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Luigi's Mansion is a launch title for the Nintendo GameCube initially released in 2001 and the first installment of the Luigi's Mansion series. It marks the second time where Luigi is the main character, with Mario playing a supporting role, the first being Mario is Missing!. A sequel to this game, titled Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, was released for Nintendo 3DS family systems in 2013, with a third installment set for release on the Nintendo Switch sometime in 2019. The game marks the debuts of King Boo, a major villain in the Mario franchise, and Professor E. Gadd, a major supporting character in the series.
Luigi, having won a mansion in a contest he did not participate, enters Boo Woods and locates it. He enters the mansion and is soon attacked by a ghost, but Professor E. Gadd appears and attempts to vacuum the ghost with his Poltergust 3000. Though his attempt fails, he introduces himself to Luigi before quickly escorting him to his laboratory near the mansion when more ghosts appear. In the lab, E. Gadd tells Luigi that the house is an illusion that has appeared out of thin air, where Mario has been captured by King Boo and his minions. He gives Luigi the Poltergust 3000 to vacuum up ghosts and the Game Boy Horror to communicate with E. Gadd, scan objects, and see a map of the mansion.
Luigi enters the mansion, sucking up ghosts and finding keys, while meeting Toad along the way, until he encounters a portrait ghost named Neville and defeats him with the Poltergust 3000. He does the same to Lydia, Neville's wife, and fights their baby, Chauncey, who sucks Luigi into his crib and fights him as a giant ghost, but is defeated and sucked into the Poltergust 3000. With his ghost-hunting vacuum filling rapidly, Luigi returns to E. Gadd's lab and empties it, turning Neville, Lydia, and Chauncey back into portraits.
Luigi enters Area 2, another area through a previously blocked door and fights more ghosts. After defeating the Floating Whirlindas, he enters the Storage Room and hits a switch, which opens a trapdoor where 50 Boos and their leader, King Boo, are hiding. All of them escape, flying into different rooms of the mansion. Luigi returns to E. Gadd's lab and E. Gadd tells him that the Boos were the ones who released the portrait ghosts - Luigi must capture the Boos to weaken their power, as they are stronger in greater numbers. So Luigi goes through the many rooms of the mansion, vacuuming up any Boos he sees. He also meets Madame Clairvoya, a fortune teller ghost, who tells him to bring her any of Mario's items he finds lying around in the mansion so she can get details on his whereabouts. The items are Mario's Hat, Mario's Glove, Mario's Shoe, Mario's Letter, and Mario's Star. After sucking up Shivers the butler, Melody Pianissima, Mr. Luggs, and Spooky the dog, Luigi enters the Cemetery and fights the shadowy ghost, Bogmire. He defeats him and sucks him into the Poltergust, which he then empties at E. Gadd's lab to turn all the Portrait Ghosts into portraits.
Luigi enters a third area into the courtyard. Down the well, he sees into King Boo's altar and discovers that King Boo has imprisoned Mario in a portrait. Luigi becomes desperate to save his big brother as he reaches out for him. He goes through new rooms of the mansion, finding Mario's items and vacuuming up ghosts, including portrait ghosts Biff Atlas, Miss Petunia, Nana, Slim Bankshot, and twins Henry and Orville. After Luigi brings Madame Clairvoya all five of Mario's items, she tells him that she sees Bowser in a vision, which is shocking because Mario defeated Bowser and she suspects that King Boo revived him. With her job done, she tells Luigi to suck her into the Poltergust so she can return peacefully to her portrait. After he does so and defeats 20 Boos, he enters the balcony and fights Boolossus, a big Boo made up of fifteen individual Boos. He throws him into a unicorn statue to split him into his individual Boos and sucks them all into the Poltergust. He then empties the Poltergust at E. Gadd's lab to turn all the portrait ghosts, including Boolossus, into portraits.
