Here we have the first Nintendo GameCube game. Released on the same day the system launched in 2001, this game is Mario's brother Luigi's first official starring role in a video game. The premise is that Luigi won a mansion in a contest (a contest that he doesn't even remember entering, strangely enough) and he and Mario go up to the house to check it out. Mario disappears, however, and when Luigi begins searching for him, he finds mean, nasty, multi-colored ghosts!

While fleeing the mansion, Luigi runs into Professor Elvin Gadd (E. Gadd). Gadd explains that the mansion just appeared suddenly the day before and that there's ghosts infesting the place. Armed with Gadd's Poltergust 3000 vacuum cleaner, Luigi embarks to suck all the ghosts up and rescue his brother.

First things first: this is not a standard, traditional Super Mario Brothers game. There's no jumping, no stomping, and no koopa troopas. It's Luigi versus the ghosts, and he'll have to use logic and quick reflexes to stop them. Luigi walks through the mansion, shining his flashlight around. When the light hits a ghost, the ghost freezes. That's Luigi's cue to suck the baddie up with the vaccum. It's not as easy as it sounds. There's two control sticks on the controller. The lefthand stick moves Luigi while the righthand stick (the camera stick, or C-stick) controls Luigi's aim (be it with vacuum or flashlight).

There's three floors in the mansion, plus a basement, the roof, and a handful of secret rooms. Most all of the doors in the mansion are locked, so Luigi must find keys by completing tasks or catching ghosts.

Chances are most players will finish the game in the course of a few days. It's remarkably short. Too short, in my opinion. However, there is a "second quest" of sorts once you complete the game: another mansion will be available for play, although it's similar in design to the first one. The game serves almost as a technical demo, as though Nintendo was saying "Hey, look what we can do with this new machine." It's not all in vain, however. Elvin Gadd shows up in future Super Mario Brothers games after being introduced here (Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga features him and his amazing inventions and some of his handiwork shows up in Super Mario Sunshine in the form of FLUDD and Bowser Jr.'s paintbrush) and Mario Kart: Double Dash!! features a hidden battle arena based on the mansion itself.

Will Luigi find Mario and find out who's behind this mansion madness? What's all that money doing in the mansion? And what role, if any, does Bowser play? That's up to you and Luigi in Luigi's Mansion.

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