The Haunted Mansion

Review

posted 2/4/2004 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: Xbox
The general controls are just as generic. I know it’s too much to ask for a complex set of moves, but it would have been nice of the Haunted Mansion team to give us something beyond jumping and shooting. You see, at its core this game is nothing more than a shooter. Although it’s in 3D, you still run around the various rooms shooting ghosts, and jumping over obstacles. Throughout your adventure you will be able to upgrade your weapon, so it uses spread shots, among other things.

The game also allows you to charge up your weapon and throw a more powerful grenade-like blast. Like your regular shot, this charge attack will be upgraded throughout your journey. But all this just seems very archaic, and not in a retro kind of way. It’s a tried and true action game formula, sure, but it wouldn’t have hurt for them to have added something more to keep us gamers interested.

Oddly enough, the graphics feel almost as dated as game plays. Though it has that nice, polished shine most Xbox games have, it also has uninteresting, poorly detailed graphics, more akin to the original PlayStation. I’ve been to this Mansion, albeit many years ago, and I don’t remember it being this dreary and uninviting. Given the right art direction, this could have been one heck of a great licensed game, but instead we’re stuck with yet another missed opportunity.

This was not the first game this year to be based on a popular Disneyland ride;\fans of swashbuckling action were treated to the Pirates of the Caribbean. In a lot of ways the Haunted Mansion better lends itself to the video game format, and has been the backdrop for a number of successful games. While this game may not live up to the quality of Resident Evil, it’s a whole lot better than Pirates of the Caribbean. At this rate, by the time they’re ready to release the Swiss Family Robinson game it may actually be worth buying.

The game lacks that certain energy you look for in a game, and worse yet, it never seems to pick up, no matter how many rooms you light up. After awhile the puzzles feel more like chores than a fun diversion from your real life. While these puzzles may be different in each room, they generally aren’t very interesting, which certainly makes it hard to justify finishing the adventure.

The Haunted Mansion isn’t without its moments, unfortunately those moments can be found in much better Xbox games. By no means is this a bad game, but to say it’s anything more than your average 3D action game with dash of puzzle is going too far. This is a game that could have been better had it sets its sites a little higher, as it is, the Haunted Mansion is a one way ticket to dullsville.


D
It’s not that the Haunted Mansion does anything wrong, it’s just that every other game on the Xbox does everything so much better!


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