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Luigi's Mansion (Japanese: ルイージマンション Luigi's Mansion) is a game released in September 2001 as a Nintendo GameCube launch title. Although, the game started its development cycle as a Nintendo 64 title, it was eventually canceled near the end of the system's lifecycle. It initially started off as a Tech Demo, but the producers decided to make it a game. It marks the 2nd time where Luigi is the main character, with Mario being trapped, following Mario is Missing! from 1993. The game is notable for its dark tone and parodical take on survival-horror gameplay, as well as debuting series staples Professor E. Gadd and King Boo.
Prior to the events of the game, Professor Elvin Gadd (known informally as Professor E. Gadd, E. Gadd, or more simply, just Gadd), was studying ghosts and had developed a method of capturing malicious spirits and trapping them within paintings, via the usage of the Poltergust 3000 and the Ghost Portrificationizer. Using these two contraptions, he manages to capture a large assortment of dangerous ghost, putting them out of commission, seemingly for good. However, Gadd made an overzealous mistake when he managed to capture Boolossus, who just so happened to be the greatest ally of King Boo, supreme ruler of the Boos. King Boo, enraged, launched an assault on E. Gadd's laboratory with the aid of his remaining Boo army. They stormed the facility and ran not just Boolossus, but also the rest of the ghosts E. Gadd had captured backwards through the Portrificationizer, freeing each and every one of them. To add insult to injury, King Boo used his magic to conjure a monstrous mansion for the ghosts to take residence in. King Boo then hid inside with his fellow Boos and took advantage of the situation to attempt to capture Mario and Luigi, as retaliation for their crimes against Boo-kind. E. Gadd, having made it out of the attack unscathed, began working to reclaim his lost ghosts.
Following this, King Boo sent out a false prize voucher for a mansion. Despite having never even entered a contest to receive said mansion, Mario and Luigi were nonetheless excited, if a bit skeptical. Mario went to check out the mansion right away, while Luigi lagged behind. During this time, Mario was captured with minimal effort. The ghosts planned to surprise Luigi now that his big brother had been captured, so they hid in the Storage Room of the mansion.
Luigi eventually made it to the mansion and made his way into the Foyer. After finding himself locked out of every door in the area, he'd suddenly be met by a mysterious yellow apparition, which dropped a key on the floor. Luigi grabbed the key and used it to gain access to the Parlor. In the Parlor, Luigi once again encountered the apparition from before, now taking the form of a Gold Spirit, which quickly closed in with nothing but malintent for the green plumber. Before it could land a blow, the ghost was suddenly restrained by E. Gadd, who struggled to try and wrangle the ghost, ultimately failing to do so as the ghost sucker-punches him. He introduces himself to Luigi, but before the two can truly exchange histories, several more ghosts appear, prompting the two to escape to Gadd's laboratory.
E. Gadd explains to Luigi the history of the Mansion, his studies in the paranormal fields, and his invention of the Poltergust and Portrificationizer. After training the not-so-eager plumber-turned-ghost hunter, E. Gadd sends Luigi out into the Mansion to reclaim the ghosts, and save his big brother.
Upon returning to the Mansion, Luigi meets with Toad in the Foyer. He assures Toad that he will find and save Mario, which cheers Toad up greatly. Luigi then travels across all of the rooms connected to the loft of the Foyer. Encountering numerous devious spirits along the way, before encountering the first batch of E. Gadd's portrait ghosts. He encounters father ghost, Neville, and his wife Lydia, before being forced to trek into the room of their baby, Chauncey. Chauncey proves to be far more of a threat than either of his parents, abducting Luigi into a realm within his crib in an effort to snuff out the green man's light. Fortunately, Luigi is not so easily bested, and overcomes the violent new challenge, being rewarded with a magical Key, which he uses to open the enchanted doors in the ground level of the Foyer. But before venturing forth beyond them, E. Gadd calls him back to the lab, where the two of them total up the treasure that Luigi has collected, as well as portrify the three portrait ghosts he captured.
