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So, this is my first review on this site, as I'm willing to start posting reviews again. This one's quite old, for a game that has also been around for one and a half years. My english might not seem that good, simply because I am german and only control the basics of the language. I do believe and hope that since this review, my english has been improved by a little. I'm also looking forward to post more reviews on this site within the future, and I hope to soon review more current games. If you spot mistakes, feel free to point them out.
Back then, Luigi's Mansion really pulled of some outstanding visuals that pushed the console to some limits, even with some not so pretty textures across the mansion's interior and exterior. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon takes similar steps for the 3DS, featuring some of the best visuals seen so far on the system, showcasing the graphical capabilities of it. Not only does the game look very sharp with good textures, but the surroundings are all incredibly detailed and well polished, with great lighting and nice visual effects. Combine this with one of the best 3D effects of any 3DS game, and you have a glorious looking video game. Rare occasions induce slight frame rate drops, but that's hardly a noticeable complain to be had with the game. The only noticeable issue regarding the visuals are the visual glitches like flying little objects or money disappearing through walls or other objects, which cause a slight dent in an otherwise terrific presentation, standing slightly in the way of the incredible atmosphere these mansions create.
Of course, the most important aspect here is still the gameplay. And without a second control stick, Luigi controls a little different in Dark Moon than in the original. That's not to assume the game controls worse. With an upgraded poltergust, the poltergust 5000, Luigi makes his way through the haunted mansions, busting all kind of ghosts, however this time Luigi will have to stun the ghosts with a flash beam coming from a new attachment to Luigi's torch; the strobulb, which is found at the beginning of the game. This can be charged with the A button, and the longer you charge, the bigger the range of the flash is. However, when using this, just like when Luigi tries to vacuum up ghosts, he won't be able to turn directions effectively, and instead is locked on to one strict direction. Despite the little time to get used to this, these controls work fantastically, and definitely more precise than the controls of the game's predecessor. Therefore, fighting ghosts is even more fun than it ever was, thanks to precise controls as well as a variety of different ghosts that each have their own attack patterns, as well as specific kind of ghosts that use multiple different techniques to fight Luigi.
And speaking of which, Dark Moon features some nice and clever, yet little demanding puzzles that are nevertheless fun to solve and master. And that's by far not all; thanks too many new and clever ideas, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon will feature a lot of variety within good 15 hours of gameplay. And that's not counting the time you will spend with the game afterwards, trying to find all secrets and mastering extra levels. One mission for example will have you hunting down a mighty ghost, while another one will have you trying to rescue a Toad who got lost in the mansion. Every mission is fun and creative in it's own way, to make sure the game never gets boring, and each mansion offers up design that can be best described as masterfully.
And before going on, I must mention that yes, unlike the original, Dark Moon's mansion visits are divided into missions. Between these missions, Luigi always finds himself within the bunker of Professor E.Gadd, who will then send you on multiple missions in each mansion. And while it adds a bit more of a narrative, some might find it a bit disappointing that you can't just explore the mansions on your own. This comes especially to notice since E.Gadd is a lot on your back throughout each mission. Luckily though, there are a few missions that make up a little for this.
If there is anything that boggles down Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon significantly, than it has to be the lack of check points or availability to save the game within missions. You see, a lot of missions take easily around 30 minutes, some a little fewer minutes, and some even more, a couple even about 50 minutes. And without a save system, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon isn't very portable suited. Also, if you die in a mission, you will have to repeat the whole mission again, which can make for some unnecessary long stretches, since Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is the most fun when discovering the interior and exterior of the mansions for the first time. On the bright side though, it's quite hard to die in Dark Moon. The game isn't the most challenging game, and you are treated with many hearts that heal Luigi, as well as a dog bone for each level, that revives the player if he dies once, so he can continue on from where he had died.
Okay, so we're almost done here, but there are two more aspects that shouldn't be left out; one of them being the boss battles. At the end of each mansion, you will encounter one boss, and there is a total of eight or seven bosses in the game. I have never seen a game before with such variety between bosses; it's quite clear what the developers went for: they wanted to create all kind of different boss battles, from a puzzle based boss battle to a “mash it up” boss battle and finally to an “avoid attacks and then counter” boss battle. Sadly, this also makes up for some inconsistency.
Toads are also part of this fresh adventure.
I was treated with an immensely creative puzzle based boss battle at the end of the first mansion, but got nothing more than a simple and plain boss battle that had me simply avoiding it's easy to avoid attacks and then attack back once it's weak point is revealed at the end of the second mansion. Also, the most unique boss battle of the game, the one at the end of the fourth mansion, features a great concept, but suffers a bad implementation. Not only does it get boring quite easily, but it can also become quite frustrating thanks to a glitch that doesn't let the game register some of your hits against the boss correctly. Which is a shame since the boss design and battle concept are quite fabulous. Despite some issues though, the boss battles that remain good are in the majority, and these feature challenging, fun and epic battles, especially the first and last two boss battles.