Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon Review

Lets face it, whether Luigi likes it or not, this plumber has lost his job. Instead of pining away, wondering if he’ll get another one, he’s been recruited to become a ghostbuster. In Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the plot revolves around having this character go cleaning up a manor riddled with ghosts while restoring it to its former glory. Professor E. Gadd used to work with the spirits, but when a Kirby-like bad spirit comes to Evershade Valley and shatters a mood altering crystal, shaped to look like the moon, the tale that erupts becomes reminiscent of an old cartoon.

Nintendo pays homage to various influential Disney products to make Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon fun. From Disney’s Lonesome Ghosts as the setting to TRON styled teleportation for the science fiction elements, this list is by no means complete. And long time fans of animation will hear an Inspector Gadget like tune in one of the rooms. These inspirations set the humourous tone for this game. Even Luigi is played up in Buster Keaton fashion.

The level design is very good, but that does not unseat the few flaws which exists in gameplay. Playing Luigi in a three-dimensional field feels two-dimensional. When he is posed to confront ghosts in front of him, he’s not able to spin around to face creatures sneaking up. When he is engaged in combat, dodging some obstacles is not as easy. When there is no supply of hearts nearby, players will have to be on the ball to be careful in what not to touch.

The mansion is riddled with spiders and rats that can harm Luigi. He is the only character who seems afraid of everything. Another issue is with the lack of options, like turning off the chatter from the prof (which gets annoying after a while) or adjusting the sound settings.

Most paranormal investigators may very well give their seal of approval to this game anyways. Luigi uses an ultraviolet flashlight to reveal items the normal eye cannot see. But just how far can a Hoover vacuum be modified? Luigi’s main weapon, the Poltergust 5000 is they key here. And players can do well to master the controls so it can suck up and blow out against the various antagonists Luigi has to face. The flashlight, ultraviolet light and vacuum can be aimed at targets with the aid of the X or B button. The two button push is usually not required. As long as the player is looking in the right direction, the light or vacuum does its job. But there are times where Luigi seems vertically challenged. Targeting the ghosts that are welding physical objects is not as easy and after enough practice, Luigi may well be able to join Venkman, Stanz, Spengler and Zeddemore in prime time. But just don’t ask him to clean up after Slimer!

Tip: The golden bone is used to give Luigi a second chance at finishing the level should the boss character deplete all the hearts. Upon regeneration, the health is back up to 100. Unfortunately, the number of bones obtained are not cumulative.

Score: 7 out of 10.

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