute once its acquired, and the screen fades to black. Amen.

Graphically, Luigi's Mansion is a visual orgy demonstrating what the GameCube can do with lighting effects and transparencies. The Mansion, characters, and especially the ghosts look gorgeous. It is a very solid outing for a first generation title for GameCube.

The sound isn't anything to write home about, but it gets the job done. There aren't a wide variety of tunes, however I never once felt that the sound was repetitious. It fits the mood. You get nervous when an enemy ghost is waiting for you, not knowing what lies directly ahead. Luigi calls for Mario in a number of different ways, and has a couple of different yells when he gets spooked.

The control isn't as simple as Mario 64, but you won't press more than two buttons at the same time. You should have a fair grasp of the controls with minimal practice. There is a Training Room in E. Gadd's lab (where you start each game) where you can fine-tune your ghost busting skills. In general, once you flash your flashlight on a ghost, you startle them and they expose their heart. That's when you vacuum them in, turning the control stick in the opposite direction the ghost is facing to get away from you. The ghosts of the house have varying strength, ranging mostly from 0 (zero) to 100, with a few exceptions. As you suck them in, they lose strength until they reach zero, and they're officially neutralized. If they get away from you before their strength reaches zero, they will continue to roam the room. The good news is you can suck them in again starting from the strength level you lost them at.

The extra "click" of the 'L' analog button is confusing on occasion. Pressing the 'L' button part of the way down will shoot a stream of fire, frosty air, or water. Clicking 'L' all the way down shoots a strong, single burst of those elements. Most of the time you only want to shoot a stream, not a one-time burst. The line between a stream and a burst is very thin, and I took some unnecessary damage because of a VERY minor miscalculation in my finger's pressure.

I also have some issues with the game's depth perception. One of the side mini-goals of the game is to capture the 50 familiar "Boo" ghosts that roam the rooms of the Mansion. Often times I was unable to tell if a Boo was located north or south of Luigi, making it more difficult to capture them, and took unnecessary damage when they charged at him. These are my only minor complaints for an otherwise sound control system.

As I said earlier, the concept of the game is quite simple, but I'm a real-life example that simple = addictive. In between sucking up ghosts, you can occupy some time by opening drawers, chests, and closets for power-ups and money, pulling on cloth like bed covers and tablecloths, and other little quirks. The boss ghosts are a bit too easy, as I've defeated them faster than some of the "lower" ghosts that roam the Mansion.

Luigi's Mansion itself is a short game. Once the game is defeated, there aren't many perks that warrant playing it for a second go-around. Once you win the game once, you are forced to either start over again or go through the Hidden Mansion, where the only difference appears to be stronger ghosts. You can try to earn more money, collect more Boo ghosts, or try to find your way into some of the rooms you can't normally get into. None of these bonuses are exceptionally compelling. In addition, the game ending is even less of a payoff than Mario 64's, unless there is an ending we don't yet know about as a result of a better-performed game (more money).

All in all, Luigi's Mansion is an excellent game worthy of the Mario legacy. While short, it's still fun, addictive, and great eye candy as well. It's clearly a different type of game than Mario, but you can bet I would be in line for another Luigi title that followed up on this unique interpretation.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
9 7 8.5 9 6 8

Luigi's Mansion demonstrates what the GameCube can do with lighting effects and transparencies. While there are minor framerate and blotchy coloring issues in some instances that are surprising coming from a next-generation console, they are not very noticeable, much less detract from the game.


At least on a standard stereo TV, the music and sound effects are nice, but not particularly stunning. The tune is simple and catchy, but never irritating.


Aside from some small issues like the 'L' and 'R' digital click and depth perception, the control is easy to learn and rather intuitive. Much of the credit belongs to the GameCube's great controller, which Nintendo should be proud of.


Simple and addictive. Aside from sucking up ghosts, your vacuum can also perform other helpful or amusing functions around the Mansion. You'll find yourself experimenting just to see what will happen.


Luigi's Mansion is short and doesn't offer many compelling reasons to give it another whirl.


All-around Mario fans should be pleased and satisfied with Luigi's Mansion until Mario comes next year. Because of its short length, you may very well be able to beat it during the course of a rental, but that doesn't make the game any less fun for that time. This is a perfect game for new or younger gamers that need to get used to the GameCube controller, or simply need a game that isn't too difficult to conquer, start to finish.


  • Addictive Gameplay
  • Mario series has "matured" without bastardizing the name
  • Simple control system
  • Very visually impressive
  • Doesn't come in snortable form
  • Short length from start to finish
  • What is replay?
Review Page 2: Conclusion

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Genre Action
Developer Nintendo

Worldwide Releases

na: Luigi's Mansion
Release Nov 17, 2001
jpn: Luigi Mansion
Release Sep 14, 2001
RatingAll Ages
eu: Luigi's Mansion
Release May 03, 2002

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