Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon Review – Mario’s Brother is Back!!!
It’s been about 12 years since the release of the original Luigi’s Mansion on the Nintendo Gamecube. What started off as a tech demo to show off the graphical and processing power of the Gamecube ended up being one of the console’s greatest launch titles when it was shown off as a new game starring Mario’s twin brother Luigi in 2001. The year is now 2013 and Luigi is back once again in a direct sequel to the original 2001 title in Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon for the Nintendo 3DS.
Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon takes place after the events of the original Luigi’s Mansion. Professor E Gadd is continuing his research on ghosts and the paranormal. Professor E Gadd has been using this crystal in the sky called the Dark Moon to research ghosts in a friendly environment. The Dark Moon keeps the ghosts in a calm and friendly state so when the evil King Boo returns and shatters the Dark Moon, chaos erupts. This where our story begins with Professor E Gadd calling upon Luigi once again to help him with his ghost research by finding the pieces of the Dark Moon and figuring out who broke it in the first place.
Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon is a 3DS title, so how does the Gamecube title mechanics work on the 3DS? Well they actually work surprisingly well. You control Luigi’s movement using the circle pad while the game’s camera automatically adjusts. Pressing the D-Pad makes Luigi make four different call outs in a ”scared” voice. The L button makes air blow out of the Poltergust 5000 while the R button sucks air into the Poltergust 5000. The X and B buttons act as directional buttons for your flashlight and Poltergust 5000. Pushing X button makes Luigi look up while the B button makes Luigi look down or run in combination with the circle pad. The Y button turns on your black light that allows you to view hidden and invisible objects in the game. The A button activates your strobe light that you can charge up to stun ghosts and activate light activated buttons.
“The design of each mansion is beautiful. Running on the 3DS with 3D graphics, everything looks very vibrant and is visually appealing.”
Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon is structured differently than its predecessor. While in the original Luigi’s Mansion there was one large mansion to explore, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon has five different mansions to explore. The way Luigi’s Mansions levels are organized are now completely different. Instead of being assigned different objectives in one mansion, now you are teleported to different mansions in forms of levels. Think of a mansion as a world in a Super Mario Bros game. Each mansion has a set of five levels, a boss battle and bonus level. Professor E Gadd teleports you from his research bunker to each mansion and that’s the basic structure of the level system. Despite this new level system, each mansion is large enough to enjoy exploring. Each mansion has a theme that goes with it, it may be a snow, desert or forest themed mansion.
Some of the puzzles require very little effort to solve but once you start to dig in deeper and deeper into Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon, they only get more challenging. Throughout my playtime, I never experienced a moment where I raged and stop playing Luigi’s Mansion Dark moon because of the puzzles. There were points where I did spend up to 30 minutes trying to solve a puzzle though and while they were difficult to solve, they weren’t enough for me to rage over.
One thing that I truly admire Next Level Games for doing with Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon is adding personality and life to bland Nintendo characters. Usually when I play a Mario game, I think to my self, I’m playing as Mario and he has to save the princess. I don’t feel attached to the characters, it’s a simple story with very little character development or personality. For the first time in a while, I’ve actually felt attached to Luigi. Throughout the game Luigi truly shows emotion. During conversations with Professor E Gadd, you can see Luigi’s fearful reaction to finding out he has to face more ghosts. Equally you can see his happy expression every time he finds a Dark Moon piece. The addition of being able to do voice calls with the D-Pad also make Luigi feel more like an actual person with a personality and not just another emotionless Mario character. Without spoiling anything either, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon also has one of the most heart warming endings I’ve experience with a Mario game.
“The writing in this game is simply fantastic.”
The writing in Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon is also brilliantly done. At the end and beginning of every level, I could always look forward to reading an amazing humorous line from Professor E Gadd. Professor E Gadd is funny, clever and just a down right lovable character. I remember when in a conversation with Luigi, Professor E Gadd asked “Why the long face? Well I guess it’s genetics”. The writing in this game is simply fantastic.
Sound Design & Music
Much like the original Luigi’s Mansion, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon has a fantastic library of music and sound effects. Put on a pair of headphones, plug-in your 3DS and go on a journey. The sound design in this game is done excellently. One specific design choice I found amusing and cunning was that when you don’t move for a while and you’re quite, Luigi begins to hum along to background music during the game. It’s done in a clever manner and when I first saw it and couldn’t help but smile and hum along.
Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon is a fantastic game and does a well sequel service to the original Luigi’s Mansion. Gameplay mechanics work very well on the Nintendo 3DS. Visually the game looks amazing and is one of the best looking games on the system, up there with other titles like Super Mario 3D Land and Fire Emblem Awakening. The addition of a multiplayer mode certainly isn’t needed but well appreciated. It works great and it’s fun to play with friends (whether or not they have a copy of the game) and anyone else online. The addition of a better voice chat system that takes advantage of the 3DS’ microphone would have been great.