Developer: Nintendo EAD / Grezzo
Platform: Nintendo 3DS Family Systems
Release Date: October 12, 2018 (NA) / October 19, 2018 (EU) / November 8, 2018 (JP)
“When things go bump in the night, don’t call Ghostbusters, call Luigi. He might try to run away but with the Boos and Ghouls, he will play!”
Long before you had to play a Yo-kai Watch game to get some friendly ghost-related action, compared to the darker delights offered by the Fatal Frame games, there was Luigi’s Mansion and…it…was…magnificent!
Having originally released on the Nintendo GameCube back in 2001 for Japan and North America, Luigi’s Mansion was a ghost-busting game where Mario is as helpless as Princess Peach in most of his outings and Luigi is the intrepid, yet fearful hero who must rise above and save the day.
For all intents and purposes, Luigi’s Mansion could have been a massive failure, but it wasn’t. The game wasn’t just loved by games media, but by players as well and the game was a huge success. So huge in fact that Luigi’s Mansion was actually the most successful launch title for the Nintendo GameCube and according to Nintendo, was a driving force for so many of the platform’s sales in the early days.
It may not have been a perfect 10 in everyone’s eyes, but Luigi’s Mansion was such a refreshing change of pace that is swiftly got a cult following and a sequel in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS and yet, one thing was missing, 3D.
When initially developing the game, Luigi’s Mansion, like the console it was being developed for, was meant to support 3D and yet, at that time, 3D TVs were not widespread enough and it just wasn’t feasible. So, the function was stripped, but just because it was gone, it was never forgotten.
With a suitable platform readily available on the market and a sequel that has been a commercial success, this year Nintendo finally had the means to release a new version of Luigi’s Mansion, with its stereoscopic 3D feature finally intact. Still, that’s enough about Luigi’s Mansion’s history, let’s talk about its present and why it is a remake and not a remaster.
Instead of being a game that has seen a graphical upheaval and adapted to work on new platforms, a remake is a game that has been remade from the ground up, which can include new features should the developer wish it, but ultimately tells exactly that same story the original did. After all, a game or film that tries to alter the source story is a reboot.
Since this is a remake however, instead of going over story and gameplay before content and features, I’m actually going to do things in reserve so that you can get a grasp of what is new before how it all comes together.
On that note, although the visuals aren’t to the satisfaction of everyone as there is a bit of a downgrade going on, it’s only because this version of Luigi’s Mansion does away with the more realistic like graphics that the original version had and instead opts for the cartoony and fun design style that was seen in Dark Moon. Still, that’s not as much as a negative as you think it is.
Sure, this version is visually brighter, which does reduce the spooky element of the game and the resolution is lower, but it does feature better textures, better lighting in certain settings and the second you put the 3D effect on, what you originally see is not what you get.
There is a reason why Nintendo wanted 3D implemented and it’s because it can really make the game pop and feel more alive. It’s a shame not everyone will be able to enjoy the 3D visuals, since there is a small minority of the human who can’t see depth, but if you are among those who aren’t affected, almost all the graphical differences and issues are easily forgiven the second you start playing this game exactly as it should be enjoyed.
Only 3D isn’t the new feature added to this version of Luigi’s Mansion as there are a couple of other things in it that never made it into the original version and first up is co-op play. Thanks to wireless play, players can now team up with another player and tackle the dreaded haunted mansion together.
Except instead of the other player being displayed as another Luigi on each other’s screen, or even appearing as a Mario, they in fact, appear as Gooigi, a green goo version of Luigi that has been sent back in time to “gain experience.” Except co-op is not just limited to the main game as two players can also work together in Portrait Battles, in a bid to take down Portrait Ghosts in the fastest time possible.
Another nifty feature available in Luigi’s Mansion is amiibo support. For the players who use a Toad amiibo, the Toad’s you can encounter around the mansion, will actually recover your life for you. A Mario amiibo however, will cause Poison Mushrooms to be represented as health-restoring mushrooms.
As for the Luigi amiibo, should you use it, when your health reaches zero, you will be automatically revised. This amiibo also lets players locate gold-dropping Speedy Spirits on their radar.
The absolute best amiibo to use however, is the Boo amiibo. With it the radar will now allow players to spot and track Boos lurking in the mansion. There are a total of 50 of them in the game and although they may feel like being more of a collectable, catching them is a necessity since progress can and will be hunted unless you have enough of them.
Enough about that though, it’s time to talk plot and gameplay. Believe it or not, the story for Luigi’s Mansion is one of the most laughable ones you could have to set the stage, as it all starts off with Luigi winning a mansion in a completion he didn’t enter, which Mario checks out first, only to get trapped in a portrait for his efforts.
Luigi then takes it upon himself to visit the mansion and see his prize for himself, except he then gets locked in and comes has to face with a ghost. Stricken with fear and unable to act, Luigi is then fortunately saved by Professor E. Gadd and his Poltergust 3000 before being ushered to E. Gadd’s lab.
