Well, that sucked.
I was trying to laugh off the end-of-round scoreboard that showed me at the bottom of the list of four Luigis. 2 lbs of ghosts? That's all I could vacuum up with the Polturgust 5000. Another player's score read "46 lbs," dwarfing my score. I excused it. Developers and testers don't count.
Last week, Nintendo introduced us to Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon's multiplayer, dubbed "Scarescraper." In this mode, four players can join up via multicard ad-hoc, download play, or Wi-Fi to take down ghosts from floor to floor. Still, like many Nintendo games, Dark Moon's multiplayer is about fun for everyone with small competitive nods to inspire underperforming players like myself.
My strategy centered around trying to stick with my team and play a more cooperative role in our run to the boss. Every fifth floor throws a larger ghoul at players, and we were told that no one seeing the game that day had successfully defeated the spirit waiting for us. Unfortunately, I found that as I flashed a ghost and started whittling away at the fiend's energy, another player could swoop in and steal my capture.
Not again. I was determined to walk out with my head held high. I took the left door out of our starting room while my teammates headed right. Luigi timidly opened the door, but I eagerly directed him to the haunted decorations. Hitting X next to objects in the manor will let you discover ghosts, items, or keys, all of which are required to move on to the next floor. Two red Slammer ghosts popped out of a trembling painting and proceeded to fly around the room.
To stun ghosts, players hold the A button and then lock their vacuums on with the left trigger. You can also use your vacuums to suck objects and items toward you, while hitting the right trigger will blow them out. With two heavy Slammers in my Polturgust, I explored the rest of the room with my blacklight to reveal any hidden fixtures before moving on.
Now that I'd had a bit more time to grasp the controls, I got a little cocky and separated from the rest of the team altogether. That's when two ghosts equipped with sunglasses jumped me. Different ghosts might wear different forms of protection, rendering certain tools ineffective and encouraging quick changes to capturing strategy.
You can try to complete Scarescraper mode solo, but I wouldn't recommend it. As entertaining as it was to bite off more than I could chew, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is better with friends. When a room is flooded with ghosts and three Luigis start getting dragged around as if they are water-skiing, things quickly get out of hand. That is, until a fourth player uses his or her flashlight to stun the ghosts mid-flight. Suddenly, a challenging room is mopped up quickly and you're left with a lot more time on the clock for optional objectives and item hunting.
We were playing on hard mode, but it felt like the game wasn't satisfied to let us waltz through predictable scenarios. Each floor is randomly generated to provide players with a new puzzle each time. Keys don't show up in the same room twice and people straying too far from their friends will find themselves quickly outnumbered.
When we finally reached the boss on the fifth floor, our inexperience quickly got the better of us. I kept getting distracted by smaller ghosts while my teammate was doing his best to revive anyone singled out by the boss. Time is an important factor, no matter what floor you're on, and ours was up.
Regardless, I was left hungry for more. Dark Moon's Scarescraper multiplayer has enough challenge for hardcore players eager to hunt ghosts, but options and a few friendly faces can provide a welcoming environment for newbies like me. I left wondering how I could have bettered our attack on the boss and where
we I went wrong. Luigi's teeth were still chattering in my ears, but Dark Moon multiplayer didn't scare me away at all. We'll have more coverage on the game in the lead up to its March 24th release date on Nintendo 3DS.