The Haunted Mansion
The Final Say!
by Tory Favro
Review Date: March 2004
Review Score 8.5/10
Distributed By: Take2 Interactive
Spooking the XBox and
guaranteed to fright, Disney's The Haunted Mansion is finally
here! But the question that was raised immediately was, is Eddie
Murphy here? I hope not!
In went the disc and
you could sense my relief once I found out that it dealt with the
haunted house ride that is actually in Anaheim USA, home of the
original Disneyland. I was lucky enough to go to Disneyland many
moons ago and can actually vouch for this game having many of the
same characteristics as the original ride.
Possibly the main
thing to realise with this title is that it's one that the kiddies
can get into for a light hearted thrill as well as the older folk,
however if you were planning on a scary game, then this really
isn't the title you need to be visiting. The game follows the
story of Zeke Halloway who is desperately looking for work. He
enters the mansion and is trapped by the spirits and other nasties
that are in there. This is where you come in and have to help Zeke
capture the evil spirits and light up parts of the mansion that
are too dark.
I must admit that I was impressed
by the detail in this game as quite often I've found that the
Disney titles normally aren't the best looking things
you've ever seen, however from my memories of the Haunted Mansion
ride and what you see in the game, there has been a fair bit of
thought put into textures and colours when creating this title.
Whilst it certainly
won't win any awards for Best Looking Game (TM) or other related
awards, there are some really nice effects involving light and
shadow that are certainly worth a mention and the way that the
characters in the game interact with each other is convincing in a
cartoony way. There are very little collision problems with the
title and the way that Zeke moves about, you have no difficulty in
making the leap of faith that he is really in the environments you
see him in as opposed to just pasted on top of it all.
Zeke operates under
the instructions of one Madame Leota who is a face trapped in a
crystal ball and the other haunts that inhabit the mansion and are
fearful of the evil spirits that roam about as they please.
The game caters itself
to many different types of players incorporating action and
puzzling elements that Zeke must solve in order to proceed further
into the game. Not all are simplistic in nature and younger gamers
might need a hand from an older friend in order to sort them all
out. Armed with the Beacon of Souls, which is essentially a
magical lantern that Zeke can use to shoot the ghoulies out of the
sky in order to get them out of the mansion and restore order and
light to the rooms where the haunts haven't been able to access
Of course where there
are evil spirits in groups there always has to be the one boss
spirit and in this case his name is Atticus Thorn. Zeke has to
make his way to the light switch in each room and battle whatever
is thrown his way in the interim. It did remind me a bit of
Luigi's Mansion for GameCube in a way, however is so sufficiently
different that you won't truly draw that comparison unless you are
forced to sit back and assess the game in an environment such as
this, a game review.
Even some of the
puzzles such as making instruments play were something that I did
in Luigi's Mansion but it still proves to be an enjoyable
experience. Other tasks involve getting shrunk and all sorts of
merriment that will provide a very good distraction from the main
job of shooting and capturing bad guys with your lantern, which by
the way is upgradeable by finding gems and following the hints
provided by Madame Leota.
Upon request gamers
can ask for hints in each room and Leota will provide them to make
of what you will. None are too cryptic and it's fun to have this
kind of interaction with the game and the feeling that she is
helping you out is also present. Zeke has a courage meter that
acts as a health bar and if he gets touched by the ghosts too many
times the meter will go to zero and he dies. There are more lives
to be found around the mansion though so make sure that you look
about. Your objectives are also clearly laid out for you and there
is no guesswork as to when you've actually cleared a room. A funny
part of the game that I thought was cool was that when the room
has been lit, Zeke's courage meter is actually bigger as he can
move about with ease. A good inclusion and a clever one that makes
Audio for this game is
brilliant and really draws you into the game. As you would expect
from Disney it's all top notch and will have you jumping with
frights and laughter as the audio drags you into what is already
an immersive game experience.
Disney's The Haunted
House is a good solid game that is going to provide value for
money and a gameplay experience that most are going to get an
absolute blast out of, not to mention a title with tremendous
longevity with several hundred ghosts to catch (about 999 - flip
that one upside down folks!).
Highly recommended and
a guaranteed blast of fun!
- Tory Favro
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