So I decided to surprise you guys with a Halloween "Themed" blog post, about the Nintendo GameCube launch title Luigi's Mansion. For me, the history with this game was an ebay purchase over a year ago in order to play the title for the first time ever. Being a Nintendo fanboy at heart, I purchased the GameCube on launch but for some reason never got the launch title that was Luigi's Mansion, so it took 9 years for me to finally do it.
At a first glance, the game was very strange and didn't feel at all like a Mario Title, but that was the point.... it was Luigi and not Mario. This is the problem that forced a lot of gamers away from this game early on, they were more familiar with what they had in Super Mario 64 and wanted more of that, and they had to wait until Super Mario Sunshine was released until they were able to get their fix.
The game begins with Luigi approaching a large dark mansion on the outskirts of a forest that is later discovered to be haunted by various ghosts, most notably Boos which are a staple of the Mario Franchise. These ghosts are all being investigated by Professor E. Gadd who lives in a small shack close to the mansion, and utilizes Luigi to test out his new invention the Poltergust 3000, which allows him to catch ghosts Bill Murray style.
Luigi had apparently won the mansion in a contest despite not having entered any contest to begin with, and while attempting to meet up with Mario at said mansion, Mario disappears in an apparent ghost kidnapping and it is up to Luigi to find his brother and free him of the ghosts and ghouls inside.
Professor E. Gadd with the Poltergust 3000
Giving this game a 2nd playthrough a year later, the game is just as fun as before. The game is faily linear and straight forward, not giving too many routes to get lost in, however some exploration is needed since the game won't straight up tell you what to do and where to go, which is a great feature since many games now hold your hand the entire way through. I loved the fact that there were really no "boss" battles, sure you will run into larger ghosts that have certain mortal ties to the rooms they are in, but the game doesn't actually stop the action to introduce a boss much like that in games of the Zelda series.
The controls were a little funky, but it didn't take long to get used to them. The Nintendo GameCube's controller was the first controller to utilize dual analog sticks by removing their typical "C" buttons and replacing it with a yellow stick to represent the different buttons. This stick is what controlled your Poltergust 3000, and it was often awkward to attempt to use it along with the buttons above it.
What I really enjoyed about this game was the fact that it really opened up Luigi as a character, and allowed the Mario universe to span outside of Mario himself. Growing up in the late 80's and early 90's, Mario was everywhere and everyone always knew of Mario AND Luigi; who was never really given any spotlight other than being a secondary character in the series.
Go ahead and bring out your GameCube, dust off Luigi's Mansion and give this game a 2nd playthrough! The new Luigi's Mansion 2 will be released on the Nintendo 3DS in Quarter 1 of 2012.