Should the Zelda series Take Inspiration from Luigi’s Mansion 2?
Zelda and Luigi’s Mansion. Not exactly two series you see compared often, but with the style of the second Luigi’s Mansion game being very much like a Zelda title, it seems like sometimes the Legend of Zelda series should take quite a bit more inspiration from it. So what things should the next Zelda game mimic from Dark Moon? These:
1. The more complex puzzles.
Let’s face it, the recent puzzles in the Zelda series don’t feel like they fit into the game world very well. You’ve got the bog standard crate pushing and switches, various gimmicky elements which completely feel out of place in the medieval environment and a general reliance on cliches to the point the TV Tropes page for ‘stock video game puzzle’ literally says ‘as used in the Legend of Zelda’. But do you know what game does puzzles well?
Luigi’s Mansion 2/Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon.
Seriously, the types of puzzles you face in the likes of the Secret Mine or Treacherous Mansion are literally ten times more complex and ‘interesting’ than your standard Zelda puzzle ever was and actually feel like they fit the environment perfectly. Forget pushing boxes or standing on switches to open doors, these levels have you do things like activate machines in one room to affect the environment in another or bring objects through multiple sections of the level to do things like light them on fire or water plants in a different location. We need more ‘logical’ and less self contained puzzles like in this game in the next Zelda title. Make it feel like you’re doing interesting things with the objects around you when solving puzzles rather than being involved in a ‘game’.
2. The creepy atmosphere and tenseness.
Bcause if I see any one common complaint about the Zelda series, it’s that you really don’t feel… ‘scared’ by it any more. There’s no feeling of danger any more in the series with everything using ultra bright primary colours and fairly relaxing music. But Luigi’s Mansion 2 does this kind of ‘on edge’ atmosphere ridiculously well, and the music actually makes you feel like literally anything could happen. Heck, listen to this music from Haunted Towers and tell me it doesn’t make you feel at least a bit… wary:
Or this music from elsewhere:
Or this from the Secret Mine:
Similarly, the mansion design really makes you feel like you’re exploring a ‘real’ place despite some of the ridiculous obstacles you encounter. I can seriously see the likes of the Old Clockworks or Secret Mine in a Zelda or even Metroid style game. Heck, the final mansion (which I won’t show a picture of here) looks so ridiculously menacing from the outside that it seems like a perfect location for a Zelda dungeon.
So I really hope Nintendo’s in house Zelda team take some inspiration for the location design, atmosphere and music from Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon this time around.
3. The sheer amount of enemies and their variety/ferocity
Another thing the Zelda series should take from Dark Moon is how enemies used in the game. Indeed, if the modern Zelda franchise has any problems with enemies, it’s that you never fight enough of them at once for them to become a real threat. But Luigi’s Mansion 2 doesn’t make that mistake later in the game. In the secret missions for instance you fight between five and ten randomly generated enemies at once to clear out the ‘infestations’. That’s far more like the number of bad guys you should be up against in any standard Zelda dungeon room.
Other parts in the game do this well too. For instance, there’s a point later in the game where King Boo opens a portal to another world and lets out a whole ton of ghosts that infest every room in the mansion. And honestly, I have to say I found this one section more difficult than pretty much any Zelda dungeon made in the last ten years. You’ve got enemies who’d never normally be in the same room teaming in great numbers, the very real chance of being horribly slaughtered when you make the slightest slip up and an incredibly ‘epic’ battle against a gigantic monster horde at the end that mixed every possible type of ghost together in one place. It’s difficult, it’s brutal, and quite honestly it’s the type of monster difficulty that should be far more common in the Zelda series.
Two Slammers, a weapon holding Greenie and a Mummy. This is the kind of variety Skyward Sword’s horde should have had.
We need to see more instances where enemies come in gigantic packs and team up on Link in the Legend of Zelda franchise. And we definitely need to see more times where different types of enemies come in the same room and cover each other’s weaknesses. Forget the Bokoblin horde from Skyward Sword, imagine how amazing it would be if you could end up in a battle where Darknuts, Stalfos, Moblins, Bokoblins and Iron Knuckles were in the same room! Just add in a few minor enemies coming from all sides, and you’d actually have a battle that lives up to the official art and backstory of the series.
Above: Kind of like this.
Additionally, I think the level of variety in basic enemies could be nice to see in the Zelda series too. I mean sure, Skyward Sword had Bokoblins with different designs and powers, but imagine if we had the variety seen in the Greenies in Luigi’s Mansion 2 in a Zelda game enemy. Where they’d grab and use different objects, armour and weapons to help them attack, use various disguises and other forms like knights and mummies or come up with tactics like going under the sandy floor rather than just walking slowly towards you and striking in an extremely telegraphed way. That would be the type of AI I’d love to see.