The good professor then takes the time to show off his gallery of 25 empty frames and explains there were special ghosts in them that he had caught, but Boos had freed them and now Boos and ghouls, are running rampant in the mansion and it is now Luigi’s job to take care of them.
Suffice it to say, Luigi is not a willing hero, but together with the player and possibly a Gooigi, he will get the job done. Talking of the job, the main gameplay experience offered by Luigi’s Mansion, actually takes place in the mansion. On the top screen, players can see Luigi and the room around them whereas on the bottom screen is home to the Game Boy Horror.
“Developed” by E.Gadd, the Game Boy Horror is a handy tool that allows players to keep track of the items they picked up, their Portrait Ghosts they have recovered and a map/radar. Movement is done via the circle pad, whereas the likes of the Y will have Luigi use the camera setting of the Game Boy Horror, holding B will affect how Luigi moves and depending on how you have the game set up, holding A will turn Luigi’s torch off. (Torch is only available in rooms players haven’t completed by defeating every ghost within it.)
As for the L and R buttons, that’s where the fun begins. Holding R will cause the Poltergust 3000 to suck, thus inhaling ghosts, whereas L will have the Poltergust 3000 expel. Should you suck something like a ball up, you can fire it with L, but in the event you progress far enough into the game to start collecting the element medals, Luigi can then expel frost, flames or a stream of water. But if interacting is what you are after, X is the button you will want to use.
With the mansion being haunted, the villains are of course ghosts and they all come in shapes and sizes. There are 25 Portrait Ghosts, which serve as bosses and their battles require players meeting certain requirements to trigger, but all the lesser ghosts just need Luigi to shine his light on them and then attempt to suck them up. (Warning, should Luigi sustain some damage whilst sucking, the ghost will be freed and require being hit with the torch again.)
Should you shine a torch and fail to act though, the ghost will simply disappear and reappear shortly after. Another kind of ghost that requires the player to find them in order to fight them, as opposed to them randomly popping up behind you, are Boos. Once you have successfully freed a room and light is restored, there is a sensor that will tell you if there is a Boo in the room you’re in.
You can use the Game Boy Horror’s camera to help track them down, but the sensor works just as well, so as long as you stand over an object while the sensor is red, and you search it, there is a good chance a Boo will jump out.
Like every ghost in the game, when attempting to suck them in and changing direction to match where they are and move in the opposite direction, a life counter is shown. When it reaches 0, they’re all yours but unlike every other ghost in this game, Boos can leave the room they’re in and you will need to follow them to finish your fight.
Yeah, it’s a long winded process, especially the more HP they have, but when a Toad is nowhere to be seen, beating a Boo will allow you to save there and then, so it definitely aids you more than it hinders. As for the actual exploration of the mansion, although it’s not all readily available to you from the get-go, as there are locked rooms that require keys to open them, provided you keep at it, you’ll see it all in no time.
Blunt honesty, Luigi’s Mansion is a 4 Area game (area in this sense acting as chapters,) which can be beaten in a single 6 hour playthrough (including all Boos,) but there is no guarantee you’ll get the best ending, as all the gold and gems you collect during your adventure, add up to an overall score. Also, Luigi’s Mansion is not “a one and done” game.
Luigi’s Mansion is a game all about replay value, and the 3DS version actually has even more of that. On top of featuring a Hidden Mansion playthrough, which is home to tougher ghosts and Poison Mushrooms replacing recovery hearts, players can now nab Platinum Portrait Ghosts, which they can they battle against as many times as they like via the Gallery.
Reliving Boss Battles isn’t limited to the Platinum Portrait Ghosts though as you can battle regular Portrait Ghosts as well. (The Gallery is accessible from E. Gadd’s lab, which acts as your jumping off point when booting up the game and deciding on what you want to do.)
There is also a series of in-game achievements for players to complete as well and although there are five ranks of them, you are required to meet every achievement on the current rank, to even be allowed to see what the next lot of achievable achievements are. It’s not an entirely perfect set-up system, but it does help Luigi’s Mansion to have even more bite than it originally did and gives it the chance to be something a little more than it once was.
As great as it would have been to get Luigi’s Mansion on the Nintendo Switch, it is a game that needed to be on the 3DS so that Nintendo could finally release a version of the game that meets their original vision. Sure, the graphics aren’t the same as the original title, as they take a leaf out of the sequel’s book of assets, but a lot of us still loved Dark Moon and guess what? If you are able to get past the graphics and actually give the game a chance, you will discover a wholesome experience that feels right at home on the 3DS.
It might not look like it on the surface, but Grezzo have worked hard on this remake and they do deserve a pat on the back for giving a classic a second lease of life. I only wish Nintendo had them work on it sooner rather than later as this game could have been one last 3DS gem before the Switch released, instead of living the fate it has now, which is being ignored by the majority, all because it didn’t come to a platform they’re all currently addicted to.
The VERDICT: 8/10
*Review Key Provided by Nintendo
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This post was written by Solid Jack