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Luigi is not the same anymore.
The man in green used to be the also-ran and the coward. The one trembling at the thought of the challenge ahead of him, whether it be a baseball game or a party. Sure, he somehow stumbled his way through a dangerously haunted mansion and saved Mario more than 18 years ago in the original Luigi's Mansion, but the glory did not last long.
Luigi was the hero that day; Mario was still the star child. It was still Mario who went to the Olympics with Sonic, Mario who traveled on a great Odyssey, Mario who had championship tennis tournaments and kart races held in his name. And at some point along the way, you have to believe that Luigi got tired of his fat older brother.
Remember this infamous gif?
This was the first true hint of Luigi's growth, his true nature. He didn't just want to win the championship in Mario Kart 8, he wanted to beat Mario into submission.
He's started to shed his fear in favor of spite and resentment. Now Luigi's Mansion 3 gives us solid proof that Luigi has moved on from his days of trembling. He doesn't just capture ghosts, he beats them mercilessly. He takes them by their tales and slams them against walls, throws giant objects at them, and even shoots them. A far cry from the Luigi we knew.
During a demo for Luigi's Mansion 3 I played at E3 I witnessed Luigi's wrath. I watched as he crept along a castle-like amusement area in the game's grand hotel setting, encountering ghosts in each room. They came at him with confidence at first, but their excitement at the prospect of again seeing the fear in his eyes was soon replaced by a fear of their own. Luigi grabbed them by their tails and whooped them left and right. Whenever they broke loose they quickly fled, but I, as this new agent-of-chaos Luigi, didn't let them get far.
The demo was short and simple. I made my way through a handful of rooms, capturing ghosts, gathering collectibles like keys, and uncovering secret chests full of treasure. I got to use Gooigi, a synthetic copy of Luigi made by the made the evil Professor E. Gadd to help Luigi exact revenge on his family, to get past spikes and barred doors.
Finally, we came to a boss waiting in a battle arena. A ghost covered head to toe in medieval armor rode a ghost horse. I had to use my flashlight to stun him, shoot him with a plunger, and slam his face into the ground four times as I widdled his health down before capturing him with my vacuum.
It's a fun battle that lacks a bit of charisma from the first game. Luckily, Next Level Games, who also developed the 3DS Luigi's Mansion and Super Mario Strikers, has confirmed some of the features missing from Dark Moon were coming to this sequel. For one, the game is set in one big level and not several smaller mansions like the second game, giving Luigi the ability to find a bunch of interconnected secrets hidden in the halls of the hotel.
We're also going to see the return of portrait ghosts, more detailed enemies with interesting fights and special level design. They were missing from the 3DS game and that was a big complaint when it launched. I didn't get to experience either of these points in my demo, but they have me excited for the final release.
I was impressed by my time with Luigi's Mansion 3, as it takes positive elements from the first two games and melds them into a better overall experience. We still have plenty to see before Luigi's Mansion 3 drops later this year — and we know that our man in green will be ready for whatever it throws him.