Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon released last week and man, what a game. I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it, and the fact that the team at Next Level Games were inspired by Zelda could go some way towards explaining its greatness.
In an interview on IGN, gameplay engineer Brian Davis discussed how Toad’s role in Dark Moon is comparable to that of Princess Zelda’s at the beginning of A Link to the Past.
“Davis: For me, the most fun I had working with a character was the Toad character. I’m not sure you’ve played with that character yet, but there are missions where you have to find Toad, free him, and escort him out of the mansion. There’s a connection between you and Toad. The ghosts can scare him, which causes a disconnect between the two of you, and he doesn’t enjoy that. He’s very scared. As a player, you want that connection between you two. For me, when I was developing that, it reminded me of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. In the very first mission, you go and find the princess and try to lead her out of the castle. I tried to keep that in mind, to kind of honor the original designers of that game and have a little anecdote in there.
IGN: So Toad is Zelda.
Davis: [laughs] Not officially.
Holliday: Inspired by…
Davis: Yeah. It was something I was thinking of while I was working on that mission.”
I’msurprised that Davis didn’t elaborate further, as I noticed more elements that could have been Zelda-inspired during my time with the game. Despite Dark Moon‘s more linear structure of levels and missions compared to the original, there is still a strong emphasis on exploration. There are all kinds of chests and treasure to find if you look hard enough and examine every crevice, and every mansion is like a Zelda dungeon with locked doors and tons of puzzles to solve.
It’s good to know that they chose inspiration from the one video game escort mission that wasn’t an absolute chore.