Something spooky this way comes in the new Luigi’s Mansion for Nintendo 3DS. Featuring the game’s original story, a brand new co-op mode and a Boss Rush mode, Luigi certainly has his work cut out for him in this revamped GameCube port. So, when darkness falls across the land and the midnight hour is close at hand, rejoin this petrified plumber and take down those thrillers in the night…
Originally released as a launch title in 2001 for the Nintendo GameCube, Luigi’s Mansion was praised by critics and users alike for bringing a fresh, innovative approach with its puzzles and overall game design. While it’s a short game, taking just over 6 hours to complete, it’s designed to be played more than once, especially when taking into consideration the achievement list; an entirely new feature in the 3DS enhanced port. Developed by the Japanese studio, Grezzo, known for its 3D ports of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, Luigi’s Mansion easily delights the senses with its improved visuals, sound and gameplay.
For players that are unfamiliar with the original action-adventure title, Luigi has been blessed with good fortune. He’s miraculously won a Mansion in a prize draw, despite never entering and has made a promise to meet Mario at the front gates of the beautiful estate. Except there’s a problem. Mario has mysteriously disappeared, leaving only his hat, gloves, shoes, a letter and a star behind. These clues to his whereabouts are scattered across the mansion. Upon entering, Luigi is confronted with a horrific (but rather playful) ghost. Fortunately, his shaking soul was saved by Professor E. Gadd, a well-known Scientist (aka Ghostbuster), who has perfected a way to drive these ghosts into visions of art (Portraits). Entrusting the Poltergust 3000 vacuum to Luigi, the Professor insists he’s seen Mario enter the Mansion but hasn’t left since. Presuming he’s trapped, Luigi squares up his green hat, scratches a little and enters the mansion to save Mario.
In an Iwata Asks interview back in 2010, it was revealed that the GameCube was originally intended to be developed with 3D functionality. Sadly, it never came to fruition due to how expensive LCD peripherals were priced at the time. While it took a further decade for Nintendo to release the dual-screened 3DS, Luigi’s Mansion on the GameCube was always destined to perform in full-fledged stereoscopic 3D. Firing up the game in its 3D mode, it’s easy to see why the functionality was initially designed for players. From the way a ghost’s heart pulsates inside its body to the discovery of gold, notes and gems flying through the air, the stereoscopic 3D visuals deliver a thrilling impact on the small screen. The motion controls are also easy to grasp with the New Nintendo 3DS’s face tracking function, keeping the visuals clean while playing in 3D. But don’t worry if you’re not a fan, the motion controls can easily be turned off in the options menu, utilising the C-Stick for manual torch and vacuum handling.
There’s a few noticeable differences from the get-go in Luigi’s Mansion. First of all, players will see that the map has been relegated to the touch screen on the Game Boy Horror, so there’s no need to switch between map screen and the mansion. You’ll also be able to keep track of the amount of money you’ve collected and the ghosts you’ve captured by tapping the relevant tabs on the touch screen. Plus, the Boo locator is located at the bottom of the top screen, flashing yellow when those tricky Boos are in a lit room, and red when you’re near their hiding spot.
Unlike Luigi’s Mansion 2 (or Dark Moon for those in the US), the original game allows you to freely navigate through the mansion in a linear fashion. There’s no structured missions to contend with since you’ll steadily progress through four distinct areas, each with increasingly difficult portrait ghosts and boss battles. The original story, puzzles and ghosts remain unchanged, of course, reinstating the nostalgic atmosphere for those who played it many moons ago. Particular highlights include the music room with Melody Pianissima, with nods to the great soundtracks of previous Mario games, as well as the humorous boss battles with Chauncey, Henry and Orville, hide and seek with Jarvis, and the painfully pretentious and artistic genius, Van Gore. Not to mention getting hit in the face with fake doors and channelling my inner ‘Ghostbuster’ by frantically following Boos with 300 HP from door to door in the hopes of capturing the blighter. It’s all in the detail with Luigi’s Mansion, the enhanced port capturing the magic in finer, fuller moments.
Once players have completed the mansion once, the Hidden Mansion will unlock and features tougher ghosts and boss battles. While the content remains the same, the Hidden Mansion mode has had a small revamp, replacing healing hearts with poison mushrooms, removing quicker HP drain from ghosts, and enabling the ability to capture Platinum Portrait ghosts for the first time. The 3DS port also features achievements, too. With up to five ranks, achievements bring longevity and replayability to Luigi’s Mansion, doing so without being arbitrary and fickle in their attainability. It’s good to see Amiibo functionality make an appearance, with Luigi, Mario, Toad and Boo all compatible within the game. Aimed at helping players, the Luigi amiibo will deliver an extra life, while Toad will heal you after saving your game. Again, it’s the small changes that make the most impact here.
Amongst the enhancements, Luigi’s Mansion also brings two new modes to its spooky abode. The Gallery now contains a new Boss Rush mode, where you can refight previous ghosts to obtain the highest platinum ranking. Fighting side by side with a comrade in the new co-op mode makes bosses, sadly, an absolute doddle. The real fun in co-op mode is unleashed in the Mansion, though, where a Flubber lookalike ‘Gooigi’ emerges from the depths of Philip Brainard’s lab as the second player. You’ll only be able to play through this mode with two game carts and two systems, while Boss Rush co-op mode – featuring the same Flubber Gooigi – is available via Download Play. It’s a shame that the full co-op mode isn’t available via download play, or an additional ghost-zapping arcade mode for double trouble, but it’s great to see an option included all the same.
Though it isn’t the Switch remake many had hoped for, Grezzo delivers a solid and well-polished 3DS port. While it would have been great to see the Hidden Mansion alter its content with new areas unlocked, Luigi’s Mansion remains best as a spooky near-episodic adventure, packed full of fun, with moments of humour, mischief and magic. If you enjoyed the original, there’s no way you’d miss this.
A review copy of Luigi’s Mansion for the Nintendo 3DS was provided to My Nintendo News by Nintendo UK.