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Atari 50
Written by  :  Ryu (56)
Written on  :  Mar 22, 2004
Platform  :  GameCube
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

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A beautiful, humorous twist on the traditional Mario formula...while it lasts

The Good

--> A good launch title for the Gamecube, good graphics overall with stunning lighting effects.

--> Music is appropriately creepy and dynamic. Sound effects are good as well.

--> Humorous story and ghosts, it's very entertaining watching the cowardly Luigi's reaction to the events unfolding around him.

--> Fun action-adventure gameplay

--> It's fairly cheap now, at $20 or under. A good title for the budget-minded gamer looking to expand their GC library.

The Bad

--> It's pretty short, an experienced gamer can get through the game in under 10 hours, though you may want to play through the game a few times to obtain the best ranking.

--> While a decent challenge, even the most casual gamers should have little problems with this game once adjusted to the Resident Evil-esque control scheme

--> The final boss, while cool, wasn't quite as challenging as a final boss should be.

The Bottom Line

After years of playing second banana to Mario, it's finally Luigi's turn in the limelight. After receiving a notice that he has won his own mansion, Luigi excitedly calls his brother to tell him the good news. While trying to find his way to his new mansion, Luigi becomes lost in a strange wood. Soon he happens upon his mansion, and discovers it wasn't exactly what he bargained for, it's infested with ghosts! Worse yet, they have kidnapped his brother Mario! Luigi talks to Professor E.Gadd and is equipped with the professor's invention: a vacuum equipped to suck and contain ghosts. Slowly he proceeds into the mansion to rid the infestation, and save his brother...

Gameplay consists of proceeding through the halls of the mansion, sucking up low-level ghosts, and invading the haunts of the tougher portrait ghosts, exploiting their weaknesses (found by gazing at their heart) and sucking them up to gain access to locked doors, eventually leading you to a boss ghost for the area. The analog control stick is used to control Luigi, the C-stick is used to aim the vacuum or flashlight(used to freeze ghosts), the Right and Left triggers are used to suck up ghosts and expel elements (fire, water, ice).

The graphics are very nice with detailed textures, cool lighting and reflections, and detailed models. The coolest effect in the game is how the objects in the environment react to your vacuum, such as sucking the tablecloth off of a table, open curtains, or having to suck piles of dust to clear a path. The animation of Luigi and the ghosts is very fluid and often humorous. Every type of ghost has a unique personality, some like to sneak up on you, some are found of throwing bombs, and some just like to be gluttons, leaving the remnants of food behind. Each portrait ghost has a unique personality as well, from the musician to the couple dancing on the rotating dance floor. While not a system showcase to the degree of say Metroid Prime, this title is still a decent representative of the Gamecube's power. The music is spooky, atmospheric and often funny. It's nothing to write home about, but still, very nice. Sound effects, from Luigi's calls to Mario, to the clink of coins and the yelp of a startled ghost are are well done and appropriately cartooney.

With a few improvements, primarily the length of the game, this game could have gone from good to outstanding. As it stands, however, I recommend this title to any Gamecube owner looking for a good adventure game, or a unique gameplay experience. Now that the game is selling for $20 and under, there is no reason you shouldn't pick it up. A very entertaining game, while it lasts.

Atari 50