Luigi’s Mansion for 3DS
Who would have thought we’d still be opening our 3DS systems for new releases in 2018? Nintendo keeps pumping out game after game, keeping the system alive – this time with the remake of the 2001 beloved GameCube classic, Luigi’s Mansion.
In anticipation of the upcoming, tentatively titled ‘Luigi’s Mansion 3,’ this remake stays true to its roots with a few minor quality of life changes. How does it hold up? Pretty well, mostly.
If you aren’t familiar with the game, Luigi’s Mansion was a launch title for the Nintendo GameCube back in 2001, a game that some people were reluctant to try, at least at first. Nintendo fans were perplexed at the lack of a proper Mario game at the system’s launch.
Once the dust settled, fans were pleasantly surprised – And that’s because Luigi’s Mansion is wonderfully different. It’s presented as a spooky game, but has that Nintendo style we all know and love.
In this game, you control Mario’s brother, Luigi, and explore a scary mansion, while solving light puzzles and collecting ghosts. This is effectively a Nintendo version of a Ghostbusters game – Luigi carries a Poltergust 3000, a device used to suck up ghosts like a vacuum.
Once you start sucking up a ghost, you must tilt the stick in the opposite direction, as the ghost’s hit points count down to zero. This is tricky, though, because the ghosts flail about and rapidly move around, giving it a bit of a challenge.
This mechanic is what makes this game so different, even 17 years later. To suck up a ghost, you must first stun them with a flashlight, a task that is easier said than done. Some ghosts need to be caught off-guard before they can be stunned, while others may require a series of specific events to unfold first.
The idea of walking around a haunted house collecting ghosts may not sound fun, especially since so many games from the Mushroom Kingdom are fast-paced, but I assure you Luigi’s Mansion is a blast.
One thing that keeps this game together is the wacky humor Nintendo is known for. Luigi can often be seen shaking from fear, but in such a way that is over the top and I love it for that. When Luigi communicates with Professor E Gadd, the voice work is gibberish, much like what you’d hear from the Sims or Pikmin. I would often find myself smiling during these bits because of how silly and weird it was.
There are other things too, like seeing a fat ghost chow down on a pile of food. The idea of a ghost being personified like this is funny and raises some questions. Was he fat when he died? Or did he become fat as a ghost? Do ghosts even eat?
Aside from the charming sense of humor, Luigi’s Mansion does a great job with pacing. The difficulty seemed to ramp up in an appropriate way, leaving me feeling like I was always prepared for the next area. Many games mess this up, but I’m happy to report that Luigi’s Mansion never feels like a slog or a chore. And it most definitely never overstays its welcome, clocking in at around seven hours or so.
Along with the pacing, I always felt like I was being rewarded while playing. Whether it’s a key to a new area, a new ability, or just a funny piece of dialogue, I always felt incentivized to keep playing. Which makes it really easy to accidentally finish this game in one sitting.
I have sang its praises, but Luigi’s Mansion isn’t exactly perfect. Far from it, in fact. What bothers me about remakes like these is when they still feel like they’re almost 20 years old. That isn’t always an awful thing, but there are some mind-boggling omissions here.
For one, the controls are severely outdated. There is a standard that gamers are used to when it comes to controls, and playing this really feels like a game from 2001. It’s a game that takes place in a 3D space, but there is isn’t an elegant way to move the camera to aim Luigi around.
If you have a New 3DS, you can use the C-stick to move where Luigi is looking, but that doesn’t feel quite right. I often resorted to using the d-pad to look around, which again, doesn’t feel right. There were far too many times when I struggled to line up my flashlight with a ghost, only to see it get away, which got frustrating.
You can also use the 3DS gyroscope controls, but that, too, lacked the precision I was looking for.
Because the controls are such a big factor for me, it’s hard to call this the definitive version of the game. It is nice to be able to take it on the go, so if that’s your thing, you’re in luck.
Despite the 3DS being a newer console, it doesn’t look all that much better than the GameCube original. The character models on the 3DS are jagged and blurry at times. Some aspects of the 3DS version look better, but for the most part, I actually prefer the GameCube version.
It’s also worth noting that this game is on the shorter side. If a seven hour campaign isn’t long enough for you, there isn’t much else to do after that, so you might find the $39.99 price tag a bit much.
But does the 3DS version have any improvements? Of course it does. For one, because of the system’s dual screens, the map is displayed on the bottom screen at all times. This makes traversing the mansion so much easier.
Additionally, when you get hit and lose coins, they stay onscreen for twice as long as they did in the original. Sadly, the currency is nothing more than a representation of your score in this game. The sequel, Dark Moon, did a better job of this since collecting coins granted you upgrades for your Poltergust.
Amiibo functionality has been added, giving you health and a means to find ghosts easier. There isn’t anything too unexpected or wild with the amiibo usage, but it is nifty and most certainly comes in handy.
Aside from that, the ability to play through the main campaign cooperatively has been added and it’s really neat. Catching ghosts is easier with a friend, too, as the hit points count down faster. And most things are better with a friend, anyway.
Another welcome feature is the inclusion of download play. The Ghost Training or Portrait Battle modes can be played with a friend without them having to own the game. This gives players a chance to try out the mechanics and decide if they’d like to purchase the game later. You still need a second copy of the game to play the campaign in co-op mode, but it’s cool that a couple features are offered in download play.
Luigi’s Mansion is a game that didn’t necessarily need a remake, but I’m glad this exists. The writing and mechanics hold up and it’s still mostly a joy to play. I only wish the controls would have been refined a bit more to catch up with modern standards.
Score: 3.5/5 – Fair
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