A Puzzle Adventure
This puzzle adventure is a sequel to the 2001 GameCube "Luigi Mansion" game; and it features several ghost-filled, dark, spooky mansions to explore. In addition to wrangling poltergeists, the game contains numerous puzzles and tons of collectibles. It also has a multiplayer mode where up to four players can bust ghosts together.
The story involves Professor E. Gadd and his horde of helpful ghosts. When something blows up the Dark Moon, the scientist's ghostly lab assistants abandon their posts and turn into pesky poltergeists. The professor calls on Luigi to help him set things straight. Shivering with fear, Luigi gathers his courage to go on missions to capture the renegade ghosts and collect the missing pieces of the Dark Moon. The professor uses his clever machines to restore the Dark Moon fragments to their original power and thereby tame the ghosts.
How to Play
Players will have a blast exploring the mansion environments, lovingly created with great 3D detail. Playing as Luigi, you put the powerful Poltergust 5000 on your back (think leaf blower) and a flashlight in your hand. Flashing a light on ghosts stuns them so that you then suck them up. The Poltergust also works to suck up hanging objects, creepy crawlers and bats, and magically rolls up carpets. If you reverse the flow of air, you can move things in your environment. In each of the rooms you explore, many things are manipulative; so you will want to experiment to see what is hiding underneath rugs or inside of pictures hanging on the wall.
As the game progresses, you find new gear that helps you to capture the ghosts. You can upgrade the vacuum's powers by collecting treasures in the form of hidden coins, dollars, and gold bars.
As Luigi, you go on a series of missions within five spooky mansions. After being transported inside to a specific room, you need to explore it thoroughly to find things that will help you. To investigate other connected rooms, you frequently have to locate a key. Sometimes a mouse will run by holding it; but other times you have to wrangle a ghost. As you unlock more and more rooms, you encounter more puzzles in which you must manipulate your environment. For example, one puzzle involves figuring out how to lower a chandelier that is housing the strobe light that Luigi needs to attach to the Poltergust. The solution involves reaching a balcony, blasting a fan with a gust of air, and then running down the stairs in time to reach the chandelier before it automatically rises back up.
The Good and the Bad
Part of the fun of this game is watching the reluctant, bumbling Luigi overcome his fears. The constantly changing variety of ghosts and their hilarious antics also provide great entertainment. However, these specters throw things at you that steal your life force and, if you aren't careful, can cause you to black out and have to start the mission over. As the game progresses, these ghosts get smarter; so some will hide their eyes (with sunglasses or other things) so that you can't stun them by flashing a light. But wrangle you must, since the paranormal pests have frequently stolen something you need.
As much fun as this game is with its adorable Luigi, flocks of mischievous phantoms, use of cool gadgets, and interesting environments to explore, the game is not perfect. It uses an outdated save mechanic where you have to finish a whole multi-staged mission before you can stop. And if the ghosts defeat you, there aren't any save points mid-mission; rather, you have to go back to the beginning and start the process over. This causes kids to repeat things. Each mansion ends with a harder "boss" battle where tons of ghosts are coming at you, so the difficulty level suddenly spikes. Also, many of the missions require you to revisit a room you have already explored to see if something new has shown up or you missed something; so there is some backtracking.
While "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon" is rated "E" by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), it does have some mildly scary moments involving the ghosts. Plus some of the puzzles are tricky. It is best for kids ages 9-up who enjoy haunted houses and mildly spooky games.
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