Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon took me for a chilly ride

luigi's mansion frozen pit boss

Some two months after getting it, I’m almost done with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, which is good seeing that Animal Crossing: New Leaf drops in just a few days and will continue to take up most of my portable gaming time for both the near and far-flung future, but I came very, very close to taking the cartridge out of my 3DS and never looking back. Why? Let’s blame the possessor ghost boss fight from the Secret Mine mansion, and let’s blame it coldly.

While the main levels within a mansion all follow a formula of slowing making progress to the house’s final area, ghost by ghost, piece by piece, there’s definitely not one tied to the boss fights at the end. Each has been drastically different, and the one hoarding the dark moon fragment in Chilly Ride took me by surprise for its difficulty and unrealistic expectations.

For starters, the game switches to a first-person shooter perspective, having you toss bombs at a looming monster face covered in slabs of ice while you race down a slippery ice tunnel. Once you break away each slab, you then have two chances to toss a flaming bomb into the monster’s open mouth; do that, and you return to more traditional grounds, sucking up the possessor ghost as usual in third-person perspective before being thrown back into the shooting formula two more times. Each subsequent time adds more slabs around the monster’s face, and you only have so much time to clear them off the boss before your sledding/shooting machine malfunctions. If that happens, you have to redo the entire fight from the beginning. Which sucks.

Trust me, I know. It took me eight attempts to finally beat this boss, roughly around 40 minutes. That’s the equivalent of two missions in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, wherein you are collecting ghosts, finding gems, earning money for unlocks, and seeing story beats unfold. I definitely have more fun exploring rooms than tossing bombs down ice tunnels and hoping for the best. Luck and a lot of timing played into this boss fight, which is what makes it so frustrating. When I finally did take down the possessor ghost, I didn’t feel like it was through genuine skill, just something I managed to sneak by.

But whatevs. I beat the Chilly Ride boss–cue Luigi’s adorable line, “I do it!”–collected the fourth Dark Moon fragment, and moved on to the final mansion to see this story to a close. Which I hope to do tonight or tomorrow. No really. I’m almost there, and I’ll probably have some final thoughts on the game, as there is, just like with Paper Mario: Sticker Star, a lot to enjoy here, but the frustrations are truly that, and this boss fight was almost bad enough to drive me away. Hopefully the final boss fight won’t kick me out for good.

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