Platform: Nintendo Gamecube
Release date: May 3rd, 2002
PEGI rating: 3+
You have to give Nintendo credit for going their own way when they launched the Gamecube in 2002, with one of the most controversial launch titles in recent history: Luigi’s Mansion. While it wasn’t exactly what we wanted out of a new Nintendo system back then, time has healed those wounds: Now Luigi’s Mansion can stand on its own merits as a fun sidestep in the Mario franchise.
Luigi’s Mansion plays out like Nintendo’s take on Ghostbusters, with a dash of Resident Evil. You have a spooky mansion where every room has a ghost to catch with your trusty vacuum cleaner. The charming English script and spooky visual style lend the game a lot of charm, but the clunky vacuum mechanics diminish the experience. Even though ghost-wrangling can be fun, the controls often make it difficult to accurately aim your vacuum at a ghost. Some of the boss fights really make you wish for an over-the-shoulder camera angle.
The mansion itself is a nice, cohesive environment, but the way you progress through it is fairly monotonous: Clear a room, pick up the key, and then find the next room to clear out. This means having to backtrack through the same hallways time and time again. At least the game is short, so by the time this gets really grating the game is almost over.
Luigi’s Mansion has a lot going for it if you give it a chance, but there’s just enough tiny little issues that I can only give it a modest recommendation. At least it’s nice of Nintendo to give Luigi a spot in the limelight for once.