When Luigi enters Area 4 in the attic, the mansion is suddenly struck by lightning, creating a blackout throughout the mansion. He then goes to the breaker room to turn the power back on, but finds it locked. Luigi looks for the key and soon encounters a ghost named Uncle Grimmly and defeats him to get the key. After he turns the power back on, he catches more Boos and portrait ghosts, including the Clockwork Soldiers, Sue Pea, Jarvis, and Sir Weston, before entering the room of Vincent Van Gore, one of the most prominent portrait ghosts who is painting regular ghosts. He sends several waves of ghosts after Luigi, but Luigi defeats them all, causing Van Gore to go into a state of depression and Luigi sucks him into the Poltergust without much resistance. He then goes to the Secret Altar down a creepy hallway in the basement and encounters King Boo, who reveals that he was the one who told Luigi that he won the mansion in a contest and set it up as revenge for all the trouble the Mario brothers had caused him. King Boo goes into Mario's portrait, which turns into a Bowser portrait and sucks Luigi into it. In an arena resembling the roof of the mansion with fire in the background, Luigi fights what appears to be Bowser (as Madame Clairvoya's vision had seen), but when he hits him in the head with a bomb, "Bowser" is revealed to be a protective suit worn by King Boo. Luigi defeats King Boo while avoiding the Bowser suit's head and sucks him into the Poltergust.
Luigi returns to the lab and turns all the portrait ghosts, including King Boo, into portraits again. E. Gadd then reverses the Portrificationizer to release Mario from his portrait. After Mario goes through a reverse-procedure of all the portrait-ghosts captured, he rockets out of the machine, colliding with Luigi, but otherwise alright. At first, Luigi is relieved that his brother is safe, but he bursts into laughter when he finds him stuck in one of the machine's frames.
Since King Boo has been defeated, his illusion of a mansion fades away, though the money and jewels Luigi collected in the mansion were real and with it he gets a new residence, which varies in size depending on the player's rank.
Luigi uses two devices given to him by E. Gadd to progress through the game: the Poltergust 3000 to suck up ghosts and the Game Boy Horror (which is designed to resemble a Game Boy Color) to investigate objects, navigate the mansion and communicate with E. Gadd. On top of its primary function, the Poltergust has various other uses as well, such as sucking up money and being used as a flashlight to help Luigi see and even stun ghosts. Once Luigi collects the corresponding Elemental Medal, he can also use the Poltergust to suck up Elemental Ghosts and expel their fire, water or ice powers to fight other ghosts and deplete their HPs so that Luigi can capture them. In turn, Luigi's own HP is lowered whenever he takes damage and requires him to replenish it by collecting Hearts, or risk a Game Over (at which point he collapses and the words "Good night" appears overhead).
In his exploits, Luigi captures up to twenty-three gallery ghosts (five are optional). These ghosts (excluding the third and the final/fourth boss) have 100 HP, but their hearts are not automatically shown like other ghosts: Luigi must find each ghost's weakness before he can suck them up. The following are listed in the rough order they can be caught in the game:
Note: Although Luigi first meets Madame Clairvoya in Area Two, he captures her after he begins Area Three.
There are 51 (including King Boo) Boos that hide in the various rooms of the mansion. 35 of these are named to differentiate between them, while the remaining 15 make up the third Boss of the game, Boolossus. The magic of the King Boo's spells increase based on the number of his minions nearby. Because of this, Luigi must capture 20 Boos to break the seal designed to block Boolossus from him. After capturing 20 more, the seal separating Luigi from King Boo was broken. If Luigi catches all 50 Boos, he will be rewarded with the extremely valuable Gold Diamond. Each of the Boos' names are puns. For example, "Booigi" is a pun on "Luigi" and "Game Boo" is a nod to the Game Boy.
