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Luigi's Mansion

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Luigi's Mansion
GameCube packaging artwork featuring Luigi and various ghosts from the game
Designer(s)Tadashi Sugiyama
Programmer(s)Hiroki Sotoike
  • JP: September 14, 2001
  • NA: November 18, 2001
  • EU: May 3, 2002
  • AU: May 17, 2002
Nintendo 3DS
  • NA: October 12, 2018
  • EU: October 19, 2018
  • AU: October 20, 2018
  • JP: November 8, 2018
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Luigi's Mansion[a] is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. The game was a launch title for the GameCube and was the first game in the Mario franchise to be released for the console; it was released in Japan on September 14, 2001, in North America on November 18, 2001, in Europe on May 3, 2002, and in Australia on May 17, 2002. It is the second video game in which Luigi is the main character instead of Mario, after Mario Is Missing!. Players control him as he explores a haunted mansion, searches for Mario and deals with ghosts by capturing them through a vacuum cleaner supplied by Professor E. Gadd.

Luigi's Mansion received critical acclaim, but it was criticized for its short length. The game has sold over 2.5 million copies, and is the fifth best selling GameCube game of all time. It was one of the first games to be re-released as a Player's Choice title on the system. The game was followed by two sequels – Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2013, and Luigi's Mansion 3, which was released for the Nintendo Switch in 2019. A remake of Luigi's Mansion for the 3DS, co-developed by Nintendo and Grezzo, was released in 2018.


Luigi capturing Neville, one of the game's "portrait ghosts", using the Poltergust 3000. The number represents the ghost's HP, which must be reduced to zero in order for Luigi to capture it.

In Luigi's Mansion, the main story is played out over four stages, with players able to also access a training room and a gallery at the Professor E. Gadd's laboratory between stages.[1] In each stage, players control Luigi as he explores the mansion's rooms and hunts down the ghosts that lie within them, acquiring keys to get through locked doors and eventually dealing with a boss ghost hidden at the end of the stage, with more rooms becoming accessible as each stage is completed. To assist him in his task, Luigi uses a flashlight and two inventions supplied by E. Gadd – the Poltergust 3000, a specially modified, high-powered vacuum cleaner; and the Game Boy Horror, a play on Nintendo's Game Boy Color.

In order to capture ghosts, Luigi must first use his flashlight to light up the ghost and stun it, revealing its heart. When this happens, players use the Poltergust 3000 to suck them up, steadily reducing the ghost's hit points to zero; the more hit points, the more time it takes for a ghost to be captured, giving them a chance to break free while leaving Luigi more exposed to being harmed. If Luigi's HP is reduced to zero from being hurt by the ghosts, the game is over. Once a ghost's HP is reduced to zero, they are captured.[2] Some ghosts cannot be captured easily until Luigi locates three special medallions, each granting the Poltergust with the ability to suck up certain elements from the rooms and use them to capture special ghosts lying within the mansion.[3] In addition to capturing the regular ghosts in the mansion, Luigi must also draw out special "portrait ghosts" from some rooms, each requiring a condition be met to make them available for capture. Once all the ghosts in a room are captured, it brightens up. The music also changes accordingly, being pleasantly whistled by Luigi, while being haunted and spooky when filled with ghosts, with Luigi humming nervously to the tune.

Utilizing the Game Boy Horror, players can access a map of the mansion, seeing which rooms they have visited, what doors are open, and which remain locked. When Luigi finds a key during his explorations, the Game Boy Horror automatically indicates which door it unlocks.[4] In addition to a map function, the device also keeps track of any treasure that Luigi has found – rooms will usually have treasure hidden within, which can be either coins, gems, gold bars and so forth, hidden within items and even in a chest that appears when the ghosts are cleared out, which Luigi can draw out and suck up with the Poltergust; if a ghost harms Luigi, he will drop a small portion of collected treasure that he will need to recover before it disappears. After Luigi encounters a group of Boos hiding in the mansion, the device can be used to find each one hiding in a room, through a beeper sound and a flashing yellow light on the device, which turns red when Luigi is close to one; Boos can only be located in rooms that have become lit after their ghosts have been cleared out.[4] Boos are trickier to deal with, as they can plant decoys and traps within objects they can hide in that can fool the Horror, and will escape into other rooms if they can, forcing the player to chase after them.

