Posted in Old Games

Luigi’s Mansion

Happy Halloween everyone! In honour of one of my favourite annual events, and of the release of Luigi’s Mansion 3, I thought I would talk about the game that started off the moustachioed man’s Ghost-hunting career.

Even to this day I sometimes like to get out the Gamecube and play on some of the classic games in my collection, and Luigi’s Mansion is certainly one of them. The game came out 18 years ago in 2001, and was the first time I got to experience Luigi as a protagonist.

The game starts off with Luigi making his way to his new mansion … which he won in a contest … which he didn’t enter … If you thought this sounds suspicious, then congratulations! You have more sense that the Mario Bros. Luigi was meant to meet his brother, Mario, at the mansion, but he is no where to be seen, and the mansion itself is not quite as pictured on Luigi’s handy map!

It doesn’t take long for Luigi to discover that his mansion is in fact haunted. After an encounter with local oddball, Professor E. Gadd, Luigi is armed with the Poltergust 3000 (a vacuum cleaner…) and is ready to take on the hordes of ghosts that are plaguing the mansion and find his missing brother!

The game’s spooky aesthetic is perfect in my opinion, with Luigi constantly freaking out, the mansion in deep darkness, and the amazing theme music ominously plays throughout. Power returns to the rooms as Luigi clears them of ghosts, making that room a safe place for you and also replacing the theme with Luigi’s whistling version.

It’s not all sucking up random ghosts with your trusty Poltergust 3000 though, as there are larger ghosts with actual personalities who can be found across the mansion who act as the game’s mini bosses and actual bosses. They all take a certain amount of puzzle-solving to deal with, as you must flash your torch on their heart to be able to suck them up – but they don’t reveal their heart so easily! An example is one of the earlier Ghosts who is preoccupied with her appearance at a vanity table, but if you use the Poltergust 3000 to open the curtains, letting in a breeze, she will hastily close them again, showing you her heart in the process.

Besides all of this, there are collectibles for you to find as well, and the puzzle-solving gets a bit deeper as you progress, through the use of elemental medallions which allow you to use fire, water and ice as a means of dealing with certain ghosts and situations.

It would also be wrong of me to not mention the fantastically named Gameboy Horror, a gadget given to you by Prof. E. Gadd and a clear homage to the Gameboy Color. This is how the nutty professor keeps in touch with you whilst you are in the mansion. It also keeps track of what you’ve collected so far and also shows you the map of the mansion, giving you a good overview of where you’ve been and where you are going.

I could keep going on about how much I love this game, but I think I’ve said enough for now. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment and see what mischief Luigi has gotten himself into this time!

  • Platform: Nintendo Gamecube, Nintendo 3DS
  • Release Date: 14/09/2001-17/05/2002 (Region Dependant)
  • Rerelease Date: 12/10/2018-8/11/2018 (Region Dependant)
  • Genre: Adventure

Posted in New Games

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Oh how I love Animal Crossing! This is a franchise that I stumbled across on the Gamecube, and I am so happy to say that it has only got better and better as each new game has come out! As fans of the series find themselves counting down to the release of the next title, New Horizons, I thought I should take the time to talk about my favourite game in the series so far: Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Animal Crossing franchise, the games act as a sort of life simulation game. You are a human moving into a new town, which you will quickly notice is populated by sentient animals! There are 100s of different villages in Animal Crossing, but you can only have a small number of villagers at once. Some do decide to move away, leaving room for a new character to make an appearance!

There are many activities to keep you occupied in the games, such as fishing, bug catching, fossil collecting, donating exhibits to the museum to expand their collection, earning money to pay off your mortgage and expand your house, befriending your neighbour, and even connecting with friends and visiting their towns, or having them visit you! The game follows real time and has a full calendar year with all manner of events for you to take part in. No other game can claim to show off such a great spirit of community!

New Leaf challenged the conventions of the series by saying goodbye to Tortimer, the long-time mayor across the series, and instead you end up becoming mayor! As such, you will have a lot more control over what your town looks like, through the use of Public Works Projects. You will have a list of available projects, and these can range from something as small as a lamppost to something as big as a café!