Luigi's NEW Mansion
All of the money and treasure Luigi collects is used to build Luigi's NEW Mansion in place of the old one. The size and general quality of the mansion depends on exactly how much he collects, with the lower ranks featuring smaller mansions and the upper ranks featuring larger mansions. A painting of the mansion Luigi receives then appears at the front of the Gallery, with Luigi's total money on the bottom-left corner. The message reads "Welcome to Luigi's NEW Mansion!" unless Luigi achieves Rank A or H. The requirement to achieve Rank A was increased significantly during localization for PAL regions.
Luigi may find several items that Mario has dropped in the mansion. Once he has received one, he can show it to Madame Clairvoya for information of Mario's whereabouts.
Professor E. Gadd had trapped the Portrait Ghosts into paintings during his past ghost adventures and put them for display in his personal gallery - until King Boo released each of them. As Luigi recaptures gallery ghosts, they will be framed in three colors: bronze, silver, or gold. The frame color of non-boss ghosts depends on how much HP Luigi sucks in one go, which produce pearls:
If Luigi sucks all 100 HP at once, no extra pearl is awarded. The maximum amount of money to be gained per Portrait Ghost is 1,600,000G: 4 small pearls, 4 medium pearls and 1 big pearl.
Once the player beats the game for the first time, the quest can be restarted in the normal mansion or the "Hidden Mansion". The hidden mansion differs from the normal mansion in only two ways:
After American and Japanese players complained that the Hidden Mansion was virtually identical to the normal mansion, additional changes were made to the hidden mansion featured in the version of Luigi's Mansion released in Europe and Australia. Shigeru Miyamoto himself thought up some things to add to the PAL version's Hidden Mansion. Most of the changes made seem to make the PAL version harder than the NTSC version.
The idea for Luigi's Mansion was first centered around exploration many different rooms, similar to The Legend of Zelda's dungeons. Mario was initially chosen as the protagonist. The team wanted the location to be a huge house from the start, and it began as a "Japanese-style Ninja house." After some playtests, the setting was retooled to resemble a dollhouse, as the player would always be looking through one of the walls to see the rest of the room. As the lighting scheme was developed, the team focused on darkness and shadows, which turned the dollhouse into an "American-style haunted mansion." With the change in setting and the new emphasis on ghosts, Luigi was chosen to be the new protagonist, as the team wanted a cowardly character and Mario was more known for being brave. The Portrait Ghosts were created in order to distinguish them from the rest of the Mario series' ghosts, namely Boos. The team also considered using no characters at all from the rest of the Mario series besides Luigi and Mario to establish the game as not just "another chapter in the Mario series," though they eventually resolved to use the series' characters sparingly.
As development for Luigi's Mansion took place alongside the Nintendo GameCube's development, the team was able to make recommendations for increasing the console's capabilities. Among those requests was dynamic lighting, something that team chiefly wanted, which was eventually added to the graphics chip. Working with the Nintendo GameCube instead of the Nintendo 64 saved a lot of time that might have otherwise been spent overcoming the latter console's technical hurdles. The game had also started development before the Nintendo GameCube's console was designed, though the team wanted to use two analog sticks from the start and base the controls largely around the sticks, generally simplifying the controls. Once the controller was finalized and put into use, many of the game's testers commented on how the C Stick was uncomfortable to use for a long time, causing a redesign that made it wider and more comfortable for thumbs.
The game's elements, fire, water and ice, came as a result of the team wanting to "display fire water, and atmospheric effects realistically." Early on, dust clouds used a fixed animation every time the dust was interacted with and the team wanted to make it more interesting through dynamic interactions. One programmer worked on the dust for six months. Another effect that the team handled was the "stretch" effects produced by the ghosts when being vacuumed and a lot of work was spent making sure it functioned properly. Motion capture was used in the game's intro (notably while Luigi is walking in a "very cowardly way") and ending.
