King Boo

        Sometimes when I play through a game, I start to wonder if what my character is doing is right. And that always gives me a sort of uneasy feeling. Ironically, I do not feel this way when doing evil things is the point of the game; perhaps because in the uneasy cases, I am supposed to be the good guy here. It always creeps me out. And one of the games that made me feel this way is Luigi’s Mansion.
        Actually, I was very surprised by this game. I did love the gameplay, and the idea behind it. The Mario brothers have won a mansion… in a contest they didn’t enter. Mario went ahead to check it out, but never returned. Luigi goes to investigate, and finds it full of ghosts. He is saved from the same fate as his brother by Professor E. Gadd, who takes him to his home to explain everything.
        The professor has studied and caught ghosts all his life, which got him on the wrong side of the Boos. When he caught Boolossus, King Boo got angry and attacked the professor, freeing all his captured ghosts and creating the mansion that lured Mario in. Luigi is given the professor’s Poltergust 3000, which can suck up ghosts, and so the game begins.
        At first he faces normal ghosts as he clears out rooms, brightening them as he goes, but then he encounters the first Portrait Ghost. These are ghosts that the professor previously caught and turned into pictures. But… they aren’t hostile, like the regular ghosts. At least, some of them are not. In fact, most simply mind their own business, such as the first, Neville, who just sits there and reads.
        This is obviously to help the player figure out how the bigger ghosts operate- they cannot just be frozen with the flashlight then pulled in, they have certain weaknesses, and the player needs a easy one to start off. At least, that’s what you might think. But aside from a select few, hardly any of the Portrait Ghosts actually attack you or put up more than a token resistance, unless they’re bosses.
        I didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back, well, it is a bit odd. It makes me wonder if capturing these ghosts was the right thing to do, but sadly, it is also the only thing the player can do- they hold the keys to progress, so you have to. Personally, I just hope they’re all a bit like Madame Clarvoya- who actually wanted to be sealed in her painting again, and only held off Luigi taking her because her powers could aid him.
        After, the Portrait Ghosts there are Boos, who do not give me such uncertainty. Perhaps it is because they are given less characterization, or that their names are puns, or because they’re classic enemies. Plus, their leader is directly responsible for Mario’s disappearance.
        Boos hide in the already lit rooms of the mansion, and shaking objects will reveal them- or a toy, or a bomb. Once revealed, they will try to escape, since now you can catch them. Unlike most enemies, they aren’t tied to the Poltergust when you catch them, but instead it will slow them down as it drains their health, so your goal is to catch them before they can leave the room.
        A certain number of them have to be caught or you cannot progress- until the first twenty are gone, you cannot face Boolossus, or the ‘mysterious power of the Boos’ will send you back to the start of the game. Similarly, until 40 of them are gone, you cannot come close to King Boo’s Sanctum, and you cannot go inside unless you have the proper key. If you try, King Boo will blow you away regardless.
        However, once everything is in place, you can finally venture in and face the king of Boos, and free Mario! Luigi walks into the eerily quiet room, and King Boo seems to be ignoring him, simply staring at the painting of Mario struggling to get out. When Luigi gets close enough, the ghost finally speaks. He talks about how he adores the painting, how he could watch it for hours on end. “I find it so… satisfying. Perhaps that is merely because I remember how much trouble you’ve caused me in the past.”
        In other words, everything King Boo did, he did out of retaliation- he freed the ghosts because the professor attacked his servant, and attacked Mario for his harming of Boos in his past adventures, rather than out of sheer malice. He states that he does not fear Luigi, nor his weapon, and that he will turn Luigi into a painting like his brother.
        The Mario painting then changes to one of Bowser, which King Boo flies into. The painting comes to life and pulls Luigi in as well, taking him to what seems to be the mansion’s roof. Bowser drops down out of nowhere and breathes fire at the cowering Luigi, who scrambles out of the way. And so the final battle begins.
        This Bowser is actually a fake weapon of sorts that King Boo uses, quite wisely, because he cannot be attacked from within it. Naturally, the Bowser copy can breathe fire, which also burns the ground over the flames, stopping you from getting close to it. If Luigi is hit, he will be forced to spin around trying to put it out, which may leave him open for more attacks.
For added irony, the fake Bowser can also suck Luigi in and chew on him for a bit, then spits him out. Though this does pull you in, it will not hurt you unless you’re too close to begin with, and you should be keeping your distance. After all, you can’t hurt him yet.
        His third attack is the only one that can hit you at a distance. He will clench his fists, then open it to form a spiked mine. He will throw three of these, which explode after a short time. Now grab one with the Poltergust, and wait for him to bend down to shoot fire or pull you in. If he tries to pull you in, just let go of the button and the mine will fly in his face. If he is breathing fire, it will destroy the mine before it can reach him. However, if you are quick enough, you can hit him before he performs either.
Regardless, if you can pull this off, the end result will be the fake Bowser’s head flying off completely, making the body go limp. King Boo himself will exit the machine, and now you can start trying to capture him. Like the other Boos, he is merely slowed down by your attempts to catch him, and with 500 health, this will take a few tries.
        Even worse, the Bowser head will float up and start shooting ice blasts at you, which can provide the king enough time to get back inside if you’re hit. So you have to keep the pressure on King Boo and dodge attacks. Regardless of how well you do though, eventually King Boo will get back in, and the head will reattach to the body.
        However, when King Boo’s health sinks below 200, the head doesn’t do so properly, being put on backwards. When this happens, Bowser will run around blindly, destroying the pillars throughout the arena and potentially running you over. The pillars will give you either health, or reveal a Poison Mushroom. Touching those will make you lose money, and shrink Luigi down so that he cannot use the Poltergust, leaving him helpless for a short time.
        However, once you know how to get King Boo out of his shell, the battle is quite easy- stay away from him, forcing him to throw mines, then shoot the mines at him when he does the only other two attacks he has. King Boo comes out, suck him in while dodging ice.
        Once the King is captured, Luigi finally frees his brother from the painting, and all is well. Ultimately, Luigi’s Mansion is fun for its unique gameplay and creepy atmosphere, and while some of the enemies are only ambiguously your foe, the final villain is certainly clear. He captures Mario, and lures Luigi in to be trapped in a painting as well, so I can certainly say that his defeat is something he had coming to him.

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