Luigi's Mansion originally debuted on the GameCube in 2001. Now, 17 years later, it's found a home on the Nintendo 3DS, thanks to a port from Grezzo and Nintendo's baffling decision to aim for the handheld when the Switch is the port machine that typically gets the most love as of late.
Naturally, I was excited to try it, because I hadn't had much opportunity to do so in its original format. Unfortunately, when the game came out, I still didn't have a GameCube. I was still in school, and couldn't afford my own console purchases at the time. By the time I got mine to play The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, I had forgotten all about grabbing Luigi's Mansion as I scrambled to play everything and get caught up. When I did finally play it, it was years later when I wasn't very interested in hauling out the GameCube and tube TV to play it the way it was meant to be played. Because of my limited space, I never had the change to play it to completion.
Now, it's reappeared on 3DS, which is a bit strange considering a sequel to the game hit the system before the original did, but I'm thankful for it. Is Luigi's scary side story a trick or a delicious Halloween treat? Let's just say it's certainly a game you'll want to sink your fangs into.
Mario-dooby-doo, where are you?
The game kicks off with Luigi navigating a spooky old mansion. Turns out that he's actually won the mansion as part of a contest that he didn't enter – sign me up – and he's meeting Mario outside to give it a look. Except when he gets there, Mario isn't there, and he decides to go in anyway. He makes his way up the path to the dwelling, despite its clearly green and withered exterior (you should know it's going to be scary, Luigi) and steps right in, armed with nothing but his trusty flashlight. As expected, it's dark, dank (in a bad way) and plenty of ghosties are up to no good in there.
Luigi begins to explore the mansion armed with a gold key seemingly dropped by a ghost, and is attacked by an enormous gold ghost. Luckily, the eccentric professor E. Gadd is there with his Poltergust 3000 to suck up the ghost and keep it from terrorizing poor little Luigi. But as it turns out, there are plenty of others skulking about in the mansion. Professor E. Gadd has been investigating the mansion, and it appears Mario went in, then just never came back out again. Luigi has to suit up with the Poltergust 3000 on his own to find Mario and ward off all the ghastly ghouls standing in his way. Too bad he's a huge 'fraidycat, though, as his teeth chatter throughout the entirety of the game.
Controlling Luigi is a breeze, though it can be a bit fiddly to move him around while locked in a vacuum battle with a ghost. It can be awkward to position him when you need to move in the opposite direction, but with some practice it becomes second nature. Luigi can stun ghosts with his flashlight, and then he can use the Poltergust to suck them up once their "heart" pops up. The ghost needs to be pulled in the opposite direction with the Poltergust, kind of like how you'd grapple with a fish in minigames, and when the counter that appears on the ghost falls to zero, you've successfully caught it in your vacuum canister. Lather, rinse, and repeat – you're a bona fide ghostbuster, now! Just...not one of the female Ghostbusters, please.
There's a variety of simple puzzles to solve as you guide Luigi through the mansion, but the main draw are, of course, the ghosts and figuring out where they're going to appear. Often, you need to figure out how to get them to move in a certain way that'll make Luigi able to capture them. This might mean vacuuming a certain item or set piece or even finding a particular thing to get the ball rolling. It's a fun way to ensure you're always forced to think on your toes, and a good way to keep players engaged – I certainly was, because I was determined to find Luigi's bro, after all.
Bustin' makes Luigi feel good
From my dalliances with the original game, it was immediately clear that the game obviously looks and feels much better, with additional details with textures, character designs (Luigi is taller and more stretched out this time around), and the 3D effect works fantastically. It adds some much-needed depth to a game where the darkness feels oppressive and terrifying all around you.
There's a variety of simple puzzles to solve as you guide Luigi through the mansion, but the main draw are, of course, the ghosts and figuring out where they're going to appear. Often, you need to figure out how to get them to move in a certain way that'll make Luigi able to capture them. This might mean vacuuming a certain item or set piece or even finding a particular thing to get the ball rolling.
If you're too spooked to play alone, there's a co-op mode to play alongside a friend. I was able to test this with a friend to try out exploring the entirety of the mansion, as well as new modes: Portrait Battles and Ghost Training, which worked swimmingly. Note that you do need the full game for an additional player if you want to go through the mansion. Download Play will allow others to play through the other modes. While there isn't the same four-player mode Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon available here, it's still an excellent feature to be able to play with a friend if you choose to, especially with all the scaredy cats out there.
Who ya gonna call?
If you've never adventured with Mario's lankier brother throughout his haunted mansion exploits, Luigi's Mansion 3DS is absolutely worth the price of admission. In fact, even if you tore through it when it first made its debut, it's fun to recruit a friend to go through it with you again – perhaps one of you can pretend the other is Mario in spirit, looking for himself? In any case, with Luigi's Mansion 3 on the horizon, it's good to be able to play the entirety of the two-game series so far on one system, and if you need a lighthearted romp for Halloween, this will certainly do the trick...or treat.
Luigi's Mansion 3DS
- Remastered, improved version of the original GameCube hit.
- Fun, lighthearted adventure featuring Luigi.
- Co-op option for those who don't want to get spooked alone.
- Some fiddly controls at times.