Developer: High Voltage Software |
Publisher: TDK Mediactive
Players: 1 Player Game |
Release Date: 10/14/03 |
Genre: Platform

One of my favorite rides at Disneyland is The Haunted Mansion. I am not the only person who enjoys this ride and all the others at Disneyland. For some reason, no matter how popular this park or its rides are, not many games have been made out of these rides. I recall playing a title on the NES that went through all of the rides at Disneyland but I do not remember the title or if it was a popular game. So why should I bring up a game I can’t even remember the title of? This shows just how underused the Disneyland franchise has been used in the game industry.

I saw The Haunted Mansion for the first time during my appointment with TDK at E3. I was very impressed by the title and was really looking forward to getting my hands on a final copy. Now that I have spent some time with it, while it isn’t the best title on the Cube, it is a very solid title worth taking a look at.

First things first, The Haunted Mansion is not based on the horrible Disney movie that came out last summer. When I first saw this title at E3, I didn’t even know that there was a Disney movie called The Haunted Mansion coming out. But when I learned this, I assumed it was some animated movie based on the same characters used in the video game. However, when I saw a preview for the movie later on, I was surprised to see that this TDK game was not based on the same characters and story in the movie. Little did I know that this would turn out to be a good thingĂ–?

When first playing The Haunted Mansion, it will remind you a lot of Luigi’s mansion. You control an original character named Zeke. It isn’t really explained why he is chosen to help free the good spirits, but that isn’t really the focus of the game. Zeke is a very timid and geeky character who walks around the mansion very cautiously while the lights are off. After capturing all of the evil spirits with your lantern, the lights come on and Zeke can walk around with a little more confidence. This is very similar to the gameplay in Luigi’s Mansion.

Players will not only have to free the spirits in each room, they will also have to solve a variety of puzzles. This helps give the game a little more variety than what was seen in Luigi’s Mansion. For example, you will come across a staircase that has fallen very early in the game. Unfortunately, our hero is not able to jump or climb up. To continue on, you will have to jump into one of the paintings in the wall and then walk up to the upper level. This is a truly genius puzzle and other titles could learn from these elements found within The Haunted Mansion.

A downside to the gameplay is the action elements that were placed in the title. Zeke is required to shoot light out of his lantern. While some may feel like the lock-on system used in The Haunted Mansion allows for an easy way to dispose of an entire room full of enemies, players will usually run into problems when multiple enemies are in front of you, having to switch to a specific target, or during boss fights.

After shooting your enemies and saving all the souls in a room, other rooms will be unlocked within the mansion. As these open up, you can explore the remainder of the castle and ultimately make it all the way to the end.

Overall, The Haunted Mansion is a title worthy of at least a look. While it is not the best action game of the year, it is a good, solid family-friendly title that can be enjoyed by all ages.

By Kaleb Rutherford – 02/08/04
ESRB Details: Mild Violence

Screenshots for The Haunted Mansion