Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
I’ve never disliked a sequel so badly in my life. For everything the GameCube’s launch title Luigi’s Mansion was, the 3DS follow-up wasn’t.
I’ll retract on that a bit, but not much. The game begins with all of the same setup, charms, and quirks you’ve come to expect from the original game including the Poltergust 5000, Professor E. Gadd, Toad, and more.
In fact, the controls are simplified for the handheld, and much more refined in this way than the original title.
Rather than explore several floors of a single mansion, the game is split into five different worlds, each with missions. This is different than the original game in every way, and oftentimes frustrating, as dying within a given mission means you have to restart over.
The difficulty of some areas is what sucks the fun out of the game. Among my bugaboos are some stupidly difficult bosses early on, including an area with several sister ghosts that can pretty much kill you at will – restarting the mission makes it even more of a chore to continue going back and redoing mundane tasks, which don’t always lend themselves to being obvious as to what to do next.
You’ll waste plenty of time trying to squint to see details on-screen in figuring out what needs done, with some areas seeing you solve the puzzle and still somehow be unaware if you did or not! (This is clearly an issue with an area where you melt the ice off of an elevator, and it still doesn’t work unless you know to sweep up the extra snow alongside it too!)
After solving a puzzle, you’re finally ready to progress through a level before being sharply interrupted by Professor Gad on the “Dual Scream” device (similar to the GameBoy communication device in the original). The long screens of dialog interrupt the game, sucking even more fun out of it.
The same can be said for cutscenes, which occur all over the place and are included, in my opinion, to mask the shortness of some of the game’s levels.
In all, I finally got too frustrated wasting my time with this game. Even if you love the original, it may be a tad of a chore (and bore) to play through. I got about 2/3 through before packing it up after a shooting gimmick boss level.
Not to be outdone, the game features an area with three staircases that legitimately took nearly an hour to complete as you guess which of the three options to take on what feels like 20-some floors of steps.
It’s moves like these that makes me wonder how this game got through Nintendo’s approval process, as I can’t imagine younger gamers wasting the time to go through this headache over and over.
In all the game gets a thumbs-in-the-middle from me. There’s enough here to like, but not enough to make me want to come back and ever play it again… a shame considering how beloved the original is.