Luigiís Mansion is a graphical feast. Just like its system-launching predecessors Super Mario Bros., Super Mario World, and Super Mario 64, Luigiís Mansion shows off the technical prowess of the new system while reinventing the way we think about playing games.
When Nintendo representatives emphasized the dust particle effects at E3, they were serious. From the dust that naturally flies through the air as seen through the glare of the flashlight to the sucking action of the vacuum to the shooting of elemental attacks, the GameCube easily handles what appear to be hundreds of individual particles in a very realistic (yet cartoon-like) physics engine. The other graphical cavalcade in Luigiís Mansion is the veritable parade of luminous ghosts rendered in real time with jaw-dropping alpha transparency. At certain points during the game, I saw what mustíve been 5 or 6 Luigi-sized ghosts on the screen at the same time, all sans slowdown.
Dual-analog control: learn it, live it, love it. Nintendo was listening when those of us at E3 complained of the head-imploding madness of trying to move Luigi around with the C Stick while aiming with the Control Stick. Fortunately for everyone whoís had it hard-wired into their head to move with the left and perform functions with the right, this has been reversed for the final retail version. Instead of being able to swap the functions of the analog controls on the pause screen, that option is now used to discern between aiming the flashlight/vacuum in the direction Luigi walks when not using the C Stick, or to leave the flashlight/vacuum stationary aim no matter where Luigi is going. Control at E3 utilized the latter, though I used the former for my first time through the game to save myself a few headaches. Either way will work just fine.
Many have been speculating that Luigiís Mansion would be boring and repetitive, but that couldnít be further from the truth. In this game, not only do we thoroughly explore the spooky old mansion with our favorite green hat-wearing plumber to suck up ghosts, find keys, and move on to the next room, but we also must solve puzzles, devise new ghost-zapping techniques, and play hide-and-seek with a set of 50 Boos. There are a few things to collect here and there, but nowhere near on the scale of that found in a few certain Rare games lately... Coins, bills, gold bars, pearls, diamonds, and rubies donít serve any purpose in the course of the game itself, but are tallied up in each of the 4 worldsí score totals and count towards an overall ranking.
While there are a few places that players can and will get stuck, Luigiís Mansion is a highly enjoyable experience and shouldnít be passed up by any GameCube owner on November 18th. Iíll have more thorough details in my full review of the game soon.
At the Nintendo press conference prior to E3, the eerie Luigi's Mansion video reel hushed the crowd in silent awe to a quirky yet appropriate theme likely by Koji Kondo.
The story behind Luigi's Mansion is as follows: Luigi won the ownership of an old mansion in a contest. However, when he went to check out his new property, it was most decidedly haunted. Now while we'd normally expect Mario to boldly step in and take control of the situation, he's nowhere to be found. A mysterious doctor explains to Luigi that he must capture all of the undead spirits and ghosts in order to save his brother Mario.
Miyamoto-sama used this opportunity to showcase the Nintendo GameCube controller in the context of the game. He said that while the Control Stick in the left primary position may seem too tightly left, it proves to make for natural control. The A Button, of course, is the primary button for 'ideal games' that use just one button, but for more complex titles, B, X, and Y surround it. This stuff we already knew. Miyamoto-sama presented a new approach to controlling characters: with the Camera Stick. When this is done, it's difficult to hit A or its satellite buttons, so the L, R, and Z buttons come into play. Consequently, the controls for Luigi's Mansion are setup to allow for both movement of the younger plumber and aim of his ghost-catching vacuum cleaner. The Control Stick controls Luigi's direction while the Camera Stick is used to move the moustached green hat wearer. Unable to hit A, B, X, or Y, players must rely on L to spray varying amounts of water based on the pressure applied, and R to inhale ghosts with the vacuum cleaner likewise. Unfortunately, the water spray feature is unplayable at E3.
