I used to be a game tester for Nintendo, who in turn for me testing and reviewing their games, would give me a small amount of money. It was hardly enough to live off of, but combined with the income of my part time job, it wasn't that bad. All of the games they sent me were still in beta stage, and although some were glitchy, they were all fun to play. But when Nintendo sent me a package that contained a Gamecube, it both shocked and exited me. Take note, this was in the middle of February 2001, about seven months prior to it's official release. I had tested Star Fox 64 and Pokemon Red and Blue all before they were released in the United States, but never a prototype of a console. I was amazed to say the least.
I frantically hooked up the Gamecube to my T.V, a task that was made much harder by my hands shaking out of exitement. But before I turned it on, I realized that I had left the controller in the box. I reached back into the box, feeling for a controller of some sort, when my hand felt something flat, and rectangular. I grabbed it and pulled my hand back out. It was a game! This really surprised me, a game for a console that wasn't even finished? It must still have alot of development to go through before it's anywhere close to being complete.
The game's case said Luigi's Mansion and Beta was written under it in what looked like marker, and the disk was pure white. I could barely contain my exitement. I grabbed the controller out of the box that I had been looking for earlier, popped the disk into the Gamecube and pressed the power button. The console did not have a loading screen and simply went straight to the "play game" option. I selected it. The game started up. I could hardly wait.
A cutscene played showing Luigi walking down a dark path, I quickly noticed that the games graphics were dreary and depressing. Luigi then stops and glances down at a map, which shows a large, bright and cheery looking mansion. He continues down the path and finally reaches the mansion, which looks nothing like the one on the map. It looks very dark and intimidating. Luigi walks up to the front door and knocks with a shivering hand. The door creaks open and he slowly walks inside. The game then switches to third-person and I now can control Luigi. I have to say, the games main theme was very unnerving.
The word "Foyer" appeared on the top-left corner of the screen. I walked up some stairs and entered a door. Upon doing this, a cutscene played showing portraits in the dark room start to shake. A text box popped up that simply said "We have your brother." Ghosts then circled around Luigi and he screamed and the screen blacked out. The next scene showed Luigi waking up in a completely different room. There was a table behind him. I could control Luigi once more, and I walked over to the table and interacted with it. Luigi then picked up a flashlight off of the table and a text box appeared that said "obtained flashlight". I then walked out of the room and was in a large hallway with lots of doors.
The rest of the game played well, you had to shine your flashlight on ghosts, which caused a counter to go down. Once it reached zero the ghost would disapear. Clearing a room full of ghosts would give Luigi treasure and keys to other rooms. Some ghosts were harder to defeat than others, making you figure out a specific weakness for each. A father in a rocking chair could only be shined on when he yawned, a chef in the kitchen would only appear if you ate his food, it was fun.
Everything played normally like this until I reached a room called the safari room. In the room there were mounted deer heads, and two tables with leopard skins on them. But I was shocked to see a human skeleton slumped in a chair in the corner of the room. It was dressed as an Australian hunter and there were empty bottles on the floor around him. But what I noticed next was he had a small pistol in his skeletal hand....and a hole in the side of his head. This suicide reference chilled me to the bone. I tried to exit the room, and this triggered a text box to appear which said "Im going to kill you and mount you on my wall!" he then pointed the pistol at Luigi and fired. The screen went black and Luigi screamed.
Luigi was then transported to a room called the telephone room. He looked very pale and his eyes were droopy and his pupils were gone. He was walking slowly and with what seemed like took a lot of effort. Suddenly, the telephone in the center of the room started to ring. I walked Luigi over to answer it. As soon as Luigi put the phone to his ear, lightning flashed and the light that shone through the window showed Luigi's shadow hanging from a noose in the back of the room. The person on the other end of the line then said "Mario is dead". Luigi screamed and dropped the phone and his flashlight, which broke on the floor. The room was now pitch black. I listened to Luigi sob in the darkness for about two minutes, the sobbing then turned to screaming. Then a horrifyingly loud snapping sound played through the speakers, followed by a soft choking sound, then everything was silent.
Lightning flashed and Luigi was hanging from a noose. A message came up on the screen that said "GOOD NIGHT" in red letters. The screen went black and the Gamecube turned off. I now sat in my own pitch black room, shaking, this time out of fear. I felt something warm drip on my hand, and realized that I had bitten my lip pretty hard and the blood was dripping down my chin.
The next morning I shipped the Gamecube and the game back to Nintendo. A week later I got a letter from Nintendo apoligizing for accidentally sending me a beta version of Luigi's Mansion.
P.S, Much was changed in the Final version of the game