I have to admit, for all these years that I’ve been playing the Super Mario Brothers game series, I’ve always thought that it was a one-man show. Sure, Mario has had no shortage of co-stars and cameo appearances from other Nintendo game franchises, but at the end of the day, it always boils down to Mario.
There’s just something about this Italian mustachioed plumber that keeps global players, regardless of where they come from, coming back again and again. Maybe it’s his infectious personality, maybe it’s his weird sense of humor, or maybe it’s the quirky game dynamics that Nintendo basically branded as everything and anything related to Super Mario early on.
I really can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s just something distinctive about Mario’s personality that basically enabled him to own the series. This, of course, opens a whole new different can of worms. If anything, it kind of begs the question, does the whole series really turn on one character?
Remember Donkey Kong? Yeah, if you’ve played that arcade game, you would think that the center of the show and the headliner is that giant gorilla. Well, it turns out that it was Mario all along.
Now, what would happen to the game play as well as the overall ambience and experience of the game if Mario, for some reason or another, disappears? Well, that’s exactly the premise that we are left to handle in Luigi’s Mansion ISO.
This ISO has been around for a while. A lot of people download Luigi’s Mansion ISO for one thing and one thing alone: how would a Super Mario game feel like if the main character is gone?
Well, if you’ve ever wondered that question, now is your opportunity. You need to download and install Luigi’s Mansion ISO so you can find out for yourself what happens when Mario is no longer the center of attention. What exactly happens when you take the spotlight out of this iconic character and shine it on his lesser known brother?
Now, don’t get me wrong, Luigi has stood by Mario’s side game after game. Nobody’s disputing that. But the problem is, let’s face it, for the longest time, it’s a one-man show. While we can say that from time to time we like playing the Luigi character, at the end of the day, it’s still a one-man show.
So if you have been wondering about this question of a Mario-less Super Mario game, wonder no more. Maybe this idea has kind of stuck in your mind, kind of like the way a piece of peanut butter gets stuck at the roof of your mouth, now is your chance to dislodge that idea.
Well, after spending some time playing my Luigi’s Mansion ISO, I have come to the conclusion that the Super Mario series kind of has a life of its own. I know that sounds kind of almost mystical, but bear with me. It really all boils down to game design.
You have to understand that game design is actually more complicated than most people think. A lot of people are under the impression that when game designers sit down to put together a game, they just build a game from the ground up, with the exclusive focus on what happens in the game and its internal elements.
It would be great if things were really that simple. They’re not. You have to understand that what separates a truly awesome game design and designs that are not all that memorable involves people reading in their meaning into the game.
You have to understand that when you play a game, it is a two-way conversation with what happens on the screen. And I’m not just talking about you controlling the characters or moving things around on the screen. That is to be expected. That’s not even part of the discussion here.
Instead, when you move things around, you’re doing so for a reason. You’re doing so because you have a certain perception of the game as it plays out in front of you. In other words, you’re reading your meaning, your expectations and your limitations into the game.
I don’t want to get all psychological here, but this is the truth. This doesn’t have to be personal either.
I’m not talking about limitations like your fear of women or post traumatic stress issues from your childhood. I’m not talking about that. I’m not going that deep. Instead, I’m talking about your expectations about the game and how these elements relate to how you’ve experienced similar elements in the past. That kind of thing.
Believe it or not, when people think about these, or they behave in the game with these considerations, it dramatically changes the dynamic of the game. This is very hard to test if you’re just playing the same game with the same central character.
If you’re playing a game with a very identifiable character who is front and center and is the source of all actions, it’s hard to really put your finger on this phenomenon. But if you play a game where somehow, some way, he disappears, then things become clearer.
That’s what I have to report about my copy of Luigi’s Mansion ISO. When Mario has gone missing and Luigi is now the central hero, all hell breaks loose. And I don’t mean this in a negative way.
I’m not saying that this game is really just a complete and total disaster. I’m not saying that this is really no different from a trash fire. In fact, it has its own distinctive charm. Of course, I’m not going to say that this is right up there in terms of Super Mario classics, but it really has its use.
If you’re looking for something different, if you’re looking for something that kind of throws off your perspective and indulges a part of you which you share with a lot of people, called the “what if” part, you might want to check this out.
Let’s get real here. I mean, if you’ve been playing a game for a long time or if you’ve been reading a book series very closely for an extended period of time, all sorts of “what if” scenarios enter your head. This is completely natural.
You have developed some sort of relationship with the characters, you have taken quite a bit of a liking to the stuff that you consume, so it’s not unusual to kind of mix and match things in your head. It’s not really all that unheard of for you to kind of slice and dice different concepts in your head to come up with all sorts of weird and not so weird combinations.
This is the case with Luigi’s Mansion ISO. Because one of the most common questions people ask is “What happens to the game if somehow, some way, Mario just completely disappears?” Or, to put it in a more blunt way, “What happens if Mario dies?”