Staff Writer writes: "Luigi's Mansion, Miyamoto-san's latest adventure in the Mario franchise, debuted at E3 to much surprise. The title does not feature any platform gameplay, but instead relies on exploring throughout a haunted mansion.
"The fun begins on a proverbial dark and stormy night, as Luigi investigates a mysterious mansion heís inherited. Instead of a relaxing retreat, he finds a host of howling spirits. Our hero ventures through countless rooms filled with side-splitting spooks, trying to vacuum up the ghoulish ghosts to clean the house of its unwelcome visitors. With the help of a new doctor friend, Luigi must capture ghosts and turn them into paintings. Throughout the adventure, players watch Luigi creep, cower and cry in fright as the roaming spirits try to scare him out of his wits.
"Luigiís Mansion shows off the powerful graphics capabilities of the NINTENDO GAMECUBE technology to create an immersive world that is filled with intriguing visuals. For example, the game features real-time lighting and shading created by Luigiís flashlight, as well as transparent ghosts - effects that could be created only on Nintendo GameCube."
"I don't believe this is all Luigi's Mansion has to offer; Miyamoto is a keeper of many secrets. But after playing the demo twice through, believe me--even if the game is as limited as it first seemed, it will still be a masterpiece. So, much, fun.
Trust in Miyamoto, friend."
Nathan Heckel writes: "Okay, after having played through the Luigiís Mansion demo level twice here at E3, I feel that Iím ready to give my detailed impressions of the game in progress. The first thing one notices when seeing Luigiís Mansion for the first time is the incredible attention given to light sourcing and effects. As he finds his way through an old, haunted house, the younger plumberís flashlight shines on whatever it hits, casting shadows on the walls behind them. No matter what the situation, whether itís the flashlight, ghostsí ectoplasm, or the flash of lightning, the proper amount of light hits each surface.
ďShadows may deceive our intrepid Luigi as he seeks to destroy the supernatural inhabitants of his prize winnings as in the case of a woman in the shower. Upon entering the room, it appears that sheís standing there, completely motionless in the shower. But when the curtain is pulled back by the suction of Luigiís vacuum cleaner, no ghost is revealed.
ďThe ghosts in Luigiís Mansion, just like in its Mario predecessors, enjoy sneaking up behind their unsuspecting prey before scaring them half to death. A ghost will never appear before his very eyes, so the green-hat-wearing one must keep his flashlight on the alert. Spinning around to strike a translucent metaphysical apparition if done fast enough will reveal its cold heart, which can be pulled into the proton pack like a fish on a line. Once the heart is seen, the hook is set and the R button is pushed down to reel in and players can pull back on the beam of energy so as to land the creature more quickly.
ďLuigiís Mansion currently supports a number of special features on display. First off, the bottom right-hand corner of the screen holds a Game Boy Color screen thatís used to indicate the time in the game as well as the presence of ectoplasm via a blinking light on top. While the game clock measuring the time of night in Luigiís world (1 game minute = 6 real seconds), it may or may not be changed to reflect the change in playtime, the implementation of time-based events as in Zelda VI is under serious consideration. Whenever the time of night in Luigiís world reaches the dawning of the sun, players will have the opportunity to save their progress and continue again from the start of the next level and the next night. Needless to say, these features arenít implemented just yet.
ďControl in Luigiís Mansion is by the default already explained, very cumbersome and confusing. However, the option to change control stick function between the Control Stick and the C Stick was thankfully shown. Since being able to move Luigi with the Control Stick and the aim of his flashlight/vacuum cleaner with the C Stick, game play has proven to be most intuitive. Itís a relatively simple task to navigate the mansion in this manner, as moving Luigi around with the C Stick and aiming him with the Control Stick was very intolerable in the face of generations of training to move the playable character with the left-hand control. That was really my only complaint aside from a few jaggies visible between objects on each of the roomís walls.
ďI canít wait to play the full version of whatís sure to be a smash-hit of a killer app!Ē
word on the street
press release notes