Finally, they should take inspiration from how the enemies in Luigi’s Mansion 2 behave. You know, where they actually attack regularly rather than constantly try to block your moves. It’s far better to have vicious enemies that suicidally charge into battle and fight to their last breath than cowards that constantly act defensive and like a puzzle sequence.
4. The Scarescraper should be in a future Zelda game (or at least something like it).
Seriously, can you imagine how awesome it’d be to have a multiplayer mode in the next Zelda game where you and three other Links have to take on an infinite sized dungeon with randomised floor plans and enemies? That would be one of the best things in gaming history, and would be a fantastic mix of Four Swords and the typical Zelda formula.
What’s more, it should have the same difficulty levels and harsh enemy combos as in Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon too. Imagine wandering through a creepy maze and not knowing whether that one type of enemy or boss you don’t like is lurking around the corner! Or walking into a room and realising that Iron Knuckles and Darknuts are in the same tiny area and you’ve got to take on a whole room full of them! Think Luigi’s Mansion’s ghosts are bad? Imagine having the entire enemy list of the Zelda franchise to deal with and the insane enemy team ups that could create!
Above: Just imagine something like this, with Zelda enemies in! Same danger level too!
The idea of having randomised bosses would work well into the Zelda series version too, especially if they had the kinds of attacks the Luigi’s Mansion 2 random ones had. You think a normal Darknut is bad? Try fighting a gigantic one that could set half the room on fire and move three times as quickly! The amount of evil boss types a Scarescraper like mode in a Zelda game could end up creating is ridiculous…
Really, this kind of multiplayer would fit in the Legend of Zelda series perfectly, and should definitely be considered for either the 3DS or Wii U game.
5. Some of the bosses should have the level of variety shown by the first Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon boss.
Really, the fact you had to use three different tactics to bring him down rather than just repeating the same old tricks multiple times makes this boss leaps and bounds above anything found in a modern Zelda game.
Above: Depressingly, this is a first boss. Compare it to Gohma from any Zelda game, and it’s definitely a more interesting and engaging fight.
They should stuff like this (and also like the Mr Freeze fight from Batman Arkham City where he learns your tricks after you use them once) for many of the bosses in the Zelda series. Figured out how to hurt Phantom Ganon by shooting arrows at him? Well he’s figured out how to avoid them now, so you need to find a new way to bring him down. Thought you knew how to beat the final boss already? Looks like he’s found a way around that, and even completely ignores your fishing rod now! Add in a few things in the environment you have to manipulate to your advantage (to do things like drop the ceiling on the boss or put out the lava pit or whatever), and the boss fights would be far more entertaining than the somewhat easy and stale ones from the likes of Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword.
6. The characterisation and ‘interesting’ things the enemies do
One of the neatest things about Dark Moon was how at certain points in the story you got to look inside various windows and cracks in the walls and observe the enemies going about their ‘normal’ activities on the other side. For instance, in the Secret Mine you got to see the Shrewd/Scornful Possessor trying to horribly murder some innocent creatures with bombs as it ran for its life. Or how in the Treacherous Mansion you got to see Toad running around scared as Boos and ghosts took over and King Boo trapped him inside a painting with dark magic.
That kind of thing would be fantastic to see a new Zelda game since it’d actually make you HATE Ganon. Or whoever the antagonist is, since you’d see them being evil jerks to innocent people around them. Imagine actually seeing Ganondorf freezing Zora’s Domain and the helpless reactions of the Zora Tribe as they got locked in ice. Or watching him order his troops to feed the Gorons to Volvagia as his dinner. That would truly make you see the evil deeds of the villain and his group, make you see them as bloodthirsty tyrants who actually need to be destroyed rather than just relying on ‘off screen villainy’. Even better if they spot you like in Luigi’s Mansion 2 and actually send soldiers out to have Link killed in response. Then you fought them, etc.
Above: I love how in Luigi’s Mansion 2 you actually see the ghosts and villains do things that show them as ‘evil’ or ‘playful’ or whatever.
The other scenes before encountering enemies would be nice to see too. Like how in Treacherous Mansion you see the Mummies waking up and punching their way out of their tombs before moaning and surrounding Link from all sides. Or how in the basement you see the Knight get up out the chair and ominous march towards Luigi with its pole weapon at the ready. That should be sort of like how the Redeads/Gibdos and Darknuts are introduced in a future Zelda game. Make them seen truly ‘ominous’.
Above: The mummies actually blast their way out the sarcophagus and stumble towards Luigi rather than just being in the open like say, Redeads.
Hell, the whole way the Mummies attack by coming out the ground is exactly how the Redeads should fight in a future Zelda game. Instead of having them predictably stand around, have them actually burst from the floor/walls/coffins in the room as you walk past. That’d scare the hell out of a lot of Zelda players.
All in all, there’s a lot of things Luigi’s Mansion 2 does well that I think the Zelda series could take inspiration from, and I hope some of these ideas end up in the next Zelda game in the franchise.