I know, it sounds crazy, right? Can you imagine Mario taking a dirt nap or kicking the bucket? People would freak out. Seriously. Heads would explode all the way from Tokyo to Timbuktu.
That’s not a guess either, nor is it speculation. That is guaranteed to happen because there are many things that you don’t do in this life. You don’t kill Superman, you don’t give Batman real superpowers, and you don’t kill Super Mario.
But let’s just say Super Mario disappears – maybe he got kidnapped, maybe he took a sabbatical – what happens next? Luigi becomes the reluctant hero.
And the interesting thing here is that while the setting is all too predictable, I am of course talking about the spooky mansion here, the gameplay is kind of quirky. Because it really plays with your expectations.
If you’re playing with Luigi, you would think that the character would move differently. You would think that the internal game play would somehow, some way, be a little bit off. Of course, after all, you’re thinking that since there’s a change in the central character, there must be other changes as well. This is the kind of trick the game plays on you.
I was paying attention to the whole set of details the game brings to the table and, let me tell you, I really can’t tell the difference between this game and other Super Mario titles with Mario present. I am, of course, talking about game details and handling.
I’m not talking about specifics. Because obviously, the specific issue here is that it is Luigi who is the center of attention, not Mario. But with everything else being equal, the guts of the game remain the same.
So, in a way, it’s kind of like wearing an old, worn pair of shoes. You’ve grown accustomed to your shoes. You know what to expect. You know the right timing when you set your foot down.
The same applies to this game. It seems new and kind of off-center at parts, but ultimately, it’s the same game.
Maybe this is a kind of a trick Nintendo is playing on us. They don’t want to turn us off by giving us something completely different, but at the same time, they don’t want us to kind of go over the same stuff over and over again. If that really is the agenda, then Nintendo did a good job.
This game is a great testament to how game designs can change yet remain the same. Believe me, that’s not an easy thing to do. Really, it isn’t.
Now, I’m not just talking about graphics here, nor am I just talking about internal game dynamics. I’m also talking about player’s expectations.
What this game is able to do is really quite a feat considering that, for many people, Super Mario is just one of the games that you just have to play. Maybe out of obligation, maybe you’re going through some sort of rite of passage, or maybe this is some sort of a custom. Whatever the case may be, kids just play this. And to come up with a game that is both old and new at the same time is quite an achievement.
I’m happy to report that Luigi’s Mansion ISO is at least able to do that. But that’s quite a compliment considering that this game was initially released in 2001.
Think about that for a second. That’s a solid 17 years behind us. Sure, a lot of the game may seem clunky or downright corny from time to time, but that’s to be expected.
You have to understand that you really cannot judge classic games with today’s standards. If you want to find an example of unfair, then you can’t get any more unfair than that.
This game was designed only with what the game designers can see in front of them. They’re dealing with the technology that they had, the platform that they had, the limitations that they had, and this game is the result.
I would like to think that, given the fact that this was released during a very early version of the PlayStation, this is quite a victory. Again, this may be a 2001 game, but it is a classic on many counts.
First of all, it celebrates the Super Mario dynamics in a different way. How? Well, you really get a good impression of what’s so special about Super Mario games when Mario is no longer the center of attention.
When he isn’t the main character, you appreciate how things move, the pacing, as well as the different elements of the game. This kind of reminds you why you fell in love with this series in the first place. It never gets old. Also, the game helps you reconnect with the Super Mario lore.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Lore in platform games is not as big of a deal breaker as it is with open world games. Make no mistake, if you screw around with lore in open world games, you would quickly lose a significant chunk of your following.
Believe it or not, people follow open world games in a large part due to their story progression. For example, people follow The Elder Scrolls’ Oblivion version as it relates to Morrowind. Oblivion, in turn, gave rise to expectations that impacted the next title in the series, which is, as everybody knows, Skyrim.
Lore is front and center. Lore rules over all in all types of games. Screw with the lore and you screw with the game and be prepared for the consequences. Usually, the consequences take the form of a significant chunk of your following voting with their feet.
With Super Mario, it’s not that crucial, but it’s still important.
Super Mario lore, thankfully, is quick, portable, and also easy. It doesn’t really take much effort to reconnect with the lore. Maybe you just have to design the characters right, you have to show the landscape, and that’s pretty much it.
Because in terms of just internal game dynamics, this platform game benefits tremendously from the fact that people expect it to reinvent itself each and every time. This is why, far from just being a nice enjoyable blast from the past, Luigi’s Mansion ISO really recaps or reiterates what is so awesome about the Super Mario game series.
If you have fallen in love with Super Mario, this is a game for you. You really can’t go wrong with it. It does a great job with the lore, it does a great job with the classic gameplay, but it also satisfies your “what if” curiosity. Also, it helps tremendously if you have always been a big fan of Luigi.
If you’re a big fan of Luigi, stand up. This is your time to rise and shine. Luigi’s Mansion ISO can finally give you what you have been craving for all this time: getting your Luigi fix. So Download Now.