A lot of time was spent discussing how difficult the team wanted the game to be. This led to work on a control scheme that only used a single analog stick, which was eventually scrapped, though it led to the "Standard" control scheme being added with the "Sidestep" control scheme. This also led to keys automatically showing which door they opened on the map and the team felt that players would be frustrated otherwise. Eventually, the team concluded that they wanted the difficulty to be well-balanced, which was important for a launch title. In a similar vein to Yoshi's Story, they wanted the game to only need a few hours to beat, but also make the player feel motivated to replay it again. This philosophy led to an emphasis on puzzle elements and not item collection and the ability to ignore certain elements of the game.
The game's schedule was tight; there were several arguments between the designers and the programmers over which features might not be implemented, but by the end of development, more ideas were being added and not many features were removed. The ability to turn off the flashlight was among those late features, after a suggestion by Shigeru Miyamoto to let the players do more with the other buttons. Miyamoto also suggested that Luigi immediately tap the wall when pressing instead of going through a long animation. Luigi's whistling and humming, as well as his ability to call for Mario, were all added late into the game's cycle as well. The humming came about after the team decided that background music would be uninteresting and Luigi's call came about after a staff member suggested it to reinforce Luigi's goal of finding Mario. The team intended for their end result to not be scary for the players; the team wanted to create something innovative that functioned well just from a technical standpoint. They spent time creating a unique style to the game and not worrying about how it matched up to other games, as their game is "different, unique."
Pre-release and unused content
Concepts for Luigi's Mansion, such as character designs, were being planned during the Nintendo 64's lifetime. Many rooms had different names in one or more early builds; for example, the Foyer was originally called the "Entrance". The Poltergust 3000 used to have a pressure meter and, if it overheated, the Poltergust 3000 would ignite and injure Luigi. The Poltergust's shape is also more rectangular in one or more early versions.
Luigi's Mansion appears in volume 26 and 29 of Super Mario-Kun. In volume 26, which usually follows the story of Paper Mario, the Luigi's Mansion section is condensed into one chapter. The story begins similarly to the game: Luigi wins a mansion. He tries calling Mario's name, but Mario is absent. Luigi then treks to the mansion by himself. After a walk through the forest at night, Luigi is horrified to see his mansion. There, he meets a harmless Boo (案内役 テレサ) that leads him into the mansion. Inside the mansion, he and the Boo find a vacuum, so he tests it on the Boo, much to the Boo's anger. Luigi proceeds to vacuum the ghosts and he even encounters a Ghost Guy, which he doodles on its face.
Luigi then finds Mario trapped in a painting. Luigi is then ambushed by Bowser. Luigi attempts to run behind Bowser, but Bowser twists his head and burns Luigi. While Bowser throws a spike ball, Luigi uses his vacuum to deflect it at him, knocking off the head. King Boo flies out and Luigi proceeds to suck in King Boo, breaking the spell and freeing Mario. The Bowser head, still flying, lands on Luigi's head and Mario, mistaking him for Bowser, fights him. Once Mario realizes his mistake, he immediately regrets what he's done and the Boo watches them. Despite the chapters being seemingly disjointed, Luigi later joins Mario during a fight with Huff N. Puff and uses a new Poltergust to vacuum the Tuff Puffs.
Not much is known in the segment in volume 29, but Toad travels along with Luigi.
References to other games
References in later games
The game has received mostly positive reviews. Gamespot gave the game a 7.9/10, saying that it featured creative and refreshing ideas, but it strays too far from the Mario series. IGN also gave it a positive review, giving it a 7/10, praising its graphics, sounds, and gameplay but heavily panning the lack of any replay value. Nintendo Life gave it an 8/10, claiming it's a well-crafted game, but criticized how short the length of the game was. The game was mainly praised for its clever features and for giving Luigi a starring role. However, it was criticized for its short length.
Luigi's Mansion won the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Award for audio in 2002.
Luigi's Mansion is the 5th best selling game for the Nintendo GameCube, having sold approximately 3.6 million copies, including 2.19 million in the US, 460,000 copies in Japan and 100,000 units in the UK, as of December 31, 2009.
Names in other languages