Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
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It’s sometimes hard for brothers to get along. Things like sibling rivalry often come between the closest of relatives, especially when one is famous and the other is not as noticed. I often wondered if such was the case with Luigi, the brother of the more well-known Mario. Let’s face it, when your own brother is going up against foes like Bowser, Smithy, the Shadow Queen, and so many others to save the world game after game, it would be easy for the green-wearing brother to feel stuck in Mario’s shadow. But on occasion, Luigi himself gets to step into the spotlight to be the hero, even if he’d rather step out of it.
His first chance to be the main man in 1992 with the SNES title, Mario is Missing!. In 2001, Luigi got another chance to show his more heroic side when he won that famous haunted mansion in Luigi’s Mansion. Now, Mario’s younger brother steps up once more in the sequel to that flagship GameCube game, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
It’s been some time since Luigi had to strap on his brave overalls and go on a ghost hunting mission. Not that he’s complaining about it. For all that time since his spooky adventure in the haunted mansion, Luigi has been pretty content to sit at home and let Mario handle the heroics. But his adventuring days find themselves creeping back up on him. One night while sleeping in front of his TV, Luigi finds himself awakened by that strange little fellow who helped him out last time, Professor E. Gadd.
Gadd, who is transmitting through the TV screen, asks for Luigi’s assistance in fixing a certain ghostly problem. It seems the professor has been researching ghosts in a far-off location called Evershade Valley. Up until now, the ghosts have been pretty good sports about the whole thing. They even seem to enjoy Gadd’s company. But lately, they’ve been going off the wall ever since the Dark Moon, a crystal moon that hangs over the valley, shattered. Gadd wants Luigi to help him solve this mystery. At first, Luigi is not interested, but Gadd doesn’t take no for an answer. He is transported through the TV screen by Gadd’s latest invention and brought into the professor’s bunker whether he likes it or not.
Armed with the latest in ghost-catching household appliances, the Poltergust 5000 (and without much choice in the matter), Luigi sets off into the valley’s haunted mansions to recover the broken pieces of the Dark Moon, calm the raging ghosts, unravel the mystery behind the moon’s breaking, save Evershade Valley, and perhaps save the whole world as well. How’s that for stepping out of Mario’s shadow?
Dark Moon is somewhat similar to the original Luigi’s Mansion. Players explore each of the haunted mansions in Evershade Valley, hunting ghosts, and searching for pieces of the Dark Moon. When you enter a room, it will be dark until you capture all the ghosts inside. To do that, you have to charge your flashlight to release a burst, and then use your vacuum. Inside each mansion, you’ll also find treasures that you can use to upgrade your equipment. In some cases, you must use a device called the Dark Light Device to make objects appear before you can proceed.
One big difference in this game compared to the original is the mission-based gameplay. In the first game, you explored a single mansion, but in this game, you complete missions to progress through each mansion. Missions are selected from Professor E. Gadd’s bunker and can be replayed as often as you like.
Mild Cartoon Violence
Dark Moon features a lot of cartoon violence that could easily be considered slapstick comedy. Luigi gets dumped into rooms, rather roughly sometimes, dragged, and trips over hazards, especially when he’s vacuuming up a tricky ghost. Nothing happens to our cowardly hero, except he does flash red and some health points disappear. If all of Luigi’s hearts disappear, he passes out and this ends the game, unless he’s happened to find a golden dog bone.
Some of the ghosts attack with their transparent fists or even some weapons like swords, boots, bombs, and just about anything else they can get their hands on. Again, there is no extreme violence in any case.
As you can tell, any sequel to Luigi’s Mansion will feature plenty of, you guessed it, ghosts. Since this game takes place in several haunted mansions, there are several kinds of ghosts. It’s never stated where they come from, and they’re certainly not spirits of characters either, so it seems that, for the most part, these ghosts are assumed to be part of the architecture so to speak.
There are some exceptions though. Each of the bosses you face are referred to as Possessors. These horned beings can, as their name suggestions, possess objects in order to fight Luigi. For the most part, the objects are inanimate, but early on, one Possessor takes control of a living creature.
Certain ghosts, namely Boos, have the power of illusion. They can hide objects using what the game calls Spirit Balls. These are tiny glowing orbs that appear when Luigi uses his Dark Light device to find hidden objects. We also see the final boss using what could be considered magic. He fires shots at Luigi from a jewel he wears.
Beyond that, there’s a lot of talk about the paranormal, mostly by E. Gadd. But this should come as no surprise to you if you’ve played the first Luigi’s Mansion
A few ghosts like to spit goo at Luigi, and he can slip in the brown puddles. It’s never stated what this goo actually is, but still, it’s a little gross. We also find ghosts using the toilet in a few places. We see them sitting behind something holding a paper, and Luigi must cause water to spurt up underneath them.
Luigi is, let’s face it, a coward, but he also shows a lot of guts. Even though he really can’t get out of doing this for E. Gadd, he takes it well. He never complains about it, and one might say Luigi decides to face his fear, because he can’t do anything else. He’s also quite the brother too. I can’t say much without spoiling it, but he’s the kind of brother Mario should be proud to have.
I have to say I was surprised when I heard that a sequel to Luigi’s Mansion was in the works, and on a handheld to boot. I really enjoyed the first one, even if it was set in a haunted mansion. So, I was curious at how a console game would make the transition to handheld, and I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint, although I think my controller took a lot of abuse reeling in the ghosts.
For the discerning Christian, there’s also little to complain about. I mean, yeah there are plenty of ghosts to be found, but it seems that silliness haunts Evershade Valley more, so it lessens the spiritual significance of them. Plus, they don’t in any way resemble humans, like the Portrait Ghosts of the original. And we don’t see a hint of a fortune teller either.
I will say though that the Possessors threw an unwanted spin on it. It was one thing when they brought inanimate objects to life, but when one entered into a living creature, it caused me to raise an eyebrow. So, perhaps, a trip to Evershade Valley isn’t in the works for those concerned about the spiritual implications. But for those who enjoyed the original, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon makes a fine addition to your portable collection.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
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