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Game Review: Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon

April 7, 2013

WARNING: Spoilers present in review.

Back in November 2001, the Nintendo Gamecube was released in North America. It was Nintendo’s fourth generation console, and one of the first launch titles for the system was a game called Luigi’s Mansion. It was the first game to have Luigi be the star (We don’t talk about that other game…) and is one of my favorite titles released on the Gamecube.

Almost ten years later, at E3 2011, a sequel was finally announced, originally known as Luigi’s Mansion 2. Available now on the Nintendo 3DS, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon takes place after the events of the first game. Developed by Next Level Games, (Best known for the Mario Striker games and the Wii Version of Punch Out!), does this new title live up to the original game?

Graphics: While the 3DS may not have the power that the Vita, let alone current gen consoles have, it is still a very nice looking game. I myself don’t consider graphics to be a major factor when it comes to grading the game. I will say that it (at least in my opinion) looks much better than the original title’s graphics.

Soundtrack: The game’s soundtrack is very well done. My personal favorites are some of the boss themes (The Final Boss Battle theme was simple, yet very effective for King Boo.), The Eerie Staircase music, as well as the ringtone version of E. Gadd’s theme (Which I demand someone make into a non-ringtone version, as I’m pretty sure it could be turned into a battle theme.)

Gameplay: There were a lot of neat additions made to the gameplay this time around. This time around, to capture a ghost, you’ll need to use the “Stroboscope”, a powerful flash that stuns the ghost. Then while using the “fishing reel” capture method used in the previous game, you’ll be able to charge your Poltergust 5000 in order to take away more HP from enemy ghosts to captures them. There’s also new features such as the Darklight, which allows hidden items/doors in rooms to be revealed (As well as being a useful tool when trying to find Boos flying around). It should also be noted that throughout the game, as you collect money, you can upgrade both your Poltergust and your Darklight to make them more effective in-game.

There are a few features from the previous game that were lost, such as the Poltergust’s ability to shoot out Fire, Water and Ice. This is replaced with the ability to suck in items and hold on to them to accomplish certain tasks/solve puzzles. Like holding onto a bucket to water plants, hold onto logs/spider-web balls and light them on fire, use special plants as either balloons or weapons to make it across certain areas or defeat enemies who aren’t ghosts. While it is a shame that the ability to shoot elements out of the Poltergust is lost, some of these other new additions easily make up for it.

Game Modes: The main game/story mode allows is a “Mission Based” game that has Luigi travel through 5 different mansions in order to locate pieces of the Dark Moon (More on that in the story section), with each mansion having 4-6 missions requiring Luigi to fulfill a certain task. The final mission is typically a unique boss battle requiring Luigi to fight a “Possessor Ghost” that has a Dark Moon piece. There’s also at least one optional mission in the mansions as well that can be unlocked. Fans of the first game will find this much different from the original, which kept you in one mansion but was more “exploration based”, rather than mission based. Because this is a handheld tile, the missions were designed for on-the-go play, so unfortunately, the game isn’t as long as the first game. This does not mean the game should be thought of as worse than the first game though, as it still has quite a bit of content.

The game also has a multiplayer mode called “ScareScrapper”, which allows one to four players (Locally or Online) to work together in different gameplay modes/objectives based on the main game. I tried out the local version by myself (I was unable to try out the multiplayer feature with more than one person sadly), and it was ok. I don’t expect anyone to be using this mode long after finishing the main game, but it’s entertaining enough for people looking for more to do with the game.

Story: In the area known as Evershade Valley, Professor E. Gadd is studying the ghosts that live in the local mansion. They appear very friendly, but only thanks to a small gem in the sky known as “The Dark Moon”. One night however, a shadowy figure (Spoiler Alert: It’s King Boo. Let’s be honest, it’s not that much of a spoiler.) shatters the Dark Moon, causing the Ghosts to become evil and cause chaos. Realizing he can’t solve this problem on his own, E. Gadd summons Luigi (living in the house he built with the fortune from the first game.) to his Bunker to wield the Poltergust once more and get the five pieces of the Dark Moon.

It’s a very basic story, but honestly, what were you expecting for a game like this? It’s a Mario game (Sorry Luigi…), no one comes for a deep, complex plot. Character wise, the game does very well at keeping everything humorous. Luigi and E. Gadd are always hilarious, although the game lacks many individual, unique ghosts the first game had. Although the bosses are a little bit more… unique (Examples: Spiders, Stairs, an Ice Monster) than the previous game, it is a bit disappointing to have a larger variety in enemy characters (at least personality wise). Still, it gets the job done.

Final Thoughts: While the game does lack a few of the things that made the first game special, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon brings a few new features/improvements to the table that makes it far better than the original. A much more improved capturing system, and new gameplay elements make this game just as good as the original. You could argue that because the game was designed for on-the-go gameplay, that many of its limitations should be disregarded. Regardless, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a fantastic game, and is recommended for all 3DS owners. It should be noted, however, that I don’t believe this game will convince someone who doesn’t own a 3DS to buy one. But, I highly recommend that everyone try it out at least once, as it is still one of the more unique games out there.

I give Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon a 4/5. Hopefully we can see another installment that can take the best features from the original and this game to make the definitive Luigi’s Mansion game.

Thanks for reading my review of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. For more video game news and reviews, check back here regularly, or at my twitter feed @TSilentWatcher.

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