During my junior and senior years of college, I dated a girl called the Giraffe. Relationship stuff notwithstanding, she played videogames in a fairly casual manner, except for a few specific titles like Crash Team Racing and Pikmin, which she ate up with glee. In fact, I was there the day she bought her Nintendo GameCube, slyly suggesting she also pick up Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, an RPG I knew she’d never like, but one that I was most definitely curious over; to sum up that game, not so good. As we dated, her GameCube collection grew, and one game we ended up enjoying together was the original Luigi’s Mansion, but for altogether different reasons.
In Luigi’s first ghost-hunting adventure, he ends up in a haunted mansion after winning a contest that he never entered. He told his brother Mario to meet him there to celebrate his…uh, victory. Upon arrival, Luigi realizes that Mario arrived before him, but is now missing somewhere within the mansion. To help Luigi find his red-coloring sibling, an old professor named Elvin Gadd equips him with the Poltergust 3000, a vacuum cleaner used for capturing ghosts, and a Game Boy Horror, a device used for communicating with Gadd. You then explore the mansion room by room, sucking up ghosts and looking for any clues related to Mario’s disappearance. It’s a very charming game, with a lot of style and cartoonish sense of horror, and that’s what the Giraffe ate up the most. She would literally spend fifteen minutes just walking around a room pressing the “Call out to Mario” button, eating up Luigi’s uncertain, shivering tone. Me, I actually liked playing the game, though I never got too far into it.
Some ten-plus years later, and we now have a sequel with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for the Nintendo 3DS. This time, the adventure is set in a region called Evershade Valley, which is where Professor E. Gadd lives in his laboratory and studies friendly ghosts. The Dark Moon, which hangs above Evershade Valley, shatters thanks to a nefarious Boo, which causes all the local ghosts to suddenly become hostile. Luigi is summoned by E. Gadd to re-collect the five pieces of the Dark Moon, scattered in different mansions, to restore peace.
Currently, I’m still in the first mansion, and it’s been a lot of light-hearted, ghost-sucking-up fun, hampered by all things Professor E. Gadd. Firstly, he talks way too much, calling you constantly on your Nintendo DS phone device thingy. And this isn’t helped by the fact that he sounds completely like an Ewok. I’ve been rushing through his dialogue as quickly as possible, even though there are some great zingers to be read. I really enjoy sucking in ghastly ghosts via the enhanced Poltergust 5000, which can be likened to many fishing mini-games, where once you have a ghost “hooked” you need to pull in the opposite direction its moving to “reel” it in. And every new room feels like an unopened present, especially since there is so much that Luigi can interact with–blowing ceiling fans to reveal hidden floors, sucking up window curtains, moving rugs, exploring vases and desk drawers. My gaming OCD doesn’t allow me to leave a room until I’ve fully explored every crevice and interactive set piece, and that’s just fine by me.
Luigi may be all shivers and quivering words, reluctant to see what’s behind the next door, but I’m pretty excited to explore onwards. Will report back later if anything else surprises me about Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon though I suspect it’s going to kind of be a lot like the first mansion, but four more times until the end credits roll. Have not been able to unlock the online multiplayer stuff yet though my non-love for online multiplayer experiences tells me to try it once and then promptly ignore it. We’ll see.