Luigi then returns to the mansion and explores the ground floor of the mansion, encountering the Floating Whirlindas in the mansion's Ball Room. After capturing them, Luigi finds his way to the Storage Room, where his curiosity gets the better of him, causing him to activate a mechanical wall, which leads him to unintentionally releasing the Boos and their king from their hiding place. Fortunately for Luigi, the Boos spot his Poltergust and, rather than attack, they make a hasty break for it, along with King Boo. E. Gadd calls Luigi back to the lab to explain the situation, and when he returns to the mansion, he's now tasked with capturing as many of the Boos now scattered about the mansion in past and present locations alike. Luigi presses on, encountering the likes of Shivers, Melody Pianissima, Mr. Luggs, Spooky, and ending off with confrontation with another ghost whose powers match that of Chauncey, Bogmire. Bogmire traps Luigi in an arena and launches an army of his own shadows at the poor brother. Luigi manages to use the shadow monsters against Bogmire, and eventually takes him down, leaving behind another enchanted key. After obtaining the key, Luigi is called back once more to portrify the ghosts he'd captured up to that point.
Additionally, while on this section of the game, Luigi gains access to Fire and Water Medals, enabling the Poltergust to expel flames and water. Alongside this is an optional encounter with the ghost Madame Clairvoya, who, unlike the other portrait ghosts, is very cordial and friendly with Luigi, deciphering visions of the future for him in exchange for several items belonging to Mario. She reveals to him that Mario has been captured and that Bowser will play a part in King Boo's grand scheme. Though Luigi can't find all of this out, and subsequently capture her until the third act.
Luigi returns to the mansion once more, gaining access to the Courtyard behind the mansion, where he stumbles upon a dried-up water well and climbs down it. What he finds down there is truly a sight for sore eyes: Mario, trapped in a painting and mounted on a wall of a golden altar, with the Ghost King himself observing the artwork maliciously, completely unaware of Luigi's presence. Luigi is helpless to reach his brother from the well, and instead decided to press on, obtaining a key from a weak ghost who tries to spook Luigi on his way out. He enters the Rec Room and from there he encounters many more ghosts on his path, including Biff Atlas, Miss Petunia, Nana, Slim Bankshot, Twins Henry and Orville all the way back in the Act 1 hallway next door to Chauncey, and finally, Luigi finishes his business with Madame Clairvoya, who pleads with him to capture her so she may be laid to rest within the border of a painting. After this, Luigi makes his way to the mansion's Balcony, where his Boo Meter begins going off the walls. A bit of exploring leads Luigi to an ominous circle of 15 Boos, who taunt Luigi rather mercilessly before abducting him and taking him to an illusionary version of the balcony. There, they combine and form Boolossus, and attempt to flatten Luigi. Unfortunately for them, they left the Balcony's unicorn statues in tact and even froze them, enabling Luigi to pop and subsequently freeze the Boos, capturing them one by one until none remained. After returning to the mansion, Luigi gains a third enchanted key and, of course, returns to E. Gadd's lab to portify his current keep, including Boolossus. With that, Luigi returns to the mansion for a final time, to take on King Boo and retrieve his big brother.
Luigi obtains a third medal, the Ice Medal, in this act, enabling him to expel freezing cold mist from the Poltergust. Additionally, Boolossus's defeat automatically adds 15 Boos to Luigi's Boo counter.
