For much of Nintendo’s gaming history Luigi has been something of an underdog. He was usually relegated for the role of the character a second player uses in games like Super Mario Bros. or as one of several choices in Super Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros..

It wasn’t until after the turn of the millennium that Luigi began to see more prominent roles in video games. Back when the Gamecube launched there was no sign of a Mario game in the initial lineup. Luigi lead the way in the aptly named Luigi’s Mansion.

This game would forego Mario’s traditional platforming elements in favor of wandering through a haunted house that he had won despite not having entered any contest. Luigi plans to meet Mario at the mansion but the more famous brother is nowhere in sight. After being attacked by a ghost, Luigi meets a wacky little scientist named Professor E. Gadd. The good scientist outfits Luigi with state of the art ghost busting capturing gear: A flashlight and a modded vacuum cleaner called the Poltergust 3000. Luigi also gets the Game Boy Horror – a portable mapping device.

To capture a ghost, Luigi must shine his flashlight on it which exposes the spirit’s heart. Luigi then switches to the Poltergust to capture the ghost; the more hit points a spirit has, the longer it takes to capture it and the longer Luigi will be vulnerable to attack. If Luigi clears all of the ghosts from a given area of the mansion, that location will become brightly lit indicating it is relatively safe. At the end of the game Luigi discovers that Mario is trapped within a painting and confronts his brother’s captor.

Twelve years later Luigi would once again join forces with Professor E. Gadd. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was released for the 3DS in 2013 and featured a number of updates. Luigi sports a souped-up Poltergust 5000 and a new flashlight with a strobulb feature. The flashlight can also be equipped with a filter to reveal invisible items. The Dual Scream is Luigi’s new mapping and communications device. This time Luigi must clear a total of five mansions to collect pieces of the Dark Moon and restore balance to the area.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon also offers a co-op mode that can be played online or locally. It’s called the ScareScraper and up to four players can explore multiple floors of a mansion to achieve some objective such as capture all of the ghosts, find ghost pups or reach the exit within a specified time limit.

One of the more endearing features of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is the detailed emphasis on Luigi’s character. He is very much a reluctant hero in the beginning and fidgets nervously throughout the early chapters of the game. He slowly builds self confidence as he gains more experience.

The original game is sadly only playable on Gamecube as of this moment but the sequel is available for 3DS in both physical and digital versions. These games are masterpieces and are certainly worth a playthrough during the Halloween season.

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