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Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon: Big improvements seriously impress

Now the most anticipated game on 3DS?

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Simply pointing your torch at a phantom isn't enough to stun it now - you need to charge up and fire a strobe shot with the torch instead. This dazes it and shows off its hit points, allowing you to nab it with the Poltergust and wrestle with it, trying to deplete its hits and suck it up. It's not quite as satisfying as it was on GameCube, mainly because you don't have that delicious accompanying rumble that made it feel like you were really struggling with a supernatural enemy. The fact that you can now scoop up two or three ghosties in one go does make up for it to a certain extent, though.

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HAUNTED HOUSE RIDE

The strobe attachment can also be used at other points in the game, such as when you come to the special doors and panels that need a strong burst of light before they'll activate. Later on, you'll get a rainbow attachment for your torch too, which not only uncovers hidden items, but also gives developers Next Level Games another opportunity to show off the game's newly-impressive visual oomph. Not that they need a poxy rainbow torch to do that, mind you - the lighting effects are incredible, with lightning periodically bathing the room in brightness and the torch creating some impressive lens flare effects that don't feel rubbish for once.

The whole game's just bursting with character and interactivity...

The whole game's just bursting with character and interactivity. At times you'll look through windows and see spooks in other rooms playing out genuinely funny cutscenes; then you'll need to find and confront the protagonists. At one point you'll need to use the Poltergust to grab and pull back a carpet on the floor to uncover a secret. At another you have to get to a balcony and blow a chandelier so a special attachment for your torch falls off it. Or sometimes you'll have to suck up hot chunks of coal from a roaring fire so you can fire them at frozen doors and melt them, letting you proceed.

We were absolutely delighted with our last play of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. After just a couple of minutes playing this enhanced preview build we could already tell how much extra work had gone into it, and after an hour it had been transformed from a game we weren't really bothered about to one of the games we're most eagerly anticipating on 3DS - perhaps even more than New Super Mario Bros 2.

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Top marks to Next Level for making such drastic home improvements over the past year, and roll on that non-specific "holiday" period so we can get hold of the finished article.

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