Once a stage is completed, all portrait ghosts are restored to their paintings by E. Gadd, which the player can view in his laboratory's gallery,[5] at which point a result screen reveals the portrait ghosts Luigi has managed to capture, along with the total amount of treasure he recovered for that stage. Once the final boss of Luigi's Mansion is defeated, the player is given a rating (A to H) during the end credits, based on the amount of treasure Luigi has found. After completing the game once, a second mode is offered, called the "Hidden Mansion". In the European version of this mode, the mansion appears as a reflection of the previous version, with bosses being made more difficult, ghosts and Portrait Ghosts being trickier to capture, and more ghosts being in some of the rooms.[6]


Luigi is notified he has won a mansion in a contest he did not enter. He informs Mario, and they agree to meet up outside the mansion that evening. Luigi follows a map to the mansion, finding it more sinister looking than the supplied photo. With Mario nowhere to be found, Luigi enters the mansion alone. He encounters a ghost, which attacks him, but is unexpectedly saved by a scientist who unsuccessfully tries to suck up the ghost with a vacuum cleaner. The two evacuate before more ghosts can arrive, and the man introduces himself as Professor Elvin Gadd, or E. Gadd for short. He explains the mansion is supernatural in origin and only appeared a few nights prior.[1][7] E. Gadd tells Luigi that he saw Mario heading towards the mansion, but has not seen him since.[8] Upon learning that Mario is Luigi's brother, E. Gadd entrusts Luigi with his ghost-hunting equipment, including the Poltergust 3000 vacuum cleaner and Game Boy Horror communication device, and Luigi re-enters the mansion to look for Mario.[9]

As Luigi explores the mansion, he discovers that it was built by King Boo to shelter the now-freed portrait ghosts, ghosts whom E. Gadd had previously captured and contained in paintings with a large machine dubbed the "Ghost Potrificationizer", and created the false contest to lure the Mario Bros. into a trap. After recapturing many ghosts and working his way through the mansion, Luigi confronts King Boo, who has trapped Mario inside a painting. King Boo pulls Luigi into the painting for their final battle, using a suit-like replica of Bowser to combat him.[10] Luigi manages to defeat King Boo and escape from the painting.[11] King Boo is later turned into a painting along with the other portrait ghosts, while E. Gadd uses the Ghost Portrificationizer in reverse to free Mario.[12] After the mansion disappears, E. Gadd uses the treasure Luigi collected on his adventure to build him a new non-haunted house in its place. Its size depends on how much treasure the player gathered during the game.


The game was revealed at Nintendo Space World 2000 as a technological demo designed to show off the graphical capabilities of the GameCube.[13] The full motion video footage had scenes seen in later trailers and commercials for the game, but were not used in the final release. This footage includes Luigi screaming in horror at the camera, running from an unknown ghost in the Foyer, ghosts playing cards in the Parlor, ghosts circling around Luigi, and a gloomy-looking Luigi standing outside the mansion with lighting flashing. These were animated at three graphic houses to pay homage to the GameCube. Soon after its creation, Nintendo decided to make the demo into a full-fledged video game. A year later, Luigi's Mansion was shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo alongside the GameCube console. Development was led by Hideki Konno, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Takashi Tezuka.[14] A newer version of the game, more closely related to the final version, was revealed at Nintendo Space World 2001.[15]

The original plan for Luigi's Mansion involved a game where the levels revolved around a large mansion or complex. Tests were later done with Mario characters in dollhouses and such. Once it was transitioned into a GameCube project, Luigi was selected as the main character in order to keep the game original and new. The other gameplay ideas, such as ghosts and the ghost-sucking vacuum cleaner, were added later. Older concepts, such as a role-playing game-like system which made real-time changes to rooms, as well as a cave area located under the mansion, were scrapped due to the inclusion of the new ideas.[16]

Luigi's Mansion's music was composed by Shinobu Tanaka and Kazumi Totaka,[17] and as such contains "Totaka's Song", a song featured in almost every game that Totaka has composed.[18] It is found by waiting on the controller configuration screen at the Training Room for about three and a half minutes.[19] The main theme of Luigi's Mansion was orchestrated and arranged by Shogo Sakai for Super Smash Bros. Brawl.[20] The game featured voice actors Charles Martinet as the voice of Mario and Luigi, and Jen Taylor as the voice of Toad.[21] Luigi's Mansion received an award for its audio by BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Awards in 2002.[22]

All GameCube systems support the display of stereoscopic 3D, and Luigi's Mansion was planned to utilize this feature;[23] however, 3D televisions were not widespread at the time, and it was deemed that compatible displays would be too cost-prohibitive for the consumer. As a result, the feature was not enabled outside of development.[24]


Commercially, Luigi's Mansion is the most successful GameCube launch title and the best-selling game of November 2001.[54][55] According to Nintendo, the game was a large driving force behind the GameCube's launch sales and sold more copies in its opening week than Super Mario 64 had managed to sell.[56] Despite meager sales in Japan at around 348,000 units in total,[57] it became the fifth best-selling GameCube game in the United States,[58] with sales of roughly 2.19 million units.[58] It was also one of the first Player's Choice titles on the console, along with Super Smash Bros. Melee and Pikmin.[59]