Luigi returns to the mansion and uses his key to unlock the enchanted door on the Balcony. But no sooner than he does so, lightning strikes the mansion, knocking out all of the power, and leaving the place even more infested with ghosts than it had been before. Luigi must endure the punishing gauntlet of ghosts as he backtracks from the Balcony to the Wardrobe, back in Area 1, where he encounters Uncle Grimmly, who drops the Key to the Breaker Room in the mansion's Cellar. Luigi manages to make his way down there, where he flips the breaker switch, restoring power to the mansion. Luigi then presses onward, exploring many areas spanning multiple floors, and encountering several more threatening ghosts, including the three Clockwork Soldiers, Sue Pea, Jarvis, Sir Weston, and the penultimate evil in the mansion, Vincent Van Gore. Gore drops the final Enchanted key, which unlocks the door to King Boo's Secret Altar. Luigi makes his way to the bottom and finally confronts the sinister spectre face to face. King Boo is undeterred by Luigi's determination, and transforms the painting of Mario into one of Bowser, before flying into it, after which the Bowser in the painting inhales Luigi like a vacuum, sucking him into the painting and dropping him onto a hellish rendition of the rooftop. After Luigi arrives, a gigantic Bowser appears and attacks. Luigi is able to endure the Koopa King's attacks and redirect his bombs back at him, revealing that Bowser is no more than a dark machination of the real deal, as King Boo is ejected from the body, enabling Luigi to attack. After a long, hard and grueling duel, Luigi is able to wrangle King Boo, causing the Bowser machination to collapse, and allowing Luigi to return home. E. Gadd contacts Luigi and calls him back to the lab for good this time. Luigi grabs Mario's painting (who by now had fallen asleep) before leaving. E. Gadd and Luigi then Portrify the remainder of the ghosts, including King Boo himself.
Worth noting is that, should Luigi attempt to open the door to King Boo's Altar before obtaining a certain number of Boos, King Boo will appear and blow Luigi away until he returns with enough Boos in tow.
After King Boo has been portrified, Luigi props Mario's painting into the Portrificationizer and runs the machine in reverse. Mario is humorously pounded and zapped from the painting, being turned into a 2D image, before being buffed into 3D and sent into the Entrance Vat of the machine. He seemingly gets stuck inside due to the vent being designed for ethereal entities. Luigi cautiously inspects the machine out of concern for his brother, only for Mario to violently launch out of the machine with the rim of the vent around his neck. Mario sits on the ground, dazed as Luigi can only laugh tearfully, his brother now safe and sound, and looking hilarious to boot.
Afterwards, the original mansion vanishes, owing to its illusionary nature, although the Treasure Luigi had collected remained corporeal. E. Gadd then scrapes together said treasure and uses it to construct Luigi a new mansion in the place of the old one. There are 8 ranks of mansion depending on the amount of treasure collected over the course of the game, with A-Rank resembling a large hotel, and H-Rank being a mere tent. Although players should strive for the coveted A-Rank, it's widely accepted that the D-Rank mansion is the canon one, given that Luigi's house in the sequel resembles it the most.
For the time, Luigi's Mansion operated on a unique control scheme for a video game. Combining an arcade-style camera-system with controls that emulate those of a third-person shooter, only instead of shooting a gun, the player is operating a modified vacuum cleaner. The A Button is the de facto utility button, enabling Luigi to speak with NPCs, interact with objects by pounding on them, open doors, and shout Mario's name when not close to any interactive objects (fun fact, his voice becomes more distressed the lower his HP is). The B Button operates the flashlight in dark rooms, which is on by default, meaning holding down the B Button will turn it off. And the X, Y, and Z buttons all open up the Game Boy Horror, taking Luigi to the Search Camera, Map, and Inventory screens respectively.
Movement is, as stated, like a third-person shooter, and comes with two distinct modes: Standard Mode and Sidestep Mode. In standard mode, the left Control Stick moves Luigi and, in addition, actively reorients Luigi's facing direction to the direction being moved in. In sidestep mode, Luigi's orientation remains static and must be changed with the use of the C-Stick on the right side of the controller. Worth noting is that, in both modes, Luigi can be rotated with the C-Stick while either standing still, or operating the Poltergust, a feature that is actually quite integral to the gameplay.
