Guest Blog by Todd M @The Top Loader
Mario is missing ... where is the star of our show? Wait, surely I'm in the wrong game because this is Luigi's Mansion. I was so wrong about the Gamecube - and Luigi - I never gave him a second thought as he always comes in second, always player 2 and never player 1. The Gamecube looked liked child's play as the launch line up looked horrific because while Mario was getting suited up with a fludd stuck to his back, Luigi is left to clean up the mansion with a vacuum strapped to his back and it sure ain't sunshine's and rainbows where he is because Luigi is moving around like a shivering, thumbling bumbling mess, but we are here to have fun so use that Poltergust 3000 and suck it up. He seems to need help, so who's he gonna call as his nose bounces when he walks and sings out for Mario when he finally talks. Boo-who you can't simply look away to stop these kinds of ghosts so try throwing a light onto the subject to really get these hearts pounding as we scare some ghosts to beat them at there own game with this C-stick in one hand and the D-pad in the other with a little Z on top.
So what's the story here? Well after owning Sony consoles for almost a decade I tried my luck with a Gamecube.. no, I mean Luigi won a mansion from a contest he never entered.. now that's lucky if not a little suspicious. My Gamecube's story was a little lucky because I got my console with three games for 100 Australian dollars (the price of a game) which sounds a little suspicious but true because .. it bombed here bad. My fondest memory is playing this with my wife over ten years ago, she loved it so much and she isn't really that into games the way I am. I even let her deal with the final boss - on her own - and now ten years later here we are again finding keys in treasure chests, working out puzzles, looking at maps while collecting hearts .. wait, what .. are we playing Zelda here? No, well What am I doing because I don't have a Cluedo of what to do here, well it's elementary my dear reader if you find the candle stick in the library all fingers would point to Colonel Mustard .. not to play detective in a game by the Parker Brothers in a game with Mario brothers - but you get the idea. The clues are found around the place and you have to solve each room with its accompanying ghost with something a little obvious or sometimes finding a not so obvious way into their heart .
Playing as a duet is always fun in this single player game but singing won't help so flash that light to capture that heart because this game gears you up right from the start. Professor E. Gadd gives you a Gameboy of Horror to sit in your pocket, which comes in handy even if it doesn't come in a variety of colours. Luigi may thumble but the Professor constantly mumbles, lucky I can read but listen to the writing after catching a full bag of ghosts - "Put that Poltergust 3000 into that slot and enjoy the ride, my boy!" he says .. I guess Nintendo was having a rare moment which can feel a little bit conkers as they are turned into paintings by the Ghost Portrificationizer especially when the professor says before you leave "heh heh don't get all down in the mouth, my boy" .. seriously not to be rude but who wrote this stuff because Bubsy is no longer here, he's old news. I need to finish processing these paintings and get out of this dark room as I should really be getting back to mansion posthaste, but before I forget I think it's time to save at another crying Toad - hey didn't Mario teach you anything - if you fall off that dinosaur get right back on because I don't want to bust your bubble as this isn't Yoshi's Island so don't cry over spilt milk because these banana peels that have been left in my tracks from troublesome ghosts in a Mario Kart type fashion are enough to annoy me as I slip and slide as it is, I'm just glad there are no blue shells to deal with.
There are many rooms to explore in the mansion but as you turn the knob Luigi gets a little stage freight as we enter Ball Rooms, Storage Rooms, Mirror Rooms, Hidden Rooms and as you can imagine it has everything including a Kitchen and its sink. They even threw in a crystal ball for good fortune but don't dwell on it too much when you reach the Courtyard with the Fountain as you find his brother stuck down the Well because Luigi won't hold back as he is blown away by Melody Pianissima in the Conservatory as he shouts out Mario 3 to answer what the instruments are playing in the background. As I walk around I find myself in the Parlor counting out all this money and luckily there is no queen eating bread and honey, hey don't try to rattle off any nursery rhymes even if you do come across a big baby by Chauncey that typically wants to play ball in the middle of the night. You will find the gloves are off in the Projection Room because they are missing along with some shoes to boot as it's now time to walk out from the shadows because eventually Lightning strikes, the power goes out but the telephone still manages to ring, at this hour? It's Toad ! He's too scared to do anything useful but at least I now have Fire, Water and Ice as an element of surprise to help me get through to the Breaker Room alive.
Toad won't save you because you are now in survival horror mode as restarting will not change your heart rate until you farm the hearts in between these ghosts in the hallway that make my blood boil as they really put the pressure on. Is this Halloween? If you knock on the wrong door you will be given a trick without any treats as you end up smack bang in the middle of the wall with all these traps in these corridors because don't forget they keep those bananas peeled and I have to ask the question are those big buttons on the Gamecube controller for real? The big green button doesn't do much but if movies has taught me anything - never press a big red button - as somebody must of been watching the Shawshank Redemption because behind the poster is a clever twist as all the classic boos have now collectively been released from Pandora's box as they now are coming out of the wood work. I didn't like the star collect-a-thons in Mario 64 and I don't like collecting the 50 ghosts flying under the radar here.. I can hear the Boo's and I thought vacuuming was a chore but what can you do as you have to have at least 20 before you can pass or you cannot go as there are no get out of jail free type cards since they now have taken over and have the monopoly. Turn back on the breaker visit the Cellar, suck down a few ghosts and have a drink on me. Let's get back into it and if I was to make an observation after the Observatory - why are all twins in horror related themes always evil? - aren't there any good ones as these terrible twos drive trucks and planes right into you but don't get all wound up because step by step, heart to heart they will all fall down like those Clockwork Toy Soldiers.
The Gamecube was a surprise hit for me as it led me to other great games on the system with Resident Evil 4 still being one of my favourite games ever - and I'm not even a horror fan - yet playing Luigis Mansion and watching the wife play as I type out my notes that you are reading right now I find a type connection that you can't get through a modem as we put all our effforts on the line when we find ourselves at the secret alter, but we're already married so lets move on with the controller in her hands. I give advice as I bite my lip and hold my tongue, because I then suddenly smile when I realize she has this under control as she was swirling and twirling on that C-stick like a pro, I'm not sure if I should be a little jealous here but being left out of the limelight may not always be such a bad thing. Walking out of someones shadow is not an easy task but Luigi has some balls and as they got rolling you find yourself watching your wife bowl over Bowser for the final blow - Boomshakalaka - she's on fire along with everything else. The lights turn back on and Mario isn't under the spotlight anymore as we had Luigi carrying the torch the whole time and his batteries never ran out. On the Gamecube both brothers-in-arms got a weapon strapped to their back but it was our unlikely hero Luigi who took charge as Mario started looking a little red all the while turning a little green with envy. Mario may have lost some star power and now that Bower's mechanical ghost head is detached a hat should really go off to Luigi, so take a bow you earned it and so has my wife - Stacey - because when we play again I will have 'no worries' as us Australians say - She'll be right.
Guest blogger: Todd M @The Top Loader
Retro Game Reviews. Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast and more
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