Critically, Luigi's Mansion received critical acclaim and reviewers praised the game's graphics, design, and gameplay. GameSpot stated that Luigi's Mansion "features some refreshing ideas" and "flashes of brilliance."[38] The gaming magazine Nintendo Power praised the game for being "very enjoyable while it lasts, with its clever puzzles and innovative game play."[48] GameSpy said that the game features "great visuals, imaginative game design and some classic Nintendo magic."[60] The game was referred to as "a masterful example of game design" by GamePro.[61] Game Revolution stated that "the graphics are quite beautiful and the interesting game mechanics are enjoyable."[62] The American-based publication Game Informer praised the gameplay, and referred to it as "brilliant and up to par with Miyamoto's best."[34] The audio was praised by IGN, who considered Luigi's voice acting as "cute, humorous and satisfying",[42] and GameSpy, who declared that the soundtrack remains "subtle, amusing and totally suitable throughout the game".[60] The Japanese video game publication Famitsu awarded the game with a gold rating, and noted that the control system, while tricky at first, works well.[32]

The game has also received criticism, mainly because of its length. GameSpot said that Luigi's Mansion "fails to match the classic status of Mario's adventures" and that the "short amount of time it takes to complete it makes it a hard recommendation." The review, however, also considered that the short length prevents the gameplay and audio from getting tiresome.[38] GameSpot later named Luigi's Mansion the most disappointing game of 2001.[63] GameSpy also criticized the game's length, saying that it could be beaten in about six hours.[60] Allgame declared that Luigi's Mansion "ultimately fails to deliver a cohesive gameplay experience over the long-term."[26] Fran Mirabella III of IGN felt that the game was sub-par, due to its "predictable, formulaic gameplay."[42] G4's TV show X-Play criticized Luigi's Mansion in their special on Mario games and media, calling the game a letdown for players waiting for the first Mario game on the GameCube.[64] Luigi's Mansion was awarded the 2002 BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Award for audio.[65] The game placed 99th in Official Nintendo Magazine's 100 greatest Nintendo games of all time.[66]


The Luigi's Mansion stage, as it appears in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

Luigi's Mansion introduces two characters, Professor Elvin Gadd, or E. Gadd for short, and King Boo. E. Gadd has reappeared in other Mario games, such as Mario Party 6 and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. E. Gadd is referenced in Super Mario Sunshine as the creator of Mario's F.L.U.D.D. device and Bowser Jr.'s paintbrush. He also appears as a playable character skin in Super Mario Maker. King Boo has also reappeared in other games, either as a boss (including Super Mario 64 DS and Super Princess Peach) or a playable character (including Mario Kart: Double Dash and Mario Super Sluggers).

The mansion in the game has reappeared in other Mario games, usually acting as Luigi's home stage. It appeared in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart 7, Mario Power Tennis, Mario Super Sluggers, Mario Hoops 3-on-3, Mario Sports Mix, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Wii U launch title Nintendo Land features Luigi's Ghost Mansion, a multiplayer minigame based on Luigi's Mansion. In this minigame, four players controlling Miis dressed up as Mario, Luigi, Wario and Waluigi have to drain the energy of a ghost, while the GamePad player, controlling the ghost, must make all the other players faint before time runs out.[67]

A direct sequel for the Nintendo 3DS, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, was released in March 2013, almost twelve years after the release of Luigi's Mansion, to celebrate the Year of Luigi.[68] In 2015, Nintendo released Luigi's Mansion Arcade, an arcade game based on Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon developed by Capcom and published by Sega. The game uses the same plot as Dark Moon, but goes for a first-person, on-rails gameplay style, and utilizes a special vacuum-based controller. The game is mostly found in Japanese arcades, although some cabinets have been localized and released at select Dave and Buster's locations in the United States.[69][70] A third installment, titled Luigi's Mansion 3, was released for the Nintendo Switch on October 31, 2019.[71]

3DS remake[edit]

A remake of Luigi's Mansion for the Nintendo 3DS, co-developed by Nintendo and Grezzo, was announced on March 8, 2018 and released on October 12, 2018 almost one month after Luigi's Mansion 3 was announced.[72][73] Several years prior to the remake's official announcement as a commercial project, Shigeru Miyamoto designed a working prototype of the game running on a 3DS development kit to test the system's hardware and 3D functionality,[74] which ultimately led to the development of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. The remake has amiibo functionality and supports gyroscopic controls, the Circle Pad Pro accessory, the C-Stick on New Nintendo 3DS models, and stereoscopic 3D.[75] Four other new features were added as new content: local cooperative play in which a second player takes on the role of a doppelgänger named "Gooigi", a new control option that allows the use of the Strobulb flashlight from Dark Moon, an achievement list, and a boss rush mode where up to two players can attempt to clear boss fights as fast as possible. All regional releases of the remake also incorporate elements from the PAL version's Hidden Mansion, increasing the difficulty of the second quest in the North American and Japanese versions. As of 2018, it has sold 90,410 copies in Japan, making it the third best-selling Nintendo 3DS release of 2018 behind WarioWare Gold and Detective Pikachu.[76]

Critical reception to the remake was generally positive; reviewers appreciated the effort put into the revamped visuals and many believe the core experience to largely hold up 17 years after the original release. Outlets also spoke positively about the implementation of stereoscopic 3D and the two screens as well as the new content such as the boss rush mode and the PAL Hidden Mansion.[77][78][79][80][81]


  1. ^ Japanese: ルイージマンション, Hepburn: Ruīji Manshon


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