Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

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Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon (Boxart).png
Packaging artwork used for the
North American version
Developer(s)Next Level Games
Director(s)Bryce Holliday
Designer(s)Jason Carr
Programmer(s)David Catlin
Artist(s)Neil Singh
Writer(s)Eric Smith
Composer(s)Chad York
Darren Radtke
Mike Peacock
Platform(s)Nintendo 3DS, arcade
ReleaseNintendo 3DS
  • JP: March 20, 2013
  • NA: March 24, 2013
  • PAL: March 28, 2013
  • JP: June 18, 2015
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
Arcade systemSega Nu 1.1

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, known in Australia and Europe as Luigi's Mansion 2,[a][1] is an action-adventure video game developed by Next Level Games and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS. It is the sequel to the 2001 Nintendo GameCube game Luigi's Mansion. It is also the third video game where Luigi is the main character instead of Mario after the first Luigi's Mansion game and Mario is Missing!. The game was released in Japan on March 20, 2013, and later in that same month in most other major regions.

In Dark Moon, the player controls Luigi, who is equipped with the Poltergust 5000, a specialized vacuum cleaner used to capture ghosts. In the game's single-player mode, the main goal is to retrieve the shards of the shattered Dark Moon, a magical object that has a pacifying effect on the ghosts who live in the game's setting, Evershade Valley, while also rescuing Luigi's brother, Mario, from King Boo, the mastermind behind the disappearance of the Dark Moon and the paranormal activity. Luigi progressively explores five different-themed mansions while capturing ghosts and solving puzzles in order to progress to the next level. Dark Moon offers a cooperative multiplayer mode that can be played locally or online via Nintendo Network. The game received generally positive reviews from critics, praising the game's 3D visuals and new features, but some criticism was given for the game's mission-based structure and lack of checkpoints.

In September 2018, Nintendo and Next Level Games announced a third entry in the series, titled Luigi's Mansion 3, which was released worldwide on October 31, 2019 for the Nintendo Switch.[2][3]


Luigi capturing a ghost. To successfully capture, the player must vacuum the ghost until its hit points reach zero. The touchscreen shows the player's location in the current mansion being explored.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is an action-adventure game in which the main player character is Luigi, who is sent by Professor E. Gadd to explore abandoned haunted mansions and capture hostile ghosts using the Poltergust 5000, a specialized vacuum cleaner. In the main single-player mode, the player explores five different mansions designed around a specific theme, such as an overgrown greenhouse and a clock factory built over an archaeological site, to retrieve the Dark Moon fragment hidden within.

Exploration through a mansion is divided into multiple mission-based levels that focus on completing a number of objectives, such as retrieving an object, accessing a particular room, or defeating a stronger boss ghost. At the end of each mission, the player is scored based on various factors such as the treasures and ghosts collected. If Luigi takes too much damage from ghost attacks or environmental hazards and loses all his heart points, he will faint and the player must restart the mission. If the player finds and collects a golden bone, Luigi will be revived and continue the mission instead of starting over. The Nintendo 3DS touchscreen shows a mini-map of the mansion's layout, with locations of both locked and unlocked doors. The character Toad accompanies Luigi in certain missions. When the player obtains the Dark Moon fragment hidden in a mansion, they can progress to the next mansion.

To capture a ghost, the player first stuns the ghost using Luigi's flashlight equipped with the Strobulb attachment. While Luigi's Mansion required the player to shine the light on the ghost, in Dark Moon, the player charges the Strobulb to release a burst of light that acts similar to a flashbang. When stunned, the ghost's hit points are exposed, allowing Luigi to vacuum the ghost to decrease its hit points until it is weak enough to be captured. Luigi can vacuum up to three ghosts simultaneously. Some types of ghosts wear protection against the Strobulb and need to be tricked into becoming vulnerable.

In addition to capturing ghosts, the suction and blowing functions of the Poltergust 5000 are used to manipulate and carry objects in the environment. Many of the game's puzzles are designed around this concept. For example, the player uses the vacuum to carry buckets of water, yank pull switches, spin valve handles, and propel small objects. Other objects, such as certain types of switches and locks, react only when exposed to the Strobulb flash. Early in the game, the player obtains the Dark-Light Device, which reveals invisible doors and furniture.[4]

Dark Moon features a cooperative multiplayer mode called "ScareScraper" ("Thrill Tower" in Europe), in which up to four players each control a differently colored Luigi. The players explore each floor of a mansion and complete the specified objective within a time limit. When the objective is completed, the players ascend to the next floor. The floors are all randomly generated, with different floor layouts and placement of ghosts and items, and the players may select whether the mansion has a limited or endless number of floors. Four different objective types are available: Hunter, in which all the ghosts on the floor must be captured; Rush, where players race to find the exit to the next floor; Polterpup, where players pursue and capture ghost dogs; and Surprise, in which one of the other three objectives is randomly chosen per floor. "ScareScraper" can be played locally or online via Nintendo Network.[5]


King Boo, who escaped his painting after Professor E. Gadd sold it at a garage sale, shatters the Dark Moon, a large crystalline object which has a pacifying effect on the ghosts that inhabit Evershade Valley, using the magical jewel embedded in his crown. This causes the ghosts to suddenly become hostile, forcing the Professor to take shelter in a bunker while a dark, eerie fog covers the valley. The Professor immediately contacts Luigi and sends him to the bunker. He tells Luigi to collect the five pieces of the Dark Moon, which have been scattered to different mansions, to clear out the fog and restore peace to Evershade Valley[6] and capture and contain the ghosts before they leave the valley and wreak havoc on the rest of the world. To help Luigi, he provides him with several gadgets: a flashlight; the Poltergust 5000, an upgraded version of the Poltergust 3000; the Dual Scream, a DS-like device used for communication purposes; and the Dark-Light Device, a special lens used for uncovering hidden objects.