Are you thinking that the burden of being mayor sounds like too much? Well don’t you worry about that! New Leaf introduced one of the nicest, sweetest characters in the world of video games – Isabelle! This adorable pooch will be your assistant, and she takes care of running special events in the town, helping you figure out where to put your Public Works Projects, and just generally being a lovely character to interact with!

Another thing that I really love about the franchise is how self-referential Nintendo is. There are so many different wallpapers, floors, furniture pieces, and clothing options that are a reference to other Nintendo games and characters! Even some of the villagers themselves are references! Keep an eye on Ganon the pig …

This game has been put into the Nintendo Selects line, which means that it’s standard retail price is £14.99, but I have seen it even cheaper than that in some places. This is a game I can’t recommend enough if you’re just looking for some casual fun, especially at such an incredible price! (It could also be a Christmas/birthday idea for any younger gamers in the family, as it is very easy to understand!)

  • Platform: Nintendo 3DS
  • Release Date: 08/11/2012-15-06-2013 (Region Dependant)
  • Genre: Life Simulation, Community

Posted in Recent Games

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Well, where to even start here …

I can easily say that this is potentially my favourite game of all time. It already had a head start simply by being one of my favourite franchises, as Zelda games have been with me since I was old enough to start playing video games (Ocarina of Time was one of the first games that I owned).

This was certainly the most adventurous game in the series, as it couldn’t be much further from the standard formula of the series. Typically The Legend of Zelda follows a linear format, where you tackle a number of dungeons and bosses, increasing your arsenal of items and weapons as you go, allowing you to access new areas and solve different puzzles. Well, you can forget about all that!

The very first thing you’ll notice as you start a new game is the lack of a green tunic – well, for the first time Link is going to have a whole wardrobe of options! As you adventure, you will find different items of clothing with varying buffs and effects. They can be bought, rewarded, and found!

The next big change is the weapons and items! Link is now much more versatile with his weaponry, as you will see him handling swords, spears, axes, hammers, broadswords.. but not for long – they all break! You will find weapons all round the world (mainly on the floor after you have felled an enemy) and part of the challenge of the game is maintaining a good inventory of weapons to deal with whatever Hyrule throws at you. The same rule applies for shields, and also for bows, which will be available right from the beginning.

Instead of the classic gadgets and items that we all know and love, Link will be given a few runes in the tutorial area which will help him interact with the world and the various puzzles found.

Breath of The Wild features an absolutely stunning open world, where you can go wherever you like right from the beginning (after you complete the brief tutorial area). Some areas are more difficult to venture to than others, as there are environmental hazards to bear in mind (a volcano, the desert, mountains).

The new temperature gauge is something you’ll be keeping your eye on, as Link will start to lose health if he gets too hot or too cold! This can be dealt with by either wearing clothing to keep Link warm/cool, or by consuming certain meals or elixirs which will give Link a temporary buff.

One change which I didn’t enjoy so much was the low number of dungeons. This was supposed to be supplemented by the 120 puzzle shrines found throughout the world. While I did enjoy the shrines, I didn’t feel it was a good enough substitute for the large number of dungeons we are used to. For example, both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess feature 9 main dungeons, whereas Breath of The Wild features 5.

The tone of the game is also like nothing the Zelda franchise has seen before. Typically the worlds we experience are teeming with life, with a bold soundtrack to compliment this. But in this age, Hyrule has been devastated, and only a number of settlements far away from Hyrule Castle have actually survived. You will also encounter plenty of ruins as you journey through the world. The soundtrack has been carefully composed to reflect this empty land, quiet, mostly consisting of gentle piano melodies.

This is by far my favourite open world that I have experienced in gaming, so many spectacular sights to discover, beautiful and striking locations to visit, I actually enjoy just wandering through Hyrule on horseback without any particular destination in mind. Without a doubt this game gets my full recommendation for anyone who has yet to get their hands on it.

I personally can’t wait to see how this world will be adapted and tweaked for the sequel!

  • Platform: Wii U, Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 03/03/2017
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy RPG