Disney's: The Haunted Mansion PlayStation 2 Official Website
by Take-Two Interactive Software
Developed by High Voltage
Released - Out Now
Price : £24.99
The spooky Haunted House game (as opposed to the psychologically chilling ones such as Resident Evil and Project Zero) is threatening to form it's own genre. It all began with Luigi's Mansion on the GameCube and then we had Grabbed by the Ghoulies on Xbox and now we have Disney's: The Haunted Mansion for PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. Like Grabbed by the Ghoulies and Luigi's Mansion it's a fairly light-hearted affair that's OK for children, for the most part, and yet it will still make you jump from time to time.
Disney's: The Haunted Mansion is a game based on the theme park attraction in Disney Land. The main character in the game is Zeke Holloway, who is a timid, retiring man, who has just turned up for what he believes is a job as an assistant caretaker. Little does he know that he has just been hired by some ghosts to sort out a problem. He's told by Madame Leota how an evil individual, named Atticus Thorn, corrupted many soul's memories in the mansion and that it's up to you to sort the problem out and rescue all of the 999 souls. In order to do this you only have one piece of equipment, a magical lantern that is known as the Beacon of Souls, which doubles as both a weapon and a soul collector. The Beacon of Souls needs six sacred crystals to be at full strength (and give to Zeke all the possible firing method options) but initially it only has one sacred crystal. You'll have to go through the mansion and find the other five crystals as well as rescuing the souls.
Like Luigi's Mansion the game has been broken up into rooms and you'll have to collect the souls in a room before you can progress. On entering a room the first objective is to switch the light on. Before you switch the light on Zeke's nerve's will be rather fraught and his bravery meter will begin to deplete. It's not always a simple case of walking over to the light switch and flicking it and more often than not you'll have to solve a puzzle in order to be able to access the switch . The puzzles are, in my opinion, the best part of the game and really do make you think. I liked the game room where you had to lure the ghost player into potting all of the balls. The puzzles actually make you think, which is refreshing in a game of this nature. Occasionally you'll come across some platform game elements but they aren't difficult and shouldn't cause any frustration. Shooting with the lantern is straight forward as a lock-on feature is available that easily allows you to dispatch your enemies.
Graphically The Haunted Mansion looks quite good and has a cartoon look about it. The character/ghost models are fairly simple but look good nevertheless. The same can be said for the various enemies you'll face during the game such as the many spiders you'll come across. The various rooms of the mansion look good and are suitably themed too. For the most part the frame rate is generally smooth however dips are noticeable although they never makes things awkward, which is essentially all that matters.
The real disappointment with The Haunted Mansion is that there are no subtitles. As a result deaf gamers are going to be completely unaware of the story (although to be absolutely honest you do get some of the story in text from Madame Leota but on it's own it's rather vague) and what's going on in the cutscenes. Any comments you receive from ghosts in cleared rooms are also not subtitled. Tutorial messages and objectives appear in text but whilst this is very useful because you know what you have to do it's a shame that you'll miss out on elements of the game. The game can still be enjoyed but it doesn't feel right that portions of it are missing for a deaf gamer.
This definitely falls into the category of one of those games we'd like if only it was subtitled. The game itself should only take around 6-8 hours to complete which is a little short but the low price of £24.99 compensates for the shortness in length. The real problem though is the lack of feedback for deaf gamers. The game's not impossible for deaf gamers, not by any stretch of the imagination, but there is a sufficient amount of speech that is not subtitled to reduce the suitability of the game for deaf gamers. If you're interested it may be wise to try and rent the game first to see if you can put up with the omissions.
Game Rating: 6.0/10
Disney's: The Haunted Mansion is essentially a good game but the lack of subtitles do take away from the overall experience.
Deaf gamers will miss out on certain aspects of the game and this is unfortunate.