The Poltergust itself is operated via the usage of the L and R buttons. Due to their analog nature, the Poltergust can even vacuum and expel at different rates. While this feature is mostly aesthetic, it has the bonus of launching projectiles when clicked all the way in while expelling an element. The vacuum function, operated by the R button, can be used to pull on fabric, and interact with objects from a distance, as well as suck up treasure and keys which then get added to Luigi's total. The expel function, used with the L button, at first is merely a useless feature where the Poltergust expels air and dust. After acquiring various medals from several rooms in the mansion, the Poltergust gains the ability to expel Fire, Water, and Icy Mist which can serve various utility purposes, such as watering plants, freezing hazardous liquids, or more commonly, rendering Elemental Ghost variants susceptible to the Flashlight.
Then comes the act of actually capturing ghosts. Compared to the act of reeling in fish, Luigi has to stun a ghost (usually, but not always) with the use of the Flashlight, before hitting them with the Poltergust's vacuum function. They must then rhythmically yank the Control Stick in the direction opposite the one that the ghost is attempting to move in. The C-Stick can also be used to hold the ghosts in place and keep them from frantically changing direction, although this require precise synchronization with the Control Stick and is only really necessary for ghosts that have a strong pull or exist in rooms filled with lots of furniture. Yanking on the ghost will drain its HP, and once said HP reaches zero, the ghost will lose all pull and get sucked up into the vacuum. If Luigi fails to pull hard enough, the ghost will drag him along the ground, damaging him and eventually escape his grasp.
Worth noting is that the Boos operate on different mechanics. They cannot be yanked in the same vain as other ghosts, nor can they pull Luigi. Instead, they can move semi-freely while being vacuumed, and Luigi's vacuum will automatically lock onto them. The key strategy for vacuuming Boos is erratic ground movement, which can throttle the Boos and prevent them from moving very far. If a Boo is able to reach one of the walls of the room, it will pass through and enter the adjacent room, forcing Luigi to chase after it to continue the fight. Boos lose HP at a rate of approximately 10 points per second when in lit rooms, and 1 point per every two seconds in dark rooms. Their HP will remain the same as it was when they escaped from Luigi unless the player quits the game.
After completing the game, the player gains the option to replay the game from the start with added stipulations in the form of the Hidden Mansion game mode, a New Game+ so to speak.
- Main article: Luigi's Mansion/gallery
Pre-release and unused elements
- Main article: List of pre-release and unused elements in Luigi's Mansion
Reception and sales
Luigi's Mansion received overall positive reception, being praised for it's graphics, design, gameplay, voice acting, and puzzles, while being looked down for it's short length, with many saying it could be beaten in 6 hours. X-Play heavily panned the game, calling it a disappointment for Mario fans waiting for the franchise's first GameCube title. It was awarded the 2002 BAFTA Interactive Entertainment award for Best Audio.
- The ending of this game is similar to the endings of the Wario Land series. The more treasure collected, the more beautiful and luxurious the reward at the end of it is (in this case, the mansion).
- A mistake on Page 30 of the US edition of the Luigi's Mansion instruction booklet shows Professor E. Gadd speaking in Japanese. Mistakes such as these were common in the 5th and 6th console generations.
- This game has dialogue from every character, including Mario & Luigi.
- Funnily enough, the North American release date for Luigi's Mansion, November 17th, 2001, was one day before the release of the Nintendo GameCube in North America, November 18th, 2001.
- The game was developed with Stereoscopic 3D functionality, one of the only titles on the GameCube to have the feature. However, due to the plans for implementing such a feature being far more ambitious than Nintendo had anticipated, and the planned peripheral to access such a feature being more expensive than the console itself, these ideas were scrapped, and the feature was simply hidden away so players couldn't access it. It's possible that the game's diorama-like appearance was chosen to best fit the 3D view without causing visual nausea.
- As the Nintendo 3DS supports stereoscopic 3D without any additional hardware, this functionality finally saw the light of day in the game's re-release for that platform.
- United States Luigi's Mansion instruction booklet, Page 30