Coming to 3DS l Published by Nintendo l Developed by Next Level Games l Classified G l Supports 1-4 players I Due to arrive 28.03.13
When I wandered into my local EB to pick up a GameCube back in 2002, I couldn’t help but notice that a certain company mascot was nowhere to be seen. While the SNES and N64 had both arrived alongside groundbreaking Mario titles, Nintendo’s first disc based system had to make do with a game featuring his little brother. My first few months with the console were spent with Rogue Leader and Super Monkey Ball, but I eventually decided to give Luigi’s Mansion a spin. I didn’t regret my choice, far from it, in fact.
I rummaged through drawers, poked my head into pots and rustled ancient drapes. Soon enough, I was able to flush a handful of mischievous spirits into the open.
Here was an unassuming little game that set out to do one thing and do it well. I was instantly charmed by its timid protagonist and strangely addictive ghost trapping system. More than a decade later, Nintendo announced plans to revive the concept with Luigi’s Mansion 2 (known in some territories as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon). I recently drove out to sunny Scoresby for a barely edible truck stop sandwich and (once I had arrived at Nintendo’s palatial HQ) some hands-on time with this long awaited sequel.
I quickly settled into the role of Luigi as Professor E. Gadd explained that the supernatural world was again in revolt. As I was the “best and only ghost wrangler” he knew, the task of suppressing this sinister phenomenon had fallen to me. Moments later I found myself creeping ever so slowly through the dark and foreboding corridors of the unfortunately named Gloomy Manor (it’s almost as if the owner wanted it to be haunted). After a brief search, I was armed with my trusty torch and of course the Poltergust (a kind of vacuum cleaner for ghosts).
I rummaged through drawers, poked my head into pots and rustled ancient drapes. Soon enough, I was able to flush a handful of mischievous spirits into the open. The ghosts were initially too swift to capture, so I stunned them into submission with my torch light. This allowed me to whip out the Poltergust and gradually draw them into my trap. To be frank, they didn’t seem overly keen on settling into their new accommodation.
I only came to grips with the most basic enemy types, but I did see hints of more complex encounters. I collected a spectral bone, for instance, which I could only assume was related to the ghostly dog I spotted earlier in the session. I also came across a number of mild brain teasers. One challenged me to access a hidden room via a rotating wall, another to retrieve a key from a precarious chandelier. According to the helpful Nintendo rep, this reflected the sequel’s greater focus on puzzle solving.
…the publisher has kept a simple but agreeable concept in mothballs for more than a dozen years.
I also participated in another of the game’s new features, the four player cooperative challenge. We raced against the clock to clear floor after floor of its supernatural inhabitants, occasionally stopping to revive one another. We each played as a palette swapped version of Luigi, which was a little disappointing. It would have been nice to see an expanded cast of Mushroom Kingdom characters (or even Professor E. Gadd). Overall, the fast paced multiplayer component felt very much at odds with the deliberate pacing and spooky atmosphere of the main game. It was, I felt, a minor diversion at best.
Nintendo has rightly been criticised for overexposing some of its best loved franchises and if Luigi’s Mansion 2 had arrived two years after the original, I wouldn’t have been terribly interested. In this case, though, the publisher has kept a simple but agreeable concept in mothballs for more than a dozen years. As a result, I’m just about ready to step into Luigi’s (trembling) boots once again.