Luigi’s Mansion 3DS: The second time’s a charm

The Nintendo 3DS launch hasn’t been really blown many away. Yes the glasses-free 3D effects are mostly impressive and sometimes jaw-dropping, but its software library to date is sadly lacking. Nintendo’s E3 announcements of a wave of 3DS titles has given hope appearing on the horizon for gamers, one of the most intriguing is the salvaging of Gamecube title Luigi’s Mansion for a new 3D sequel.

The original Luigi’s Mansion received a somewhat mixed response from gamers. After being spoiled with the classic Super Mario 64 as a launch title for the N64, the lack of Mario in the Gamecube launch lineup meant a bit of frustration was levied at Luigi’s Mansion. Unfairly so, as the game is a gem in its own right. Could a new home on Nintendo’s latest handheld help garner the praise the skinny plumber deserves?

While the Gamecube original consisted of the one mansion, it’s 3DS sequel promises multiple haunted locales for Mario’s brother to carry out his ghost busting duties. First time round Luigi was trying to find his more famous brother who had been kidnapped by the Boos, his motivation this time hasn’t yet been revelealed. Perhaps rescuing some characters from the wider Mushroom Kingdom community this time?

Controlling Luigi is also a point of contention, without a second analog stick it may be worrying how to control the pointing of the torch and the vacuum. Replacing a second analog stick will be the gyroscope sensor of the 3DS, meaning players will tilt the console itself to direct Luigi’s focus. Although Koatku.com’s Mike Epstein called it a “great, intuitive, new feature” anyone who owns a 3DS knows that moving the console about can lead to the 3D effect on the screen being interrupted. Perhaps the subtlety of the movements will avoid this.

The E3 demo has only shown what is essentially the mechanics of the Gamecube original now in portable form, it remains to be seen just what else will be added to take advantage of elements such as augmented reality cards and street pass. Perhaps walking through your own house, looking through the 3DS screen to hunt ghosts could be a nice distraction from the main game. Trying to keep the vacuum focused on a ghost that is “in” your own living room may seem like Faceraiders rehashed, but there’s no denying Faceraiders is a lot of fun.

With it nigh on a decade since the original game, this is one 3DS title that should feel like a new experience to both newcomers to Luigi’s Mansion and veterans alike. If developers Next Level can introduce a little more variety to busting ghosts and take advantage of the 3DS’ unique features they may well have a hit on their hands. With a loose release window of 2012 there is still quite a wait to find out of they’ll be successful.

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