Published Apr 14, 2013If you ever had an older sibling, you know how it can sometimes make you feel invisible, like people don't really care about you, except maybe in relation to that brother or sister. Add fame into the mix, and you're stuck being Ron Howard's brother (Clint), Julia Roberts' brother (Eric) or Mario's brother, Luigi. The sibling plumbers may have been awarded theoretical equal billing since the very first not-yet-super Mario Bros. in 1983, but it's always been his brother's world and Luigi is just living in it.
Until 2001, that is, when Nintendo's past-gen GameCube console launched with fan-favourite Luigi's Mansion, featuring the lanky Italian as a ghost-buster in a haunted house. A mere 12 years later, Luigi finally receives another starring vehicle (his third ever), in Mansion's 3DS sequel Dark Moon, by Vancouver developer Next Level Games, which is a much larger game despite its handheld home. Boasting a flashlight and a ghost-sucking Poltergust 5000 vacuum, Luigi is tasked with recovering shards of the dark moon, which, once shattered, turned the ghost population of Evershade Valley from Casper into the evil dead. It's unclear why he left the Mushroom Kingdom, but apparently kidnappings are rampant here as well, with Mario playing the traditional Princess Peach role and requiring liberating. So Luigi, despite his fright, must explore a handful of haunted mansions, fighting ghosts and solving environmental puzzles to piece the heavenly orb back together and save his sibling.
Given the time lag between the games, there likely aren't a great deal of holdover fans, but Luigi is still a Mario brother, enjoying all the cultural cachet that entails. More importantly, Dark Moon is a really well built game that, despite being a third-party project, is one of those impeccably designed titles that have helped Nintendo remain relevant since Luigi and Mario first launched the original NES into orbit all those years ago.