Luigi makes his way through five different mansions in the valley, proceeding to recover Dark Moon pieces from Possessor Ghosts in each mansion and saving the professor's Toad assistants, whom King Boo turned into paintings. The Toads produce security images that provide valuable clues, and each image shows two Boos carrying a bag with a painting inside. Eventually, Luigi and the Professor find out that Mario was turned into a painting and that King Boo is behind the whole crisis. However, after Luigi obtains the final Dark Moon piece in a parallel dimension, King Boo intercepts him as he is being returned to the bunker. King Boo reveals to Luigi his intentions to use the corrupted ghosts to conquer the world. Luigi then battles and defeats King Boo.

When Luigi returns to his world, he frees Mario from the painting and reunites with the Professor and the Toads. They reassemble the Dark Moon, returning the ghosts back to their friendly selves. The professor releases the captured ghosts from the Vault, and they celebrate by taking a photo. The game ends as Luigi returns home with his newly adopted ghost dog, Polterpup.


Dark Moon was developed by Next Level Games, a Canadian developer who had previously worked on Nintendo-published titles Punch-Out!! and the Mario Strikers series. Development of the game started in late 2010 with producer Shigeru Miyamoto overseeing the production.[7] Miyamoto stated that he chose to work on the sequel because he "wanted to" after designing a prototype Nintendo 3DS version of the original game to test its hardware,[8] which later became a reality in October 2018.[9] The original game for the GameCube was tested for 3D effects, but the feature did not come to fruition[10] until the game's 3DS remake was released in 2018. The North American title of the game was revealed to be renamed from Luigi's Mansion 2 to Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon at Nintendo All-Access during E3 2012.[11]

Miyamoto served as a producer for the game and would check in with the team every two weeks and provide feedback and suggestions.[12] Miyamoto at one point threw out the designed bosses in the game and encouraged the team to come up with bosses that "could only appear in Luigi's Mansion".[12] The team also experimented with the Circle Pad Pro, but could not find an adequate use for it, as capturing ghosts no longer required dual analog control.[12]

Dark Moon was released in Japan on March 20, 2013, in North America on March 24,[13] and in Europe and Australia on March 28.[14][15]

Luigi's Mansion Arcade[edit]

An arcade game based on Dark Moon titled Luigi's Mansion Arcade was released on June 18, 2015 in Japan, which was developed by Capcom and published by Sega under license from Nintendo.[16] It is an on-rails light gun game with a vacuum controller and support for two players.[17] Location tests were conducted during the 2014 Halloween weekend from October 30 until November 3.[18] The Swedish children's magazine Robot positively described the arcade game, calling it an intelligent idea and especially praising how "the vacuum cleaner feels so real."[19]


Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon received positive reviews, gaining aggregate score 86/100 on Metacritic.[20] IGN gave the game a 9.3 out of 10, citing that it was "Nintendo at its inventive best."[36]

Matthew Castle of Official Nintendo Magazine UK gave it a 92%, praising the game's 3D visuals and mix of old and new features. However, he also criticized the game for its lack of checkpoints, stating that "Death, though rare, forces Luigi to restart missions from scratch, punishing 30 seconds of weak defence with up to half an hour of collecting treasure and solving puzzles for a second time which feels like rough justice when you make a silly mistake in a surprise ambush." He concluded on a positive note, stating "For as much as Luigi's Mansion 2 acts like the class clown, all shrieks and pratfalls, it has more heart than any game in recent memory when it isn't yanking them out of ghost chests, naturally. So man up Luigi and embrace your applause. Funny, gorgeous, crammed full of surprises... but enough about Luigi. Nintendo renovates one of its more oddball offerings into a must-have title. The only thing to fear is that it takes another 10 years to return."[43]

Matthew Reynolds of Digital Spy gave it 5 out of 5 stars, commenting positively that "Practically every room in this expansive follow-up feels lovingly handcrafted and crammed full of things to tinker with, filled with playful animations and spoils to discover. While combat is less complicated but wholly enjoyable, the game's real priority lies in exploration and puzzles."[44]

Conversely, GameSpot gave it a 6.5 out of 10, citing "difficulty spikes and a lack of checkpoints", as well as the stiff controls, but praised the multiplayer functionality.[29]


Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon debuted to high sales worldwide, becoming the sixth best-selling game of April 2013 in the US selling 415,000 units (375,000 of which were physical copies)[45][46] and selling 515,975 units in Japan by April 14, 2013.[47] In July 2013, the game sold 150,000 copies in the United States, and by the end of July it had sold 750,000 units in the US,[48] which grew to 1.33 million copies by August 2014.[49] In the United Kingdom, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon charted fifth in the All Formats chart, a position it held for three consecutive weeks, becoming the first 3DS exclusive title of the year to chart.[50]

As of September 2017, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon has sold 5.45 million units worldwide.[51]


  1. ^ Japanese: ルイージマンション2, Hepburn: Ruīji Manshon Tsū


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