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Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon – 3DS

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon – 3DS

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Platform: 3DS

Developer: Next Level Games

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date: March 20, 2013

Genre: Action-adventure

Nerd Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by The Watchman

Twelve years is a long time to wait for any sequel, let alone a sequel to a game that’s not quite as beloved as other Nintendo classics. But here were are, living in the future, and Nintendo has finally decided to go back to the haunted confines of Luigi’s Mansion.

Dark Moon is the follow up to the quirky GameCube launch title of 2001. The original was lauded as mixed bag, a game with a few solid concepts, but not the best execution. For more details, check out The Cubist’s review of the first Luigi’s Mansion. So, after a full decade off you would think that this revival wouldn’t have as many downright strange design choices.

The title centers around the search for pieces of the Dark Moon; an artifact that is able to keep ghosts from running around acting like a bunch of jerks. The opening sequence shows a large Boo (who apparently did not get the “don’t be a jerk” memo) shattering the Dark Moon, and it’s pieces being scattered among the game’s six spooky areas. Professor E. Gadd, a student of all things paranormal recruits (more like forces) his old pal Luigi into making a perilous trek into the heart of these ghost infested dwellings. It’s a typically minimalist Nintendo plot, which is fine. The star in any Nintendo game has always been the game play, and what we get here has flaws, but is still fun in spite of them.

Stay in shape kids. You never know when you're going to have to run with a vacuum cleaner strapped to your back!

Stay in shape kids. You never know when you’re going to have to run with a vacuum cleaner strapped to your back!

Although it bears the name of Mario’s brother, this is definitely not a platformer. I’d describe it as more of a treasure hunting game. Professor E. Gadd beams you into each location and you begin to carefully search for items, ghosts, gems, and money. Then, you get to do it again and again. It’s structured in much the same way that the 3D Mario games are; in that you visit the same level each time to achieve different objectives as laid out by the professor. Luigi is equipped early on with the Poltergeist 5000, an upgraded (from the original game) ghost sucking vacuum cleaner that acts as the main tool for defeating the rascally spirits and also as an aide to solve some of the game’s puzzles. Luigi has to hold on for dear life during each ghost suction attempt as the specters try to fight their way out of the P5K’s suction stream. It’s a lot like Ghostbusters meets a fishing expedition. The P5K can also be upgraded as Luigi collects enough cash, which can be found all over the mansions or by defeating ghosts.

The puzzles are enjoyable enough to keep you compelled to play, but never at the level where you’ll find yourself running to gamefaqs.com. The weakness of the game is that there doesn’t seem to be enough variety. You find item, find ghost, rinse, lather, and repeat. I’m not saying that is a terrible thing, but the fact is that if you don’t find yourself enjoying the first couple of missions, then there isn’t going to be anything to keep you going.

Graphics are very nicely done and seem to really pop on the portable screen. They feel like a step up from the GameCube original. 3D mode ads a pleasant layer of depth, however playing in this mode offers a few caveats that made me question some of Nintendo’s design choices.

The P5K has many uses. See the coins under the table??

The P5K has many uses. See the coins under the table??

The game makes use of the 3DS’s motion sensing capabilities which allow Luigi to aim his vacuum or flashlight up or down without having to use the X or B buttons. As ayone who has tried the 3DS knows; there is a certain cone of vision that you have to maintain while playing in 3D, otherwise the screens aren’t aligned and the picture is blurry. Well, why are they offering you the choice to move the unit around like that? There is also a section early on where Luigi has to do a tightrope walk across a beam of wood in the mansions upper levels. He has to keep his balance and this is done by tilting the 3DS left and right as he makes his way across the beam. It’s a very neat idea, but again something that is likely going to screw you up if you’re playing in 3D mode. It’s hard to imagine a company with the attention to detail that Nintendo has, would not realize these design flaws during their testing process. So we have to assume that they just said to heck with it, and let them slide.

I also noticed that some of the great lighting effects are not quite as noticeable in 3D mode. These are not game breakers by any means, but rather quirky little head scratchers that make you go…huh?

The lighting is very nice in 2D, but a bit lost in 3D

The lighting is very nice in 2D, but a bit lost in 3D

Perhaps the biggest head scratcher of all is why did they wait so long to revive this game on the 3DS? Why did they decide to skip the Wii?

It seems like a no brainer that that this game would have been a more natural fit for the motion control age, and maybe had a bigger impact on Nintendo’s bottom line and the gaming culture as a whole. The ability to use the Wiimote to aim the P5K, flashlight etc would have made for an enjoyable experience and ould have been a unique showcase for Nintendo’s shovleware plagued machine. It feels like a missed opportunity.

Nuances aside, I did actually enjoy my time with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. It does have a certain little charm to it, even if it doesn’t have that full Nintendo style sheen of flawlessness to it. It’s also cool to see Nintendo at least try to revive a game from so long ago that wasn’t necessarily a smash hit for them. There isn’t too much out on the market quite like it, so that makes it worth owning as well. I probably wouldn’t pay the full $40 for this one, but I think it would be reasonable to grab it if you find it at a $25 price point. So watch those upcoming Black Friday ads!

Written by The Watchman

The Watchman


The Watchman is a journeyman gamer who has seen and played a good chunk of gaming history.
He’s also an actor, a reporter, a pro wrestling connoisseur, and some say he’s a cat whisperer.
If you have any questions or just want to drop me a line, hit me up at thewatchman@nerdbacon.com
Or follow me on Twitter @DavetheWatchman
You can also game with me!
Look me up on Xbox Live @ DJKhadoken
Or on PlayStation Network @ Eaglevision_dl

 
 

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