Last year fans of the brother trapped in Mario’s shadow got a surprise gift, as Luigi’s Mansion 2 premiered on the 3DS, and we played a brief demo in 2011. Back again for E3 2012 and newly renamed as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the handheld sequel is much farther along. Today we creeped over to the Nintendo booth, played through three different haunted mansions and lived to tell the tale.
The game opened up with Luigi meeting with his old friend, the eccentric Professor E. Gadd. The strange scientist is searching out chunks of the Dark Moon, a strange artifact that’s landed on Earth in multiple spooky homesteads. He tasks Luigi with collecting them all, teleporting him around the globe to do it, though Luigi doesn’t seem all that excited about the situation. Throughout the demo we were chuckling at the misfortune constantly happening at Luigi’s expense, from him shrieking at a harmless mouse to being flung face first into a sink.
Our first destination was the “normal” mansion, one that reminded us of the setting in the GameCube original. We started the stage hunting down the Poltergust 5000, Gadd’s modified vacuum cleaner made for eating ghosts. After grabbing that and the flashlight’s strobe effect that stuns ghosts, we were ready to begin catching specters. The pace was nice and gradual, as we searched each nook and cranny for secrets, testing how each item reacts to the different functions of the Poltergust.
When we faced the first few mischievous ghosts, we experienced the slightly altered controls from last year. After switching on the suck, aiming the suction was dedicated to the system’s motion controls. Once it was locked on we were carving away at the ghost’s HP and watching a meter charge. Once the meter filled up we hit A and finished off the ghoul, then turning to inhale three at a time for a big coin bonus. The controls worked fine, but Luigi’s Mansion vets might feel strange without the second stick that was on GameCube controller. We’re hoping the title will also use the Circle Pad Pro, but we’ve yet to hear anything on that.
After clearing out that house we moved on to a deserted desert location with a broken down clock. The area was dense with locked doors, trickier puzzles and other surprises, which we were happy to see. Early impressions seemed like it was easier and quicker than the original, but we clearly underestimated it. After exploring that we moved on to the final area that replaced sand with snow, watching Luigi fought the artic chill to investigate his third mansion of the day. Here we encountered another trick at our disposal, as we peeked in the window of the room we were about to enter and spotted the ghost lying in wait. We then got the jump on it, but we weren’t ready for the other apparition right behind us. Then when the polar bear rug came to life and Luigi was having more trouble than ever keeping his cool.
Due out this holiday season for the 3DS, currently we’re pretty sold on it. Despite it being developed outside of Nintendo and for a portable audience, the demo we played embraced and expanded upon much of what we remember fondly about the GameCube launch game. So long as nothing goes horribly wrong in the home stretch, we can’t wait to get our hands on the final version.