Thrills and Chills Abound in Dark Moon

Whoa, there is another Luigi’s Mansion game? Yup! It has been quite a while since the Gamecube launch title hit stores and won over the hearts of many gamers, myself included. Now there is a sequel on the Nintendo 3DS. Dust off your flashlight and vacuum- it is time to go ghost hunting.

The original Luigi’s Mansion was released in 2001 as a launch title for the Gamecube. It was the first Mario game with Luigi as the main character, and up until now, the only other to do this was Mario is Missing. Luigi’s Mansion was one of the first games to be re-released as a player’s choice and is the fifth best selling Gamecube game in the United States.

The plot of the game is pretty basic. Professor E. Gadd, from the first game, is working together with ghosts when the Dark Moon, the object that keeps the ghosts in check, is broken and the ghosts go on a rampage. Gadd calls Luigi in through a television to help solve the problem.

Normally, I would complain that the plot is so simple that I could sum it up in one sentence, but since it gives us the excuse to explore haunted mansions with the younger Mario brother again, I could not care less.

The graphics are very nice, especially for a portable game. Nintendo is really pushing the envelope for what the 3DS can do.

Not only are the graphics good, but the dark and spooky look from the Gamecube classic stays strong in the sequel. I am always a sucker for scary atmospheres, be it legitimate horror or the Scooby Doo style, so the game already had me interested on that fact alone.

The controls of the new game are a bit different and take some getting used to. Since the 3DS only has one control stick, things have changed. Walking around is just fine, as are examining objects and moving the camera. However, using the Poltergust 5000, the vacuum to that is designed to capture ghosts, works differently.

When you are using the vacuum, you can either use the B and Y buttons to move it up or down, or the motion sensors of the 3DS. That is perfectly fine, and I like that the game is taking advantage of the system’s technologies to the fullest extent. Unfortunately, you cannot aim the vacuum left or right, and to turn in those directions you have to put the vacuum away.

Nintendo is smart, and they designed most of the battles with ghosts in a way that this limitation will not make the game impossible, but it will make things more difficult.

As for actually capturing ghosts, things work a bit differently as well. You have two flashlights in this game, a regular one, which is simply to illuminate dark areas, and one that shoots a stun blast that sets ghosts up for capture. It dances on the fine line of changing the gameplay up a bit without changing it so much that it became unrecognizable. It takes a minute of getting used to, but it is not radically different and impossible to comprehend.

Another gameplay difference is the mansions themselves. Instead of one big mansion, there are several smaller haunted houses that Luigi must explore to find the fragments of the dark moon. I think it would have been cooler if Nintendo named this game Luigi’s Mansions, but that is a different story.

Each area has a certain theme to it. For example, one building is a time themed area while another is a forest themed house. Also, much like the original, the sequel features a lot of treasure hunting and collecting to build up high scores.

A difference between Dark Moon and the original is that the mansions are also broken up by missions. You go to each mansion several times to complete various tasks, much like many other portable games.

It breaks the game up enough that you do not find yourself in some long, complicated part with no save points while an issue in real life has to be dealt with.

It is one of the perks of portable gaming and it was smart of Nintendo to implement it.

Dark Moon also features a multiplayer mode called ScareScraper (I love that the ghost puns are still being used). There are a couple of modes in which multiple players team up to conquer the haunted tower. These are nice additions and add a good amount of replay value to an already enjoyable game.

In case you have not noticed yet, I really like this game. For the last few years, I had really started to doubt whether Nintendo could keep my interest, but Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon really restored my faith in the company.

One of my favorite games came back and once again thoroughly impressed me. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon gets a 9 out of 10. If you were a fan of the original Luigi’s Mansion like me, definitely check this game out; it is worth it.

IMAGE TAKEN from gatheryourparty.com