Luigi finally gets his own game. After winning a mansion in a contest he didn't enter, Luigi is going to meet Mario to check out the mansion. When he gets there, Mario is nowhere to be found, and the mansion appears to be haunted. Luigi then meets up with Dr. E. Gadd, a scientist who equips Luigi with the Poltergust 3000 (a vacuum cleaner) turning him into a ghost-busting plumber. Luigi must suck up the ghosts and rescue Mario.
The game isn't trying to look realistic, but it does look very nice. It looks like a Mario game. The character models and animation are very well done. Most notable are the lighting and particle effects. Luigi kicks up dust and you can see his breath in the cold. Curtains and papers move and react to Luigi's vacuum properly. The framerate is constantly solid. The graphics aren't pushing the boundaries of the hardware, but they do look good and fit the game nicely.
Nothing really notable here. The characters speak in gibberish, except for Luigi who will often call out to Mario, his voice trembling because he is scared. There is one main song throughout the game, which Luigi occasionally hums along with.
This is what a Ghostbusters-style game should be like. The camera is positioned as in a 2D side-scrolling game, but you can move in all directions and the camera will zoom in and out to follow you. You move Luigi with the control stick, and you move the flashlight/vacuum with the C-stick. This can seem a little awkward at first, but you'll get used to it. To catch a ghost, you must first frighten it with your flashlight, then quickly hit R to turn on the vacuum. If you don't do this quickly enough, the ghost will disappear, and you must wait for it to re-appear. Once you have the ghost in the vacuum's pull, you must pull back away from the ghost to 'reel it in'. The ghost will have a number showing their stamina. Once it reaches 0, they will be sucked into your vacuum. When all the ghosts have been captured from a room, the lights will come on. Some ghosts are more advanced, and figuring out how to show their heart is a puzzle. You can use the GameBoy Horror (that E. Gadd gives you) to scan the ghost and get information about it. Later in the game, you can get elemental powers for the vacuum so you can shoot fire, water, or ice. These elements are very important for many of the puzzles. Along the way, you also collect money and treasures (more is obviously better). This is the basic premise of the entire game, and although it might not sound like it, it's quite fun and doesn't get old over the length of the game. I didn't really want to stop playing. The problem with that is:
The game is very short. I went through it in 2 days, or about 8-10 hours of gameplay max. Any average-experienced gamer should be able to get through it in a 5 day rental period. After you beat the game, there is another mansion, but it's basically the same as the first mansion. Your vacuum does seem a bit more powerful the second time around. Also, you can try to get more money, but those are about the only alternative goals. Since it is so short however, it might be the type of game you come back to a year later and play through again in a weekend. So it's up to you to decide if it's worth your money. I only recommend it as a rental.
E - Everyone. A very family-friendly game, as most Nintendo first-party games are. The only problem some people may have with it are the supernatural elements (ghosts, fortune tellers).
It's odd for Nintendo to launch a console without a Mario platform game, and some have pointed out that Luigi
may just be a 'filler' game until Mario Sunshine comes out summer 2002. It IS short, but it's quite fun. Very different from traditional Mario games. It's also pretty easy, so it might be a good game for kids, or people not as familiar with video games.
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