Back in 2001 Luigi was given a chance to step out of his older brother's shadow and face off against spooky specters in a game meant to show off the capabilities of the Nintendo GameCube: Luigi's Mansion. It would take almost twelve years before Luigi once again returns to the ghost-catching business in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon for the Nintendo 3DS.
Several changes have been made to the gameplay mechanics of the first game. The main game is divided into several missions that changes where treasure can be found, the location of special ghosts such as the classic Boos, and even which rooms are accessible. This mission system actually works quite well when encouraging exploration; players that want to find special gems and boos will have to work for it, experimenting with puzzles and being thorough with their given tools to discover all of the mansions' secrets. Combined with the fantastic designs for every level, exploration in this game can be quite immersive.
Catching ghosts has been tweaked a bit as well. The original game had a fairly simple capture mechanic: surprise the ghosts with the flashlight, grab them with the Poltergust's suction, and reel them in while avoiding getting dragged or being pummeled by outside forces. This game adds a puzzle element to ghost catching; certain ghosts now have gimmicks that prevent players from simply stunning them and vacuuming them up such as using tools to block their eyes from the flashlight, covering themselves up to prevent from being vacuumed up, and even ganging up on Luigi to make it harder for him to capture ghosts. This new element spices up ghost catching quite a bit when compared to the previous game.
The multiplayer mode, known as the Scarescraper, is also a fun addition. The Scarescraper does quite a good job providing players with incentives to play it; players are rewarded coins for finishing a game mode and some ghosts can only be found in the Scarescraper, meaning players will need to play if they want to complete the bestiary. The Scarescraper can be tackled alone if players wish to do so but the game mode was clearly meant to have at least two people working together, so single player runs in the Scarescraper are discouraged.
The one major problem that this game seems to suffer from is the lag. There are some moments in the game where the lag is particularly noticeable. While these moments are a moderate annoyance at worst, it can still be a bit jarring to see things moving on screen incredibly smoothly only for the game to slow down. Still, as said before, this is a moderate annoyance in the worst case and does not do much to detract from the game. It is still noticeable and there may be some players who will not be happy about it, but in the end it can be forgiven when compared to the things that the game got right.
Fans of the first game had to wait a long time for this game to come out, and this game delivered. The overall atmosphere may be less eerie than the first game, but Luigi's Mansion has always been light on the horror elements, being a light-hearted take on the survival horror genre. Overall, fans of the Super Mario Bros. and Luigi's Mansion should definitely give this game a try.
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