Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback (Heather Kiley)
I’m not sure if the world missed Luigi’s Mansion like I have, but the release of Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon on the Nintendo 3DS was an exciting one for me. It’s been 12 years since the last installment on the GameCube and the memory of how great a game it was still remains fresh in the memories of those who bought it launch day. Unlike Mario, Luigi toils through his adventures scared and whimpering at every turn. Shaking in his boots our faithful brother braves the haunted mansions, solving puzzles, exploring hidden walls and furniture, and capturing ghostly beings using his trusty flashlight and vacuum. Luigi brings a sense of humility to the game that Mario just doesn’t have, a sense of how we all brave through real life adventures, by moving on even when we might not want to.
In the first game Luigi explored only one mansion. The second installment gives us five whole mansions to explore with vastly different themes such as clock tower or tree house. Each mansion has been lovingly designed and each room has endless puzzles and items for Luigi to tinker with. Flamed chandeliers can be pulled to the ground, ghostly beings pop out of drawers as Luigi opens them, he creates a water spurting fish in the center of an otherwise seemingly normal fountain, and hidden entryways can be discovered by sucking down the wallpaper off of walls. Like a kid in a candy store I found myself obsessed with discovering all the wonders of Luigi’s adventure. Going through the same room twice will yield different results depending on where you are in the game.
Pointing out some downsides of the title and sticking with the tradition of annoying players by characters talking them to death, Nintendo has added professor E. Gadd to let us know every detail of everything he is doing and what he thinks Luigi should be doing. Thankfully the professor doesn’t bother us too much while we are actually in the process of exploration but be prepared to skip through endless amounts of dialog between every level to hear about your next objective. Nintendo has also allowed players to shine their flashlights up and down using the X and B buttons, the only problem with this is that if you need to shine your light up and use one of your flashlights, your thumbs end up in a strange position. Going back and forth between tools can be somewhat strange. The solution to this problem is that the gyroscope of the 3DS can just be pointed down or up to do the same thing which is much more effective.
Luigi has several tools at his disposal this time around to find, capture, and clean the rooms he explores. The stroboscope flashes light at ghosts to stun them and expose the amount of hit points so that they can be vacuumed up. Luigi can vacuum as many as three ghosts at a time if he can first hit them with the stroboscope. This can be tricky at times but is beneficial to the player as some of the ghosts work together in groups to scare Luigi into letting go of his vacuum. The dark light can be used to find ghost orbs that Boo hides around the mansion to make things invisible. It can also be used to expose Boo himself who hides throughout the mansion, unlike the other ghost he is invisible like his orbs. Finding invisible items usually means finding a mother load of treasure allowing Luigi to pay professor E Gadd. for upgrades to his tools.
Several other 3DS features create interesting dynamics to the game. Luigi might peep through a broken wall board to discover ghosts wreaking havoc on the other side. The player can use the gyroscope of the 3DS to look around the room. The 3D feature of the game is also impressive and creates a more realistic dynamic, catching ghosts is made easier when the 3D feature is on allowing the player to point their light more precisely using depth perception.
Sound effects and music are superb. Listening carefully to your surroundings can help the player find hidden treasure or antagonizing ghosts. Droplets of water leak from the ceiling telling Luigi to use his dark light to find a pipe that ghost orbs have made invisible. Endless cackling can be heard from ghosts hiding under the bed. Luigi himself sighs in relief when he leaves a particularly challenging room and he may whistle along to the theme music when he’s feeling especially brave.
The difficulty level of the game surprised me. While regular battles with mansion ghosts aren’t as hard as the previous Luigi’s mansion finding the ghosts becomes the real challenge. Boss battles are also difficult and Luigi must use all the tools at his disposal and in his surroundings to defeat the possessed monsters he encounters. Luigi’s vacuum can be used for more than just a vacuum. During battle he may pick up a cobweb that he can set aflame using a source of candle light fire, walk it through several traps and enemies to blow it full steam in the direction of his target. Some ghosts get creative by using sunglasses to shield them from the flash bang of Luigi’s light meaning that the player has to be more creative in capturing them.
Nintendo has added a multi-player feature as well. Up to three others can join locally or online in a more frantic fast paced setting. Players must work together to beat the timer while they track down a ghost or find the exit through the same puzzles that the game is themed around. It creates a whole other experience when you realize how much different these challenges are compared to campaign mode. Chaos may ensue and beating the levels are not always easy but they are always fun. Online and local play give this game something to be enjoyed even after the player has beaten the single player campaign.
Overall the experience of this game was a good one. It’s a high quality title that I think will win over the hearts of many 3DS owners just as it did during the first installment. Addictive, fun, and packed with exploration opportunities, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon is one Legit title. Couple that with the addition of worth-while online multiplayer action, and you can’t go wrong. This is a must have title for the Nintendo 3DS.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon Gets
Out of Five
+Luigi’s tool belt is full of useful items
+Excellent single-player and multiplayer experience
+Superb visuals and sound
+Great usage of the 3D effect
-Professor E. Gadd talks to much
-Controls can get awkward
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