The GameCube was the first Nintendo console to launch without a dedicated “Mario” title opting instead to make his brother Luigi the star of one of the first games available for the new system launched in 2001 in North America.
The game was unlike any other in the Mario series to date. While Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64 brought us into the third dimension, Luigi’s Mansion had another dimension in mind: the paranormal one that is!
Armed with a vacuum cleaner reminiscent of the Ghostbusters “proton pack” Luigi would aide a creepy yet lovable mad scientist type “Professor E. Gadd” in clearing each room of the haunted mansion of ghosts, all in search of his brother, Mario, who had gone missing.
Yes, Mario was missing from the GameCube and this storyline was built into the launch title!
The humor and subtle details of this title made it an instant classic as Luigi goes from room to room, clearing them of spirits (and boos) while turning the lights on in each and gaining keys to access others. He moves from floor to floor to accomplish this, with four “levels” in total, each ending in a main boss.
I had some gripes with the gameplay in some aspects, as I feel the controls in the 3DS sequel are a bit easier/better to use, however, it wasn’t enough to get in my way of enjoying this game, which itself, has fantastic graphics and sound, really showcasing how underrated the GameCube was while competing with Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Microsoft’s Xbox consoles.
The game has a long-lasting charm to it, and the usual “scavenger hunt” schemes often seen in Mario games, where players will want to find every hidden item and make it to 100% completion.
The game also has some great surprises in it, of which I won’t ruin here. It’s a game you’ll definitely want to pickup and play; if you do, you’ll understand why it has spawned sequels and also become a part of the Super Mario culture, inspiring items and appearances throughout other Mario-themed games.