Luigi’s Mansion – looking back

One of the main uses I get out of our Wii is using it to play GameCube games. I had a GameCube when I was younger, and did enjoy the limited games that came out. I had the cute little purple GC, and unsurprisingly I liked the cute little disks as well. The control pad I was less enthusiastic about…with it’s strange extra Z button, and Y and X button layout. Anyway, I got ahold of a copy of Luigi’s Mansion a little while ago. It was one of the few games I remembered really enjoying and finishing for the GC so I thought I’d see how it’s aged.

Unfortunately I do think it’s a case of…well, pure nostalgia on my part.

The game’s nice, sure. I like that you’re playing Luigi. That he creeps around this haunted mansion and shrieks like a little girl all the time. That he hums nervously along to the soundtrack and uses a cute little GameBoy as a map/inventory. It has a lot of charm.

But my word. Having controls that are normal on one stick (the moving Luigi around one) and inverted on the other (the controls for the Poltergust 3000) is just silly. Even more so that you don’t have an option to change that.

On top of that, while I get that I could practice and get really good at not dying every five minutes I just don’t have the patience anymore. As Blake Peterson points out in his Silent Hill Downpour review (which obviously you should read) – when I was being bought games when I was young, first with the PS1 and then the GC – I had nothing better to do than play them all and didn’t know any better way of playing a game than repetition and frustration until I finally managed to finish it. Thankfully, as an adult I have a better sense of perspective – disagree all you want – I don’t need to finish a game that I’m not enjoying, screw that! As an aside I never did get given a PS2 *bitter bitter seeth*

Saving should probably have restored at least a bit of your health in this game. And for that matter, doing some of the big staged boss battles can be difficult when you’re just not given any hearts. Yes, when you’re just exploring you can shake a few objects and get hearts – but it’s during boss battles that I’m dying.

As an aside, the game – while I still think it’s nice and charming – is actually a bit repetitive. I get that simple game play is sometimes a good thing, but I honestly don’t feel the compulsion to move from room to room, sucking up ghosts and hunting down boos.

Looking back, it’s just not enough.

Not all games have been like this that I’ve gone back to. Mario Kart Double Dash is still fun, cute and simple. I played that game to death on the GC and it’s still playable today. Paper Mario’s humour and game play mechanics are still great – if anything, it’s way better than it’s sequel Super Paper Mario.

To finish up, maybe this game could do with a ‘remake’ – with more options at least. And not just a sequel on Nintendo’s 3DS in a desperate attempt at selling the thing.

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