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Luigi's Mansion

Preview By: Siou Choy

Developer:   Nintendo
Publisher:   Nintendo
Genre:   Platformer
Est. Release:   Nov. 5, 2001
Posted:   June 4, 2001

It's been a long time coming, but everyone's favorite assistant plumber Luigi will finally get the starring role in his very own game. No longer will he be relegated to the demeaning position of being Mario's sidekick (for those less versed in Nintendo lore, Luigi is the second player. You know, the one who looks just like Mario, but in green and white instead of red and black). Yes, Luigi is coming into his own at last by way of the GameCube's Fall release Luigi's Mansion.

As luck would have it, Luigi has come into ownership of a mansion all his own. Conditioned by decades of second-stringerdom, he asks his old pal Mario to met him there. Upon arrival, however, Luigi discovers Mario is missing, and worse, that the house is haunted (isn't that always the way?). In a nod to the 1970's, Luigi consults a "paranormal researcher", who informs Luigi that to save Mario he must brave the mansion and confront it's inhabitants. Armed only with a flashlight and vacuum cleaner, Luigi is charged with capturing all the ghosts within. By shining the flashlight on a ghost, Luigi will temporarily startle and freeze it in place. But watch out - if you're not quick enough, Luigi will be the one that ends up pulling a Shaggy, and wind up scared, screaming and scuttling around flat on his butt. Once the ghosts have been distracted, it's time to pull out the vacuum cleaner and do a little "ghostbusting", sucking the ghost into the vacuum. The vacuum can also be used to collect coins and other items of use that appear throughout the game. Be careful, though - the longer you use the vacuum, the more it heats up. If the vacuum meter gets to 10, Luigi's pants will catch on fire (and you get to enjoy the sight of him scooting along the floor on his butt in an attempt to put it out). Lest I forget, there is one additional tool to aid you in your cleanup - in a cheesy self-promotional plug, a Game Boy Color serves as Luigi's map and communicator.

Surprisingly enough, the usual "jump and stomp" actions common to Mario Bros. games are nowhere to be found here - Luigi doesn't even have a jump command. In stark, if refreshing contrast to the fast pace of previous Mario Bros. games, Luigi's Mansion is rather deliberately paced, the emphasis being shifted towards fomenting a spooky atmosphere.

In a somewhat confusing development, control of Luigi is different than in previous games - the camera stick, rather than the analog stick, is used to manipulate Luigi (the analog stick is used to direct the flashlight). The R button is used to activate the vacuum to suck in the ghosts. Such mundane but necessary actions as opening doors are done by means of the A button.

Going by the screenshots provided, the graphics in Luigi's Mansion appear to be nothing short of spectacular, taking full advantage of the GameCube's 128 bit power. Dust particles can be seen swirling about in the flashlight's beam. Real-time shadows are apparent, with areas becoming visible as Luigi moves his flashlight from object to object. Even the ghosts in the game have a transparent look and feel to them. Another example of the developers' attention to detail is how when a room has been cleared of ghosts, the room is transformed from dark and spooky to bright as day.

I've always been a fan of Luigi and am extremely glad to see him get a chance to star in his own game rather than just playing second fiddle to Mario. Luigi's Mansion will be a launch game for the GameCube's November release.

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