Playing Luigi’s Mansion Ten Years Later

One of the biggest surprises at Nintendo’s E3 press conference this year was the announcement of a sequel to the Nintendo Gamecube launch title Luigi’s Mansion. Even though the game was well received, it has become forgotten over the past ten years.

I’ve owned a Gamecube since 2002. My first game was Super Smash Bros. Melee and I’ve played (and own) most of the major Nintendo releases for the platform. I’ve enjoyed The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine, and Metroid Prime, but before this week I had never really played Luigi’s Mansion. After Nintendo announced Luigi’s Mansion 2, I decided it was time to finally give the game a chance.

To be clear, I had played Luigi’s Mansion a few times when it was brand new in 2001. I remember playing up to the first boss (which can’t be more than 30 minutes in to the game) and I was being told what to do the entire time by someone who had already done it. My initial impressions of the game in 2001 were not good. I didn’t hate the game, but my 13-year-old self had little interest in playing the game any further when there were other games like Super Smash Bros. Melee to be played.

Ten years later, my thoughts on Luigi’s Mansion couldn’t be more different. My biggest complaint is that I finished the game so quickly! If you haven’t played Luigi’s Mansion, I recommend that you get your hands on a copy and play through the entire game. It’s a fairly short game, but I have never played anything like it.

The “portrait ghosts” are what make Luigi’s Mansion as much fun as it is. Each of these larger ghosts cannot be caught until you solve a small puzzle in the room. Most of the puzzles are not difficult, but they are clever and fun.

The controls also surprised me (and occasionally irritated me). The Gamecube controller isn’t ideal for a dual analog set up due to the design of the C-stick, but the very first Gamecube game actually used dual analog in a third-person perspective. Looking back, the dual analog set up could have been one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy the game as much in 2001. Ten years ago, dual analog was not the de facto standard that it is today. In 2001, Halo was teaching everyone how to use dual analog, but today the set up is used in both first and third person perspectives on a regular basis. It is one of the most-used controller set ups. And Luigi’s Mansion used it before it was standard.

Luigi's Mansion 2 was shown at E3 2011

It’s a shame this game was swept under the rug for so long. After playing through the entire game, I am eagerly awaiting the sequel. Most of what we know about the sequel sound like definite improvements. There are more mansions (in other words, a longer game) and Luigi has been given a strobe to let him stun ghosts more easily. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard much about new “portrait ghosts.” The trailer is mostly full of Luigi fighting smaller ghosts. I’m sure the puzzle elements will return, but I’d love to see a little bit before the game is released.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 is currently set for an early 2012 release date. That gives you plenty of time to play the original if you haven’t, and I highly recommend you do. There is nothing else like it.


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