Luigi of the famous Mario Bros. has inherited a creepy old mansion filled with riches. The catch? It's filled with ghouls and ghosts, and it is up to him to catch them all using his trusty vacuum cleaner and his trusty flashlight! As it turns out, Mario is also trapped somewhere within the mansion, so along with the help of Professor E. Gadd, Luigi must defeat all 23 of the house's inhabitants to save Mario and take back the mansion. LUIGI'S MANSION was the Gamecube's launch title, and it marks one of the few games where the underappreciated Luigi takes center stage. Unlike most of the Mario Bros. platformer games, the gameplay here involves mostly puzzle solving and ghost catching, as well as searching for hidden treasures in potted plants and cupboards. Each of the main 23 ghosts pose a different strategy that experienced gamers will have no trouble determining, but there is enough challenge and fun to make the game appealing to new and old players alike. While the boss battles offer little more difficulty, they do make for a nice diversion from the standard play. Hidden treasure is the name of the game, and players are rated at the finish by the amount of loot they collect throughout the darkened halls, so be sure to search every nook and cranny for the highest score possible! Ranking highly is important for the second round, as it alters the "Hidden Mansion" that is unlocked at the completion of the first mission. This also allows for a decent amount of replay value, much to the same extent as the secret world in THE LEGEND OF ZELDA. The control style is extremely basic, involving mostly aiming and shooting, but there are a few handling issues posed by the static camera angles that can make catching ghosts aggravating at times. LUIGI'S MANSION is an entertaining and unique puzzle solver for the Gamecube and Wii systems, and will be a sure fire hit with any Mario Bros. or Ghostbusters fans!
Hours of play: 5-10hrs.
Replay value: 7/10.