When the lights are dim and the trees near bare, When the gamer looks for a Halloween scare, Oft goes a game lesser known Than those that are more often shown. Hear the tale of a game with horror and action Based on a film based on a Disney attraction.

The Haunted Mansion was a film released in the fall of 2003, hot off the heels of another little movie called Pirates of the Caribbean. But unlike Pirates, The Haunted Mansion lacked any adventure, humor, or character. It was was the final nail in the coffin the weird Disneyland-rides-to-live-action-film genre of the early 2000s. One thing the movie based on the ride did have going for it was Eddie Murphy.

The game based on the movie based on the ride doesn’t have Eddie Murphy.

You are not Eddie Murphy. Ghosts do not try to seduce your wife.

Actually, The Haunted Mansion isn’t really based on the movie based on the ride at all. It’s one of those rare movie tie-in games that’s only related to the movie either in name or by setting. (But the game box does promise a free ticket to the movie! Score!) None of the main characters or plot from The Haunted Mansion the movie carries over to The Haunted Mansion the game. So really, the game is based more on the ride than the movie...that is based on the ride. Still with me?

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The Haunted Mansion the game follows Zeke Halloway, a skinny late-1800s-type guy. Ol’ Zeke is tricked into becoming caretaker of the mansion and is tasked with taking back it’s haunted halls from a dark wizard named Atticus Thorn and his army of evil spirits. The only tools Zeke has at his disposal are a lantern and a talking crystal ball.

That’s more than fair against a house full of ghosts, zombies, living armor, and pictures with eyes follow you.

The best way to describe The Haunted Mansion’s is that it is a cross between Luigi’s Mansion and the first Ratchet and Clank. It’s a third-person action game with a lot of shooting and puzzle-solving. You use Zeke’s lantern to shoot bad ghost as you travel room-to-room to nab collectibles, free good spirits, and make the house slightly less spooky.

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In one room you have to sink all the balls on a giant evil billiards table to progress. The library has you platforming across floating books. The nursery as you navigating a twisted maze full of shifting walls and Sadako Yamamura-like ghosts.The game never get’s as inventive as Luigi’s Mansion’s rooms and ghosts and the combat never reaches the heights of Ratchet and Clank, but it did manage to surprise me more than I would have expected from this type of game.

But I’m not kidding. The girl from The Ring is in this game.

The spookiest thing about The Haunted Mansion the game is that one of those rare movie games that’s more enjoyable than the source material. Is it the best Halloween game ever? Nah. Was it worth the $3.99 I got it for? Yeah, sure. It was good entertainment for that single dark and stormy night.

But only for that night. *organ music starts playing* For you see, when I quit the game to get myself a burger, I returned to find that the console was still on and at the main menu for The Haunted Mansion. When I went to load my game, the save file was missing. *spooky slide-whistle* Also, when I tried to swap the game out for Luigi’s Mansion the disc wouldn’t read! *thunder crash* And there was a ghost on my screen! Ok, the last one didn’t happen, but everything else did so I just watched a movie instead.

So Happy Halloween, I guess!