Launch line-ups are a curious sort of deal. You’re far too early in development lifetime to demand any kind of expertise from creators and yet the jump provided by the gap invokes a certain level of amazement from the slightest visual improvement to the seemingly natural experience of a new controller. Newer gamers might not grasp this weird feeling as starkly as generations past have but one can always count on the next best thing to be exciting.
Mario sure had its moment when the Nintendo 64 was released when the red-clothed brother was rightfully chosen to be the face of a new generation, the one pixelated gaming individual to suddenly appear out of a pipe in all three-dimensional glory. If any one character was bound to have this honor no better choice could have been made.
When the GameCube was released Super Smash Bros was the cool kid on the block, everyone wanted to see what the hype was all about, and much like Super Mario 64 did for 3D movements when it unleashed it sheer power and gave full control to the player, Melee had done basically the same, perhaps in a whole different approach. To this day it’s regarded as having one of the most advanced, deep controls mechanics for a Nintendo game.
Luigi’s Mansion wasn’t Mario, it wasn’t a full-fledged adventure, it wasn’t meant to be memorable or shake up the game’s industry. It came to life mainly because Mario wasn’t ready to run the show yet and Melee was too big of a hit to compete with heavy-hitters like a Super Mario 64 sequel. Luigi’s Mansion was a B-video-game at heart from a B- character in the Mario universe. Who knows, maybe Luigi would cut the cord and shine a light on his own terms.
A light-hearted adventure was crafted, well-established and managed to set the kick off to a career for the green-clothed plumber. By now a worthy sequel has made it onto the Nintendo 3DS and Luigi even received a DLC-kind of treatment for a Super Mario Bros. Wii U. Hes featured as a main playable character in both Super Mario 3D Land/World. It’s pretty clear at this point that Luigi has enough charisma to endure titles on his own, and Luigi’s Mansion started it all.
Armed with only a lantern and a vacuum cleaner he’s out to clear a haunted mansion he inherited from ghosts. To aid in his quest there’s the Professor Elvin Gadd, who investigates the strange occurrences in the vicinity and is always more than ready to make the poor frail Luigi face the dangers of the house while he stays comfortably in his laboratory just studying whatever the main character founds.
Luigi’s fearful nature comes into play, opposed to the bravely Mario, and adds a certain comedic charm to the whole thing. The battle system is quite intriguing, you need to shed light onto the ghost to freeze him for a couple of seconds and then use the vacuum to capture it. The ghost won’t go easy in and will struggle around the room to avoid being captured so you need to press the C-stick to the opposed direction the ghost is trying to escape otherwise he will escape indeed.
The game is brief, divided into four chapters and each chapter has a boss that require different strategies than from regular ghosts. Capturing ghosts and using the vacuum cleaner around the mansion also hands out treasure which is used to rank how well the player has done in the end. If you get a lot of money you’ll get a fancy makeover on the property and the end result will be a painting of a colossal abode, if now, you’ll get a simple residence. in a nutshell, money only works as a final game ranking system.
Capturing different types of ghosts, however, can complete a gallery that Professor Gadd once had before the main antagonist came up and freed them to haunt the house. Capturing the ghosts in one go can earn golden frames while having more than one try might hand out silver or bronze. Aside from that there’s not much to do when it comes to collectibles or side-quests.
The adventure is short but sweet, full of funny moments in most of the many conversations between Luigi and the professor using some kind of modified Game Boy communicator. It features a memorable location — the Mansion — because of the intense back-tracking from finding keys and side-routes around the residence. You’ll get to know it pretty deeply.
Of course the GameCube would show its true colors shortly after with the amazing titles that succeeded the launch line-up clearly focused on Super Smash Bros Melee, but this gem should never be overlooked or forgotten by those who, like me, acknowledge the incredible library of game the GameCube has got. Luigis Mansion might now be the shiniest of them all, but it’s certainly a jewel on its own.