Great game, but with one huge miss (that drew a lot of f bombs from this writer)
I grew up playing Super Mario Bros and am sure you did, too, or have at least played it when the Famicom made a comeback a few years ago. But in the hours I spent playing the game then and now, not once have I been Luigi’s character (also maybe cause I was never Player 2?). So I don’t really know much about him other than he’s Mario’s taller, less popular brother.
By the time I became obsessed with the Nintendo Switch (two years too late but who cares), Luigi’s Mansion 3 was among the games the Internet was buzzing about. I saw it once at the arcade, too, and remember being drawn to it because it’s a first person shooter game and because I’ve a spot for all things spooky. But I didn’t pick up the game until five months later (see the pattern?).
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is an introduction—at least for this writer—to Luigi’s world and his endearing, easily-scared-out-of-his-gourd character. He steps out of his big brother’s shadow to do some ghostbusting armed with a suction device that either slams or blows specters away. Luigi literally shudders through most of the game as he tries to clear out a haunted mansion with his Polterpup (literally a ghost puppy) and save his brother and friends. From the title itself, it’s obviously not the first in the series but the best of the three according to fans. And that’s precisely why I bought the game.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 opens with Luigi, Mario, Princess Peach and some Toads heading to a posh hotel, The Last Resort, where they’re invited to vacation for free. Luigi takes a power nap after checking in and when he wakes up, discovers that their five star hotel is actually the Overlook from The Shining. There are bats, spiders, rats and snakes, ghosts lurk in the dark hallways. But that’s not the worst part; evil King Boo has trapped the souls of Mario and his friends. And it’s up to Luigi to save the day.
While the first few floors in the game are hotel-like, the higher you go, the weirder and wilder the scenery gets (and I mean that in the best way). The Last Resort takes the themed room concept to a whole new level with a medieval castle on one floor, sandy pyramids on the next and an overgrown garden in between. A favorite is the pirate floor where a ship carcass hides an island and an actual pirate ship commandeered by a big shark ghost. Whichever floor you're on, there’s only one way to clean house: suck in or blast the ghosts away with the Poltergust G-00, which also spawns a gooey green clone of Luigi called Gooigi. Get it? Anyway, Gooigi comes in handy when you need an extra pair of hands or when you need to squeeze through impossible spaces, like drains, pipes and barred up doors.
While it’s easy to fall in love with Luigi’s Mansion 3 (especially if you're a five-year-old kid) given the impressive gameplay and design, there is one huge miss, the real nightmare in the game, that drew a lot of f bombs (and its many PG variations, fart, frog, fox) from this writer: the controls. The camera allows side-to-side viewing but limited up and down movement, which is frustrating especially when solving puzzles that require looking around for solutions. The same goes for when you have to aim and shoot on boss levels—and that’s regardless of how good of an aim you are or aren’t. This became most obvious when we faced our first boss, the ghost pianist/ maestro boss. Besides the dancing specters in tutus and keys flying across the room, he threw bombs, which had to be sucked with the Poltergust and shot inside the piano so we can plunger-suck-and-slam his ghost out of the instrument. Did I mention you have to aim right in the middle of the piano cover to get the bomb to work effectively?
That bitter experience (recurring in nearly every boss level), however, wasn’t enough to outweigh the game’s charm. In the end, we got through every floor and swore my way through every boss, from Polterkitty to King Boo’s level.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 finished with a post-credits finale that left this casual gamer satisfied, but not enough to make me play it again.
Art Alexandra Lara